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Photograph of newly constructed station without the arcade and surrounded stores

High Street Kensington Station in 1867 - 19th Century

The first station on Kensington High Street, shortly after its construction in 1867. The platform and tracks were covered by a massive iron and glass roof.

Even more amazing than the appearance of the station is the identity of the previous occupant of the site. William Cobbett, the radical reformer, owned a seed farm on this land. In a shed at the rear he published a newspaper The Political Register, in which he pressed for electoral reform. In 1821 he set off on horse back for a tour of England. Returning to the farm he wrote up his observations. The material was very controversial and critical of the government. He was eventually imprisoned for sedition. Adjoining the farm was Tucker's Candle factory and one of the most notorious slums in London, Market Court.

The station was demolished in 1906 and rebuilt complete with a shopping arcade. The department stores quickly moved to occupy the vacant frontage. It could be said that this event transformed the High Street from a prosperous suburban centre into one of the major shopping streets in London.

Copyright: the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Libraries (RBKC Libraries)
Location of original: LS vf class 385.643

Virtual Museum – The History of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
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