Victorian London - Districts - areas of London - Kew

Kew, Surrey, on the right bank; from London 12 miles, from Oxford 99 miles. Kew Bridge is a station on the South Western Railway, 9 miles from Waterloo; trains take about half an hour. There is another route to Ludgate-hill, trains average 1 hour. The Kew Gardens station is on the Surrey side, and is in connection with most of the Metropolitan Railway stations, via District, &c. The Kew Bridge station is on the Middlesex side, the two counties being here connected by a stone bridge, where there is also a steamboat-pier. Population, 1,033. Soil, gravel.
    Like most villages near London, Kew is losing most of its distinctive features, and but for the quaint old green with its picturesque surroundings, there is little to remind us of the Kew of even twenty years ago. By the side of Kew Green is Cambridge Cottage, and near it an entrance to the magnificent Botanical Gardens, among the finest in the world.
    Kew Gardens are not only among the most favourite resorts of the London holiday-maker, but have special value to the botanist and horticulturist. The judicious expenditure of public money has made the gardens and houses at Kew almost unique among public institutions of the kind. Here are to be seen flourishing in an atmosphere of their own, though in an uncongenial climate, the most beautiful tropical palms, plants, ferns, fern-trees, and cacti; and the pleasure-grounds and arboretum contain in endless and exhaustive profusion specimens of the flowers, shrubs, and trees indigenous to Great Britain. Attached to the gardens is a valuable a museum of useful vegetable products. The gardens are at present open free to the public every day in the week, Sundays included, in the afternoon; the morning hours being reserved for the necessary work of the gardeners, curators, and a few favoured students. A considerable amount of pressure has been lately brought to bear upon the authorities with a view to the public opening of the gardens in the morning; but Sir Joseph Hooker, the director, who may be supposed to know his own business, continues to offer a resolute opposition to the innovation. The agitation has been so far successful a that the gardens are now opened on Bank Holidays at 10.
    Kew Palace was built by Sir Hugh Portman during the reign of James I., and is close to the gardens. It is a plain building of a red brick, and, like many other plain things and people, was high in favour with George III. and Queen Charlotte.
    The church of St. Anne was built in 1714, and enlarged 1840. It is chiefly noteworthy for its graveyard, which contains the tombs of many celebrated men, amongst them being Gainsborough and Zoffany, the a latter having been a resident of  Strand-on-the-Green just across the river. Gainsborough was not a resident in the neighbourhood, but was buried here by his own desire. A brief inscription on the stone records Gainsborough's death, and in the church is a tablet to his memory, erected by E. M. Ward, R.A. In Kew churchyard also lie Meyer the painter, and Sir William Hooker, the late director of the Botanic Gardens. To the east of the church is the mausoleum of the late Duke of Cambridge. The following curious epitaph is inscribed on a slab at the entrance to the church:

    Here lyeth the bodys of Robert and Ann Plaistow, late of Tyso, near Edy Hill, died August the 28, 1728.

    At Tyso they were born and bred,
    And in the same good lives they led
    Until they came to marriage state,
    Which was to them most fortunate.
    Near sixty years of mortal life
    They were a happy man and wife;
    And being so by nature ty'd,
    When one felt sick, the other dy'd,
    And both together laid in dust
    To wait the rising of the just.
    They had six children, born and bred
    And five before them being dead,
    Their only one surviving son
    Hath caus'd this stone for to be done.

    The foundation stone of the Queen's Free School for boys and girls was laid by William IV.; the Queen and Royal Family, especially the Cambridge branch, are liberal benefactors.

    INNS. -" Star and Garter," Middlesex side; "Coach and Horses," "Greyhound," "Cumberland Arms," Kew-road; "King's Arms," "Rose and Crown," the Green.

PLACE OF WORSHIP.- St. Ann's: Sunday, 11 am., 3.30 and 7 p.m. Saints' Days and Holy Days, 11 a.m. Holy Communion, 1st and 3rd Sundays, and on Great Festivals.

    POSTAL ARRANGEMENTS.-Post Office (money order, savings bank, and telegraph). Mails from London, 7 and 8.30 a.m., 2.20, 6.30, and 8.40 p.m.; Sunday, 7.30 a.m. Mails to London, 9.40 am., 12.40, 5.10, and 8.15 p.m.; Sunday, 9.15 p.m.

    NEAREST Bridge, Kew; nearest Bridges, up, Richmond 3 miles; down, Hammersmith 4 miles. Lock, up, Teddington about 6 miles. Ferry, Row, above the Eyots. Railway Station, Kew.

    FARES to Waterloo: 1st, 1/-, 1/6; 2nd, -/9, 1/2; 3rd, -/8, 1/-. Kew Gardens to Mansion House: 1st, 1/2, 1/9; 2nd, 1/-, 1/4; 3rd, -/9, 1/2.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of the Thames, 1881