Kew facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsKew
The Parish Church of St Anne, Kew
Temperate House in Kew Gardens
|Area||3.30 km2 (1.27 sq mi)|
|Population||11,436 2011 Census (Kew ward 2011)|
|• Density||3,465/km2 (8,970/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Kew 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 Palace. Kew is also the home of important historical documents such as Domesday Book, which is held at The National Archives.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.
Since 1965 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.
Today, 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 Thames Water.
The earliest written reference to Kew is thought to be contained in Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars, as the location where the Roman Army forded the Thames in 54 BC although this has been disputed. The name Kew is a combination of two words: the 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.
Royal associations with Kew
Henry V developed a Carthusian monastery to the south west of where Kew Observatory now stands.
Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester was granted lands at Kew in 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 stayed in 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 along 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 Kew in 1608.
The Hanoverians maintained the strongest links with Kew, in particular Princess Augusta who founded the botanic gardens and her husband Frederick, Prince of Wales who lived at the White House in Kew. Augusta, as Dowager Princess of Wales, continued to live there until her death in 1721. Frederick commissioned the building of the first substantial greenhouse at Kew Gardens.
In 1721 the future George III and Queen Charlotte moved into the White House at Kew. They established their main summer court at Kew from the 1760s and 1770s. Queen Charlotte died at the Dutch House in Kew in 1818.
William IV spent most of his early life at Richmond and at Kew Palace, 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.
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
- William Townsend Aiton (1766–1849), botanist, was born in Kew and succeeded his father William Aiton as director at Kew Gardens in 1793. He 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. He is buried in St Anne's churchyard
- 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) lived in Kew
- Liberal Party leader Jo Grimond (1913–1993) lived on Kew Green
- 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 and leader of Thin Lizzy, lived in Kew
- Andrew Millar (1705–1768), Scottish bookseller, owned a country home in 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
- Sir Hugh Portman, 4th Baronet (died 1632), MP for Taunton, lived in a house opposite Kew Palace
- 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 head hunter, lived in Kew
- John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (1713–1792), botanist and honorary director of 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 Kew Green
- 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 in Kew
- Mick Avory, musician and former drummer with The Kinks, lives in Kew
- 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 Kew
- Sir David Durie, former Governor of Gibraltar, 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 councillor for 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
|Ward||Detached||Semi-detached||Terraced||Flats and apartments||Caravans/temporary/mobile homes/houseboats||Shared between households|
|Ward||Population||Households||% Owned outright||% Owned with a loan||hectares|
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% being Asian.
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 Brentford, Middlesex by ferry, first replaced by bridge in 1759. The current Kew Bridge, which carries the South Circular Road (the A205) was opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1903.
The A205 road commencing there passes through Kew as a single carriageway. However Kew Road provides the main road link to Richmond. The M4 motorway starts a short distance north of Kew, providing access to Heathrow Airport and the west. The A316 road starts in Chiswick and continues over Chiswick Bridge and a complex junction with the South Circular Road at Chalker's Corner at the south-eastern end of the district.
Since 1869 rail services have been available from Kew Gardens station. London Underground (District line) services run to Richmond and to central London. London Overground trains run to Richmond and (via Willesden Junction) to Stratford.
- Nearest places
- Nearest railway stations
- Kew Bridge station (South West Trains)
- Kew Gardens station (London Overground; London Underground District line)
- North Sheen station (South West Trains)
- Kew Bridge, which carries the A205 South Circular Road. Beside the bridge is Kew Pier, which serves tourist ferries operating under licence from London River Services.
- Kew Railway Bridge
Parks and open spaces
- Kew Green includes an old horse pond and is used by Kew Cricket Club for cricket matches in the summer.
- Kew Pond, northeast of Kew Green, has a reed bed habitat and a resident population of water birds.
- 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 school.
- 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 fish.
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 bowls
- Putney Town Rowing Club on Townmead Road
- Richmond Gymnastics Association on Townmead Road
|Motto||We care about Kew|
|Formation||1901 (as the Kew Union)|
|Legal status||registered charity|
|The Kew Society Newsletter|
The Kew Horticultural Society, founded in 1938, organises an annual show on Kew Green in late August/early September as well as talks, events and outings throughout the year.
The Kew Society, which was 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.
Places of worship
Five churches in Kew are currently in use:
- Kew Baptist Church
- Our Lady of Loreto and St Winefride's, Kew (Roman Catholic)
- St Anne's Church, Kew (Anglican)
- St Luke's Church, Kew (Anglican)
- 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.
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