History of Kew

Kew's position on a bend in the Thames has always made it a popular place for people to settle and live. It is thought that Kew first became a significant place as early as the Roman age although this is based on the fact that this would be a likely settlement area rather than on specific evidence. The first real evidence here came in the early 1300s and by the late 1400s Kew was listed as being a big enough settlement to have to pay taxes.

During much of Kew's early years the nearby location of Richmond was better known which had a knock on effect on Kew itself as Richmond expanded. The Royal Palace that was built at Richmond by Henry VII, for example, made the area as a whole popular and busy from a commercial sense. This was the court's summer palace which made the area as a whole a political hub in London.

As time progressed more and more people began to move out of the centre of London as it became more populated. Kew became a popular location for the nobility who built some impressive Georgian and Stuart houses some of which still stand and who could use the Thames to easily access the centre of London as need be.

Kew Palace which was built in the 1630s for a London merchant and which was then used as a family home by George III also helped put Kew back on the map again. The development of Kew Gardens also helped here. Based on the private gardens of Lord Capel of Tewkesbury Kew Gardens were developed by Princess Augusta, the wife of Frederick who was the Prince of Wales at the time. Development on the gardens continued over the years on an intermittent basis until the 1800s when they were declared national botanical gardens. They have continued to grow and improve ever since.

Nowadays Kew is one of the most popular places to live in London. It retains a charming village feel with its village green and access to the Thames but is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the capital.