SOUTH KENSINGTON is an affluent district of West
London in the Royal
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
* 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
station and the adjacent garden squares and streets (such as Thurloe
Square, opposite the
Victoria and Albert Museum ). The smaller
Gloucester Road tube station can also be
considered a part, and
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 ,
London , the Royal
Geographical Society , the
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
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
London Underground stations are located in South Kensington:
Kensington and Gloucester Road tube stations .
Imperial College , South Kensington,
London The Natural
History Museum St Stephen's Church, viewed from Gloucester
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 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
London was sealed by the
arrival of the Underground at Gloucester Road and South
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
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,
Notable residents have included:
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
* His children, including
Whitworth Wallis and Rosa Wallis .
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
Beatrix Potter (1866–1943), author and artist, spent her early
life in Bolton Gardens.
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.
Isaiah Berlin (1909–97), liberal philosopher
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.
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
* ^ 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)