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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.
The Cromwell Curve was a short section of railway line between Gloucester Road
and High Street Kensington stations.
The line was opened by the District Railway (DR) on 5 July 1871. The tracks formed a triangle across the end of the v connecting the District’s existing routes from Earl’s Court station to Gloucester Road
and High Street Kensington, and ran in a cutting parallel to the Metropolitan Railway (MR). The name derives from Cromwell Road
which is immediately south of the site of the curve.
The track was opened without Parliamentary authority in an attempt by the DR to increase its share of the revenues from the Inner Circle (now the Circle line), which were divided on the basis of mileage of track owned by the DR and the MR. Sir John Fowler arbitrated the dispute, ruling on 27 July that Inner Circle receipts were to be divided 67% to the Metropolitan and 33% to the District (revised to 50:50 in 1878, due to increased traffic from the District’s western lines). Although the Cromwell Curve was used only occasionally, the dispute between the two companies continued until 1903, when the matter was finally decided in favour of the Metropolitan.
The 240-metre long curve was closed in 1956 and the tracks are no longer in place.
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.