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Kensington & Chelsea

A prosperous district yielding to the greater cachets of Chelsea, Knightsbridge and South Kensington, centred on Brompton Road, which runs south-westward from Knightsbridge tube station. There was a heathland village here in medieval times and ‘Broom Farm’ was first recorded in 1294. The marshy ground was drained in the sixteenth century and converted to fruit gardens. The Brompton Park nursery was established in 1681, on land where the Victoria and Albert museum now stands; it has given its name to the Brompton stock, a large, usually red, biennial variety. During Victoria’s reign, Brompton became a fashionable district in which to live and an estate was laid out with the inelegant name of Bromptonville, which thankfully has not stuck. A reputation for healthy air attracted a number of private hospices, including Brompton hospital, now converted into one of the most expensive addresses in London.

In 1868 the Metropolitan Railway opened Brompton (Gloucester Road) station, but after the Piccadilly Line arrived in 1906 Brompton’s name was dropped. There was also a Brompton Road station on the Piccadilly Line, between Knightsbridge and South Kensington, from 1906 to 1934.

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Brompton Oratory is one of London's trendiest places of worship

Postal districts: SW1 and SW3
Population: 9,313
Station: District, Circle and Piccadilly Lines (Gloucester Road, zone 1)
Further reading: Richard Tames, Earls Court and Brompton Past, Phillimore, 2000
and Hermione Hobhouse (editor), Survey of London, Volume 41: Southern Kensington: Brompton, Athlone Press, 1983

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

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