Kensal Green or Kensal Rise has been, since 1965, an area of Greater London, England. It is located on the southern edge of the London Borough of Brent and the southern area of Kensal Green (the cemetery) is part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The remainder of its southern border is the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and the City of Westminster is on the east.
Originally part of one of the ten manors within the district of Willesden, Kensal Green is first mentioned in 1253, translating from old English meaning the King’s Holt (King’s Wood). Its location marked the boundary between Willesden and the then Chelsea & Paddington, on which it remains today. It formed part of one of ten manors, most likely Chamberlayne Wood Manor, named after Canon Richard de Camera (of the Chambers).
In the 15th century the then Archbishop of Canterbury Henry Chichele (1414–1443), acquired lands in Willesden and Kingsbury. In 1443 he found All Souls' College, Oxford and endowed it with the same lands in his will. Resultantly, most of Willesden and Kensal Green remained largely agricultural until the mid-1800s, well into the Victorian era.
In 1805, the construction of the Grand Junction Canal passed through the district to join the Regent's Canal at Paddington. As the combined Grand Union Canal, this allowed passage of commercial freight traffic from the Midlands to London Docks, and hence onwards to the River Thames.
There were two dairy farms in Kensal Green by the early 1800s, which expanded greatly after the 1864 Act of Parliament which made it illegal to keep cattle within the City of London. Although by the late 1800s residential development had greatly reduced the farmland, still in the 1890s many sheep and pigs were raised in the district. One of the farms later became a United Dairies creamery, supplied by milk trains from Mitre Bridge Junction.
In 1832 Kensal Green Cemetery was opened. This led to a revaluation of the surrounding lands, and in 1835 ecclesiastical commissioners were appointed by the Crown, who reported in 1846 that: "the larger portion of the Prebendal Estates possess, in our opinion, a value far beyond their present agricultural value."
With enough people living locally to create a new parish, in 1844 St. John the Evangelist Church in Kilburn Lane was consecrated. The 1851 census records just over 800 people living in the new parish. In the 1860s, Kensal Green manor house, situated where Wakeman Road joins Harrow Road, was demolished. Rapid increase in residential development followed, firstly with land west of Kilburn High Road, followed by the sale of Banister's Farm leading to the development of Bannister Road and Mortimer Road.
The rapid residential development led to local commissioners reporting in 1880 that there was inadequate drainage and sewerage facilities, with most houses having only improved access to what were the old agricultural drains. In that same year, All Souls' College started to develop its lands north west of Kilburn Lane, including All Souls' Avenue and College Road, with adjacent roads being named after leading Fellows of the college, and the installation of new sewerage facilities across the district. The college donated lands on which to build Kensal Rise Reading Room, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, in 1897. Opened by United States author Mark Twain in 1901, it was later extended and renamed Kensal Rise Library.
The construction of the Great Western Railway started in 1835, with the first of line, from Paddington station to Maidenhead Bridge station, opened on 4 June 1838. In 1901, its major carriage washing and servicing facilities and locomotive depot were developed at Old Oak Common, bringing further employment and more immigrants to the district. The first major immigrant population had been Irish people post the Potato famine, and then post World War I. In World War II, due to the railway facilities, the district suffered greatly from German Luftwaffe bombing.
After the war, the area became a refuge for the first Afro-Caribbean born contingent. In the 1960s the College disposed of many freeholds, while retaining land in Willesden. This led to a growth in crime in the district, a reputation that led author John Preston to note:
Since the 1980s, the Irish-born community has reduced in size, although the legacy of their presence remains, not least in the number of Irish pubs and organisations and the many thousands with Irish ancestry that continue to populate the area.
According to statistics from the 2001 census, the area has a very high proportion of young residents (28.4% 25–44 years old) and a very high educational level (30.7% hold a first degree or better).
College Park is a small area located in the north of the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London and is near both Kensal Green station and Willesden Junction station. It borders the London Borough of Brent to the north and the [[Place:Kensington and Chelsea (London Borough), Greater London, England|Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to the east. It is part of the modern College Park & Old Oak ward.
The land on which College Park stands originally belonged to All Souls' College, Oxford. This explains the etymology of many local place names (e.g. All Souls' Avenue, College Road, All Souls Cemetery). All Souls' College owned the vast majority of land in "old Kensal Green", extending northwards in two prongs towards Willesden Green and Harlesden Green.
Small-scale development of Kensal started with the opening of the Paddington Arm of the Grand Junction Canal (later Grand Union Canal) in 1801. Goods barges carrying coal and iron were towed through the village and a brick works opened. Further housing development was linked to the building of the first of London's grand cemeteries, All Souls' Cemetery (also known as Kensal Green Cemetery) built in 1832 by the General Cemetery Company in Kensal Green to provide a large burial ground for London.
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