Renowned Antique Dealer and Decorator Christopher Hodsolls 'Stately Junk Shop' On Portobello Road.
Photographs by Jasper Fry
In the early 1700s Green Lane was merely a meandering path leading from Kensington to the Kensal Green area. Later in the 1740s it adopted its name Porto Bello, from the Porto Bello Farm, which sat on what is today known as Golborne Road. It remained a quiet rural area until the mid-19th Century when it underwent a dramatic transformation. During the Victorian era, known for its sweeping changes, this road became a bustling urban hub. It served as a key link between the residential neighbourhoods of Paddington and Notting Hill. As the area grew, the hayfields and orchards that once flanked Portobello Road gave way to shops catering to the newly moneyed residents of Notting Hill's elegant crescents and terraces.
This change was cemented by 1864 with the construction of the Metropolitan & City Railway. The market became a place for those getting their everyday household needs, such as fruit, vegetables, and meat. In the 1940s, it became well known for its bric-a-brac and antiques. It has always had a celebrated antiques trade. Still, with the influx of tourists on a Friday & Saturday, that trade has been somewhat overshadowed by the stalls of acrylic clothing, key chains, and, as Hugh Grant puts it in Notting Hill, 'and some not so genuine' antiques.
Despite these changes, a dedicated contingent has persevered in sustaining the antique trade, predominantly in the upper stretches of Portobello Road, where we lose the interest of the tourists who turn back, thinking they have exhausted the district's interest. Those few still make the marketplace and around a fun and exciting location to hunt for overlooked prizes. Since the 15th November, the road has had the most marvellous addition. I happened across it when walking to my studio on a dismal day. There in the window of number 367 Portobello Road was the name Christopher Hodsoll. This, to me, was utterly thrilling. Anyone who read my Tete a Tat with Christopher will know I am a tremendous fan of his dealing and decorating. He has designed some of the most glorious projects in recent years, not to mention the treasures that have passed through his hands. His description of his new digs is a 'Stately Junk Shop.' Is there a phrase that brings more happiness to the mind's eye? Well, thankfully, you can put your mind's eye to rest as Jasper Fry has helped us tour this sensational new spot on the antique map of London.