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By 1744 Chelsea village had become a small town built along the river with nurseries and market gardens in the hinterland. About this time industry began to develop along the western reaches of the riverside. The most important of which was fine porcelain manufacture, in particular the world renowned Chelsea Porcelain. In 1801 the first national census was taken. Fortunately the Chelsea Population Book has survived and 11,604 inhabitants are listed.
The arrival of King William and Queen Mary in Kensington in 1689 had a similar impact on population growth. Courtiers needed houses close to the Palace and shopkeepers and artisans also arrived to cater for their needs. Kensington’s population was less than Chelsea’s with 8556 inhabitants living in 1,314 houses; but this was soon to change.
Davies’s Map of the Environs of London published in 1841 shows the area as it was before the building boom changed the landscape forever. Although farms and nurseries are the most common feature, rows of terraced housing now follow all the main east west roads. Small clusters of houses can be seen in Earl’s Court, West Chelsea and Notting Dale where local industries such as candle making and brick making were being established.
1801 Chelsea Population Book
Kensington section of the map, Environs of London by Davies, 1841