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A guest post by London Historians member, Jane Young

Streets of Sin – A Dark Biography of Notting Hill, by Fiona Rule (2015)

Streets of Sin by Fiona ruleFeaturing a newspaper Sunday tabloid headline on the dust jacket, it is a series of scandals that provide the framework for this new publication.

Dealing with mainstream history of Notting Hill as told by the newspapers, the chapters are divided by the events that achieved notoriety and captured the imagination of the popular press.

The well known tales of 10 Rillington Place; The Profumo Affair; Notting Hill Riots and the demise of designer Ossie Clark are narrated as seen through the reports of newspapers and public perception. The early development of the built environment is nicely covered although there is much history of the area that has been left out, however that is not much of a criticism given that the aim is to tell the more notorious story of Notting Hill, in doing so it has been well researched and set out in an entertaining format.

It ends neatly with a sharp and accurate observation of how Notting Hill has come full circle over the course of two centuries, again drawing on the public persona of the area with an adroit summing up of the district today.

For anyone with a passing interest in the area this is a well written book. For those familiar with the history of Notting Hill it is not relating anything that hasn’t been written before. However, having read it from both the point of view of an historian and someone who has known the area well and seen it change over many decades it can still be recommended as an interesting read.

Streets of Sin – A Dark Biography of Notting Hill, 224 pp, by Fiona Rule, is published by The History Press. Hardcover. Cover price £15.99 but available for around £15 or less. Kindle edition available.

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