Kew Gardens Road, TW9

Place Name

Directional, leads from the London Underground station to the park’s Cumberland Gate. The name Kew comes from the Old English meaning a neck of land by a landing place, it was first recorded as Cayho in 1327 and Kayho three years later – the ho element indicating a spur of land. By 1439 it was Keyhow then Kayo in 1483, Kaio in 1532 and Kewe in 1535. This was part of Sandycombe Road reorganisation of 1880 which used to take a sharp turn west where Broomfield Road is today. The station opened on January 1, 1869 and in an age before the A – Z street names would have been a handy guide for visitors. There have been gardens at Kew from the 16thCentury, originally in private hands, they were bought from the Capel family by the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1731 with the intention of creating an a garden for exotic plants. By 1759 they had collected more than 3,400 plant species and collection continued as Kew’s gardeners travelled the world making new discoveries. In 1802 King George III unites his Richmond and Kew estates – hence gardens plural. In 1840 the gardens were transferred from the Crown to the government and were opened to the public. By the early 20thCentury the grounds were expanded to the present size of 300 acres (120 hectares). Today it has some 28,680 species of living plants.



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