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.


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

Geography[edit] 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
Gloucester Road tube station
can also be considered a part, and Albertopolis
around 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, Imperial College
Imperial College
London, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music
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.[1] Two London
Underground stations are located in South Kensington: South Kensington
and Gloucester Road tube stations. History[edit]

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
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.[2] 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
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.

Notable residents[edit]

The Queen's Tower, 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
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, 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
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
Isaiah Berlin
(1909–97), liberal philosopher Sir Francis Galton
Francis Galton
(1822–1911), Victorian polymath, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician. Dennis Gabor
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. Peter Finch
Peter Finch
(1916–1977), English-born distinguished Australian actor, won 5 BAFTA acting awards and he was the first person to win a posthumous Academy Award in an acting category. Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, FRAeS, DL (1910–1982) was a Royal Air Force flying ace during the Second World War. He was credited with 22 aerial victories, four shared victories, six probables, one shared probable and 11 enemy aircraft damaged

Nearby places[edit]

Brompton Chelsea Earls Court Kensington Knightsbridge West Kensington


^ Financial Times: Brexit vote puts brake on flow of French bankers to London ^ A Short History and Walk Around St Stephen's Church, South Kensington
(pamphlet published by the church, undated)

External links[edit]

London/South Kensington-Chelsea travel guide from Wikivoyage What's on in South Kensington
– the home of science, arts and inspiration South Kensington
Web site Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Web site City of Westminster
City of Westminster
Web site Exploring South Kensington
Architecture and history

v t e

Royal Borough of Kensington
and Chelsea


Albertopolis Bayswater Belgravia Brompton Chelsea Chelsea Harbour
Chelsea Harbour
(including Imperial Wharf) Earls Court Holland Park Kensal Town Kensington Knightsbridge Ladbroke Grove North Kensington Notting Hill South Kensington West Brompton West Kensington World's End


Albert Memorial Chelsea Physic Garden Design Museum Holland House Kensal Green Cemetery Kensington
Palace Leighton House Museum National Army Museum Natural History Museum Olympia Royal Albert Hall Saatchi Gallery Science Museum Victoria and Albert Museum


Chelsea Theatre Finborough Theatre Gate Theatre Royal Court Theatre

Royal Parks

Brompton Cemetery Kensington

Street markets

Portobello Road Market

Parliamentary constituencies

Chelsea Kensington Westminster

Squares and streets

Belgrave Square Cadogan Square Chester Square Hans Place King's Road Lowndes Square Onslow Square Pavilion Road Pembroke Square Powis Square Redcliffe Square Sloane Square Sloane Street Thurloe Square Wilton Crescent


Albert Bridge Battersea Bridge Chelsea Bridge

Tube and railway stations

Earl's Court Gloucester Road High Street Kensington Holland Park Kensington
(Olympia) Knightsbridge Imperial Wharf Ladbroke Grove Latimer Road Notting Hill
Notting Hill
Gate Sloane Square South Kensington West Brompton Westbourne Park


Coleherne Drayton Arms Elgin Hollywood Arms Prince of Teck Shuckburgh Arms Windsor Castle World's End

Other topics

Blue plaques Council Listed buildings

Grade I Grade II*

Parks and open spaces Parks Police People Public art Schools Grenfell Tower fire

v t e

City of Westminster


Adelphi and Aldwych
(see also Strand) Bayswater Belgravia Covent Garden Fitzrovia Hyde Park (in commercial use) Kilburn Knightsbridge Lisson Grove Maida Vale

including Little Venice

Marylebone Mayfair Millbank Paddington

including Paddington

Pimlico Queen's Park St James's St John's Wood Soho

including Chinatown

Victoria Westbourne Green Westminster


Buckingham Palace Horse Guards National Gallery Tate Britain Trafalgar Square West End theatre Westminster

Parks and open spaces

Green Park Hyde Park Kensington
Gardens Regent's Park St James's
St James's


Cities of London
and Westminster Westminster

Local government

Borough council Elections

2010 2014


Chelsea Bridge Grosvenor Bridge Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridges Lambeth Bridge Vauxhall Bridge Waterloo Bridge Westminster

Rail and tube stations

Baker Street Bayswater Bond Street Charing Cross Charing Cross Edgware Road Edgware Road Embankment Great Portland Street Green Park Hyde Park Corner Lancaster Gate Leicester Square Maida Vale Marble Arch Marylebone Oxford Circus Paddington Paddington Paddington Piccadilly Circus Pimlico Queensway Regent's Park Royal Oak St. James's Park St. John's Wood Temple Tottenham Court Road Victoria Warwick Avenue Westbourne Park Westminster

Art and architecture

Grade I listed buildings Grade II* listed buildings

1–9 A–Z

Public art

Hyde Park Paddington St Marylebone architectural sculpture

Other topics

Blue plaques People Schools