Knightsbridge, SW1X

Road in/near Knightsbridge, existing until now

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Road · Knightsbridge · SW1X ·
JANUARY
5
2017

Knightsbridge is a main thoroughfare running along the south side of Hyde Park.

G.E. Mitton writes in ’The Fascination of Kensington’ (1902):

The derivation of this word has been much disputed. Many old writers, including Faulkner, have identified it with Kingsbridge—that is to say, the bridge over the Westbourne in the King’s high-road. The Westbourne formed the boundary of Chelsea, and flowed across the road opposite Albert Gate. The real King’s bridge, however, was not here, but further eastward over the Tyburn, and as far back as Henry I.’s reign it is referred to as Cnightebriga. Another derivation for Knightsbridge is therefore necessary. The old topographer Norden writes: "Kingsbridge, commonly called Stone bridge, near Hyde Park Corner, where I wish no true man to walk too late without good guard, as did Sir H. Knyvett, Kt., who valiantly defended himself, being assaulted, and slew the master-thief with his own hands."

This, of course, has reference to the more westerly bridge mentioned above, but it seems to have served as a suggestion to later topographers, who have founded upon it the tradition that two knights on their way to Fulham to be blessed by the Bishop of London quarrelled and fought at the Westbourne Bridge, and killed each other, and hence gave rise to the name. This story may be dismissed as entirely baseless; the real explanation is much less romantic. The word is probably connected with the Manor of Neyt, which was adjacent to Westminster, and as pronunciation rather than orthography was relied upon in early days, this seems much the most likely explanation. Lysons says: "Adjoining to Knightsbridge were two other ancient manors called Neyt and Hyde." We still have the Hyde in Hyde Park, and Neyt is thus identified with Knightsbridge.

Until the middle of the nineteenth century Knightsbridge was an outlying hamlet. People started from Hyde Park Corner in bands for mutual protection at regular intervals, and a bell was rung to warn pedestrians when the party was about to start. In 1778, when Lady Elliot, after the death of her husband, Sir Gilbert, came to Knightsbridge for fresh air, she found it as "quiet as Teviotdale." About forty years before this the Bristol mail was robbed by a man on foot near Knightsbridge. The place has also been the scene of many riots. In 1556, at the time of Wyatt’s insurrection, the rebel and his followers arrived at the hamlet at nightfall, and stayed there all night before advancing on London. 


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Knightsbridge

Knightsbridge was originally a small hamlet, between the villages of Chelsea (Chelsey), Kensington (Kensing town) and Charing. In the time of Edward I, the manor of Knightsbridge appertained to the abbey of Westminster. It was named after a crossing of the River Westbourne, which is now an underground river.

Knightsbridge is notable as an ultra-expensive residential area, and for the density of its upmarket retail outlets. Fourteen of Britain's two hundred most expensive streets are in the district.

Knightsbridge is leafy, especially considering its location at the heart of London. It is home to many of the world's richest people, and has some of the highest property prices in the world. In February 2007, the world's then most expensive apartment at One Hyde Park, sold off plan for £100,000,000, and was bought by a Qatari Prince, and another apartment at the same place in February 2009, of almost the same price was bought by an Afghani Prince.

The principal landowners in the area are the Duke of Westminster and Earl Cadogan. The two areas of aristocratic landholdings can be distinguished: red-brick Queen Anne Revival buildings are mostly to be found on the Cadogan Estates, whereas white stucco-fronted houses are mostly found on the Grosvenor Estate, built by Thomas Cubitt.

Knightsbridge station opened on 15 December 1906 by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (GNP&BR, now the Piccadilly Line). When opened, the platforms were accessed in the standard manner by four lifts and an emergency staircase connecting to parallel passageways and bridges to midway along the platforms. The original station building designed by Leslie Green was located on Brompton Road a short distance west of its junction with Knightsbridge and Sloane Street.
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