Kew (/kjuː/) is a suburban district in the London Borough of
Richmond upon Thames, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north-east of
Richmond and 7.1 miles (11.4 km) west by south-west of Charing
Cross; its population at the 2011 Census was 11,436.
Kew is the location of the Royal Botanic Gardens ("
Kew Gardens"), now
a World Heritage Site, which includes
Kew is also the home
of important historical documents such as Domesday Book, which is held
at The National Archives.
Successive Tudor, Stuart and Georgian monarchs maintained links with
Kew. During the French Revolution, many refugees established
themselves there and it was the home of several artists in the 18th
and 19th centuries.
Kew has incorporated the former area of North Sheen
which includes St Philip and All Saints, the first barn church
consecrated in England. It is now in a combined Church of England
ecclesiastical parish with St Luke's Church, Kew.
Kew is an expensive residential area because of its suburban
hallmarks. Among these are sports-and-leisure open spaces, schools,
transport links, architecture, restaurants, no high-rise buildings,
modest road sizes, trees and gardens. Most of
Kew developed in the
late 19th century, following the arrival of the
District line of the
Underground. Further development took place in the 1920s and 1930s
when new houses were built on the market gardens of
North Sheen and in
the first decade of the 21st century when considerably more
river-fronting flats and houses were constructed by the
Thames on land
formerly owned by
Chrysler and Dodge
4.1 Royal associations with Kew
4.1.1 The Hanoverians
4.2 Georgian expansion
4.3 Artists associated with Kew
4.4 Other notable inhabitants
4.4.1 Historical figures
4.4.2 Living people
5.1 Homes and households
7 Parks and open spaces
8 Sport and leisure
10.1 Primary schools
10.2 Independent preparatory schools
11 Places of worship
12 Cemeteries and crematorium
13 Literary references to Kew
14 See also
18 Further reading
19 External links
The earliest written reference to
Kew is thought to be contained in
Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars, as the location where the Roman Army
Thames in 54 BC although this has been
disputed. The name
Kew is a combination of two words:
Old French kai (landing place; "quay" derives from this) and Old
English hoh (spur of land). The land spur is formed by the bend in the
Thames. The name was recorded in 1327 as Cayho.
Kew forms part of the Richmond Park UK Parliament constituency. The
Member of Parliament is Zac Goldsmith. For elections to the European
Parliament it is part of the London constituency. For elections to the
London Assembly it is part of the South West London Assembly
Kew was added in 1892 to the Municipal Borough of Richmond which
had been formed two years earlier, and which was in the county of
Surrey. In 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, the boundaries
Greater London were expanded to include
Kew which, with Richmond,
transferred to the new London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.
The Caxton Name Plate Manufacturing Company's former premises can
still be identified from
Kew Bridge, with its name on the building
Chrysler Heston in the National Railway Museum, York
The fashion clothing retailer Jigsaw's headquarters are in Mortlake
A former industry in
Kew was that of nameplate manufacturing, by the
Caxton Name Plate Manufacturing Company, based on
Kew Green. The
company was founded in 1964 and folded in 1997.
Chrysler and Dodge
Cars and lorries were also manufactured in Kew. After
the Maxwell Motor Company and their
Kew works, the cars of the lighter
Chrysler range –
Chrysler Airflows, De Sotos and
Plymouths — were assembled here until the Second World War.
Dodge trucks assembly moved to
Chrysler bought Maxwell. The
various models of De Sotos were named Richmond,
Mortlake and Croydon;
Kew Six and Wimbledon.
Following wartime aircraft production the plant did not resume
assembly of Canadian cars. From the 1920s until 1967
lorries here with the model name Kew.
Kew Retail Park stands on the
site of the former factory.
Main article: List of people from the London Borough of Richmond upon
Royal associations with Kew
West Hall, Kew
Sarah Kirby (née Bull) and Joshua Kirby by Thomas Gainsborough
A musical portrait of
Frederick, Prince of Wales
Frederick, Prince of Wales and his sisters by
Philip Mercier, dated 1733, uses the Dutch House, the present-day Kew
Palace, as its plein-air backdrop
Marianne North Gallery,
Kew Gardens, interior
French painter Camille Pissarro's impression of
Kew Green in 1892
Johan Zoffany at St Anne's Church
Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester, was granted lands at
1517. When he died in 1526 he left his
Kew estates to his third wife,
Eleanor, with the remainder to his son George. In 1538 Sir George
Somerset sold the house for £200 to Thomas Cromwell, who resold it
for the same amount to Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. Brandon
had probably already inhabited
Kew during the life of his wife Mary
Tudor, the daughter of Henry VII and widow of the French king Louis
XII. According to John Leland's Cygnea Cantio ("Swan Song"), she
Kew (which he refers to as "Cheva") for a time after her
return to England.
One of Henry VIII's closest friends, Henry Norris, lived at Kew
Farm, which was later owned by Elizabeth I's favourite, Robert
Dudley, Earl of Leicester. This large palatial house on the Thames
riverbank predated the royal palaces of
Kew Palace and the White
House. Excavations at
Kew Gardens in 2009 revealed a wall that may
have belonged to the property.
In Elizabeth's reign, and under the Stuarts, houses were developed
Kew Green. West Hall, which survives in West Hall Road,
dates from at least the 14th century and the present house was built
at the end of the 17th century.
Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I, was given a household at
Queen Anne subscribed to the building of the parish church on Kew
Green, which was dedicated to St Anne in 1714, three months before the
Hanoverians maintained the strongest links with Kew, in particular
Princess Augusta who founded the botanic gardens and her husband
Frederick, Prince of Wales
Frederick, Prince of Wales who lived at the White House in Kew.
Dowager Princess of Wales, continued to live there until
her death in 1721. Frederick commissioned the building of the
first substantial greenhouse at
In 1761 the future George III and
Queen Charlotte moved into the White
House at Kew. They established their main summer court at
the 1760s and 1770s.
Queen Charlotte died at the Dutch House in
William IV spent most of his early life at Richmond and at
where he was educated by private tutors.
During the French Revolution, many refugees established themselves in
Kew, having built many of the houses of this period. In the 1760s and
1770s the royal presence attracted artists such as Thomas Gainsborough
and Johann Zoffany.
Artists associated with Kew
Franz (later Francis) Bauer (1758–1840) was an Austrian microscopist
and botanical artist who became the first botanical illustrator at Kew
Gardens. By 1790 he had settled at Kew, where as well as making
detailed paintings and drawings of flower dissections, often at
microscopic level, he tutored Queen Charlotte, her daughter Princess
Elizabeth and William Hooker in the art of illustration, and often
entertained friends and botanists at his home. He is buried at St
Anne's, next to Thomas Gainsborough.
The American-born English artist
Walter Deverell (1827–1854), who
was associated with the
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, lived at 352 Kew
Road, then called Heathfield House. He had a studio at the end of the
garden where there are now garages. In this setting he painted "The
George Engleheart (1750–1829), who was born in Kew, was one of
the greatest English painters of portrait miniatures.
Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) visited
Kew many times, staying with
his friend Joshua Kirby and, after Kirby's death, in a house probably
rented by his daughter close to St Anne's Church, where he is
Arthur Hughes (1832–1915),
Pre-Raphaelite painter, lived and died at
Eastside House, 22
Kew Green, Kew. The site is marked by a blue
Joshua Kirby (1716–1774) was a landscape painter, engraver, and
writer, whose main artistic focus was "linear perspective", based on
the ideas of English mathematician Brook Taylor. He was the son of
topographer John Kirby, and the father of the writer
Sarah Trimmer and
the entomologist William Kirby. In 1760 he moved to Kew, where he
taught linear perspective to George III. He was elected a Fellow
Royal Society in 1767.
Peter Lely (1618–1680), portrait painter, had a house on the
north side of
Kew Green. On almost exactly the same site, Jeremiah
Meyer (1735–1789), miniaturist to
Queen Charlotte and George III,
built a house a century later. Meyer is buried at St Anne's.
Charles Mozley (1914–1991), artist and art teacher, lived and died
Kew Road, Kew.
Marianne North (1830–1890) did not live in Kew, but
she left to
Kew Gardens her collection of botanic art, painted on her
extensive overseas travels, and funded a gallery – the Marianne
North Gallery – to house them.
French Impressionist painter
Camille Pissarro (1830–1903) stayed in
1892 at 10
Kew Green, on the corner of Gloucester Road, which is
marked by a blue plaque. During his stay he painted Kew
Gardens – Path to the Great Glasshouse (1892), 
(1892)  and Church at
Kew (1892). His third son, Félix Pissarro
(1874–1897), painter, etcher and caricaturist, died in a sanatorium
Kew Road in 1897.
Johann Zoffany (1725–1810), who lived at
Strand-on-the-Green, is buried at St Anne's.
Other notable inhabitants
William Aiton (1731–1793), botanist, was appointed director in 1759
of the newly established botanical garden at Kew, where he remained
until his death. He effected many improvements at the gardens, and in
1789 he published Hortus Kewensis, a catalogue of the plants
cultivated there. When he died, he was succeeded as director at Kew
Gardens by his son
William Townsend Aiton (1766–1849), who was also
botanist, and was born in Kew.
William Townsend Aiton was one of
the founders of the Royal Horticultural Society. He retired in
1841 but remained living at Kew, although passing much of his time
with his brother at
Kensington where he died in 1849. Both father
and son lived at Descanso House on
Kew Green and are buried in St
Anne's churchyard where the substantial family tomb is a
prominent feature. Inside the church there is also a memorial to
David Blomfield (1934–2016), leader of the Liberal Party group on
Thames Council, writer, book editor and local historian,
lived in Kew
Richard Cook (1957–2007), British jazz writer, magazine editor and
former record company executive, was born in Kew
Stephen Duck (c.1705–1756), poet, lived in Kew
Prince Friso of the Netherlands (1968–2013), brother of King
Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, lived in Kew
Liberal Party leader
Jo Grimond (1913–1993) lived on Kew
Sir William Hooker
Sir William Hooker (1785–1865) and his son Sir Joseph Hooker
(1817–1911), botanists and directors of
Kew Gardens, lived at 49 Kew
Green, Kew. The site is marked by a blue plaque
Alfred Luff (1846–1933), English cricketer, was born in Kew
Phil Lynott (1949–1986), Irish rock guitarist, songwriter, vocalist
and leader of Thin Lizzy, lived in Kew
Andrew Millar (1705–1768), Scottish bookseller, owned a country home
Kew Green near the Thames-side royal palace of Kew
Samuel Molyneux (1689–1728), Member of Parliament, and an amateur
astronomer, who was married to Lady Elizabeth Diana Capel, the eldest
daughter of the Earl of Essex, inherited
Kew House on the death of
Lady Capel of Tewkesbury. Molyneux set up an observatory at the
house and collaborated there with
James Bradley in innovative designs
for reflecting telescopes.
Kew House which later, as the White
House, became the home of Prince Frederick and Princess Augusta, was
pulled down in 1802 when George II's short-lived gothic "castellated
palace" was built
Harold Pinter (1930–2008), playwright, dramatist, actor and
director, lived at Fairmead Court, Taylor Avenue, Kew
Sir Hugh Portman, 4th Baronet (died 1632), MP for Taunton, lived in a
Sir John Puckering
Sir John Puckering (1544–1596), lawyer, politician, Speaker of the
English House of Commons, and
Lord Keeper from 1592 until his death,
lived in Kew
Anthony Saxton (1934–2015), advertising executive and headhunter,
lived at 3
Mortlake Road in Kew, and was a churchwarden of St Anne's
Church, Kew
John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute
John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (1713–1792), botanist and honorary
Kew Gardens, 1754–1772, adviser to Princess Augusta and
tutor to George III and, later, Prime Minister of Great Britain
(1762–63), lived at King’s Cottage, 33
Patrick Troughton (1921–1987), actor, most famous for playing the
Second Doctor in the TV series Doctor Who, lived in Kew
George Vassila (1857–1915), English cricketer, was born in Kew
Geoffrey Archer, writer and former Defence Correspondent of ITN, lives
Mick Avory, musician and former drummer with The Kinks, lives in
Nick Baird, former ambassador to
Turkey and former Chief Executive of
UK Trade & Investment, lives in Kew
Ray Brooks, actor, lives in Kew
Justin Lee Collins, comedian and television presenter, lives in
Sir David Durie, former Governor of Gibraltar, lives in Kew
Simon Fowler, social historian and author, lives in Kew
Sir Donald Insall, architect, lives in Kew
Milton Jones, comedian, was brought up in Kew
Gabby Logan, TV presenter, and her husband Kenny Logan, rugby player,
live in Kew
Serge Lourie, former Leader of Richmond upon
Thames Council, and
Kew for 28 years, lives in Kew
Paul Ormerod, economist, lives in Kew
Jenny Tonge, Baroness Tonge, former MP, lives in Kew
Sue Vertue, television producer, and her husband Steven Moffat,
television writer and producer, live in Kew
In the ten years from the time of the 2001 census, the population rose
from 9,445 to 11,436, the sharpest ten-year increase in Kew
since the early 20th century. This was partly accounted for by the
conversion of former
Thames Water land to residential use, and
increases in property sizes. The figures are based on those for Kew
ward, the boundaries of the enlarged parish having been adjusted
to allow for all wards in the borough to be equally sized.
Homes and households
2011 Census homes
Flats and apartments
Shared between households
Kew Railway Bridge
Kew Railway Bridge stonework
2011 Census households
% Owned outright
% Owned with a loan
The 2011 census showed that 66.2% of the population were White
British. Other White was the second largest category at 16%, with 8.1%
A main mode of transport between
Kew and London, for rich and poor
alike, was by water along the
Thames which, historically, separated
Middlesex (on the north bank) from Surrey:
Kew was also connected to
Middlesex by ferry, first replaced by bridge in 1759. The
Kew Bridge, which carries the South Circular Road (the A205)
was opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1903.
A205 road commencing there passes through
Kew as a single
Kew Road provides the main road link to Richmond.
M4 motorway starts a short distance north of Kew, providing access
to Heathrow Airport and the west. The
A316 road starts in
Chiswick Bridge and a complex junction with the South
Circular Road at Chalker's Corner at the south-eastern end of the
Since 1869 rail services have been available from
Kew Gardens station.
London Underground (District line) services run to Richmond and to
London Overground trains run to Richmond and (via
Willesden Junction) to Stratford.
Three bus routes serve Kew: the 65, 391 and R68.
River bus services supported by publicly funded Transport for London
Kew Pier, to Richmond,
Hampton Court and to
in central London.
Nearest railway stations
Kew Bridge station (South Western Railway)
Kew Gardens station (London Overground;
London Underground District
North Sheen station (South Western Railway)
Kew Bridge, which carries the A205 South Circular Road. Beside the
Kew Pier, which serves tourist ferries operating under
licence from London River Services.
Kew Railway Bridge
Parks and open spaces
Japanese garden in
Kew Green is used by
Kew Cricket Club
Kew Cricket Club for cricket matches in the
Kew Pond, near the northeast corner of
Kew Green, believed to date
from the tenth century, is originally thought to have been a
natural pond fed from a creek of the tidal Thames. During high
(spring) tides, sluice gates are opened to allow river water to fill
the pond via an underground channel. The pond is concreted,
rectangular in shape and contains an important reed bed habitat which
is vital for conservation and resident water birds. The pond is
managed in partnership with the Friends of
North Sheen Recreation Ground in Dancer Road, known locally as "The
Rec", was originally part of an orchard belonging to the Popham
Estate, owned by the Leyborne Pophams whose family seat was at
Littlecote House, Wiltshire. Opened in June 1909 and extended in 1923,
it now contains football pitches, a running track, a children's
paddling pool, two extensive playgrounds, a large dog-free grassed
area and a pavilion set amongst trees and shrubs. It is also the
home of a local football club,
Kew Park Rangers. A new £1 million
sports pavilion was opened in September 2011.
Pensford Field, previously playing fields of the former
Gainsborough School, is now a nature reserve and also the home of
Pensford Tennis Club.
St Luke's Open Space, a quiet sitting area and toddlers' play area,
was previously a playground for a former Victorian primary
Westerley Ware, a small garden and recreation ground at the foot of
Kew Bridge, has a memorial garden bordered by hedges, a grass area,
three hard tennis courts and a children's playground. Originally
created as a memorial garden to the fallen in the First World War, its
name refers to the practice of netting weirs or "wares" to catch
Sport and leisure
Kew's several other sports clubs include:
North Sheen Bowling Club on Marksbury Avenue
Priory Park Club on Forest Road – tennis and (previously, until
Putney Town Rowing Club
Putney Town Rowing Club on Townmead Road
Richmond Gymnastics Association on Townmead Road
The nearest football club in the Football League is
approximately 1 mile away.
We care about Kew
1901 (as the
Kew Society Newsletter
Kew Horticultural Society, founded in 1938, organises an annual
Kew Green in late August/early September as well
as talks, events and outings throughout the year.
Kew Society, founded in 1901 as the
Kew Union, is a civic
society that seeks to enhance the beauty of
Kew and preserve its
heritage. It reviews all planning applications in
Kew with special
regard to the architectural integrity and heritage of the
neighbourhood, and plays an active role in the improvement of local
amenities. The Society, which is a member of Civic Voice,
organises community events including lectures and outings and produces
a quarterly newsletter.
Richmond Local History Society
Richmond Local History Society is concerned with the history of
Kew, as well as Richmond, Petersham and Ham.
Main article: List of schools in Richmond upon Thames
Darell Primary and Nursery School is on Darell Road and Niton Road. It
opened in 1906, as the Darell Road Schools, at the southern end of
what had been the Leyborne-Popham estate. Darell School was
Richmond Borough Council’s first primary school and was built in the
"Queen Anne" style, in brick with white stone facings. Although it has
been extended several times, it is now the only Richmond primary
school still in its historic original pre-1914 building.
Kew Riverside Primary School, on Courtlands Avenue, opened in
Our Lady of Loreto and St Winefride's, Kew's Roman Catholic church
The Barn Church
The Queen's Church of
England Primary School is in Cumberland Road,
where it moved in 1969. In her will of 1719, Dorothy, Lady Capel
Kew House left to four trustees Perry Court Farm in Kent, which she
had inherited from her father. One twelfth of the rent from the farm
was to be given to St Anne's Church to establish a school in Kew.
In 1810, a "Free School" was opened in the church for 50 children,
financed by subscribers who gave one guinea a year, in addition to a
contribution by King George III. In 1824 the school moved to a site
near the pond on
Kew Green. The foundation stone was laid on 12
August, the birthday of King George IV, who gave £300 on condition
that it be called "The King's Free School". Queen Victoria gave
permission for it to be called "The Queen's School" and decreed that
its title should change with that of the monarch.
Independent preparatory schools
Broomfield House School, on Broomfield Road, was founded in 1876.
Kew College, a co-educational school for 3–11 year olds, was founded
in 1927 by Mrs Ellen Upton in rooms over a shop in Kew. Mrs Upton’s
young daughter was one of the first pupils. The school later moved to
Cumberland Road. In 1953, Mrs Upton retired and sold the school to Mrs
Hamilton-Spry who, in 1985, handed over the buildings to a charitable
trust to ensure the school's long term continuity.
Kew Green Preparatory School, at Layton House, Ferry Lane, near Kew
Green, opened in 2004.
Unicorn School, established in 1970, is a co-educational, parent-owned
Kew Road, opposite
Places of worship
Five churches in
Kew are currently in use:
Kew Baptist Church
Our Lady of Loreto and St Winefride's, Kew
Our Lady of Loreto and St Winefride's, Kew (Roman Catholic)
St Anne's Church, Kew
St Anne's Church, Kew (Anglican)
St Luke's Church, Kew
St Luke's Church, Kew (Anglican)
St Philip and All Saints Church, Kew
St Philip and All Saints Church, Kew (the Barn Church) (Anglican)
Former churches include the late 19th-century Cambridge Road Wesleyan
Methodist Chapel, previously known as the Gloucester Road Wesleyan
Methodist Chapel and also known as Cambridge Road Methodist
Church, which was in use from 1891 to 1969. A late Victorian
Salvation Army hall on North Road, built in the style of a chapel, was
converted into flats (1–5 Quiet Way) in the early 21st century.
Cemeteries and crematorium
North Sheen Cemetery
Mortlake Crematorium and two cemeteries –
North Sheen Cemetery
Mortlake Cemetery – are located in Kew.
Literary references to Kew
Kew and Richmond c.1900
I am His Highness' dog at Kew;
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?
Epigram, engraved on the Collar of a
Dog which I gave to his Royal
Highness (Frederick, Prince of Wales), 1736 (Alexander Pope,
And the wildest dreams of
Kew are the facts of Khatmandhu
In The Neolithic Age, 1892 (Rudyard Kipling, 1865–1936)
Go down to
Kew in lilac-time, in lilac-time, in lilac-time;
Go down to
Kew in lilac-time (it isn't far from London!)
And you shall wander hand in hand with love in summer's wonderland;
Go down to
Kew in lilac-time (it isn't far from London!)
The Barrel-Organ, 1920 (Alfred Noyes, 1880–1958)
Trams and dusty trees.
Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew
The Waste Land, 1922 (T. S. Eliot, 1888–1965)
Lady Croom: My hyacinth dell is become a haunt for
hobgoblins, my Chinese bridge, which I am assured is
superior to the one at Kew, and for all I know at Peking, is
usurped by a fallen obelisk overgrown with briars.
Arcadia, 1993 (Tom Stoppard, 1937–)
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^ John Joshua Kirby in the
RKD (Netherlands Institute for Art History)
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Kew Past, Chichester, Sussex: Phillimore
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Blomfield, David (2011), The Story of
Kew (5th, enlarged, edition),
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Co., OCLC 3009761
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kew, London.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for London/Richmond-Kew.
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London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
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The London Plan 2011, Annex Two: London's Town Centre Network –