A Kingston Walk

Route & what to see


A walk looking at the historic aspects of Kingston. The route suggested starts from Hampton Court Station and begins with a 3 mile riverside walk to Kingston Bridge. Alternatively this can be reached from Kingston Station giving a shorter circular walk although the section to the bridge does not have much of interest.

Cross the road and go right along Wood Street. Bear left around Bentalls then cross and walk along the right hand side of Horsefair, the road going under John Lewis. At the bridge go down the steps (signposted 'Royal Barge') to the riverwalk. Follow route detailed below.

Cross the bridge and go down to the riverwalk following this past the gardens of Hampton Court Palace
There are views of the Banqueting House then the Privy Gardens and east front of the palace through the Tijou Screen. Further along are Home Park Golf Course and the Wilderness.

Go up to and cross Kingston Bridge. Take the steps down to the riverwalk and go under the bridge.
Kingston had the first bridge above London. This wooden structure was replaced by the present bridge in the 1820s, widened in 1914. The location of the old bridge is marked by the cobbled remains of the approach road on the riverwalk. Visable in the basement of the nearby John Lewis building is a 600 year old undercroft from the Rose & Crown Inn found and preserved with the redevelopment.

Follow the John Lewis building around to the right (Vicarage Road). Cross Horsefair and go right into Wood Street
This frontage of Bentalls store was designed by Maurice Webb in 1935 and based on Hampton Court Palace. The adjoining building was rebuilt in 1990 and the Bentalls Centre, designed by BDP, opened in 1992. The John Lewis store opened in 1990 on a site cleared in 1937.

Cross Clarence Street to All Saints Church
There has been a church since Saxon times but the present Grade I listed building is part 14th & 15th century with Victorian restoration. The gates were presented to the East Surrey Regiment (once garrisoned in Kingston) in 1924.

Take the road alongside the church into Church Street
The building occupied by Monsoon was built as Kingston's first savings bank in 1819. Numbers 6 & 8 were once the Rose Tavern.

Go right into Market Place
The building occupied by Jack Wills had its 'Tudor' facades added in 1909 & 1929
[pix] but the corner premises next door date to 1570. The main structure of Bradford & Bingley Building Society building also dates to the 1570s. Neighbouring Millets was an elegant restaurant from 1901 to 1932 when the ground floor was converted into a shop. The riverside frontage will be seen later on the walk.

Continue around Market Place
The market was laid out around 1170 and has charters granted in 1208 and 1628. The Market House was built as the Guildhall in 1840 by Charles Henman and used as such until 1935. It was refurbished in 1995 and now houses Visitor Information. The gilded statue of Queen Anne of 1706 came from the previous building. The Rymans shop was the former Wheatsheaf Inn which closed in 1962. The statue of a lady holding an urn by Francis Williamson is a memorial to William Shrubsole, three times Mayor of Kingston who died in office in 1880. The Druid's Head is Kingston's oldest pub dating from the 17th century. The Griffin building was a former hostelry with assembly rooms converted into shops in 1986. Borders Bookshop replaced Hides Department Store but retains a Jacobean oak stair from the earlier Castle Inn of 1537.

Go through the Griffin Mall
This leads to the Hogsmill River with a view of the part 12th century Clattern (originally Clattering) Bridge

Walk alongside the river towards the Thames.
This area has been redeveloped as Charter Quay. A kiosk incorporates roof timbers from the former Castle Inn (see plaque). To the right is a view of the gazebos of the former Nuttalls Restaurant.

Cross the Hogsmill River to the left and continue along the riverwalk.
The Gardens of Queen's Promenade opened in 1856.

From the gardens return along the High Street.
The block which includes Pizza Express dates from around 1550 and is a rare survivor of an open-hall house. Further along on the left is Amari House, the home of Cesar Picton (see plaque). He had been sent from Senegal as a boy servant to Sir John Phillips. A family bequest of 200 enabled him to set himself up as a coal merchant. Kingston's theatre, based on the Rose Theatre in Southwark, opened in 2008. [

Cross the bridge and go into the Guildhall complex.
This replacement building by Maurice Webb was completed in 1935 and incorporates linenfold panelling from the old Tudor town hall. Victorian railings surround the Coronation Stone on which 7 Saxon kings are said to have been crowned in the tenth century.

Walk alongside the river and at Guildhall 2 (1981) go left through to St James Road going left along this road
At the top is a view of the United Reformed Church of 1855, reconstructed in 1977. On the corner is Eagle Chambers of 1879 built on a site previously used as a slaughterhouse and a cooperage.

Go left along Eden Street and right into Apple Market
The Market Bakery was originally the Harrow pub of 1530, converted to shops in 1913.

Go right through Crown Arcade and left into Union Street
The Baptist Church of 1864 replaces a building of 1790. The building occupied by Bonbon Patisserie was built in 1825 as the watch house. It later became a mortuary and was converted into a shop in 1939 with the upper storey added in the 1950s. Adjacent to this was an extension to the churchyard used 1826-1855. It was cleared in 1923 and landscaped as a Garden of Remembrance for servicemen of WWI.

Go right along Clarence Street
At the end of the pedestrianised section there is a view to the left of the former Kingston Empire of 1910 (now Wetherspoons) closed in 1955. Opposite Oceana occupies the former Granada Cinema of 1939 designed by George Cole. The Italian Renaissance interior by Theodore Komisarjevsky was saved by listing in 1989. To the right along Wheatfield Way is Kingston Library (1903) and the Museum (1904) both built with contributions from Andrew Carnegie.

Cross into Old London Road
There is an unusual sculpture of leaning telephone boxes called 'Out of Order' created by David Mach in 1989
[pix]. Opposite was Kingston's first police station built in 1864 and used until 1968 [pix]. Next door at number 24 are the historic premises of Fredrick W Paine - Undertakers. Mr Paine lived above the shop and their records date back to 1896 (useful for family historians). Further along the Oxfam shop, once the Three Coneys alehouse, was built around 1660 in local hand made bricks. On the left hand side are Cleave's Almshouses built in 1669 for 6 poor men and 6 poor women [pix]. Other dwellings were added and it still serves as almshouses. At the end of the road is the Lovekyn Chapel endowed in 1309 and rebuilt in 1350. It is now part of Kingston Grammar School, founded by Elizabeth I in 1561.

Go left along Queen Elizabeth Road and left into Hardman Road.
On the right are the premises of Kaleidoscope, a project working with marginalized people in conjunction with John Bunyan Baptist Church.
At the end is Bentalls Depository built by Maurice Webb in 1939 on the site of Austin's Jam Factory. It was saved from demolition and now houses leisure facilities including cinema screens.

Go left along Cromwell Road to the station

london-footprints.co.uk 2012

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