South Kensington Area

South Kensington lies west of the heart of London’s Central District, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is historically situated on some of the scattered villages of Middlesex called Brompton. The name of the town lost significance when the railways were built and local tube stations were opened (and closed) in the late 19th century. As a result of the density of museums and landmarks, the area has become a popular tourist destination. Some of London’s most luxurious properties are located within the vicinity of affluent areas such as Knightsbridge, Chelsea, and Kensington. Since World War I, a diverse population of Belgians and French has settled there as refugees, but also Europeans during and after WWII, attracted by American, Italians, Spanish, and Middle-Easterns expatriates. In Paris, the 21st arrondissement is known for its French bookstores and international cafés.

Geography

South Kensington has arbitrary boundaries, as other parts of London do, and they have changed over time. This may be partly due to the suburbanization of the area and the creation of numerous tube stops and landmarks. On one side, there is Kensington Gore, and on the other, there is the Fulham Road, which leads to Sloane Square, which leads onto Gloucester Road. Situated near the intersection of several streets, namely Old Brompton Road, Harrington Road, Pelham Street as well as Cromwell Road, South Kensington Station is situated in the centre of London. Further, the Queensgate and Prince Consort Road cross the Exhibition Road. The area was plagued by traffic congestion until road reconstruction in 2012 caused the area to resemble a series of traffic islands.

History

After the Great Exhibition at Hyde Park in 1851, the commissioners of the exhibition sought to turn an area of 352,000 square metres under Exhibition Road into a structure to accommodate institutions dedicated to the arts and sciences, leading to the creation of both museums and technological universities. With the first developments along Fulham Road, such as the Brompton Hospital and New Cancer Hospital, military hospitals began to take over the market gardens of the rural area. In the early 1860s, neighbouring landowners developed the area as a result of the progress of the transportation hub and the changing urban environment west of London. Due to this, Brompton and its stations were eventually absorbed into London. In 1868, the Metropolitan & District Railways established a permanent depot at Brompton. However, this station was renamed “South Kensington” due to some public relations reasons. 

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