Discover the Blue Plaques of Kensington
It is no secret that the Royal Garden Hotel is located in a historic and fascinating part of London. You don’t need to wander far from the front door to discover some interesting sites, but Kensington has also been home to some colourful characters over the years. Here are a few of the blue plaques dedicated to the area’s most famous residents, which you can find on just a short stroll with your partner.
The founder of the Scout movement is commemorated with a blue plaque on the wall outside number 9 Hyde Park Gate. Robert Baden-Powell called upon his experience as an officer in the British Army to create the Scouts and later the Girls Guides, which was a joint venture with his sister Agnes.
Find the blue plaque for classical composer Benjamin Britten at 173 Cromwell Road. He lived at the address for just two short years, between 1931 and 1933, but Kensington is still proud to have had him amongst its inhabitants. As well as orchestral works, Britten wrote many operas, including Peter Grimes, Billy Budd and The Turn of the Screw.
Best known for the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, Howard Carter was an Egyptologist who lived at the red brick house at 19 Collingham Gardens. The tomb was by far the most intact to be found in Egypt and contained hundreds of treasures and a wealth of glittering gold.
Over the course of her life, Agatha Christie wrote no fewer than 66 detective novels and 14 collections of short stories. She dwelt at 58 Sheffield Terrace from 1934 up until 1941 and wrote both Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express while living there. In a mystery reminiscent of one of her books, she disappeared in 1926 but was found ten days later in Harrogate.
Britain’s wartime leader lived and died at 28 Hyde Park Gate. Winston Churchill has become an iconic figure, from his characteristic fat cigar to the famous two-fingered V-sign salute. The so-called “British Bulldog” was prime minister twice and served in parliament under six different monarchs.
One of the leading figures of London’s literary scene during its height in the 20th century was TS Eliot and it was in Kensington where he made his home. He lived at number 3 Kensington Court Garden from 1957 until his death in 1965. His most famous works, The Waste Land and The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, are still widely read to this day.
Few children’s books are more charming than the Wind in the Willows and its author, Kenneth Grahame, is another of Kensington’s residents from over the years. He could be found at 16 Phillimore Place between 1901 and 1908, where there is a blue plaque right next to the imposing front door to commemorate the author.
King Haakon VII
Kensington is known for its royal residents, but from 1940 to 1945 it was the King of Norway who may have been spotted in the district. King Haakon VII led his country’s government-in-exile from 10 Palace Green and wrote speeches here to be broadcast in his native land via the BBC World Service.
Image credit: ©English Heritage