All Saints Road - My New ‘Hood' - A CREATIVE DESTINATION Steeped in Cultural History
There is a lot of talk these days about vibe, and the energy of places, people, things - everything really. More and more we tune into our instincts, and I have certainly found over the years, I place great stock on how I feel about certain decisions, because sometimes pragmatism alone isn’t enough.
Moving my business from SE1 to W11 was a big change for me, not least of all because I had built up a network, and Bermondsey Street was the heart of my client base. But the time was right, and I knew in my gut that moving to Notting Hill, and specifically All Saints Road was the next part of my journey.
If you don’t know, All Saints Road is tucked behind the vibrancy of Portobello and is a stone’s throw from Notting Hill Gate. W11 has always been a cultural hub. But the street has been known for other reasons over the years; from the end of the 1960s to the mid 80s, the crime rate was amongst the worst in London.
During the 60s, Portobello Road rivalled the King’s Road in terms of pop culture. Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton lived in the area.
The Tabernacle and All Saints Church Hall saw legends like Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and Pink Floyd perform. Record shops opened in the area, some of which are still open today, like People’s Sound just down the road from me, and of course Rough Trade.
There was a time when the flats above the shops on All Saints Road overlooked a street teeming with prostitutes, pimps and drug dealers. If those walls could talk…
Over time though, the area began to change. Up market restaurants and boutiques started opening and Notting Hill was on the up.
Despite this, there has always been an eclectic mix of residents and edginess to the area that is still present today and of course, a case in point is we have Carnival – totally unique to this postcode – and once a year adding a flamboyance and energy to the streets unlike anything else in London.
The character of this street is undeniable and cultural core is still strong today but when I arrived on All Saints Road I realised to my joy that it was also a conclave of creativity – a street of makers.
As I have mentioned in previous blogs – collaborations and supporting other creative businesses are important to me. I featured milliner, Jess Collett, in a post; and spent a lovely afternoon a few weeks ago at an event hosted by Zoe and Morgan - the jewellery designers are the newest addition to the street.
Next door to us is Venusrox, a treasure trove of incredible crystals and stones – whose clients travel far and wide to visit them; and further down from us is The Jacksons, a boutique that has been in the area for just over 20 years. Eyewear brand, Oliver Goldsmith is also on the street; a long-standing family run business.
Not only does the street have a strong fashion identity. But there are creative brands for the residential and commercial sectors too. Most notably Edwin’s (bathrooms suppliers) who have three showrooms on the street, Revival Upholstery who have been trading from All Saints Road for over 25 years - and Pret A Vivre, who make curtains and made to measure blinds.
Design consultants, Redjacket are situated in the basement of my building and brilliantly refurbished my shop – which was a much loved bike shop before called Bicycle Workshop.
It would of course be remiss of me to not mention two of my favourite haunts: the Tin Shed where we get our mid morning coffee and brunch, and The Chipping Forecast, a lovely seafood restaurant where we have been known to pop into for quick glass of wine and a weekly debrief.
All in all, there is so much more to All Saints Road than meets the eye. It is a destination that’s well worth exploring and a community I feel privileged to be part of.