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Local history: St Joseph's Home for the Elderly

Golborne has seen many changes over the years, changes that continue with developments like the renewal of the Wornington Green Estate. One big change that happened in the 1980s was the demolition of St Joseph's Home for the Elderly.

St Joseph's was opened by the Little Sisters of the Poor in 1869 on Portobello Road, between Oxford Gardens and Golborne Road. More than 200 elderly men and women lived there in dormitory-style accommodation. The building was enlarged in 1882 and was described in the Survey of London as:

...a large group of outwardly utilitarian three-storey buildings with semi-basements and attics, built of yellow stock bricks with bands of blue-black brick and stone, and stone dressings.

The Little Sisters of the Poor arrived in North Kensington from Brittany in 1865 and bought land which was occupied by Portobello Farm to build their home for the elderly. St Joseph, of course, was husband to Mary, mother of Jesus.

The order continues to exist today, and runs homes for the elderly in various English locations such as Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle. Indeed, they still run two homes in London, one in Dalston and the other in Kennington.

In the early 1980s, St Joseph’s Home was demolished. In its place a small estate was built and given the name St Joseph’s Court, in an echo of its former occupants. As you can see in the photograph, the original wall was retained although the entrances were bricked up. Access to St Joseph’s Court is from Bevington Road.

Today, the wall is known as Portobello Wall and has been used by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea as an open-air art gallery gallery since 2009, with new commissions appearing regularly.