Kensington is a district within the Royal Borough of
Chelsea in West London. The north east is taken up by Kensington
Gardens, once private, but today a public park with Italian and Dutch
gardens, public buildings such as the Albert Memorial, the Serpentine
Gallery and Speke's monument.
The district's commercial heart is
Kensington High Street. The
affluent and densely populated area contains the major museum district
of South Kensington, which is home to Imperial College London, the
Royal College of Music
Royal College of Music and the Royal Albert Hall. The area is also
home to many of London's European embassies.
Kensington possesses many
indicators of connections with France, including the Lycée Français
Charles de Gaulle, French Consulate and French Embassy's Cultural
5 Newspapers and TV channel
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
The first mention of the area is in the
Domesday Book of 1086, where
it was written in Latin as "Chenesitone", which has been
interpreted to have originally been "Kenesignetun" (Kenesigne's land
or meadows) in Anglo-Saxon. A variation may be Kesyngton, in 1396.
A picture of
Kensington taken by scientist Sir Norman Lockyer in 1909
from a helium balloon. (This is a mirrored image of Kensington)
The manor of Kensington, Middlesex, was granted by William I to
Geoffrey de Montbray
Geoffrey de Montbray or Mowbray, bishop of Coutances, one of his inner
circle of advisors and one of the wealthiest men in post-Conquest
England. He in turn granted the tenancy of
Kensington to his vassal
Aubrey de Vere I, who was holding the manor in 1086, according to
Domesday Book. The bishop's heir, Robert de Mowbray, rebelled against
William Rufus and his vast barony was declared forfeit. Aubrey de Vere
I had his tenure converted to a tenancy in-chief, holding Kensington
after 1095 directly of the crown. He granted land and church there
Abingdon Abbey at the deathbed request of his young eldest son,
Geoffrey. As the Veres became the earls of Oxford, their estate at
Kensington came to be known as Earls Court, while the Abingdon lands
were called Abbots
Kensington and the church St Mary Abbots.
Kensington Barracks, built at
Kensington Gate in the late
18th century, were demolished in 1858 and new barracks were built in
Kensington Church Street.
Kensington (click to enlarge)
A map showing the wards of
Kensington Metropolitan Borough as they
appeared in 1916.
The focus of the area is
Kensington High Street, a busy commercial
centre with many shops, typically upmarket. The street was declared
London's second best shopping street in February 2005 thanks to its
range and number of shops. However, since October 2008 the street
has faced competition from the Westfield shopping centre in nearby
Kensington's second group of non-residential buildings is at South
Kensington, where several streets of small to medium-sized shops and
service businesses are close to
South Kensington tube station. This is
also the southern end of Exhibition Road, the thoroughfare that serves
the area's museums and educational institutions.
The edges of
Kensington are not well-defined; in particular, the
southern part of
Kensington has conflicting and complex borders with
Chelsea whether electoral or postal definitions are used, and has
similar architecture. To the west, a border is kept along the line of
the Counter Creek marked by the West London railway line and Earl's
Court Road further south into other London districts. To the north,
the only obvious dividing line is
Holland Park Avenue, to the north of
which is the district of
Notting Hill which is part of the traditional
Kensington and a subset of North Kensington.
In the north east, the large Royal Park of
(contiguous with its eastern neighbour, Hyde Park) is a green buffer.
The other main green area in
Kensington is Holland Park, just north of
Kensington High Street, a minority of roads have small residential
South Kensington is of the same, largely private housing, use as
central Kensington; the more economically and socially nationally
North Kensington and
West Kensington are diverse and lack
the tourism of the rest of Kensington.
Kensington is, in general, an extremely affluent area, a trait that it
now shares with its neighbour to the south, Chelsea. The area has some
of London's most expensive streets and garden squares, including
Edwardes Square, most of the
Holland Park neighbourhood and Wycombe
Square, private redevelopments in Regency architecture. In early 2007,
houses sold in Upper Phillimore Gardens for in excess of £20 million.
Adjoining neighbourhoods have residential areas and have accordingly
been subdivided or have overlapping district names all, unlike
Kensington, without an ancient parish predecessor: Knightsbridge,
Holland Park and Notting Hill.
Kensington is also very densely populated; it forms part of the most
densely populated local government district (the Royal Borough of
Kensington and Chelsea) in the United Kingdom. This high density is
not formed from high-rise buildings; instead, it has come about
through the subdivision of large mid-rise Georgian and Victorian
terraced houses (generally of some four to six floors) into flats.
Unlike northern extremities of the Borough,
Kensington lacks high-rise
buildings except for the Holiday Inn's London
Kensington Forum Hotel
in Cromwell Road, a 27-storey building.
Notable attractions and institutions in
Kensington (or South
Kensington Palace in
Kensington Gardens, the
Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall opposite the
Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, the Royal
College of Music, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the
Victoria and Albert Museum, Heythrop College, Imperial College,
Royal College of Art
Royal College of Art and
Kensington and Chelsea College.
The Olympia exhibition hall is just over the western border in West
Kensington Gardens in the summer
Kensington is part of the Royal Borough of
Kensington and Chelsea, and
lies within the
Kensington parliamentary constituency.
Newspapers and TV channel
Northcliffe House, head office of the
Daily Mail and General Trust
The head office of newspaper group DMGT is located in Northcliffe
House in Kensington, which is the office part of the large Barkers
building. In addition to housing the offices for the DMGT newspapers
Mail on Sunday
Mail on Sunday and Metro, Northcliffe House also
accommodates the offices of the newspapers owned by Evgeny Lebedev:
The Independent on Sunday, and the Evening
Standard. The i newspaper, sold to Johnston Press in 2016, is
still produced from offices in Northcliffe House.
The building also houses Lebedev's TV channel London Live, with its
news studio situated in part of the former department store, using St
Mary Abbots church and
Kensington Church Street as live backdrop.
Kensington is crossed east-west by three main roads, the most
important of which is the A4 or
Cromwell Road which connects it to
Hounslow and Heathrow Airport. To the north is the
Kensington Road (of which
Kensington High Street
Kensington High Street forms
a large part), linking central London and
the area. To the south is
Fulham Road, which connects South Kensington
Fulham to the southwest. North-south connections are not as
well-developed and there is no obvious single north-south route
through the area.
Kensington is well served by public transport. Most of
served by three stations in the Travelcard Zone 1: High Street
Kensington, Gloucester Road and South Kensington. All three are served
by the Circle line which connects them to London's railway terminals.
District line also serves all three stations, albeit on different
branches; it links the latter two to Westminster and the City. The
Piccadilly line also links
South Kensington and Gloucester Road to the
West End in about 10 minutes, and in the other direction to Chiswick,
Heathrow Airport in around 20-40 minutes,
depending on the area of choice. In addition
Kensington (Olympia) in
Travelcard Zone 2
Travelcard Zone 2 serves the western part of Kensington, with District
line trains to
Earl's Court and High Street Kensington. Nearby West
Kensington station takes its name from the former boundaries with
Hammersmith and is not in the Borough.
A number of local bus services link
Kensington into the surrounding
districts, and key hubs are
Kensington High Street
Kensington High Street and South
Kensington station. These bus services were improved in frequency and
spread from 2007 until 2010 when the western extension of the London
congestion charge area existed (which required drivers of cars and
vans during the charging hours Monday-Friday to pay a daily fee of
Kensington Roof Gardens
^ Wards of Brompton, Courtfield, Campden, Earls Court, Holland, Queens
Gate and Abingdon
^ "DocumentsOnline". www.nationalarchives.gov.uk.
^ Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; CP 40/541; year 1396;
with county margination "midd". Kesyngton is the place where the
trespass (taking animals) occurred (line 3)
^ Victoria County History of England, Middlesex, vol. 1, pp. 116–7
^ Chronicon Monasterii de Abingdon, vol 2, pp. 55–6
Kensington Barracks". London Picture Archive. Retrieved 25
^ "Best shopping street' in London". BBC News. news.bbc.co.uk. 23
February 2005. Retrieved 2008-10-23.
^ "Core Strategy:Putting the neighbourhood first". Royal Borough of
Kensington and Chelsea. Retrieved 2010-05-14.
^ "Contacts Archived 9 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine.." Daily
Mail and General Trust. Retrieved 6 September 2011. "Northcliffe House
2 Derry Street London W8 5TT Great Britain"
^ Ponsford, Dominic. "Sharing with Mail 'will safeguard future of
Independent'[permanent dead link]." Press Gazette. 28 November 2008.
Retrieved 6 September 2011. "Under a deal signed today, the
Independent titles will share back office functions with the Daily
Mail, Mail on Sunday, Metro and Evening Standard at Northcliffe House
^ Mackie, Gareth. "Johnston Press agrees £24m deal for i newspaper".
www.scotsman.com. Johnston Press. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
Kensington – 1911 Encyclopædia article
Kensington Market (Destroyed)
Daniel Lysons (1792), "Kensington", Environs of London, 3: County of
Middlesex, London: T. Cadell
"Kensington". Chambers's Encyclopaedia. London. 1901.
Kensington in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Kensington District, by Geraldine Edith Mitton, 1903, from Project
Royal Borough of
Kensington and Chelsea
Chelsea Harbour (including Imperial Wharf)
Chelsea Physic Garden
Kensal Green Cemetery
Leighton House Museum
National Army Museum
Natural History Museum
Royal Albert Hall
Victoria and Albert Museum
Royal Court Theatre
Portobello Road Market
High Street Kensington
Notting Hill Gate
Prince of Teck
Parks and open spaces
Grenfell Tower fire
Places adjacent to Kensington
Notting Hill, North Kensington
Kensington Gardens: Bayswater, Paddington
Earls Court (within Kensington):