Monday 20 June 2022

History, Architecture and Timber Windows in Kingston upon Thames

Known as the birthplace of England, Kingston upon Thames was the coronation site of multiple Saxon Kings. Kingston was the ideal site due to its location on the borders of the kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia.

In the 10th Century, King Athelstan united both these kingdoms to create the kingdom of England. After the Norman invasion in 1066, although the town was owned by William the Conqueror, some of the Royal importance was lost with Kings no longer being crowned in Kingston upon Thames. The town’s location on the River Thames played a big part in its initial growth, with Kingston upon Thames being the last place where the Thames could be crossed over a bridge before London until the 18th Century.

During the Medieval period, Kingston upon Thames was an inland port, transporting goods along the river to and from London.  The town also had its own weekly market and was granted permission for two yearly fairs. In the 1500s, the town gained a grammar school and benefited from Hampton Court Palace being built nearby.  The town became successful for their malting, brewing and tanning industries and people fished in the Thames for salmon.  Timber was also transported from Kingston along the Thames to London.

In 1730, a stone, believed to have been used in the coronations, was moved from the Saxon Chapel after the building collapsed. Over the years the stone has been located at various places within the town.  Today it is located outside Guildhall, although it will soon be moved again to the churchyard in All Saints’ Church.

Like many towns across the country, the 19th Century saw extensive development and the coming of the railway in the 1830s coincided with various improvements being made.  At the start of the century, in 1800, the population had reached 8,000 but by 1901 the population had grown to 37,000.

During the 19th and early 20th Centuries the trades in the town also changed.  The malting and brewing industries declined, but in their place a brick-making industry and aircraft industry grew, with Kingston becoming a major military aircraft manufacturing centre in the 20th Century.

Today, Kingston upon Thames continues to grow, with a recorded population of 190,000 in 2020.  However, the traditional buildings still show the rich history of the area.

Kingston Upon Thames, Greater London

Kingston upon Thames was originally located in Surrey.  The town formed part of the ancient parish, the Kingston hundred in Surrey.  The parish included several other towns including Hook, Kew, Surbiton, New Malden and Thames Ditton.

In 1481 the town then became a borough, which covered a smaller area in Surrey. In 1835, the borough was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act, becoming the Municipal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames.

From 1893, the town was the seat of Surrey County Council. In 1965, Kingston upon Thames became part of Greater London, with the municipal borough being abolished.  However, the town remained the location for Surrey County Council until 2021, despite no longer being governed by it. Today the town is part of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames in Greater London.

Clattern Bridge

Clattern Bridge is one of the oldest surviving bridges in England.

The bridge is located on the High Street and crosses Hogsmill River. It is believed to have been built in the 12th Century during the Norman era, having replaced an earlier Saxon bridge, and is now Grade I listed.

Originally the bridge was only 8 feet wide, but it was widened 18th and 19th Centuries. The bridge is however believed to be a good example of a Medieval bridge and is even believed to have retained archaeological remains associated with the earlier Saxon bridge.

Kingston Upon Thames Guildhall

The Kingston upon Thames Guildhall is also located on the High Street.  The Grade II listed building was designed in the Neo-Georgian style and was opened in 1935.  It was later extended in 1968 and then again between 1975 and 1978.

The impressive building, designed by Maurice Webb, has a semi-circular plan with three storeys of sash windows.  The top floor has 6 over 6 sash windows, with 6 over 9 sash windows on the lower two floors. The Guidhall was originally used as the base for the Municipal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, before becoming the headquarters of Royal London Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

Today the rooms are hired out and it is also used as a venue for weddings and civil partnerships. In 2020, the council announced that they were looking into options to redevelop the site and talks are currently ongoing.

Warren House

Warren House is a Victorian hotel, built in 1865.  The building, which has several large casement windows, was extended and refurbished several times.

Over the years Warren House was visited by several royal guests, including Edward VII, George V and Queen Mary. The Grade II listed building was commissioned by Hugh Hammersley who lived in the property until his death in 1880, when the building stood empty for four years until the second Baron Wolverton (George Grenfell Glyn) and his wife acquired it.

The house remained a residential home, passing through various owners, until 1940 when the current owner, Lady Paget, converted it into a military convalescent home. In 1954, the house was sold and became a Conference and Training Centre.

The building underwent a major refurbishment in the 1980s before reopening in 1988.  Today it is used as a hotel as well as a location for weddings and conferences.

Timber Windows in Kingston Upon Thames (KT1 and KT2)

The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames is home to 26 designated Conservation Areas and over 150 listed buildings, helping to retain the heritage of the area.

Within the town itself, the Conservation Areas include Kingston Old Town, the Fairfield / Knights Park area and Grove Crescent. Within Kingston upon Thames, several Victorian properties with timber sash windows can be found within a short walk of the town centre on the roads near King’s Road and St Albans Road and Canbury Park Road.

At The Sash Window Workshop, we have extensive experience working on period properties across the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. Established in 1994, we specialise in replacing and draught proofing traditional timber windows and doors, sympathetically upgrading your home to be more energy efficient.  Where necessary, we can comply with Conservation Area and listed building regulations.

To obtain a quotation for your windows or doors, contact us today on 01344 868 668.

Clattern Bridge Kingston upon Thames Greater London
Above image: © Mark Percy (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Old Town Hall Kingston Upon Thames
Above image: © Mike Faherty (cc-by-sa/2.0)