Royal Borough of
Kingston upon Thames
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Created||1 April 1965|
|Admin HQ||Kingston upon Thames|
|• Type||London borough council|
|• Body||Kingston upon Thames London Borough Council|
|• Leadership||Liberal Democrat (Liberal Democrat)|
|• Mayor||Sushila Abraham|
|• London Assembly||Tony Arbour (Conservative) AM for South West|
|• MPs||Sir Ed Davey (Liberal Democrat) |
Sarah Olney (Liberal Democrat)
|• Total||14.38 sq mi (37.25 km2)|
|Area rank||288th (of 309)|
|• Rank||110th (of 309)|
|• Density||12,000/sq mi (4,800/km2)|
|• Ethnicity||63.1% White British|
1.7% White Irish
0.1% White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
9.6% Other White
0.8% White & Black Caribbean
0.4% White & Black African
1.6% White & Asian
1.1% Other Mixed
8.1% Other Asian
1.6% Black African
0.6% Black Caribbean
0.2% Other Black
|Time zone||UTC (GMT)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+1 (BST)|
The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames is a borough in southwest London. The main town is Kingston upon Thames and it includes Surbiton, Chessington, Malden Rushett, New Malden and Tolworth. It is the oldest of the four royal boroughs in England. The others are Kensington and Chelsea and Greenwich also in London, and Windsor and Maidenhead. The local authority is Kingston upon Thames London Borough Council.
Kingston upon Thames, on the south bank of the River Thames has existed for many hundreds of years. Many Roman relics have been found in the surrounding areas. A church has stood on the site of All Saints' Church, in the centre of Kingston, for more than a thousand years. An earlier church was sacked by the Vikings in 1009 AD. Kingston was the site of the coronations of seven Anglo-Saxon monarchs:
The Coronation Stone, on which they are said to have been crowned stands outside the local council offices, the Guildhall. A coin from the reign of each of those kings is set into the base of the stone.
The borough was formed in 1965 by the merger of the Municipal boroughs of Kingston-upon-Thames (which itself was a Royal Borough), Malden and Coombe and Surbiton. At time of the merger the new borough was transferred from Surrey and since then it has been administratively part of Greater London. The current name of the borough omits hyphens to distinguish it from the similarly named former municipal borough. Kingston also contains County Hall, the former seat of Surrey County Council.
It was part of Surrey for postal purposes until postal counties were abolished in 1996. Districts mainly use the KT postcode, except from the parts of Ham in the borough which use the TW code, and the Kingston Vale area in the north-east which has an SW15 postcode.
The following table shows the ethnic group of respondents in the 2001 and 2011 census in Kingston upon Thames.
|White: Romani or Irish Traveller||95||0.06%|
|Asian or Asian British: Indian||5,322||3.61%||6,325||3.95%|
|Asian or Asian British: Pakistani||1,916||1.30%||3,009||1.88%|
|Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi||384||0.26%||892||0.56%|
|Asian or Asian British: Chinese||2,026||1.38%||2,883||1.80%|
|Asian or Asian British: Other Asian||3,844||2.61%||13,043||8.15%|
|Asian or Asian British: Total||13,492||9.16%||26,152||16.34%|
|Black or Black British: African||1,406||0.95%||2,616||1.63%|
|Black or Black British: Caribbean||772||0.52%||1,027||0.64%|
|Black or Black British: Other Black||131||0.09%||378||0.24%|
|Black or Black British: Total||2,309||1.57%||4,021||2.51%|
|Mixed: White and Black Caribbean||591||0.40%||1,238||0.77%|
|Mixed: White and Black African||392||0.27%||700||0.44%|
|Mixed: White and Asian||1,398||0.95%||2,500||1.56%|
|Mixed: Other Mixed||976||0.66%||1,831||1.14%|
|Other: Any other ethnic group||1,960||1.22%|
|Black, Asian, and minority ethnic: Total||22,881||15.54%||40,841||25.52%|
The borough includes the whole of the Kingston and Surbiton Westminster Parliamentary Constituency and part of the Richmond Park Constituency, both constituencies were created in 1997. The previous constituencies re-arranged to form these two had been essentially Conservative.
In 1997 the Liberal Democrats won both seats. Dr Jenny Tonge took Richmond Park constituency and in 2005 Susan Kramer became its Liberal Democrat MP with a majority of 3,731 but she was beaten in the May 2010 election by Conservative Zac Goldsmith with a majority of 4,091. Goldsmith retained his seat at the 2015 general election, with a greatly increased majority of 23,015. Goldsmith stood as an Independent candidate in the by-election held on 1 December 2016, but was defeated by Sarah Olney, a Liberal Democrat, after the Conservative Party decided not to put forward its own candidate. Goldsmith regained the seat for the Conservatives in the 2017 general election with a significantly reduced majority of 45 votes. Sarah Olney then regained the seat during the 2019 General Election.
In 1997 Edward Davey overturned the previous Conservative majority of more than 10,000 in Kingston and Surbiton, to win by 56 votes after three recounts. He retained the seat in 2001 with a majority of 15,676 over the Conservative candidate David Shaw. In 2005 Davey's majority was 8,961, and in the May 2010 general election he again retained the seat with a slightly reduced majority, beating the Conservative candidate Helen Whately. In the 2015 general election, Davey's seat was taken by Conservative James Berry with a majority of 2,834. Davey's was one of six Liberal Democrat losses in London and 49 overall as the party suffered its worst election results since its formation in 1988. Davey regained the seat in the 2017 general election.
The Borough Council was controlled by the Conservative Party from 1965 to 1986, when a short-lived SDP-Liberal Alliance minority administration took over. It lost several by-elections due to its attempt to abolish the Borough's grammar school system. The Conservatives regained control in 1987. The 1990 election gave no party a majority but the Conservatives kept power with the casting vote of the Mayor.
In 2011, Councillor Tim Dennen resigned from the Liberal Democrat group to sit as an independent member.
On Tuesday 11 June 2013 Derek Osborne was arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children, following his release on bail he resigned the Liberal Democrat group, as leader of Kingston Council and as a councillor for Beverley Ward. Osborne pleaded guilty and was subsequently jailed for 2 years in October 2013. The Conservatives comfortably won the by-election following the resignation of the former leader of the council.
In 2014 the Conservatives gained a majority of 8 at the local elections, bucking a trend of the Liberal Democrats retaining control in their heartlands.
The Liberal Democrats regained control of the council in 2018 with a large majority of 39 seats compared to the Conservatives' 9 seats.
Kingston benefits from one of the biggest and most visited shopping areas outside of central London, with a varied selection of high street stores, and a large number of independent boutiques and retailers.
The most famous shop in Kingston is Bentalls, started by Frank Bentall in 1867 in Clarence Street, where it (or at least the completely rebuilt Bentall Centre) stands.
Close to Kingston, and located between Kingston, Richmond and Roehampton, is Richmond Park, one of the oldest of London's royal parks.
The borough is home to the highest number of South Koreans in Europe, in the town of New Malden.
Main article: Parks and open spaces in Kingston upon Thames
Kingston has many attractions in and near it, ranging from nature and historical attractions to theme parks.
Some of the borough's attractions are:
Kingston is the 3rd largest retail centre by employment, in London.
Sega Amusements International, responsible for the production of arcade games outside Japan, has its head office in Chessington, Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. Lidl relocated its UK Headquarters to Kingston in 2020.
Sopwith Aviation Company had a factory in the Canbury Park area of Kingston, where the famous Sopwith Camel was produced during World War I. The Hawker Hurricane was designed in a site in Kingston town centre and built in the aviation factory near Ham now known as the Hawker Centre.
Primary responsibility for education in the borough lies with the local education authority.
Main article: List of schools in Kingston upon Thames
Kingston is one of six London Boroughs which have no London Underground stations. Also, like the London Borough of Bexley, none of its railway stations are served by TfL operated systems such as the London Overground that serves adjacent Richmond or Tramlink that serves Wimbledon in the neighbouring borough of Merton. It has nine South Western Railway stations and two centrally located bus stations. In 2008, 64 bus routes served Kingston.
Main article: Kingston railway station (London)
Coaching interests in Kingston opposed the plan of the London and Southampton Railway to run its line to Southampton near Kingston. The line consequently avoided the town with a station opened in 1838 southwest of the town; it was later resited to the present site of Surbiton station.
In 1863 a branch was built from Twickenham to a terminus in Kingston. That line was extended to the main line in 1869 to form the Kingston Loop Line.
All rail services in the borough are operated by South Western Railway, who provide regular services to and from London Waterloo.
Railway stations in the borough:
In March 2011, the main forms of transport that residents used to travel to work were: driving a car or van, 26.1% of all residents aged 16–74; train, 7.1%; bus, minibus or coach, 7.1%; on foot, 6.9%; work mainly at or from home, 4.3%; bicycle, 2.8%; underground, metro, light rail, tram, 2.5%.
The Kingston coat of arms displays three salmon and its shield is almost identical to the coat of arms of the Swedish municipality of Laholm. Both coats of arms can be traced back to the 16th century. The arms of the Norwegian town of Mandal is also similar, but more recent.
The Borough of Kingston upon Thames has several football clubs in its area: