Kensington Square

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Kensington Square
Kensington Square London.jpg
Looking west across Kensington Square from the southeastern corner
Length 0.2 mi [1] (0.3 km)
Postal code W8
Coordinates 51°30′02″N0°11′24″W / 51.5006°N 0.1900°W / 51.5006; -0.1900 Coordinates: 51°30′02″N0°11′24″W / 51.5006°N 0.1900°W / 51.5006; -0.1900
Inauguration 1685 (1685)

Kensington Square is a garden square in Kensington, London, W8. It was built from 1692 on land acquired for the purpose in 1685 and is the oldest such square in Kensington. The houses facing, Nos. 1–45, are listed Grade II for their architectural/historic merit. [2]



In 1685, Thomas Young, a woodcarver, acquired land in Kensington which he sought to develop, and as he later described it in 1701, "did sett out and appoint a considerable part thereof to be built into a large Square of large and substantial Houses fit for the Habitacion of persons of good Worth and Quality, with Courts and Yards before and Gardens lying backwards". [3]

In London, St. James's Square, Soho Square and Golden Square are a few years older, but in contrast with these Kensington Square still retains its residential character.


The communal gardens were laid out in 1698 and are 0.36 hectares (0.89 acres) in size. The garden is private and not open to the public, though it has taken part in the annual Open Garden Squares Weekend. [2]

Heythrop College

No. 23 was Heythrop College, University of London until 2018, "the Specialist Philosophy and Theology College of the University of London," which included a library originally established in 1614 in Louvain (Leuven) by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) for those studies. [4] [5]

Former residents

Blue plaque holders

The square includes the former homes of:

Other homes belonged to, or were rented as their family home by:

Between 1831 and 1896 (the) Kensington School occupied two sites: No. 31, then No.s 25–29. It is notable as one of the founders of the Football Association in 1863. The school built classrooms and fives courts in the gardens of the houses; all that remains is No. 27a, the cottage or small house behind No. 28.

In the 2016 film The Exception , protagonist Mieke de Jong coyly inscribes a copy of landmark philosophical work Beyond Good and Evil with:

For my ignorant friend. 15 Kensington square, London W.

See also

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  1. "Driving directions to Kensington Square". Google . Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  2. 1 2 "Kensington Square". London Gardens Trust. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  3. "Kensington Square and environs: Introduction". British History Online (BHO). Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  4. Heythrop College: About us
  5. Heythrop College: How to find us Archived 2010-02-23 at the Wayback Machine
  6. Raverat, Gwen (2013). Period Piece. London: Slightly Foxed. pp. 139–154. ISBN   978-1-906562-58-8. First published by Faber & Faber, 1952