PGH and Stanley Bate moved into a flat at the top of Byam Shaw House in Campden Street in September 1938. Set among low-rise houses in a very narrow street, their building was an extra storey higher than most, with large windows looking out on the roofs below. The Churchill Arms sits on the corner of Campden St and Kensington Church St, now occupied by picture framers, antique shops and restaurants, some of which have been there since the 1920s.
In 1918 the English journalist Valentine Williams wrote of Campden Hill, “I don’t know that there is a more pleasant residential quarter of London than the quiet streets and gardens that straggle over this airy height. The very steepness of the slopes leading up from the Kensington High Street on the one side and from Holland Park Avenue on the other effectually preserves the atmosphere of old-world languor which envelops this retired spot. The hill, with its approaches so steep as to suggest to the imaginative the pathway winding up some rock-bound fastness of the Highlands, successfully defies organ-grinders and motor-buses and other aspirants to the membership in the great society for the propagation of street noises. As you near the summit, the quiet becomes more pronounced until you might fancy yourself a thousand leagues, instead of as many yards, removed from the busy commerce of Kensington or the rather strident activity of Notting Hill. … On Campden Hill there are houses to suit all purses and all tastes from the vulgar mansion with its private garden to the little one-story stable that Art (which flourishes in these parts) and ten shillings worth of paint has converted into a cottage”. (Okewood of the Secret Service). PGH recalled being responsible for a barrage balloon on the top of Campden Hill during the war.
Images: private collection.