Kensington and Chelsea

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Kensington and Chelsea

Kensington and Chelsea, inner borough (1991 pop. 127,600) of Greater London, SE England. Kensington is largely residential with fashionable shopping streets and several luxurious hotels. Portobello Road is a well-known street market. The area has undergone extensive urban renewal and contains blocks of large, tall flats. In the borough are three bridges: Battersea, Albert, and Chelsea. A large park, Kensington Gardens, adjoins Hyde Park. The gardens originally were the grounds of Kensington Palace (Nottingham House), partially designed by Christopher Wren, which was the home of William and Mary, Queen Anne, and George I and George II. Holland House was the residence of the Fox family and, for a time, of William Penn. South Kensington is a center of colleges and museums; it is the site of the natural history section of the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum, the Royal College of Art, and the Royal College of Science, among others. Albert Hall, a concert hall, is also there. Chelsea is a literary and artistic quarter. Sir Thomas More, D. G. Rossetti, James Whistler, Charles Dickens, and many others were associated with it. Thomas Carlyle's house is there. Chelsea Old Church, part of which dates from the 13th cent., includes the Chapel of Sir Thomas More (1528). The church, as well as the Royal Hospital for Soldiers also designed (1682–92) by Wren, was badly damaged in World War II.

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