Airlie Gardens, W8
Road in/near Kensington, existing between 1878 and now
Print-friendly version of this page Kensington is a district of West London, England within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, located west of Charing Cross.
Airlie Gardens is named after the 5th Earl of Airlie (1826-1881), who lived on nearby Campden Hill
at Holly Lodge.
Holly Lodge - sometimes called Airlie Lodge - was the house where Lord Macaulay spent the last years of his life. It later became part of Queen Elizabeth College.
William Cooke was a Paddington builder who built Airlie Gardens in 1878 on the land of Elm Lodge. That year the Grand Junction Water Works Company surrendered the lease of the lodge. Some of its extensive grounds became the communal gardens for the new houses of Airlie Gardens.
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The focus of the area is Kensington High Street, a busy commercial centre with many shops, typically upmarket. The street was declared London's second best shopping street in February 2005 thanks to its range and number of shops.
The edges of Kensington are not well-defined; in particular, the southern part of Kensington blurs into Chelsea, which has a similar architectural style. To the west, a transition is made across the West London railway line and Earl's Court Road further south into other districts, whilst to the north, the only obvious dividing line is Holland Park Avenue, to the north of which is the similar district of Notting Hill.
Kensington is, in general, an extremely affluent area, a trait that it now shares with its neighbour to the south, Chelsea. The area has some of London's most expensive streets and garden squares.
Kensington is also very densely populated; it forms part of the most densely populated local government district (the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) in the United Kingdom. This high density is not formed from high-rise buildings; instead, it has come about through the subdivision of large mid-rise Victorian and Georgian terraced houses (generally of some four to six floors) into flats.