The History of London’s Housing Stock

Discover how London’s housing has evolved throughout the decades with our interactive tool

London has grown exponentially as it’s evolved into the megacity we know today. The 32 boroughs that make up this thriving metropolis are unique in their own right and from a historical perspective, each one has a notable and unique story. From the luxurious pre-1900 houses and garden squares in Knightsbridge, to the housing expansion and regeneration around Canary Wharf in recent years, London’s homes are as diverse as its inhabitants.

With this in mind, Knight Frank is pleased to launch a new, interactive report aimed at sharing unique insight into the Capital’s housing history for both residents and visitors alike. Our interactive tool uses housing data from the past 120 years, to visualise 14 unique stories connected to some of the Capital’s most notable areas. These boroughs showcase the dramatic changes in that area, while also highlighting their significance to the overall landscape of London’s housing.

To begin, click on an area or select a borough from the drop-down list.

Understand and compare complex data with our helpful infographics and read the full narrative to learn all about each London borough.

kensington and chelsea area

Barking & Dagenham Brent Islington Camden Tower Hamlets Harrow City of London Westminster Southwark Lambeth Wandsworth Kensington Richmond Upon Thames Hammersmith & Fulham

Housing Stock in Kensington & Chelsea

One of London’s most sought after areas, Kensington & Chelsea has a high concentration of stately homes.

kensington and chelsea area

Age of Housing Stock in

Pre 1900
64.29%

kensington and chelsea area
  •  
    Pre 1900
    64.29%
  •  
    1900-1918
    2.49%
  •  
    1919-1929
    1.51%
  •  
    1930-1939
    7.04%
  •  
    1945-1954
    2.20%
  •  
    1955-1964
    3.81%
  •  
    1965-1972
    3.41%
  •  
    1973-1982
    5.51%
  •  
    1983-1992
    2.73%
  •  
    1993-1999
    2.20%
  •  
    2000-2009
    2.66%
  •  
    2010-2014
    0.83%

"The area remained largely surrounded by fields until the mid-19th century, when residential development accelerated alongside rapid industrialisation and the introduction of the capital’s transport network."

Pre-1900s

One of London’s most sought after areas, Kensington & Chelsea has a high concentration of stately homes, including Kensington Palace and Camden House, as well as an abundance of period housing stock.

kensington palace old

kensington palace front

The borough is made up of communal gardens bordered by stucco-fronted Victorian houses and Edwardian red-brick mansion blocks - its architectural landscape serves as a blueprint for other affluent areas.

edwardian mansions in kensington

Kensington’s earliest garden square was built in 1692 and provided private communal gardens for the residents of Kensington Square.

The area remained largely surrounded by fields until the mid-19th century, when residential development accelerated alongside rapid industrialisation and the introduction of the capital’s transport network. Unlike other parts of London which saw the building of workers’ housing, Kensington & Chelsea preserved its status as an area for the well-heeled.

Major changes took place in the area following the development of Kensington High Street during the 20th century. Many Victorian detached villas were demolished to make way for the construction of more financially lucrative apartment blocks. This development is apparent in the large number of 1930s red-brick art deco style blocks in Kensington today; many of which can be found in Kensington Park Gardens.

If you are interested in finding out more about the history of Kensington & Chelsea, visit our office page for some first-hand information.

Kensington since the 1980s and beyond

Kensington’s grand housing stock and fashionable status has contributed to the area’s enduring popularity.

Current Kensington residents are a cosmopolitan mixture of wealthy UK and European families attracted to the area’s status, schools, housing stock and proximity to Central London. The mansion flats have historically attracted Europeans who are used to apartment living in cities such as Paris, Milan and Rome.

kensington mansion houses

21st century property development

Kensington has seen a number of high quality new residential developments over the last few years, however these remain relatively rare. If this area is of interest to you, visit our property listing pages to discover more of Kensington & Chelsea’s beautiful homes and apartments.

Vicarage Gate House is one recent addition to Chelsea’s new home stock. Positioned between High Street Kensington, Notting Hill and adjacent to the mansions of Kensington Palace Gardens, these 13 apartments boast one of the most prestigious addresses in the capital.

"Kensington’s earliest garden square was built in 1692 and provided private communal gardens for the residents of Kensington Square."

Click on the links below to explore other boroughs in London

London’s historical housing stock data comes from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and was analysed by Knight Frank