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Kensington in 1839

Kensington, in Kensington division of Ossulston hundred, is now a suburb of London. The parish, with the extra-parochial chapelry of Twyford, has an area of 2,980 acres, with a population, to 1831, of 20,945. Part of the chapelry of Knightsbridge is in Kensington parish. The principal street of Kensington consists of ranges of well-built houses extending along the great western road ; and there are other streets. Brompton and Little Chelsea, on the south, and Kensington gravel pits, on the north, are in the parish.

There is at Kensington a royal palace, built on the site of a residence belonging to the family of Finch, earls of Winchelsea and Nottingham, from whom it was purchased by William III. That prince converted the dwelling-house into a palace, rebuilding the principal parts, and making many additions to it, which succeeding princes have augmented. The palace is of red brick, ornamented with columns and coignes of stone, and consists of three principal quadrangles. The suites of apartments are noble and extensive, and are adorned with many fine paintings by Flemish and English artists. The gardens and grounds, which are agreeably laid out, are three miles in circuit.

There are barracks for detachments of the guards. Several members of the Royal family have apartments within the palace. Holland House, an ancient mansion, chiefly in the Elizabethan style, was the residence of Addison, who died here ; and much of the early life of Charles James Fox was passed here. It is now the residence of Lord Holland : it contains some interesting portraits. Campden House is another ancient residence in the same style.

Kensington Church, a large modern brick building, is near the principal street : new churches have been erected in Addison Road and at Brompton, and there is a chapel-of-ease at Brompton, erected about seventy years ago. There are dissenting and Catholic chapels. The living is a vicarage, of the clear yearly value of £1,242, with a glebe-house. To the new churches in Addison Road (St. Barnabas) and Brompton (Trinity Church) are annexed curacies, of the respective value of £405 and £639, in the gift of the vicar of Kensington.

There were, in 1833, five infant or dame schools, with 44 children ; a national school, with 290 children ; a school for 17 girls, supported out of the parish rates ; two schools, partly or wholly supported by charitable contributions, with 104 children, twenty-three other day-schools, with 489 children ; forty-nine boarding-schools, with 827 children ; and three Sunday-schools, with 265 children. There were also two proprietary grammar-schools, with about 180 children.