Kingston upon Thames

Coordinates: 51.41027777777778°24′37″N 0.29944444444444446°17′58″W / 51.4103°N °W / 51.4103; -0.2995
Kingston upon Thames

Old Town Hall on Market Place
[[Image:|240px|Kingston upon Thames is located in ]]
Kingston upon Thames ()

 Kingston upon Thames shown within
OS grid reference TQ182693
    - Charing Cross   NE
Greater London
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town KINGSTON UPON THAMES
Postcode district KT1, KT2
Dialling code 020
Police
Fire
Ambulance
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Kingston and Surbiton
Richmond Park
London Assembly
List of places: UK • England •

Kingston upon Thames is the principal settlement of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames in southwest London. It was the ancient market town where Saxon kings were crowned and is now a suburb situated south west of Charing Cross. It is one of the major metropolitan centres identified in the London Plan.[1]

Toponymy

In 838 it was styled Kyningestun famosa illa locus. In Old English, tun, ton or don meant farmstead - so the name Kingston may have been thought to mean farmstead of the kings. Seven Saxon kings are traditionally said to have been crowned at Kingston, while seated on a large stone - The Coronation Stone - that stands outside the Guildhall. There is a local tradition that these Saxon coronations gave Kingston its name, but the records of the 838 council disprove this.[2] Kingston upon Thames appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Chingestone and Chingetun(e).

Economic development

For much of the 20th century, Kingston was a major military aircraft manufacturing centre specialising in fighter aircraft - first with Sopwith Aviation, H G Hawker Engineering, later Hawker Aircraft, Hawker Siddeley and eventually British Aerospace. The legendary Sopwith Camel, Hawker Fury, Hurricane, Hunter and Harrier were all designed and built in the town and examples of all of these aircraft can be seen today at nearby Brooklands Museum in Weybridge. Well known aviation personalities Sydney Camm, Harry Hawker and Tommy Sopwith were responsible for much of Kingston's achievements in aviation. British Aerospace finally closed its Lower Ham Road factory in 1992 part of the site was subsequently redeveloped for housing, the river side part of the site remains as a community centre and sports complex. The growth and development of Kingston Polytechnic and its transformation into Kingston University has made Kingston a university town.

Local government

Kingston upon Thames formed an ancient parish in the Kingston hundred of Surrey. The parish of Kingston upon Thames covered a large area including Hook, Kew, New Malden, Petersham, Richmond and Surbiton.[3]

The town of Kingston was granted a charter by King John in 1200, but the oldest one to survive is from 1208 and this document is housed in the town's archives. Other charters were issued by later kings, including Edward IV's charter that gave the town the status of a borough in 1481. The borough covered a much smaller area than the ancient parish, although as new parishes were split off the borough and parish eventually became identical in 1894. The borough was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, becoming the Municipal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. It had been known as a Royal borough through custom and the right to the title was confirmed by George V in 1927.[4] Kingston upon Thames has been the location of Surrey County Council since it moved from Newington in 1893.

In 1965 the local government of Greater London was reorganised and the municipal borough was abolished. Its former area was merged with that of the Municipal Borough of Surbiton and the Municipal Borough of Malden and Coombe, to form the London Borough of Kingston upon Thames. At the request of Kingston upon Thames London Borough Council another Royal Charter was granted by Queen Elizabeth II entitling it to continue using the title "Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames" for the new borough.