infobox UK place
country = England
map_type = Greater London
london_borough3= Kensington and Chelsea
constituency_westminster= Cities of London and Westminster
Knightsbridge is a road which gives its name to an exclusive district lying to the west of Central
London. The road runs along the south side of Hyde Park, west from Hyde Park Corner, spanning the City of Westminsterand the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Up to Brompton Road, it is a part of the A4 arterial road, while the remainder is part of the A315.
The eponymous district comprises the areas immediately surrounding Knightsbridge (the road) on the north,
Sloane Streetto its junction with Pont Street, and Brompton Roadto its junction with Beauchamp Place. The district is notable as an expensive residential area, and for the density of its upmarketretail outlets, famously Harrodsand Harvey Nichols.
For strategic planning the area is identified as one of two "international centres" in the
London Plan.Greater London Authority, " [http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/strategies/sds/london_plan/lon_plan_5.pdf The London Plan: The Sub Regions] "]
Knightsbridge was originally a small hamlet or locality outside the
City of London, 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 ["London", David Hughson, 1809] . It was named after a crossing of the River Westbourne, which is now an underground river. It is recorded that the citizens of London met Queen Matildaat the Knight's Bridge in 1141.
Cadogan Hallpresents concerts of classical and popular music in Sloane Street. The Royal Albert Hallis a large venue for music and sports events. The are a number of fine art auctioneers located in Knightsbridge including Bonhams, together with many smaller boutiques.
To the north of the district, in Hyde Park, is the
Serpentine Gallery, and at Hyde Park Corner is " Number One, London" ( Apsley House), former London residence of the Duke of Wellington. Nearby are the Royal Court Theatrein Sloane Square, and in South Kensington, the Ismaili Centrebuilt by British architect Sir Hugh Casson, together with the Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museumand Science Museum. Prince's Clubwas a sports club based in two separate locations in Knightsbridge between 1853 and 1940, and was home to the sports of rackets, squash and badminton. They have subsequently moved down the road to Queen's Clubin Kensington.
Knightsbridge is home to many expensive shops, including the department stores
Harrods— the largest in Europe and owned by Egyptian businessman Mohammed Al Fayed, Peter Jones — the traditional haunt of Sloane Rangers, and Harvey Nichols— made famous by the antics of Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone in BBCsatire Absolutely Fabulous. Knightsbridge is noted as the home of flagship stores for many British and international fashion houses. The renowned London-based shoe designers Jimmy Chooand Manolo Blahnikare based here. There are two Chanelstores in the area, alongside banks for high net worth individuals, including Coutts— bankers to the Queen, rumoured to reject any potential clients worth less than £5 million. Some of London's most renowned restaurants are here, as are many exclusive hair and beauty salons, antiques and antiquities dealers, and a clutch of chic bars and clubs.
Knightsbridge is home to many of the world's richest people. It has some of the highest property prices in the world. Fourteen out of the top 200 most expensive streets in Britain are in Knightsbridge (Source: [http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/article1392253.ece The Times, 2007] ). The district is leafy, especially so considering its location at the heart of London, with houses and apartment buildings, some with private gardens.Fact|date=April 2007 It is also adjacent to Inner London's largest public park, Hyde Park. In 2006, a four bedroomed apartment in Knightsbridge sold for over £25,000,000,Fact|date=April 2007 and on street car parking spaces sell for £300,000 on a 94 year lease.Fact|date=April 2007 In February 2007, the world's most expensive apartment at "One Hyde Park", sold off plan for £100,000,000, and has been bought by a
Qatari Prince. [ [http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/article1577451.ece "Sheikh shells out £100m for London's most expensive flat"] " The Times" 28 March 2007 accessed 11 June 2007] The development is valued in excess of £4,000 per square foot (£43,000 per square metre).
Knightsbridge is mostly made up of strictly controlled
Conservation Areasand development land is difficult to find.Fact|date=April 2007 Most properties offered by developers are refurbished flats and houses. Many of these now have huge basement extensions, accommodating an eclectic range of facilities from swimming pools to private nightclubs.Fact|date=April 2007
The principal landowners in the area are the
Duke of Westminsterand Earl Cadogan.The two areas of aristocratic landholdings can be distinguished visually, as the 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. [ [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=28695#s8 "Settlement and building: From 1865 to 1900", A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 12: Chelsea (2004), pp. 66-78] accessed: 11 June 2007]
The most sought-after prime addresses are the garden squares closest to
Harrods, which serves as corner shopto many of the world's billionaires and celebrities.Fact|date=April 2007 The store's famous liveried footmen can be seen delivering purchases to the area's local residents, as can the paparazzi, hunting for residents and visiting celebrities.Fact|date=April 2007 Popular addresses are Belgrave Square, Egerton Place, Cadogan Square, Lennox Gardens and Hans Place, which is located next to Harrods.Fact|date=April 2007 Derek Quinlan's private equity fund, Quinlan Privatepurchased convert|3.4|acre|m2 of prime retail commercial property from the BPPension Fund in 2005. [ [http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2005/04/22/story484260711.asp] " Irish Examiner" 22 April 2005, accessed 11 June 2007] This estate stretches along Knightsbridge from Harrodsto Harvey Nichols. It is understood that this part of Knightsbridge, which includes some of the world's most expensive retail properties, will shortly be subject to substantial re-development.Fact|date=April 2007
There are a number of independent Pre-Preparatory and Preparatory Schools in Knightsbridge, including three with Royal connections -
Hill House Schoolin Hans Place, where both the Prince of Walesand the singer Lily Allenreceived their first education, Francis Holland Schoolwhich Diana, Princess of Wales attended for a time after the divorce of her parents, and Knightsbridge Schoolin Lennox Gardens, where the headmaster was formerly Equerryto Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Lycee Francais Charles de Gaullecaters for the educational needs of London's sizeable French community, many based in the local area. Some of Britain's leading degree courses for science-related subjects can be found at Imperial Collegewhich borders the district.
Knightsbridge has many notable residents. This includes many British and European socialites and aristocrats,
Roman Abramovich, oligarchsfrom Russia, international businessman from Chinaand India, Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge, Saudiand several other Middle Eastern Royal Dynasties, investment bankersand hedge fundmanagers such as John Duffieldof New Star Asset Management. There are also trend-setters like Charles Saatchiand his television presenter wife, Nigella Lawson. The famed fashion designers Valentino and Tom Fordformerly of Guccialso live in the area.
Residents from the world of entertainment include Sir
David Frost, Neil Simon, Anne Robinson, Laetitia Casta, and film stars such as Hugh Grant, Sean Connery, and Joan Collins, along with many other presenters, musicians, writers, and models.
A number of high profile people were raised in the area including Princess Diana,
Sienna Miller, Amanda de Cadenet, and Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond.
For centuries the area was renowned as the haunt of highwaymen, robbers and cut throats targeting travellers on the western route out of London. The fortunes of Knightsbridge were transformed in the 19th century. The area has often been a target for high-profile crime. In 1980, the
Iranian Embassy siegetook place in Knightsbridge, lasting several days. It ended when the Special Air Servicestormed the building on live television. In 1983, three Christmas shoppers and three Metropolitan Police officers, evacuating the store, were killed by an IRA car-bomb placed outside Harrods. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/fromthearchive/story/0,,1376054,00.html "Bomb unauthorised says IRA"] " The Guardian", 19 December 1983] In 1987, the Knightsbridge Security Deposit centre was the target of a robbery and the thieves left with a hoard worth £60 million. In 2005, 22-year-old beautician Clare Bernal was gunned down by her stalker and ex-boyfriend Michal Pech on the shopfloor of Harvey Nichols in front of colleagues and shoppers, before Pech fatally turned the gun on himself. Many residential buildings are heavily covered by CCTVand are staffed by security guards, while railings or bars on lower floor windows are commonplace.
To the north of the area, is the Hyde Park Barracks of the
Household Cavalry, with a distinctive 33 storey tower by Sir Basil Spence. The Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Departmentis based in Walton Street. At the centre of London, and under a major flight path into Heathrow Airport, Knightsbridge suffers from congestion, noise and pollution.
Transport and locale
Nearest tube stations
Knightsbridge tube station
Hyde Park Corner tube station
* and formerly
Brompton Road tube station(closed in 1934)
All of the above stations serve the
Royal Thames Yacht Club, 60 Knightsbridge
* St Columba's Church of Scotland, Pont Street
* [http://www.westminsteronline.org/~ka/ The Knightsbridge Association]
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