Before Grenfell: A Hidden History

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Before Grenfell: A Hidden History


Though the blackened ruin of Grenfell Tower is slowly being covered with tarpaulin, it still stands on the London skyline as a monstrous totem of grief, loss and, as this documentary insists, historical social inequality.

It was also a much-loved home to so many people and was at the nexus of a community, North Kensington in west London. Before Grenfell: a Hidden History hears from people who have lived all their lives in what is the richest borough in the country, Kensington and Chelsea.

They’ve seen its transformation, via gentrification and rocketing house prices, and feel they’ve been left behind in the march towards wealth creation.

The programme follows the development of the area from the mid-19th century, through slum clearance and the building of high-rise blocks of social housing, to its W11 “golden postcode” status, with “invisible boundaries” between rich and poor.


The residents of North Kensington and the community around Grenfell Tower tell the story, 150 years in the making, of how their borough became the most unequal place in Britain. Those local to the area share their memories of the dramatic events that shaped their community - from exploitation by notorious landlord Peter Rachman in the 1950s, to the first Notting Hill race riots, and the construction of Grenfell Tower in the 1970s. This is the untold story of a unique part of west London, revealing how its past has shaped its present. Narrated by Danny John-Jules.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Danny John-Jules
Director James Ross
Editor Tom Dixon-Spain
Editor Niels Bellinger
Executive Producer Alistair Pegg
Executive Producer Edmund Coulthard
Producer James Ross
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