32, Newton Road

Pictured: the house in Bayswater, designed by Denys Lasdun (influence Le Corbusier)

Grove, V: So Much to Tell (2010)

“Ronald gave Kaye a leather bound ledger and inscribed it

Kaye Searle

Visitors

30 Burnham Court W2

32 Newton Road W2

…Among the signatures discernible are those of the writers Arthur Calder Marshall, J D Scott and Christopher Fry, the Labour MP and journalist Tom Driberg, the cartoonists Leslie Illingworth and Nicolas Bentley, the Punch drama critic Eric Keown, the actors Hermione Gingold, Yolande Donlan, Denholm Elliott and Claire Bloom, the critics J C and Wendy Trewin, the artist Edward Ardizzone and his wife Catherine, the architect Denys Lasdun, Clement and Jill Freud, and the theatre and film director and choreographer Wendy Toye…

The family’s housekeeper was Elvira Martin Alvarez, from Galicia, “who stayed with Kaye for ever”. John Searle recalled: “She would join in our parents’ New Year’s Eve parties among the great and good, the pompous and massive egos, and dance flamenco style, with her head tossed back, to general admiration. She was the beating heart of our life at Newton Road.”

The children’s cousin Nick Webb, arriving at Christmas with his father Bill*, mother Eva and sister Anna from their council flat in Kew Gardens, remembered feeling like poor relations on Newton Road’s highly polished parquet floors…(He grew up to be the publisher of Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Adams’s biographer.)”.

*Until his premature death from a stroke, Kaye’s uncle Bill enjoyed his retirement, “firing off letters on racing matters to Sporting Life (“Sir, I was appalled to read that…”), signing himself Bill Louis of Kew.” (Grove, 2010).

Newton Road was described by the Manchester Guardian as a “snug and attractive backwater tucked away behind the dingy commercial highway of Westbourne Grove”.

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