Old Kent Road, SE1

Road in/near Kensington, existing until now

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Road · Kensington · SE1 · Contributed by The Underground Map
August
5
2018

The Old Kent Road is famous as the cheapest property on the London Monopoly board.

The route of Old Kent Road is one of the oldest trackways in England and was first metalled by the Romans as the road from Dover to Londinium. The Saxons later called this Watling Street. Chaucer’s pilgrims travelled along this route from London and Southwark on their way to Canterbury.

Although the name appears as simply Old Kent Road on maps, it is usually referred to by Londoners as The Old Kent Road. The Old Kent Road runs from the Bricklayers’ Arms roundabout, where it meets the New Kent Road, Tower Bridge Road, and Great Dover Street, to New Cross Road, which begins a little to the east of the mainline railway bridge - the change in street-name is coincident with the border with Lewisham borough. Before the county of London was created this would have been the boundary between Surrey and Kent, hence the change in name.

At the junction with the presently named Shornecliff Road (previously Thomas Street) was the bridge crossing of St Thomas-a-Watering over a small brook, which marked a boundary in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s authority of the nearby manors in Southwark and Walworth. The landmark pub nearby, the Thomas a Becket, derives its name from this connection. It was a place of execution for criminals whose bodies were left in gibbets at this spot, the principal route from the southeast to the City of London. The burning to death or hanging, drawing and quartering of religious dissenters, both Catholic and Protestant, also occurred here. In 1540 a priest ’Sir’ (ie ’father’) Godson was executed here for denying Henry VIII’s supremacy. The Welsh Protestant martyr John Penry was also executed here in 1593 and a small side street nearby, named after him, commemorates this. The Catholics John Jones in 1598 and John Rigby met their end here in 1600.

The same point was regarded as the limit of the City of London’s authority from 1550, there being a boundary stone set into the wall of the old fire station indicating this.

Following from the sale of local monastic properties in the Reformation period the Crown let out many long-leases which were acquired by local people. Most prominently was those held by the Rolls family along the route from Bricklayers Arms to New Cross Road. With the urban expansion of the metropolis these holdings were in turn let out on building licences or shorter leases to others by the Rolls family at considerable profit to them, notably the desirable residencial development in the 1750s in the area of what is now Surrey Square and the Paragon which were designed by their Surveyor Michael Searles (a road near this is named after him). Their family tomb is in the St Mary Magdalen Bermondsey churchyard.

By the third quarter of the nineteenth Century the family had accumulated so much wealth that they acquired a home at The Hendre (another local street name to show their connection) and a castle at Llangattock-Vibon-Avel in Wales and then through politics in Monmouth as MPs and High Sheriffs for that county, acquired a Peerage of the same name. Locally. they started to support the local communities by letting or granting for free some of their lands for social purposes:- the Library at Wells Way Burgess Park now a youth club, the Peabody Estate (Dover Flats) and the St Saviour’s Grammar School for Girls site being the most obvious. This is why the road parallel to the main route is named ’Rolls Road’. The last real local remnant of their involvement is the large detached ’White House’ between the Peabody Estate buildings, of the 1750s which was their home, then Searle’s and then the management office of their trust estates. These were vacated in 1990 and the building has seen use as a Pentecostalist Church centre since then. The last of the male Llangatocks was the Hon Charles Stewart Rolls who was the pioneer motorist and aviator who formed the partnership with Henry Royce.

Apart from piecemeal residential schemes very little change along this route was made until the late 1960s with the London County Council plan of ’Lungs for Londoners’ led to the creation of new open spaces and public parks by demolition of heavily urbanised areas; the eastern entrance to one of these, Burgess Park, is also located here at the junction with Albany Road.

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VIEW THE KENSINGTON AREA IN THE 1750s
The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.

VIEW THE KENSINGTON AREA IN THE 1800s
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.

VIEW THE KENSINGTON AREA IN THE 1830s
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.

VIEW THE KENSINGTON AREA IN THE 1860s
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.

VIEW THE KENSINGTON AREA IN THE 1900s
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.

 

Kensington

Kensington is a district of West London, England within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, located west of Charing Cross.

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.
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Central London, south east (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Central London, south east.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)

Cary's New And Accurate Plan of London and Westminster (1818) FREE DOWNLOAD
Cary's map provides a detailed view of London. With print date of 1 January 1818, Cary's map has 27 panels arranged in 3 rows of 9 panels, each measuring approximately 6 1/2 by 10 5/8 inches. The complete map measures 32 1/8 by 59 1/2 inches. Digitising this map has involved aligning the panels into one contiguous map.
John Cary

Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1843) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured.
Chapman and Hall, London

Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1836) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Insets: A view of the Tower from London Bridge -- A view of London from Copenhagen Fields. Includes views of facades of 25 structures "A comparison of the principal buildings of London."
Chapman and Hall, London

Environs of London (1832) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Relief shown by hachures. A circle shows "Extent of the twopenny post delivery."
Chapman and Hall, London

London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1921.
London Transport

The Environs of London (1865).  FREE DOWNLOAD
Prime meridian replaced with "Miles from the General Post Office." Relief shown by hachures. Map printed in black and white.
Published By J. H. Colton. No. 172 William St. New York

London Underground Map (1908).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1908.
London Transport

Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
Ordnance Survey colour map of the environs of London 1:10,560 scale
Ordnance Survey. Crown Copyright 1939.

Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)
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