Gloucester Road used to be a village. It was formerly known as Hogmore Lane. In 1826, in honour of Maria, Duchess of Gloucester, sister-inlaw of George III, it was changed to Gloucester Road. Farmers used to go through this road to take the pigs to market.
The following shop windows reflect my life: No 34, The Gloucester Arms has been my local for 30 years. George Canning, whose home was here, was prime minister for the shortest time in British history. I meet a couple of friends in the pub and I also see them, from time to time, in Mayfair, where they work.
Victoria Grove - Andrew Lloyd Webber's brilliant musical Cats was inspired by T S Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. In it, Victoria Grove is mentioned as where the cats Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer lived. These cats were also known in Cornwall Gardens, Launceston Place and Kensington Square. Eliot lived and died in nearby Kensington Court Place.
No 16, Ross Food & Wine is open 24 hours a day. Madonna once lived in the area and the owner's wife once asked her: "Are you from around here?" Madonna burst out laughing.
No 15, Da Mario Pizzeria. Princess Diana used to take Princes William and Harry here.
Inscribed on the steps is Da Mario, Princess Diana, local pizzeria.
No 48, Margaret Mills. When I asked the shop keeper what was unique about his shop he hesitated for a while, when a customer intercepted: "When we've looked all over the place we come here. They usually find it for us downstairs."
No 54, The Sandwich Shop. Customers include students, workmen, solicitors and police queuing up outside. Once there was someone trying to rob the store but the policeman in the queue stopped him by shouting, "I was here first!"
No 58, was Karnac Bookshop, that used to sell and publish psychology books. Being the local author they used to sell mine.
Now it is Berry's Newsagents. The papers don't always have good news but the staff always have a smile on their face.
Dustin Hoffman,the actor, was outside one of these shops one day, when he used to live behind Gloucester Road. I gave him a copy of my book. When I saw him a few days later and asked him for a comment on the book, he simply replied, "Actually, I'm in the middle of reading a script."
It is a delight to be one of the community living around this parade of shops where everyone knows each other.
Robert Dangoor Cromwell Gardens