Page 14: The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

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In 1963 London local government boundaries were redrawn. Thirty two new London boroughs were created, many formed by amalgamating the old metropolitan boroughs. The intention was to create boroughs large enough to be efficient but also accessible and accountable with a strong sense of local identity. Kensington and Chelsea were two such boroughs. The residents of Chelsea fought a long and hard battle against amalgamation but in 1965 The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was created. HRH Queen Elizabeth II conferred, by Letters Patent dated 7 April 1964, the Royal title on the new borough in recognition of both Councils’ historic royal connections.

By the 1970s it became apparent that the old Town Hall on Kensington High Street was too small with many Council departments scattered around the borough. It was felt that a new and larger Town Hall with centralised services would increase efficiency. Sir Basil Spence was commissioned to design a new building. Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall was opened on 31 May 1977.

Since then the administration of the Council has undergone several changes. In July 2001 a new Leader and Cabinet system of government was adopted to replace the old Committee structure. The Greater London Authority has been established reclaiming some strategic responsibilities.


Council meeting in Chelsea Town Hall

Chelsea Borough Council meeting in February, 1965
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Watercolour of present Town Hall

Watercolour of Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall by the architect Sir Basil Spence
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Virtual Museum – The History of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
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