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South Kensington is a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelseamarker in Londonmarker. It is a built-up area located 2.4 miles (3.9 km) west south-west of Charing Crossmarker.

It is hard to define notional boundaries for South Kensington, but a common definition is the commercial area around the tube stationmarker and the adjacent graceful garden squares and streets (such as Thurloe Square, opposite the Victoria and Albert Museummarker). The smaller neighborhood around Gloucester Road tube stationmarker can also be considered part of South Kensington, as well as the institution area around Exhibition Roadmarker, which includes such famous names as the Natural History Museummarker, the Science Museummarker, the Royal Albert Hallmarker, Imperial College Londonmarker, the Victoria and Albert Museummarker, the Royal Geographical Societymarker, the Royal College of Artmarker, the Royal College of Musicmarker and Baden-Powell Housemarker. Although the postcode SW7 mainly covers South Kensington, some parts of Kensington and Knightsbridge also fall under this postcode.

Neighboring the equally affluent centres of Knightsbridgemarker, Chelseamarker, and Kensingtonmarker proper, 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 financial City centre), but also Spanish, Italian, and Middle-Eastern citizens. A significant French presence is evidenced by the location of the consulate, the Lycée Français Charles de Gaullemarker - a large French secondary school opposite the Natural History Museum - and the French Institute, home to a French cinema. There are also several French bookshops and cafes in the area.

The nearest Tube stations are South Kensington and Gloucester Road.


The area was largely undeveloped until the mid-19th century, being an agricultural area supplying London with fruit and vegetables. However, following the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Parkmarker, 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 Kensington into London was sealed by the arrival of the Underground to 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 Westminstermarker, the West Endmarker and the City of Londonmarker.

Notable residents

Notable residents have included:

  • Sir Henry Cole (1808-1882), Campaigner, educator and first director of the Victoria Museum lived at 33 Thurloe Square.
  • Charles Booth (1840-1916), Pioneer of social research lived at 6 Grenville Place.
  • Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1853-1917), Actor-manager lived at 31 Rosary Gardens.
  • Francis Bacon (1909 - 1992), Irish-born British artist lived at 7 Cromwell Place.
  • Benny Hill (1924-1992), British 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 Francis Galton (1822-1911), English Victorian polymath, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician.
  • Charles Crichton English director and script writer.
  • Dakota Blue Richards actress

Nearby places

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