Kew (St. Anne)

KEW (St. Anne), a parish, in the union of Richmond, Second division of the hundred of Kingston, E. division of Surrey, 6½ miles (W. by S.) from London; containing 923 inhabitants; It is pleasantly situated on the southern bank of the Thames, over which a handsome stone bridge of seven arches, replacing a former structure of wood, was erected in the year 1789, connecting it with Brentford. The village is lighted with gas. George III., who resided for a considerable time at Kew Palace, greatly improved and extended the gardens, which he united to those of Richmond; and began to erect a new royal palace in the ancient English style, which, after remaining for several years in an unfinished state, was taken down in 1828. The royal gardens are tastefully laid out, and embellished with temples of the various orders of Grecian architecture, and with a Chinese pagoda, from the summit of which a most extensive prospect is obtained of the scenery on the banks of the Thames, and of the surrounding country. The Botanic Gardens here contain the most complete collection of exotic plants in Europe, and comprise fifteen conservatories, one of which was erected in 1837, by His Majesty William IV., at an expense of about £5000, and is in the Grecian style, with Doric columns. Up to 1841 these gardens belonged to the crown as private gardens; but in that year Her Majesty assigned them to the Commissioners of Woods, at the same time giving 45 acres in addition, from the royal pleasure-grounds; and in 1846 a further grant of land was made, making a total of about 70 acres. The gardens are entered by beautiful gates of wrought iron, 13 feet high, with piers of Portland stone. The royal grounds are open to the public on Thursday and Sunday; and the Botanic portion everyday, Sunday excepted. The King of Hanover and Duke of Cambridge have residences on Kew green, and in the environs are several handsome villas.

Kew was a chapelry to Kingston, but was constituted a separate parish by act of parliament, in 1770: it comprises by measurement 231 acres of land, chiefly laid out in pasture; about 25 or 30 acres are woodland and ozier-beds. The living is a vicarage, with that of Petersham annexed; net income, £401; patrons, the Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge; impropriator, Edward Kent, Esq. The church was built by subscription in 1714, on a site given by Queen Anne, as a chapel of ease to the vicarage of Kingston, and was enlarged by George III., whose successor on the throne erected the organ gallery, and presented to the parish the organ on which his father had been accustomed to play. The edifice was enlarged in 1837, under the directions of Sir Jeffrey Wyatville, at an expense of £4500, defrayed by William IV., and by a grant of £200 from the Incorporated Society. It contains neat monuments to the memory of Lady Capel, who endowed a free school, and Elizabeth, Countess of Derby, who left £1000 to the poor of the parishes of Kew and Old Brentford. The free school was founded in 1721, and is endowed with land producing £31. 10. per annum. George IV. contributed £300 towards its erection; and the first stone was laid by William IV., when Duke of Clarence, on the 12th of August, 1824: it is designated the "Queen's Free School," by permission of Her Majesty, who subscribes 20 guineas per annum towards its support.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.