Powis Square, London

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25 Powis Square, Notting Hill

Powis Square is a garden square and locality in Notting Hill, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, England. The closest London Underground station to the square is Westbourne Park tube station.

It was planned in the mid-19th century by noted local architect Thomas Allom.[1] There is conflicting information as to whether the square was named, along with nearby Arundel Gardens and Talbot Road, after the Talbot family of the Earls of Shrewsbury, or after Powis Castle owing to the Welsh Marches origins of the land's leaseholder, W. K. Jenkins.[1][2]

Originally built as upper-middle class residences, the area experienced dramatic social decline in the 20th century and was described as being "largely a slum area" by the 1930s. The square and surrounding areas were later exploited by the notorious slum landlord Peter Rachman who, in the 1950s and 60s, had acquired many properties on the square and in the surrounding area.[2]

In 1968, the council bought the garden square[1] after a series of 'break-ins' by activists campaigning for social change towards the end of slum-era Notting Hill.[3] Today, Powis Square Gardens is now one of three publicly-accessible pocket parks in the Portobello Road area along with Tavistock Gardens, and Colville Square Gardens.[4]

The Tabernacle, a local community arts centre with a long association with the Notting Hill Carnival, is located there.[5]

In 1962, The Rolling Stones' Brian Jones lived on the west side of the square.[6]

25 Powis Square was used for exterior scenes in Nicolas Roeg's 1970 film Performance, starring James Fox and Mick Jagger.[7][8] The square is also referenced in the 1985 song "E=MC²" by Big Audio Dynamite, which was partially inspired by the film.[9]

Lemmy Kilmister gave his debut as a bass player for Hawkwind on a free open air concert on Powis Square in August 1971.[10]


  1. ^ a b c "Powis Square". Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Colville" (PDF). Colville Community History Project. 2 March 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  3. ^ "Community Consultation Results Summary" (PDF). Land Use Consultants Ltd. 14 June 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Powis Square Gardens Consultation Report" (PDF). Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. June 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  5. ^ "The Tabernacle, the heart of London's pop culture… and Christmas panto | Chic Londres". Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  6. ^ "History". The Tabernacle. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Powis Square", It's Your Colville - Colville Community Forum.
  8. ^ "Performance – In search of the locations for the Mick Jagger classic, 50 years later". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2019-03-17.
  9. ^ Luck, Richard. "Performance: The Making Of Britain's Greatest Post-War Film". Sabotage Times. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  10. ^ Lemmy Kilmister: White Line Fever. The Autobiography, S. 81.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′58″N 0°12′04″W / 51.5162°N 0.2012°W / 51.5162; -0.2012