Place:Kenley, Surrey, England

Coordinates51.3242°N 0.0969°W
Located inSurrey, England     ( - 1965)
See alsoCroydon (London Borough), Greater London, EnglandLondon borough covering the area since 1965
Coulsdon, Surrey, Englandcivil parish in which it was located
Coulsdon and Purley, Surrey, Englandurban district in which it was situated 1915-1965
source: Family History Library Catalog
the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Kenley has been an area in the south of the London Borough of Croydon since 1965. Before 1965 it was located in Surrey. It borders Purley, Coulsdon, Riddlesdown (redirected to Coulsdon), Caterham and Whyteleafe. Kenley is situated 13 miles south of Charing Cross (a basis for measuring distances in the centre of London). The 2011 census showed Kenley having a population of 14,966.

Significant portions of Kenley lie within the Metropolitan Green Belt. In particular, the south of Kenley is dominated by the open green spaces of Kenley Common and Kenley Aerodrome whose active phase commenced in 1917, and ceased in 1959 when RAF Fighter Command left the aerodrome. (See RAF Kenley in Wikipedia.)


the following text is based is a condensation of a section in Wikipedia

Suburban development

For centuries, Kenley was part of Coulsdon Manor which covered the whole area now known as Coulsdon, Old Coulsdon, Purley and Kenley. As with most of this area, Kenley was primarily farm land, with a few big houses and their estates.

The official opening of the railway on 4 August 1856 transformed Kenley. The new railway prompted urban development. By the end of the Victorian era, Kenley had assumed its own identity. Magnificent gentlemen's houses in substantial grounds were constructed during the 1860s. These houses gave Kenley its distinctive appearance on its western hillside. More modest housing and shops were built along the Godstone Road in the 1880s. Finally, the compact housing of the lower lying Roke area was constructed toward the end of the 19th century.

All Saints Church, now a Grade II listed building, was built in 1870, and enlarged in 1897 and 1902. In 1888, Kenley was created as an ecclesiastical parish in its own right.

The Memorial Hall was opened in 1922 to commemorate those who gave their lives in World War I. It was subsequently extended and re-opened by Group Captain Douglas Bader in 1975.

Kenley was part of the Coulsdon civil parish and of Coulsdon and Purley Urban District from 1915 until 1965. It has been part of Croydon in Greater London since 1965.

World War II

RAF Kenley was a strategic airfield in the Battle of Britain. Given RAF Kenley's importance, the Luftwaffe attempted to destroy it by means of a massive bombing raid on 18 August 1940. The attacking Luftwaffe aircraft suffered heavy casualties during the raid. Despite some damage to the airfield and the surrounding buildings and homes, this bombing raid proved unsuccessful. By the following day, RAF Kenley was operational again.

Hammond Innes' book Attack Alarm was based on his experiences as a Royal Artillery anti-aircraft gunner at RAF Kenley during the Battle of Britain. It contains graphic descriptions of the station and attacks on it in 1940.

Surrey Research Tips

Part of a list taken from GENUKI

Archives and Libraries


Surrey Cemeteries & Crematoriums

Church Records

Civil Registration

  • Registration Districts in Surrey for the period 1837 to the present. By drilling down through the links you can follow any parish through the registration districts to which it was attached.


Administrative boundaries of the county of Surrey (Surrey History Centre)




Greater London Research Tips

  • See under "London" and also under "Middlesex", "Surrey" and "Kent" for key information about Greater London's jurisdictions and records, plus links to indexes, reference aids and Family History Library holdings.
  • The London Metropolitan Archives (40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB) holds records relating to the whole of Greater London. Ancestry (subscription necessary) has produced transcriptions and provides images of lists of baptisms, marriages, and burials in churches across Greater London. These lists start in 1813 and stretch into the 20th century.
  • GENUKI has a long list of websites and archive holders in addition to London Metropolitan Archives above. (The list from GENUKI is not maintained so well that there is never a dead link in it. However, it is often worth googling the title given on the page just in case the contributor has reorganized their website.)
  • GENUKI also has a list of the Archives and Local Studies Libraries for each of the boroughs of Greater London.
  • The London Encyclopaedia by Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert. An e-book available online through Google, originally published by Pan Macmillan. There is a search box in the left-hand pane.
  • London Lives. A very useful free website for anyone researching their London ancestors between the years 1690-1800. This is a fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.
  • London Ancestor, a website belonging to one of the London family history societies, has a list of transcriptions of directories from the 18th century, listing in one case "all the squares, streets, lanes, courts, yards, alleys, &C. in and about Five Miles of the Metropolis..." In other parts of the same website are maps of various parts of 19th century London and Middlesex.
  • The proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's central criminal court, 1674-1913. A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. This website is free to use.
  • Registration Districts in London, Registration Districts in Middlesex, Registration Districts in Surrey, Registration Districts in Kent, are lists of the registration districts used for civil registration (births, marriages and deaths, as well as the censuses). There are linked supporting lists of the parishes which made up each registration district, the dates of formation and abolition of the districts, the General Register Office numbers, and the local archive-holding place. This work has been carried out by Brett Langston under the agency of GENUKI (Genealogy United Kingdom and Ireland) and UKBMD - Births, Marriages, Deaths & Censuses on the Internet.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Kenley. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
[[Category:Croydon (London Borough), Greater London, England]