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Kensal Green

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Title: Kensal Green  
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Kensal Green

Kensal Green
Kensal Rise
Kensal GreenKensal Rise is located in Greater London
Kensal Green
Kensal Rise
 Kensal Green
Kensal Rise shown within Greater London
Population 14,915 (2011) (Kensal Green ward)
OS grid reference
London borough Brent
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district NW10 (also NW6 in some parts)
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Brent Central
London Assembly Brent and Harrow
List of places

Kensal Green (also known as Kensal Rise) is an area of London, England. It is located on the southern edge of the London Borough of Brent and borders Harlesden to the west, Willesden to the north, Maida Hill and Queens Park to the east and Notting Hill and Wormwood Scrubs to the south. The areas of College Park and Kensal Green Cemetery (which form the southern part of Kensal Green) are located in the London boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea, respectively. It has historically been popular with those working in the creative industries and is characterised by independent boutiques and cafes. The area has excellent transport links and is located close to the site of Old Oak Common, one of the capital’s biggest regeneration projects since the Olympics.


  • Location 1
  • Residents and businesses 2
  • Open space 3
  • History 4
  • Transport 5
  • Schools 6
  • Crossrail 7
  • Old Oak Common 8
  • Kensal Green Cemetery 9
  • Tornado on 7 December 2006 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Kensal Green is a residential area with good transport links to central London, surrounding districts include Willesden Green to the north, Harlesden to the west, Brondesbury and Queens Park to the east and Ladbroke Grove to the south. The names Kensal Green and Kensal Rise are used somewhat interchangeably by non-residents to denote the same district, although residents differentiate between the areas based on proximity to the local tube and railway stations.

Residents and businesses

The area is known for independent boutiques, cafes and bars as well as Gee Barber, an original Sixties gents' barber.[1] It area has seen significant gentrification over recent years and is earning a reputation as a 'celebrity haunt-meets-Nappy Valley'.[2] In 2009, Chamberlayne Road in Kensal Rise was named by Vogue as the hippest street in Europe[3] and the area is now home to a number of noteworthy residents including musicians Paloma Faith and Rita Ora, chef Thomasina Miers,[2] film director, DJ and musician Don Letts, actress Thandie Newton, singer Lily Allen, model-turned-author Sophie Dahl, author Zadie Smith, handbag designer Bill Amberg, David Cameron's ex-strategy guru Steve Hilton, footballer-turned-media personality Ian Wright[4] and Sienna Miller.[5] The area also now boasts Britain's first independent boutique cinema and social enterprise, The Lexi Cinema. It is staffed by local volunteers and all its profits go to an eco-village in South Africa.[4] In 2014, luxury goods maker Mulberry named its handbag Kensal and launched an advertising campaign with Cara Delevingne.[3]

While it has traditionally been popular with those working in the media and creative industries, it is increasingly attracting those working in financial services. According to local estate agents, those buying up properties in the area include developers, those working in the financial district of the city and others moving from nearby Notting Hill. The area also attracts Americans thanks to the American School in neighbouring St John’s Wood, as well as being popular with the French, partly due to a Lycée Français opening in Brent’s former town hall.[2]

The best roads are considered to be Ashburnham Road, Burrows Road, Linden Avenue and Langler Road.[6]

Open space

The nearby Queen’s Park has a café, a Victorian bandstand, tennis courts, pitch and putt, pétanque, a children’s playground and paddling pool, and a small zoo.[6]


Grand Union Canal from Scrubs lane

Originally part of one of the ten manors within the district of Willesden, Kensal Green is first mentioned in 1253, translating from old English meaning the King’s Holt (King’s Wood). Its location marked the boundary between Willesden and the then Chelsea & Paddington, on which it remains today. It formed part of one of ten manors, most likely Chamberlayne Wood Manor, named after Canon Richard de Camera (of the Chambers).[7] In the 15th century the then Archbishop of Canterbury Henry Chichele (1414–1443), acquired lands in Willesden and Kingsbury. In 1443 he found All Souls' College, Oxford and endowed it with the same lands in his will. As a resultant, most of Willesden and Kensal Green remained largely agricultural until the mid-1800s, well into the Victorian era. In 1805, the construction of the Grand Junction Canal passed through the district to join the Regent's Canal at Paddington. As the combined Grand Union Canal, this allowed passage of commercial freight traffic from the Midlands to London Docks, and hence onwards to the River Thames. There were two dairy farms in Kensal Green by the early 1800s, which expanded greatly after the 1864 Act of Parliament which made it illegal to keep cattle within the City of London. Although by the late 1800s residential development had greatly reduced the farmland, still in the 1890s many sheep and pigs were raised in the district. One of the farms later became a United Dairies creamery, supplied by milk trains from Mitre Bridge Junction.[8]

In 1832 Kensal Green Cemetery was incorporated by Act of Parliament and opened January 1833. This led to a revaluation of the surrounding lands, and in 1835 ecclesiastical commissioners were appointed by the Crown, who reported in 1846 that: "the larger portion of the Prebendal Estates possess, in our opinion, a value far beyond their present agricultural value."[7]

St. John the Evangelist

With enough people living locally to create a new parish, in 1844 St. John the Evangelist Church in Kilburn Lane was consecrated. The 1851 census records just over 800 people living in the new parish. In the 1860s, Kensal Green manor house, situated where Wakeman Road joins Harrow Road, was demolished. Rapid increase in residential development followed, firstly with land west of Kilburn High Road, followed by the sale of Banister's Farm leading to the development of Bannister Road and Mortimer Road.[7] The rapid residential development led to local commissioners reporting in 1880 that there was inadequate drainage and sewerage facilities, with most houses having only improved access to what were the old agricultural drains. In that same year, All Souls' College started to develop its lands north west of Kilburn Lane, including All Souls' Avenue and College Road, with adjacent roads being named after leading Fellows of the college, and the installation of new sewerage facilities across the district. The college donated lands on which to build Kensal Rise Reading Room, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, in 1897. Opened by United States author Mark Twain in 1901, it was later extended and renamed Kensal Rise Library.[7]

The developments of the streets around Kensal Rise railway station date from the last ten years of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th. Although opened in April 1873 as Kensal Green at Chamberlayne Wood, then a remote dead end road; it was renamed Kensal Rise on 24 May 1890. Just north of the station the National Athletic Ground (one of the many early grounds of Queen's Park Rangers) opened in 1890. The ground which was later renamed the Kensal Rise Athletic Stadium also hosted cycling and athletics competitions before being turned over to housing in the 1920s. For a brief period before 1914 the Aeroplane Building and Flying Society had its headquarters at Kensal Rise and flew test gliders from the site. Kensal Rise also boasted the Electric Pavilion Cinema [4] which opened in November 1914 and was located on the corner of Chamberlayne Road and Bannister Road. The site is now fashionable flats.

The area was also in the news for the wrong reasons in 1904 as a result of the notorious Crossman trunk murders. Given the widespread publicity local residents campaigned for the existing name of the road, Ladysmith Road, to be changed to Wrentham Avenue.[5]

The construction of the Great Western Railway started in 1835, with the first 22.5 miles (36.2 km) of line, from Paddington station to Maidenhead Bridge station, opened on 4 June 1838. In 1901, its major carriage washing and servicing facilities and locomotive depot were developed at Old Oak Common, bringing further employment and more immigrants to the district. The first major immigrant population had been Irish people post the Potato famine, and then post World War I. In World War II, due to the railway facilities, the district suffered greatly from German Luftwaffe bombing.[7]

After the war, the area became a refuge for the first

External links

  1. ^ "With green space, an art house cinema and glitzy boutiques, it's no wonder everyone's talking about Kensal Rise | Daily Mail Online". 2010-09-04. Retrieved 2015-03-28. 
  2. ^ a b c d Phillips, Caroline (2014-06-04). "Kensal Rise has risen". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  3. ^ a b "Chamberlayne Road in London: the hippest street in Europe". 2009-08-14. Retrieved 2015-03-28. 
  4. ^ a b "With green space, an art house cinema and glitzy boutiques, it's no wonder everyone's talking about Kensal Rise | Daily Mail Online". 2010-09-04. Retrieved 2015-03-28. 
  5. ^ Powley, Tanya (2012-08-24). "Park life". Retrieved 2015-03-28. 
  6. ^ a b c Masey, Anthea (September 1, 2015). "Living in Kensal Rise: area guide to homes, schools and transport". Evening Standard. Retrieved September 14, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "History". Retrieved 2012-02-02. 
  8. ^ "Willesden: Economic history | British History Online". Retrieved 2015-03-28. 
  9. ^ [6] Archived 4 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "The case for Kensal crossrail". Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. n.d. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  11. ^ "Case for a Crossrail station gains momentum" (Press release). Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. 1 July 2010. 
  12. ^ Bloomfield, Ruth (24 August 2010). "Study to explore adding Crossrail station at Kensal Rise". Building Design (London). 
  13. ^ "Crossrail at Kensal Rise back on the cards?". London Reconnections (blog). 27 August 2010. 
  14. ^ "Council to pay for Crossrail station". London Evening Standard. 25 March 2011. 
  15. ^ Kensal Crossrail station would 'transform' the area, says deputy mayor. Regeneration + Renewal. 16 May 2011.
  16. ^ Plans to regenerate London’s Old Oak Common clear hurdle|27 January 2015.
  17. ^ "Royal visits Kensal Green Cemetery to support preservation campaign". Brent and Kilburn Times. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  18. ^ "Six hurt as tornado hits London". BBC News. 7 December 2006. Retrieved 7 December 2006. 


Nearest stations:

Nearest places:

See also

On 7 December 2006 at 11.00am, a tornado struck Kensal Green.[18] Up to 150 houses were damaged, and six people were injured, one requiring hospital attention. Residential roads were closed off and residents had to seek temporary accommodation. Traffic was also diverted causing disruption. The cost of the damage is estimated to be at least £2,000,000.

Tornado on 7 December 2006

Cemetery directors and the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery group have lobbied the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage for funding to help preserve historical monuments at the site. The mammoth project, which involves repairs to the grade one listed Anglican Chapel and the boundary wall, is estimate to cost more than £10m.[17]

Kensal Green Cemetery is one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries in the borough. It is the resting place of members of the royal family, including HRH Prince George Duke of Cambridge, and scores of iconic figures in history including celebrated railway engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Charles Babbage, William Makepeace Thackeray, Anthony Trollope and William Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 5th Duke of Portland. Architects who are buried at Kensal Green include Decimus Burton and the famous 19th century architectural families of Hardwick and Shaw. Philip Charles Hardwick, Philip Hardwick and John Shaw Junior are buried there, as well as Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter.

The Catacombs of Kensal Green Cemetery

Kensal Green Cemetery

The nearby area of Old Oak Common is one of the capital’s biggest regeneration opportunities since the Olympics. Bordered by Wormwood Scrubs to the south and Willesden Junction to the north, it is a semi-industrial, semi-derelict site of 155 hectares that straddles three London boroughs. Plans include a superhub for the Crossrail and HS2 projects, with the mayor’s office confirming that two new Overground stations, which will connect the site to Kensal Rise, are also part of the plans. Taken as a whole, the railway hub — which will also potentially link to Great Western services and the Heathrow Express — will be roughly the size of Waterloo, the busiest station in the UK. It will also include 24,000 homes as well as retail property and hotels. It has been described as "a Canary Wharf-type development" by Sir Edward Lister, London’s deputy mayor for policy and planning.[16] The project is expected to have a profound impact on London by creating a major commercial district in the West.

Old Oak Common

At a site just to the east of the Old Oak Common site, Kensington and Chelsea Council have been pushing for a station at Kensal[10] off Ladbroke Grove & Canal Way, as a turn-back facility will have to be built in the area anyway. Siting it at Kensal Rise, rather than next to Paddington itself, would provide a new station to regenerate the area.[11][12][13] Amongst the general public there is a huge amount of support for the project and Mayor Boris Johnson stated that a station would be added if it did not increase Crossrail's overall cost. In response, Kensington and Chelsea Council agreed to underwrite the projected £33 million cost of a Crossrail station, which was received well by the residents of the Borough.[14] TfL is conducting a feasibility study on the station and the project is backed by National Grid, retailers Sainsbury's and Cath Kidston, and Jenny Jones (Green Party member of the London Assembly).[15]


There is a small choice of local private schools. The primary schools are: Seacole (co-ed, ages four to 11) in Bosworth Road; Maple Walk (co-ed, ages four to 11) in Crownhill Road; The Lloyd Williamson School (co-ed, six weeks to 11) in Telford Road. The private secondary school is Bales College (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Kilburn Lane. Many parents use the private schools in nearby Belsize Park and Hampstead.[6]

Three state comprehensive schools are judged to be “good”: Queen’s Park (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Aylestone Avenue; Sion-Manning RC (girls, ages 11 to 16) in St Charles Square and Newman College RC (boys, ages 11 to 18) in Harlesden Road. Kensington Aldridge Academy (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Silchester Road opened in September last year.

The educational charity Ark, founded by venture capitalist Arpad Busson, runs three state primary schools in the area: Ark Franklin in Harvist Road, which replaced Kensal Rise primary in September 2013; Ark Brunel in Middle Row replaced Middle Row primary also in September 2013, and Ark Atwood, a free school in Amberley Road, which is the only primary school in the area judged to be “outstanding” by education watchdog Ofsted. The following state primary schools are judged to be “good”: Princess Frederica CofE in College Road; Queen’s Park in Droop Street; St Luke’s CofE in Fernhead Road; Kenmont in Valliere Road; Donnington in Uffington Road and Furness in Furness Road.


Following a public consultation in autumn 2008, the western extension of the congestion charging zone, which had bordered on Kensal Green, was scheduled to be removed. Charging on the western extension effectively ended on 24 December 2010. The effects of this on local trade are yet to be determined.

For a time the London Congestion Charge extended into Kensington and Chelsea and reached as far north as Harrow Road, the southern boundary of Kensal Green. Most vehicles travelling south east down Ladbroke Grove or east along Harrow Road and into central London were liable to pay the £8 daily charge between 7.00 and 18.00 Monday to Friday.

There is also a canal running from Kensal Rise to Paddington and to Kings Cross via Camden which features a cycle lane and water bus.

Extensive bus services also run from the area, including the No. 18 (Sudbury - Euston), No. 6 (Willesden Bus Garage - Aldwych), No. 52 (Willesden Bus Garage - Victoria Station via Notting Hill and Kensington) and No. 452 (Kensal Rise - Wandsworth Road).

London Overground's North London Line services also operates out of Kensal Rise railway station (TfL Travelcard Zone 2) and provides regular services to Richmond in the west Stratford in the east and Clapham Junction in the south.

Kensal Green station (TfL Travelcard Zone 2) is on the Bakerloo line is only 20 minutes from Oxford Circus and the West End. National Rail London Overground services also operate to London Euston, a journey that takes around 15 minutes, trains also go to Watford Junction.

One of the key reasons that Kensal Green/Rise has proved so popular with young professionals in recent years is its excellent transport links.


The area has seen significant gentrification over recent years as people have been priced out of surrounding areas such as Notting Hill. In 2015 it was described as 'celebrity haunt-meets-Nappy Valley'.[2]


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