Orientation & Geography

Europe, United Kingdom, London

Kew is a place in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in South West London. Kew is best known for being the location of the Royal Botanic Gardens (now a World Heritage Site). Other points of interest include Kew Palace and The National Archives (previously known as the Public Record Office). Since 1965 Kew has incorporated the former area of North Sheen which includes the parish church of St Philip and All Saints, better known as the Barn Church. The church, in Marksbury Avenue, was built in 1929, incorporating timbers – believed to be ships' timbers from the 16th century – from a barn that stood in Oxted, Surrey. It is now in a combined Church of England parish with St Luke's Church, in the Avenue, which also houses Kew Community Trust, a charitable foundation that manages St Luke’s for community use. The Trust's primary activity is The Avenue Club, a daily drop-in centre for older people. "Kew Village" refers to the parades of shops adjoining Kew Gardens station. It contains a small supermarket, a wholefood store, several independent retailers, restaurants (including the well-reviewed The Glasshouse) and cafes. There are also major high street retailers at the nearby Kew Retail Park (originally known as Richmond Retail Park). Henry V developed a Carthusian monastery to the south west of where Kew Observatory now stands. Successive Tudor, Stuart and Georgian monarchs maintained links with Kew. One of Henry VII's closest friends, Henry Norris, lived at Kew Farm, which was later owned by Elizabeth I's favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. In Elizabeth's reign, and under the Stuarts, houses were developed along Kew Green.West Hall, which survives in West Hall Road, dates from at least the 14th century and the present house was built at the end of the 17th century. Queen Anne subscribed to the building of the Parish Church on Kew Green, which was dedicated to St Anne in 1714, three months before the queen's death. Today, Kew is a popular residential area because of its transport links and proximity to Kew Gardens. Most of Kew developed in the late 19th century, following the arrival of the District Line of the Underground, and is characterised by large detached or semi-detached houses. Further development took place in the 1920s and 1930s when new houses were built on the market gardens of North Sheen and in the first decade of the 21st century when flats and houses were constructed at Kew Riverside on land formerly owned by Thames Water.