Kensington High Street

Last updated

Kensington High Street
UK road A315.svg
Kensington High Street.JPG
The view east along Kensington High Street in March 2006, dominated by former department stores Derry & Toms and Barkers of Kensington
Location Kensington, London, United Kingdom
Postal code W8
Coordinates 51°30′03″N0°11′38″W / 51.50083°N 0.19389°W / 51.50083; -0.19389
West end Hammersmith Road
A3220, Addison Road, Melbury Road, Kensington Palace Gardens
East end Kensington Road
North Holland Park
Notting Hill Gate
East Kensington Gore
South Earls Court
West Hammersmith
Construction start1690s
Known forShopping

Kensington High Street is the main shopping street in Kensington, London, England. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London. [1]


Kensington High Street is the continuation of Kensington Road and part of the A315. It starts by the entrance to Kensington Palace and runs westward through central Kensington. Near Kensington (Olympia) station, where the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea ends and London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham begins, it ends and becomes Hammersmith Road. The street is served by High Street Kensington underground station.


In 1682, Francis Barry purchased land in Kensington and began to develop houses.[ citation needed ]

From the 1690s to 1893, Kensington High Street was developed around a residential terrace, with large houses occupied by a number of distinguished residents. The Terrace was located roughly between present-day Wrights Lane and Adam and Eve Mews. [2]

Kensington High Street in 1860 Image taken from page 151 of 'Old and New London, etc' (11187351613).jpg
Kensington High Street in 1860

Residents have included:[ citation needed ]

Retail centre

Middle of Kensington High Street Kensington High St.jpg
Middle of Kensington High Street

Kensington High Street is one of West London most popular shopping streets, with upmarket shops serving a wealthy area.[ citation needed ] From the late 19th century until the mid-1970s the street had three classic department stores: Barkers of Kensington, Derry & Toms and Pontings. Barkers bought Pontings in 1906 and Derry & Toms in 1920, but continued to run all three as separate entities. In a large building project, which started in 1930 and was not complete until 1958 (the Second World War halted the project), the company made Derry & Toms and Barkers into Art Deco palaces. On top of Derry & Toms, Europe's largest roof garden area (1.5 acres (6,100 m2)) was created, consisting of three different gardens with 500 species of plants, fountains, a stream, duck, flamingos and a restaurant – said to serve the best high tea in Kensington.

In 1957, House of Fraser bought the Barkers Group and started to dismantle it. Pontings was closed in 1971, Derry & Toms in 1973, and a much condensed Barkers (from 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) over seven floors to 140,000 square feet (13,000 m2) on less than four floors) was allowed to continue until January 2006, when the 135-year-old department store was closed for good. [3]

Part of the Barker premises has now been taken over by American Whole Foods Market, which opened the UK's first organic superstore there in June 2007. [4] The rest was added to existing office space used by the headquarters of Associated Newspapers.

Kensington High Street was also the site of Biba in the 1960s and early 1970s. When Derry & Toms closed, the iconic store took the building and accentuated its Art Deco style further. But the 1970s recession, coupled with idealistic business ideas, killed Biba in 1975. The Derry & Toms roof gardens still remain, now known as the Kensington Roof Gardens which Richard Branson's Virgin occupied as a tenant from 1981 to 2018. [5]

Kensington High Street's future as a shopping street has been threatened by the large Westfield London, which opened a short distance away in Shepherd's Bush in late 2008.[ citation needed ] However, these factors may be offset to some extent – or even outweighed – by recent changes to the road layout, intended to make the street a more pleasant place to shop. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea decided to experiment with the concept of shared space, which deputy leader Daniel Moylan had studied abroad. Railings and pedestrian crossings were removed, thereby enabling pedestrians to cross the street wherever they choose. Bicycle racks were placed on the central reservation. The effect over two years was a reduction in accidents, down 44% against a London average of 17%. [6]

Kensington High Street is also home to a large part of the British music industry, with the UK offices of major labels such as Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music Group and EMI all situated in the area.[ citation needed ]

Furthermore, the second Kahn Design boutique in London is also located on this street. [7]

It is also the site of the former Roman Catholic Pro-Cathedral of England, Our Lady of Victories, now a parish church; Kensington Arcade; and a building housing the Consulate of Romania and the Embassy of Paraguay. [8]

Kensington High Street is served by bus routes 9, 23, 27, 28, 49, 52, 70, 328, 452, C1, night routes N9, N27, N28, N31 and Greenline routes 701 and 702.[ citation needed ] It is also served by High Street Kensington Underground station, on the Circle and District lines.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kensington</span> District within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in central London

Kensington is an area of London in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, around 2.9 miles (4.6 km) west of Central London.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea</span> Place in United Kingdom

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is an Inner London borough with royal status. It is the smallest borough in London and the second smallest district in England; it is one of the most densely populated administrative regions in the United Kingdom. It includes affluent areas such as Notting Hill, Kensington, South Kensington, Chelsea, and Knightsbridge.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Knightsbridge</span> District in central London, England

Knightsbridge is a residential and retail district in central London, south of Hyde Park. It is identified in the London Plan as one of two international retail centres in London, alongside the West End. Knightsbridge is also the name of the roadway which runs near the south side of Hyde Park from Hyde Park Corner.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham</span> London borough in United Kingdom

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is a London borough in West London and which also forms part of Inner London. The borough was formed in 1965 from the merger of the former Metropolitan Boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham. The borough borders Brent to the north, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to the east, Wandsworth to the south, Richmond upon Thames to the south west, and Hounslow and Ealing to the west.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fulham</span> Area of west London, England

Fulham is an area of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham in West London, England, 3.6 miles (5.8 km) southwest of Charing Cross. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames, bordering Hammersmith, Kensington and Chelsea. The area faces Wandsworth, Putney, Barn Elms and the London Wetland Centre in Barnes. on the far side of the river.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shepherd's Bush</span> Suburb of West London, England

Shepherd's Bush is a suburb of West London, England, within the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham 4.9 miles (7.9 km) west of Charing Cross, and identified as a major metropolitan centre in the London Plan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">King's Road</span> Major street in west London, England

King's Road or Kings Road is a major street stretching through Chelsea and Fulham, both in west London, England. It is associated with 1960s style and with fashion figures such as Mary Quant and Vivienne Westwood. Sir Oswald Mosley's Blackshirt movement had a barracks on the street in the 1930s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kensington (Olympia) station</span> London Underground, London Overground and National rail station

Kensington (Olympia) is an interchange station located in Kensington, in West London for London Overground and National Rail services. Limited London Underground services also run here.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kensington Roof Gardens</span> Private roof garden in central London

Kensington Roof Gardens is a private roof garden covering 6,000 square metres (65,000 sq ft) on top of the former Derry & Toms building on Kensington High Street in central London.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Biba</span> Fashion store & brand

Biba was a London fashion store of the 1960s and 1970s. Biba was started and primarily run by the Polish-born Barbara Hulanicki with help of her husband Stephen Fitz-Simon.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kensington (UK Parliament constituency)</span> British parliamentary constituency

Kensington is a constituency in Greater London which first existed between 1974 and 1997 and was recreated in 2010. Since 2019, it has been represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament by Felicity Buchan of the Conservative Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">West Kensington</span> Human settlement in England

West Kensington, formerly North End, is an area in the ancient parish of Fulham, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, England, 3.4 miles (5.5 km) west of Charing Cross. It covers most of the London postal area of W14, including the area around Barons Court tube station, and is defined as the area between Lillie Road and Hammersmith Road to the west, Fulham Palace Road to the south, Hammersmith to the north and West Brompton and Earl's Court to the east. The area is bisected by the major London artery the A4, locally known as the Talgarth Road. Its main local thoroughfare is the North End Road.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cadogan Estates</span> British property company

Cadogan Group Limited and its subsidiaries, including Cadogan Estates Limited, are British property investment and management companies that are owned by the Cadogan family, one of the richest families in the United Kingdom. They also hold the titles of Earl Cadogan and Viscount Chelsea, the latter used as a courtesy title by the Earl's eldest son. The Cadogan Group is the main landlord in the west London districts of Chelsea and Knightsbridge, and it is now the second largest of the surviving aristocratic Freehold Estates in Central London, after the Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor Estate, to which it is adjacent, covering Mayfair and Belgravia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ralph Hancock (landscape gardener)</span> British landscape gardener

Ralph Hancock was a Welsh landscape gardener, architect and author. Hancock built gardens in the United Kingdom in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s and in the United States in the 1930s. He is known for the roof gardens at Derry and Toms in London and the Rockefeller Center in New York City, the garden at Twyn-yr-Hydd House in Margam, and the rock and water garden he built for Princess Victoria at Coppins, Iver, England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brook Green</span> Human settlement in England

Brook Green is an affluent sub-neighbourhood of Hammersmith in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Located approximately 3.6 miles (5.8 km) west of Charing Cross, it is bordered by Kensington, Holland Park, Shepherd's Bush, Hammersmith and Brackenbury Village.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Derry & Toms</span> Former department store in London

Derry & Toms was a London department store that was founded in 1860 in Kensington High Street and was famous for its Roof Garden which opened in 1938. In 1973 the store was closed and became home to Big Biba, which closed in 1975. The site was developed into smaller stores and offices.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Barkers of Kensington</span> Former department store in London

Barkers of Kensington was a department store in Kensington High Street, Kensington, London. It began as a small drapery business, John Barker & Company, founded by John Barker and James Whitehead in 1870. Barkers grew rapidly to become one of London's largest and most well-known department stores.

Pontings was a department store based in Kensington High Street, London and operated from 1863 to 1970.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bernard George</span>

Bernard George (1894-1964) was an architect and member of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Steven Thomas is an English designer and visual artist best known for his interiors and graphic design work for the Biba fashion brand.


  1. Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)" (PDF). Greater London Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 June 2010.
  2. "Kensington High Street, south side: Wright's Lane to Earl's Court Road Pages 99-116 Survey of London: Volume 42, Kensington Square To Earl's Court. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1986". British History Online.
  3. Sarah Butler (20 August 2005). "Organic grocer replaces Barker's". The Times .
  4. Sarah Harris (5 June 2007). "Whole Foods Market opens London flagship". Design Week . Covering three floors and 7400 m2 of the regal Barker Building on Kensington High Street, the organic superstore promises to offset 100 per cent of its electricity in partnership with wind power supplier Ecotricity, compost all its food waste, and offer full recycling for glass, tin, paper and plastic.
  5. "The Roof Gardens". Virgin Limited Edition. Virgin Group. Archived from the original on 21 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  6. Simon Jenkins (29 February 2008). "Rip out the traffic lights and railings. Our streets are better without them". The Guardian .
  7. "Kahn Design opens 'boutique' showroom in Kensington". CarDealer. 6 October 2017.
  8. "The London Diplomatic List" (PDF). 14 December 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 December 2013.