Take a stroll down Arundel Gardens, which was horribly bombed during both World Wars, and you may notice a small blue plaque. This represents the Notting Hill home where Sir William Ramsey lived for 15 years and made his most famous scientific discovery that earned him a Nobel Prize for Physics. He was the first scientist to isolate noble gases which meant an entirely new section for the periodic table. Many labelled him ‘The greatest chemical discoverer of his time’.
He was knighted in 1902 and if you have ever been to a birthday party, wedding or celebration with a helium balloon, then you have William Ramsey to thank, as he was the first person to isolate helium.
However despite his greatness, he lost a lot of prestige and friends with his unfortunate endorsement of the Engineering Trust Ltd in 1905, this company believed they had the technology to extract gold from seawater, large investments were made on the basis of his endorsement and when this proved to be impossible, William Ramsey was left with a rather deflated reputation.
(Having studied military history at University, Jordan Pattison works part time as a local tour guide who will be writing regular stories for you about the history of Notting Hill. He is really engaging and has incredible stories to tell about the area and the tours are free. Here are some of his great reviews … tripadvisor and you can book here … seenottinghill)