Kingston upon Thames

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Kingston upon Thames
Missing image
Kingston upon Thames

OS Grid Reference:Template:Gbmappingsmall
County:Greater London
Region:Greater London
Ceremonial County:Greater London
Traditional County:Surrey
Post Office and Telephone
Dialling Code:020

Kingston upon Thames, part of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, is an ancient market town where Saxon kings were crowned, and is now a lively suburb of London. It is where the comic Victorian novel Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome begins and was also a major military aircraft manufacturing centre in the 20th century - notably with the Sopwith, Hawker Aviation and British Aerospace companies. It is the home of Kingston University.


Kingston was built at the first crossing point of the Thames upstream from London Bridge and a bridge still exists at the same site. Kingston was occupied by the Romans, and later it was either a royal residence or a royal demesne. There is a record of a council held there in 838, at which Egbert of Wessex, the first King of All England, and his son Ethelwulf of Wessex were present; and in this record it is styled Kyningenstum famosa ilia locus. Seven Saxon kings are traditionally said to have been crowned at Kingston, while seated on a large stone that stands outside the Guildhall.

The first charter was granted by King John in 1208 and this document still exists in the town's archives. Other charters were issued by later kings, including Edward IV's charter that gave the town the status of a borough in 1481.

The Lovekyn Chapel was founded in 1309 by a former mayor of London, Edward Lovekyn. It is the only private chantry chapel to survive the Reformation.

Some interesting relics have been discovered to support this history, and statues of some of the Saxon kings and of King John were preserved in a chapel. In 1730 the chapel containing the royal effigies collapsed, burying the sexton, who was digging a grave, the sexton's daughter and another person. The daughter survived this accident and was her father's successor as sexton. The daughter is commemorated by an engraving by M'Ardell.

Kingston sent members to early parliaments, until a petition by the inhabitants prayed to be relieved from the burden!

Kingston today

Central Kingston has many shops, including a mall called The Bentall Centre that contains the Bentalls department store and large branches of the chains found in many British high streets. There is a large branch of the John Lewis department store with a Waitrose supermarket in the basement. The "Rotunda" near the railway station includes a bowling alley, finess centre, a 14-screen Odeon multiplex cinema and some fast-food restaurants. Recent developments along the riverside south of Kingston Bridge have added restaurants and a theatre. The ancient market still continues daily in the Market Place.

One of the more unusual sights in Kingston is several disused red telephone boxes that have been tipped on their sides in a pattern resembling dominos. This sculpture by David Mach was commissioned in 1988, and is called Out of Order.

Kingston is the home of two non-league Association football clubs, Kingstonian F.C. and AFC Wimbledon, both of which play at The Fans' Stadium, Kingsmeadow.

Kingston is represented by two Liberal Democrat Members of Parliament: the Richmond Park constituency's MP is Susan Kramer and that of Kingston & Surbiton is Edward Davey

External links

no:Kingston upon Thames


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