The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames is a borough in south-west London, England. The main town in the borough is Kingston upon Thames, but it covers a wider area also including places such as Surbiton, Chessington, New Malden and Tolworth. It is one of only three London Boroughs to be designated a "Royal Borough", the others being the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Royal Borough of Greenwich
Districts in the Royal Borough Edit
Areas included in the borough:
- Coombe, Kingston upon Thames
- Kingston upon Thames
- Kingston Vale
- Malden Rushett
- Motspur Park
- New Malden
- Old Malden
The main town in the borough, Kingston upon Thames, has existed on the banks of the River Thames for many hundreds, if not thousands of years. Many Roman relics have also been found in the surrounding areas.
All Saints Church, at the centre of Kingston, has been the site of a church for over 1,000 years, its predecessors being sacked by the Vikings in 1009AD. It is one of the most important historic sites on the River Thames, alongside the Tower of London, the Palaces of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court, Runnymede and Windsor Castle.
Kingston still has a monument, the Coronation Stone, on which the monarchs were said to have actually been crowned. A coin from the reign of each of the monarchs listed is set into the base of the stone, which now stands outside the local council offices, the Guildhall.
Sopwith Aviation Company had a factory in the Canbury Park area of Kingston, where the famous Sopwith Camel was produced during World War I. The Hawker Hurricane was designed upon a site in Kingston town centre and built in the aviation factory near Ham now known as the Hawker Centre
The current borough was formed in 1965 as a merger of the previous Municipal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames (which had the title of a Royal Borough) with the Municipal Borough of Malden and Coombe and the Municipal Borough of Surbiton which were transferred from Surrey to Greater London. It contains all of the Kingston and Surbiton Westminster Parliamentary Constituency and part of the Richmond Park Constituency. There is also a lot of dispute as Kingston is incorrectly perceived to be Surrey yet it's a part of Greater London.
Note: Since the formation of the new borough in 1965 the hyphens have been omitted from the name to distinguish it from the former Municipal borough of the same name.
The Borough Council was controlled by the Conservatve Party from 1965 until 1986, when a SDP-Liberal Alliance minority administration briefly took control at the Guildhall. This administration was shortlived, foundering amid controversy over its attempt to abolish the Borough's Grammar School system. After a number of by-election losses, the Conservatives regained control of the Council in 1987. In 1990, there was no overall control by any party at the subsequent Borough elections. The Conservatives retained control on the casting vote of the Mayor.
In 1994 the Liberal Democrats gained majority control of the Council for the first time and in 1997, gained both Parliamentary seats that cover the borough. With Dr Jenny Tonge gaining Richmond Park constituency and Edward Davey overturned a Conservative majority estimated at well over 10,000 in Kingston and Surbiton with the slimmest of majorities at only 56 votes, after 3 recounts. Edward Davey retained his seat in the 2001 turning the majority of 56 into a massive majority of 15,676 after the Conservatives fielded the controversial David Shaw and 2005 elections with a majority of over 8,961 at the last election. Susan Kramer, since the 2005 election, is the Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park, having a majority of 3,731.
In 1998 the Liberal Democrats lost their majority on the Council and a minority Conservative Party administration was formed. This minority administration was further reduced in 1999 by the expulsion of Tim Brown after he expressed concerns about the leadership of the local Kingston & Surbiton Conservative Association. In 2001, St. Mark's Councillors Dennis de Lord and Jan Jenner also resigned as a stand against hypocrisy within the Conservative Group on the Council and together with Tim Brown formed a new Independent Group of Councillors with Dennis de Lord as leader and Tim Brown as deputy leader. This being the first time in Kingston's history that four parties were represented on the council, the Mayor of Kingston Jeremy Thorn officially opened the new Independent's Group office at the Guildhall. The Independent Group did not stand for re-election following the continuing ill-health of Dennis de Lord.
At the 2002 elections, the Liberal Democrats took control of the Council with a majority of 12 and retained control of the Council in 2006 with a reduced majority of 2. This is the first time any party has retained control of the Council since 1986. The only Neighbourhood committee to see the Liberal Democrats increase their majority was in Surbiton where the Lib Dems took control of the previously Conservative-held ward of Berrylands after ousting Kevin Davis, the leader of the Conservative Group on the Council. Kevin Davis was subsequently replaced as the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Kingston & Surbiton by Helen Whately.
Kingston Council's political landscape continues to be fluid. In 2007 Shelia Griffin, one of the two Labour Councillors, resigned the Labour whip and became an Independent.
Modern Kingston Edit
Modern day Kingston benefits from one of the best shopping areas outside of central London, with a varied selection of high street stores, and a large number of independent boutiques and retailers.
The most famous shop in Kingston is Bentalls, started by Frank Bentall in 1867 in Clarence Stree], where it (or at least the completely rebuilt) Bentalls Centre stands to this day.
Close to Kingston, and located between Kingston, Richmond and Roehampton, is Richmond Park, one of the old Royal parks.
The Borough is home to the highest number of South Koreans outside of Korea in the world, in the town of New Malden.
Although Kingston has been within Greater London since 1965 Surrey County Council is still based at County Hall within the town.
Primary responsibility for education in the borough lies with the local education authority.
Primary schools, (N) indicates with Nursery classes. (CE) indicates Church of England, and RC indicates Roman Catholic.
- Alexandra Infant (N)
- Burlington Infant (N)
- Burlington Junior
- Castle Hill Primary School (N)
- Christ Church New Malden CE
- Christ Church CE
- Coombe Hill Infant
- Coombe Hill Junior
- Corpus Christi RC (N)
- Ellingham Primary (N)
- Fern Hill Primary (N)
- Grand Avenue Primary (N)
- Green Lane Primary (N)
- King Athelstan Primary (N)
- Knollmead Primary (N)
- Latchmere School (N)
- Lovelace Primary (N)
- Malden Manor Primary (N)
- Malden Parochial CE (N)
- Maple Infant (N)
- Our Lady Immaculate RC
- The Mount Primary (N)
- Robin Hood Primary (N)
- St Agatha's RC (N)
- St Andrew's and St Mark's CE
- St John's CE (N)
- St Joseph's RC (N)
- St Luke's CE (N)
- St Mary's CE (N)
- St Mathew's CE (N)
- St Paul's CE Primary
- St Paul's CE Junior
- Tolworth Infant (N)
- Tolworth Junior
- Chessington Community College (Mixed)
- Coombe Girls' School
- Southborough High School (Boys)
- Tiffin Girls' School
- Tolworth Girls' School & Centre for Continuing Education
- Coombe Boys' School (formerly Beverley Boys School)
- Hollyfield School and Sixth Form Centre (Mixed)
- The Holy Cross School (Girls) (RC)
- Richard Challoner School (Boys) (RC)
- Tiffin School (Boys)
- Canbury School
- Kingston Grammar School
- Surbiton High School
MaryMount international School
Higher Education Edit
Kingston is one of only five London Boroughs not to have at least one London Underground station within its boundaries, although it does have a number of mainline rail stations. As well as this Kingston also benefits from its central bus station situated beside its large and thriving shopping centre. There are 64 buses currently(2008) running to and from Kingston.
When the London and Southampton Railway built the line to Southampton, the railway bypassed Kingston due to concerns that it would impact the town's coaching trade. A station was built to the southwest of the town, but later it was resited 400m west to its present site at Surbiton. Today, Surbiton is the busiest railway station in the borough.
Later, a branch was built towards Shepperton and a more centrally located station was built at Kingston, as well as another at Norbiton. The remaining stations in the borough were built on the Chessington Branch which was not built until the 1930s.
Railway stations in the borough:
- Surbiton Station
- Kingston Station
- Norbiton Station
- New Malden Station
- Surbiton Station
- Malden Manor Station
- Tolworth Station
- Chessington North Station
- Chessington South Station
The Kingston coat of arms is almost identical to the coat of arms of the Swedish historical province (landskap) of Ångermanland. Both coats of arms can by the way be traced back to the 16th century.
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