Here’s a round up on some interesting Kensington and Chelsea trivia. You never known when you might need it in a pub quiz – right?
Officially, the main road in Kensington is called Kensington High Street. However, the Underground station (which is situated on the road) is actually called High Street Kensington. Confusing, huh?
Royalty in Kensington and Chelsea
Historically, Kensington Palace is often most associated with Queen Victoria – she was born in the Palace, although lived in Buckingham Palace during her reign. However, it is further back in history – during the reign of William III and Mary II – that royalty first lived in Kensington. The joint monarchs moved into Kensington House, as it was known then, in 1689. Queen Anne, who succeeded William III on his death in 1702, George I (1714-27) and George II (1727-60) all also lived in Kensington Palace.
Of course, although no reigning monarch has lived in the Palace for a number centuries, it still continued to be home to royalty right up until the present day. As well as a number of minor royals living in the Palace, it is perhaps best remembered for being home to Princess Margaret for most of her adult life, and to Princess Diana following her divorce from Prince Charles. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are the most famous residents today, along with their young son, Prince George of Cambridge.
The Troubadour cafe on Old Brompton Road – opened in 1954 when coffeehouses in London were becoming popular once more – has a truly fascinating history for all sorts of reasons! Most famously, it’s where some rather famous musicians have played over the years, included Bob Dylan (for his first London performance), Jimi Hendrix, Sammy Davis Jr, Led Zepplin and Elvis Costello. (Goodness, wouldn’t that be a weird and wonderful supergroup?) You can read much more about The Troubadour’s fascinating history on their own website.
Blue plaques are used on the exterior of buildings all across London to denote a famous previous resident – a scheme that has been in existence from as far back as 1866. (Wow!) There are many blue plaques in Kensington and Chelsea (this page from the council website provides a full list), but those showing some of the area’s most famous residents include Hungarian composer Bela Bartok (at 7 Sydney Place, SW7); composer Benjamin Britten (173 Cromwell Road, SW5); engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel (10 Cheyne Walk, SW3); Winston Churchill (28 Hyde Park Gate, SW7); writer George Eliot (4 Cheyne Walk, SW3); director Alfred Hitchcock (153 Cromwell Road, SW5); and writer Oscar Wilde (34 Tite Street, SW3).