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genealogy of the Bird and Musgrove families
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Southam Street Area

Southam Street, presumably including number 27, was demolished in 1969 to make way for the Westway flyover (M4) & the Trellick Tower.

William & Hannah and then Hannah after William's death lived on one floor of a 3 floor property at 27 Southam Street in North Kensington for roughly 25 years between about 1885, when they married, and at least 1911.

The entire property consisted of 9 rooms on three floors.

The censuses show that

  • in 1871 two people were living in the property,

  • in 1881 there were 16,

  • in 1891 there were 18 and

  • by 1901 the total residents had increased to 25.

  • By 1923 there were a total of 2,400 people living in the 140 nine roomed houses which made up Southam Street.

I have not found specific details of living conditions when the Musgroves were living there but it must have certainly been cramped and unhygenic to say the least.

Admittedly some years later, but probably not a moment too soon, in 1968 Southam Street and a number of other surrounding streets were bulldozed as being unfit for human habitation.

Over the next few years extensive development took place including bringing the Westway Flyover (A40 now M40) into central London. The Westway elevated flyover went to the south of the development where the slums had been cleared.

As someone said "streets were cut in half, 600 houses demolished and over 1,000 local people moved away. A mile long strip of land was left waste beneath the huge concrete stilts of the motorway."


Specifically on the Southam Street site they built the Trellick Tower which was designed by Erno Goldfinger (cremated at Golders Green Crematorium in 1987), whose name Ian Fleming used as the villain in the book of the same name. The monstrosity of what was then a modern high-rise had 217 flats over 32 floors (or 31 depending on where you search !) rising nearly 100 meters into the London sky. It was to get a terrible reputation and a blogger on open2.net says :

"Trellick Tower, in West London, featured regularly in the tabloids and their stories of what was to be found in its brutalist corridors were terrifying. Women raped in elevators, children attacked by heroin addicts in the basement, and homeless squatters setting fire to flats were among the more lurid.”

However, ironically, as the block became more and more dangerous, so the residents insisted on increased security and with the implementation of CCTV camera’s and concierged entry the flats have been transformed and are now very sought after attracting prices in excess of £420,000 (2 bedroom flat on 21st floor). It is close to the Portobello Road and in 1998 it was given a grade 2 listed building status.

read about the Southam Street photographs of Roger Mayne

read more about the Charles Booth surveys

read more about the specific properties in my various tree’s

return to William or Hannah’s story

return to William & Hannah’s children

return to MUSGROVE index

Linked toWilliam John Musgrove; Hannah Elizabeth Wild

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