The Info List - South Kensington

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SOUTH KENSINGTON is an affluent district of West London
in the Royal Borough of Kensington
and Chelsea and partly the City of Westminster
City of Westminster
. It is a built-up area 2.4 miles (3.9 km) west- south-west of Charing Cross .


* 1 Geography * 2 History * 3 Notable residents * 4 Nearby places * 5 References * 6 External links


It is hard to define boundaries for South Kensington, but a common definition is the commercial area around the South Kensington
tube station and the adjacent garden squares and streets (such as Thurloe Square, opposite the Victoria and Albert Museum ). The smaller neighbourhood around Gloucester Road tube station can also be considered a part, and Albertopolis
around Exhibition Road
Exhibition Road
, which includes the Natural History Museum , the Science Museum , the Victoria and Albert Museum and Baden-Powell House . Other institutions such as the Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall
, Imperial College
Imperial College
, the Royal Geographical Society , the Royal College of Art
Royal College of Art
, the Royal College of Music are within the City of Westminster, but considered to be in South Kensington. Although the postcode SW7 mainly covers South Kensington, some parts of Knightsbridge
are also covered.

Neighbouring the equally affluent centres of Knightsbridge
, Chelsea and Kensington
, South Kensington
covers some of the most exclusive real estate in the world. It is home to large numbers of French expatriates (mainly employed in the City, the financial centre), but also Spanish, Italian, American, and Middle-Eastern citizens, as well as a significant number of celebrities. A significant French presence is evidenced by the location of the consulate, the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle – a large French secondary school opposite the Natural History Museum – and the Institut Français, home to a French cinema. There are several French bookshops and cafes in the area and is even sometimes referred to as Paris’s 21st arrondissement.

Two London
Underground stations are located in South Kensington: South Kensington
and Gloucester Road tube stations .


Imperial College
Imperial College
, South Kensington, London
The Natural History Museum St Stephen's Church, viewed from Gloucester Road

The area was largely undeveloped until the mid-19th century, being an agricultural area supplying London
with fruit and vegetables. Following the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park , an 87-acre (352,000 m²) area around what is now Exhibition Road
Exhibition Road
was purchased by the commissioners of the exhibition, in order to create a home for institutions dedicated to the arts and sciences, resulting in the foundation of the museums and university here. Adjacent landowners began to develop their land in the 1860s as a result of the creation of new roads and a boom in the development of areas around London, and the absorption of South Kensington
into London
was sealed by the arrival of the Underground at Gloucester Road and South Kensington
in 1868, linking the area directly to the main railway termini and to the political, commercial and financial hearts of the city in Westminster , the West End and the City of London

In 1863 it was decided that the Church of England
parish of Kensington
should be divided up, and the parish of South Kensington was created, the parish church being St Stephen's (built 1865) on the corner of Gloucester Road and Southwell Gardens.

The area is the subject of Donovan
's song "Sunny South Kensington", about the area's reputation as the hip part of London
in the 1960s.

Kensington, California was given that name in 1911 by Robert Brousefield, an American surveyor who at an earlier time lived in the British South Kensington. Evening snow at Evelyn Gardens, South Kensington
in 2010.


The Queen's Tower, Imperial College
Imperial College

Notable residents have included:

* Sir Henry Cole
Henry Cole
(1808–1882), campaigner, educator and first director of the South Kensington
Museum (later the Victoria and Albert Museum ), lived at 33 Thurloe Square. * Charles Booth (1840–1916), pioneer of social research, lived at 6 Grenville Place.

* George Wallis , FSA, (1811–1891), artist, museum curator and art educator, first Keeper of Fine Art Collection at South Kensington Museum .

* His children, including Whitworth Wallis and Rosa Wallis .

* Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
Herbert Beerbohm Tree
(1853–1917), actor-manager, lived at 31 Rosary Gardens. * Sir J M Barrie (1860–1937), playwright and novelist, author of Peter Pan
Peter Pan
, and his wife Mary née Ansell, actress, at 133 Gloucester Road * Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter
(1866–1943), author and artist, spent her early life in Bolton Gardens. * Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
(1882–1941), writer, and her sister Vanessa Bell (1879–1961), painter and interior designer, lived at 22 Hyde Park Gate until 1904. * Francis Bacon (1909–1992), Irish-born British artist, lived at 17 Queensberry Mews and 7 Reese Mews. * Benny Hill (1924–1992), comedian, lived at 1 & 2 Queen's Gate. * Nicholas Freeman , OBE , (1939–1989) controversial Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington
and Chelsea, lived in Harrington Gardens, near Gloucester Road. * Sir Isaiah Berlin (1909–97), liberal philosopher * Sir Francis Galton (1822–1911), Victorian polymath, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician. * Dennis Gabor (1900–1979), electrical engineer and physicist, most notable for inventing holography, 1971 Nobel Prize in Physics. Lived in No. 79, Queen's Gate. *