Norland ward was rural and home to pig farmers and potters until London's westward spread in the early 19th century. In those days the Ladbroke family was Notting Hill's main landowner, and from the 1820s James Weller Ladbroke began to develop the Ladbroke Estate. Working with architect and surveyor Thomas Allason, Ladbroke laid out streets and houses hoping to turn the area into a fashionable suburb of the capital (although the development did not get seriously under way until the 1840s).
In 1837 the Hippodrome racecourse was laid out around the hill, with racegoers watching from the top. It was a disaster though, partly because a road ran through the course and also because of the heavy clay which made it waterlogged. The Hippodrome closed in 1841 and houses were built in crescents following the circular racecourse tracks, two Norland ward ones being Blenheim Crescent and Elgin Crescent.
The reputation of the ward changed during the 20th century. As middle class households ceased to employ servants, the large Notting Hill houses lost their market and were increasingly split into multiple occupation. During the Blitz bombing a number of buildings were damaged or destroyed.
In the postwar period the name Notting Hill was synonymous with a down-at-heel area of cheap lodgings, epitomised by the racketeering landlord Peter Rachman who collected rent from overcrowded and badly maintained slums. Nearby in Bramley Road in late August and early September 1958, the Notting Hill race riots occurred.
By the 1980s, single-occupation houses began to return to favour with families who could afford to occupy them, and because of the open spaces and stylish architecture Notting Hill and Norland Ward is now one of London's most desirable areas.