The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames is a borough in southwest London, England. The main town is Kingston upon Thames and it includes Surbiton, Chessington, New Malden, Tolworth and part of Worcester Park. 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.
Districts in the boroughEdit
- Kingston upon Thames
- Kingston Vale
- Malden Rushett
- Motspur Park
- New Malden
- Old Malden
- Seething Wells
Adjacent local government districtsEdit
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:
- Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great), 900AD
- Athelstan, 925AD
- Edmund I, 939AD
- Eadred, 946AD
- Eadwig, 956AD
- Edward the Martyr, 975AD
- Ethelred the Unready, 979AD
The borough was formed in 1965 by the merger and the transfer from Surrey to Greater London of the Municipal boroughs of Kingston-upon-Thames (which itself was a Royal Borough), Malden and Coombe and Surbiton.
The current name of the borough omits hyphens to distinguish it from the similarly named former municipal borough.
Kingston, administratively part of Greater London, contains County Hall, the seat of Surrey County Council, and except for the Kingston Vale area in the north-east which has a London SW15 postcode, was part of Surrey for postal purposes until postal counties were abolished in 1996.
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.
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.
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 1994 the Liberal Democrats took the Council for the first time.
In 1998 the Liberal Democrats lost their majority on the Council and a minority Conservative Party administration was formed. This minority administration was weakened in 1999 by the expulsion of Tim Brown for expressing concerns about the leadership of the local Kingston & Surbiton Conservative Association. In 2001 St. Mark's ward Councillors Dennis de Lord and Jan Jenner resigned in protest at hypocrisy within the Conservative group on the Council. With Tim Brown they formed a new Independent Group of Councillors with Dennis de Lord as leader and Tim Brown as deputy leader, to put People Before Politics. This was the first time that four parties were represented on the council and the Mayor of Kingston Jeremy Thorn officially opened the new Independent Group's office at the Guildhall. The group did not stand for re-election following the continuing ill-health of Dennis de Lord.
At the 2002 elections, the Liberal Democrats took control of the Council with a majority of twelve seats and they retained control in 2006 with a majority of two. This was the first time any party had retained control of the Council since 1986. The only neighbourhood where the Liberal Democrats increased their majority was Surbiton, where they took control of Berrylands ward, ousting Kevin Davis the leader of the Conservative Group on the Council. Kevin Davis was subsequently replaced as the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Kingston & Surbiton by Helen Whately.
In 2007 Sheila Griffin, one of the two Labour Councillors, resigned the Labour whip and became an Independent.
In the 2010 local elections, the Liberal Democrats increased their majority from two to six seats, and retained control of the Council for a third term. Councillors unseated included the veteran Steve Mama (Labour), Kingston's longest serving Councillor; the Conservative election campaign co-ordinator Nick Kilby from his previously safe Surbiton Hill ward; and Paul Johnston, the former local Conservative Association chairman and trustee.
In 2011, Councillor Tim Dennen resigned from the Liberal Democrat group to sit as an independent member.
The current composition of the Council is:
- Liberal Democrats 25
- Conservatives 22
- Independent 1
Modern day 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.
Close to Kingston, and located between Kingston, Richmond and Roehampton, is Richmond Park, one of the oldest of London's royal parks.
Tourism in KingstonEdit
Kingston has many attractions in and near it, ranging from nature attractions and historical attractions to theme parks.
Some of the borough's attractions are:
- Chessington World of Adventures Resort in the south of the borough. The closest railway station is Chessington South. Chessington is one of the UK's premier theme parks attracting thousands of visitors from all around the UK to its rides, roller coasters, aquarium and zoo
- Thames Riverside - Flowing beside Kingston and Surbiton. The River Thames gives visitors a peaceful getaway either feeding the swans or enjoying a cup of coffee next the river. Closest railway stations are Surbiton or Kingston plus moderate walks
- Coronation Stone - Situated outside The Guildhall in Kingston, this ancient rock was the crowning point of some of England's early kings and is what gives Kingston its name
- Richmond Park - One of the world's largest urban parks, three times the size of Central Park in New York City. Richmond Park's Kingston Gate is situated within the borough's boundary. Full of nature and deer, its a peaceful walk away from the city
- Kingston Town Centre - One of London's biggest shopping destinations, with hundreds of shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as a large entertainment complex consisting of Pizza Express and other restaurants, Odeon Cinema and Tenpin Bowling. Also in the town centre is a historic market which has been running for hundreds of years
- Hampton Court Palace and Palace Grounds - The home of King Henry VIII, the magnificent palace is situated in Hampton Court just a short drive from Kingston
- Rose Theatre
- Bentall Centre (a shopping mall)
Kingston & Surbiton's Thames RiversideEdit
Kingston has almost three miles of one of the most attractive stretches of the River Thames. The attractions, on and off the water, remain undiminished. There are pubs and restaurants along the riverside, boat trips during the summer months and a wide variety of craft for hire. Charter Quay has further enhanced the River Thames area. There are walks and cycle routes to Hampton Court, Teddington and Richmond along some of the most picturesque stretches of the Thames. There are also walks along the Hogsmill river, a tributary of the Thames, which is by the stone Clattern Bridge. North of Kingston Bridge is Canbury Gardens, a leafy spacious park providing something for everyone. The wide riverside pathway ensures a pleasant walk and there are facilities for the more energetic. The gardens are thriving with wildlife and have become a popular spot for fishing, picnicking and feeding the ducks and swans.
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.
Kingston is one of five London Boroughs which have no London Underground station. It has no current connections with London Overground that serves Richmond next door to the borough or London Tramlink that serves Wimbledon on the neighbouring brough of Merton. It has nine National Rail stations and two centrally located bus stations. In 2008, 64 bus routes served Kingston.
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.
Railway stations in the borough:
- Berrylands, London Zone 5
- Chessington North, London Zone 6
- Chessington South, London Zone 6
- Kingston, London Zone 6
- Malden Manor, London Zone 4
- New Malden, London Zone 4
- Norbiton, London Zone 5
- Surbiton, London Zone 6
- Tolworth, London Zone 6
Travel to workEdit
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%.
Coat of armsEdit
The Kingston coat of arms is almost identical to the coat of arms of the Swedish historical province (landskap) of Ångermanland. Both coats of arms can be traced back to the 16th century. The arms of the Swedish municipality of Laholm is very nearly identical. The arms of the Norwegian town of Mandal is also similar, but more recent.
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.
Sport and leisureEdit
The Borough of Kingston upon Thames has several football clubs in its area:
- AFC Wimbledon who play at the Kingsmeadow Stadium in League Two
- Kingstonian a Non-League football club who play at the Kingsmeadow Stadium
- Corinthian Casuals a Non-League football club who play at King George's Field
- Chessington & Hook United a Non-League football club who play at Chalky Lane
- Epsom Athletic a Non-League football club who play at Chalky Lane
- ^ Data Management and Analysis Group, Greater London Authority, Demography Update October 2007, (2007)
- ^ Barnes, Tom (12 May 2012). "Kingston councillor speaks out over party split". Surrey Comet. http://www.surreycomet.co.uk/news/9702309.Councillor_speaks_out_over_party_split/. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- ^ Contacts Sega Amusements Europe
- ^ "2011 Census: QS701EW Method of travel to work, local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census/key-statistics-and-quick-statistics-for-wards-and-output-areas-in-england-and-wales/rft-qs701ew.xls. 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.
- ^ International Relations - European and International Partnerships Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
- Kingston upon Thames Council
- Kingston Libraries Twitter
- Kingston upon Thames Society
- Freecycle Kingston - "Community re-use and recycling in action"
- Kingston and Surbiton Conservative Association
- Kingston Green Party
- Kingston and Surbiton Constituency Labour Party
- Kingston Borough Liberal Democrats
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