Royal Borough of
Kingston upon Thames
River Thames passing through Kingston upon Thames
Coat of arms of Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
Official logo of Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
Kingston upon Thames shown within Greater London
Kingston upon Thames shown within Greater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Created1 April 1965
Admin HQKingston upon Thames
 • TypeLondon borough council
 • BodyKingston upon Thames London Borough Council
 • London AssemblyGareth Roberts (Liberal Democrats) AM for South West
 • MPsSir Ed Davey (Liberal Democrat)
Sarah Olney (Liberal Democrat)
 • Total14.38 sq mi (37.25 km2)
 • Rank267th (of 296)
 • Total168,302
 • Rank122nd (of 296)
 • Density12,000/sq mi (4,500/km2)
Time zoneUTC (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
Area code020
ONS code00AX
GSS codeE09000021
PoliceMetropolitan Police

The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames is a borough in southwest London. The main town is Kingston upon Thames and it includes Chessington, Malden Rushett, New Malden, Surbiton and Tolworth. It is the oldest of the four royal boroughs in England. The others are Windsor and Maidenhead, the site of Windsor Castle, and the London boroughs of Greenwich, and Kensington and Chelsea. The local authority is Kingston upon Thames London Borough Council.

The neighbouring districts (clockwise from north) are the London boroughs of Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth, Merton and Sutton, and the Surrey districts of Epsom and Ewell, Mole Valley and Elmbridge.


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 Saxon Coronation Stone

Adminisitrative history

The town of Kingston upon Thames was an ancient borough, having been formally incorporated in 1441, with a long history prior to that as a royal manor dating back to Saxon times.[1][2] The borough was reformed to become a municipal borough in 1836 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, which standardised how most boroughs operated across the country.[3] Kingston was often described as a royal borough, with its right to that title being formally confirmed in 1927.[4]

The old borough did not cover the whole parish of Kingston upon Thames, and separate local government arrangements were later put in place for the outlying parts of the parish. Surbiton was made an improvement commissioners district in 1855,[5] and New Malden was made a local government district in 1866.[6]

Such districts were reconstituted as urban districts under the Local Government Act 1894.[7] New Malden was enlarged in 1895 to take in the neighbouring parishes of Coombe and Malden, at which point the urban district was renamed The Maldens and Coombe. Surbiton was also enlarged in 1895, absorbing the parishes of Hook and Tolworth, and again in 1933 when it absorbed Chessington. Both urban districts were incorporated to become municipal boroughs in 1936, at which point The Maldens and Coombe was renamed Malden and Coombe.[8][9]

The modern borough was created in 1965 under the London Government Act 1963, covering the combined area of the former municipal boroughs of Kingston-upon-Thames, Malden and Coombe and Surbiton. The area was transferred from Surrey to Greater London to become one of the 32 London Boroughs.[10] Kingston's royal borough status transferred to the enlarged borough.

Most of the borough continued to have Surrey postal addresses 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.

Districts in the borough

Areas in the borough include:


Main article: Kingston upon Thames London Borough Council

Kingston upon Thames Guildhall is the home of the Borough Council

The local authority is Kingston Council, which is based at Kingston upon Thames Guildhall.[11]

Greater London representation

Since 2000, for elections to the London Assembly, the borough forms part of the South West constituency.

UK Parliament

The borough includes the whole of the Kingston and Surbiton Parliamentary Constituency and part of the Richmond Park Constituency with both constituencies being created in 1997. The previous constituencies re-arranged to form these two had been essentially Conservative.

In 1997 the Liberal Democrats won both seats. 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.[12] 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.[13] Goldsmith regained the seat for the Conservatives in the 2017 general election with a significantly reduced majority of 45 votes.[14] Sarah Olney then regained the seat during the 2019 general election.[15]

In 1997 Ed 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[16] 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.[17] Davey regained the seat in the 2017 general election.[18]


Population pyramid of the Borough of Kingston upon Thames
Population census
1801 4,612—    
1811 4,960+7.5%
1821 6,050+22.0%
1831 7,212+19.2%
1841 9,587+32.9%
1851 12,080+26.0%
1861 19,863+64.4%
1871 27,647+39.2%
1881 35,430+28.2%
1891 44,106+24.5%
1901 54,956+24.6%
1911 68,481+24.6%
1921 79,468+16.0%
1931 92,220+16.0%
1941 115,055+24.8%
1951 143,545+24.8%
1961 142,448−0.8%
1971 141,375−0.8%
1981 131,230−7.2%
1991 137,453+4.7%
2001 147,295+7.2%
2011 160,060+8.7%


The following table shows the ethnic group of respondents in the 2001 and 2011 census in Kingston upon Thames.

Ethnic Group Year
1971 estimations[20] 1981 estimations[21] 1991 census[22] 2001 census[23] 2011 census[24] 2021 census[25]
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
White: Total 97.9% 122,709 94.6% 121,548 91.4% 124,392 84.46% 119,219 74.48% 114,831 68.3%
White: British 111,810 75.92% 101,015 63.11% 90,288 53.7%
White: Irish 3,201 2.17% 2,718 1.70% 2,633 1.6%
White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller 95 0.06% 61 0.0%
White: Roma 445 0.3%
White: Other 9,381 6.37% 15,391 9.62% 21,404 12.7%
Asian or Asian British: Total 8,447 6.35% 13,492 9.16% 26,152 16.34% 29,938 17.9%
Asian or Asian British: Indian 3,069 5,322 3.61% 6,325 3.95% 7,731 4.6%
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 858 1,916 1.30% 3,009 1.88% 4,380 2.6%
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 147 384 0.26% 892 0.56% 932 0.6%
Asian or Asian British: Chinese 1,089 2,026 1.38% 2,883 1.80% 4,127 2.5%
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 3,284 3,844 2.61% 13,043 8.15% 12,768 7.6%
Black or Black British: Total 1,296 0.97% 2,309 1.57% 4,021 2.51% 4,741 2.%
Black or Black British: African 478 1,406 0.95% 2,616 1.63% 3,105 1.8%
Black or Black British: Caribbean 507 772 0.52% 1,027 0.64% 1,081 0.6%
Black or Black British: Other Black 311 131 0.09% 378 0.24% 555 0.3%
Mixed or British Mixed: Total 3,357 2.28% 6,269 3.92% 8,996 5.3%
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 591 0.40% 1,238 0.77% 1,564 0.9%
Mixed: White and Black African 392 0.27% 700 0.44% 1,090 0.6%
Mixed: White and Asian 1,398 0.95% 2,500 1.56% 3,540 2.1%
Mixed: Other Mixed 976 0.66% 1,831 1.14% 2,802 1.7%
Other: Total 1,705 1.3% 3,723 2.53% 4,399 2.75% 9,559 5.7%
Other: Arab 2,439 1.52% 3,580 2.1%
Other: Any other ethnic group 1,705 1.3% 3,723 2.53% 1,960 1.22% 5,979 3.6%
Non-White: Total 2.1% 6,986 5.4% 11,448 8.62% 22,881 15.54% 40,841 25.52% 53,234 31.7%
Total 100% 129,695 100% 132,996 100% 147,273 100.00% 160,060 100.00% 168,065 100%

Modern Kingston

Surrey County Hall Clock Tower

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[according to whom?] 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.[citation needed]

Tourism in Kingston

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.[26] Lidl relocated its UK Headquarters to Kingston in 2020.[27]


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

Free schools:

Academy schools:

Grammar schools:

Independent Schools

Further education

Higher education


Kingston has nine South Western Railway stations and two centrally located bus stations, but no London Underground or other Transport for London 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:

Travel to work

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%.[28]

Coat of arms

Arms of the Former Municipal Boroughs of Malden and Coombe (top left) and Surbiton (top right), whose crests and supporters respectively were added to the Kingston's coat of arms in 1966 (bottom)

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.

In 1966 the newly created London Borough added a set crests and supporters taken from the localities merged into it. The crest came from the Municipal Borough of Malden and Coombe, with that borough's arms hung from the neck of the stag, and the supporters taken from Municipal Borough of Surbiton, with again its arms hanging from the stags' necks.[29]

International links

Although not officially 'twinned', The Royal Borough of Kingston has a partner city of Oldenburg in Germany and Gwanak-gu, an administrative subdivision of Seoul, in South Korea. Some road signs announce that Kingston is linked with Delft in the Netherlands but this official link has ended.[30]

Sport and leisure

The Borough of Kingston upon Thames has several football clubs in its area:


  1. ^ Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the Municipal Corporations in England and Wales: Reports from places in any district. 1834. p. 2892. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  2. ^ A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. London: Victoria County History. 1911. pp. 487–501. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  3. ^ Municipal Corporations Act. 1835. p. 460. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  4. ^ "Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames". The Times. 27 October 1927. p. 14.
  5. ^ "Surbiton Improvement Act 1855". The National Archives. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  6. ^ "No. 23195". The London Gazette. 7 December 1866. p. 6834.
  7. ^ "Local Government Act 1894",, The National Archives, 1894 c. 73, retrieved 21 April 2024
  8. ^ "Malden and Coombe Urban District / Municipal Borough". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  9. ^ "Surbiton Urban District / Municipal Borough". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  10. ^ Youngs, Frederic (1979). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England. Vol. I: Southern England. London: Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0-901050-67-9.
  11. ^ "Contact us". Kingston Council. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  12. ^ "Zac Goldsmith MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Zac Goldsmith quits as MP over 'doomed' Heathrow expansion decision". The Guardian. 26 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  14. ^ "GE2017 – Constituency results". Britain Elects (Google Docs). Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  15. ^ "Richmond Park parliamentary constituency - Election 2019 - BBC News" – via
  16. ^ "James Berry". UK Parliament. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  17. ^ "Kingston & Surbiton parliamentary constituency – Election 2017". BBC News. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Kingston & Surbiton". BBC News. Archived from the original on 25 September 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Kingston: Total Population". A Vision of Britain Through Time. Great Britain Historical GIS Project. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  20. ^ "Migration and London's growth" (PDF). LSE.
  21. ^ "Ethnic minorities in Britain: statistical information on the pattern of settlement". Commission for Racial Equality: Table 2.2. 1985.
  22. ^ "1991 census – theme tables". NOMIS. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  23. ^ "KS006 – Ethnic group". NOMIS. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  24. ^ "Ethnic Group by measures". NOMIS. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  25. ^ "Ethnic group - Office for National Statistics". Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  26. ^ Contacts Sega Amusements Europe
  27. ^ Thames, The Royal Borough of Kingston upon. "Lidl to move UK headquarters to Tolworth following £10m deal with Kingston Council". Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  28. ^ "2011 Census: QS701EW Method of travel to work, local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 November 2013. Percentages are of all residents aged 16–74 including those not in employment. Respondents could only pick one mode, specified as the journey’s longest part by distance.
  29. ^ "Kingston-upon-Thames - Coat of arms (crest) of Kingston-upon-Thames". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  30. ^ International Relations – European and International Partnerships Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames

51°23′N 0°17′W / 51.39°N 0.28°W / 51.39; -0.28