The Alternative Guide to Westbourne Grove

SCP West is a short walk from Notting Hill Gate tube station on a corner plot of Westbourne Grove. The store was designed in 2007 by architects Munkenback & Marshall (now Munkenback & Partners) and features an open and inviting two-sided glass facade. The area in and around Westbourne Grove has undergone great change in the last few decades, here we cast our eye over some of its history and the cultural figures associated with it.




This term entered the Oxford English Dictionary as a synonym meaning “the exploitation of tenants of slum properties by unscrupulous landlords” after parts of Notting Hill, just north of where SCP West is situated, were rendered derelict in the 1960’s by the practices of the notorious slum landlord Peter Rachman, who himself died in 1962. His notoriety grew after his death following the 1963 Profumo affair, which revealed that both Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies had been his mistresses and that he had owned the mews house in Marylebone from where they based their trade. A sordid tale indeed.

Thomas Hardy


The English novelist and poet lived in the area, for the most part at 16 Westbourne Park Villas, which was his home from 1863-67. Not that far from the madding crowd really.

Pentagram Design Studio


Now one of the worlds largest independent design studios with offices around the globe, this British industry bastion was founded around the corner on Needham Road in 1972, the London office is still situated there today. Two of Pentagrams founding member have products that can be found at SCP. The industrial designer Kenneth Grange (recently celebrated at the Design Museum with a major retrospective) has the ever popular Anglepoise light in store, whilst you can find copies of “The Art of Looking Sideways” by prolific graphic designer Alan Fletcher on the bookshelves.

My Beautiful Laundrette


This 1985 academy award nominated comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears, with a screenplay from Hanif Kureshi, was for the most part filmed in Battersea and Wandsworth in South London. However, if you are looking to put on a service wash, you can head down to the real My Beautiful Laundrette on 120 Talbot Road, a real local gem.

This guide first appeared in SCP Issue Number Three. With thanks to Jonathan Barker for the photographs of Rachmanism in action.

Click to Chat