Kew has been since 1965 a suburban district in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north-east of Richmond and 7.1 miles (11.4 km) west by south-west of Charing Cross (a point considered to be the centre of London from which distances are measured). Its population at the 2011 UK Census was 11,436.
In 1892 Kew was added to the Municipal Borough of Richmond which had been formed two years earlier. In 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, the boundaries of Greater London were expanded to include Richmond and Kew which transferred to the new London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.
Kew is the location of the Royal Botanic Gardens ("Kew Gardens"), which includes Kew Palace. Kew is also the home of The National Archives (TNA) which houses important historical documents such as the Domesday Book and the original census documents for the decennial censuses of 1841 through 1911. Indexes for birth, marriage and death registrations are also here.
Successive Tudor, Stuart and Georgian monarchs maintained links with Kew. During the French Revolution, many refugees established themselves there and it was the home of several artists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Since 1965 Kew has incorporated the former area of North Sheen which includes St Philip and All Saints, the first barn church consecrated in England. The church is now in a combined Church of England ecclesiastical parish with St Luke's Church, Kew.
Most of Kew developed in the late 19th century, following the arrival of the District Line of the Underground. Further development took place in the 1920s and 1930s when new houses were built on the market gardens of North Sheen and in the first decade of the 21st century when considerably more river-fronting flats and houses were constructed by the Thames.