Daw's rare and detailed plan of Kensington
By DAW, Edmund , 1863

Map of the Parish of St. Mary Abbotts Kensington, delineating its Ecclesiastical & Parochial Divisions. 1863. Dedicated by permission to the Venerable Archdeacon Sinclair, and the Board of Trustees, their obliged Servant the Proprietor Edmund Daw. Corrected by J. Blore Esqr.

British Isles London
  • Author: DAW, Edmund
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: 114 Fetter Lane
  • Publication date: June 1863.
  • Physical description: Large engraved plan, fine original hand-colour, dissected and mounted on linen, list of Ecclesiastical and Ward Divisions, and inset of a detached part of the parish.
  • Dimensions: 1120 by 750mm (44 by 29.5 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1963


The plan stretches from north to south from Kensal Green Cemetery, to the Fulham Road, and west to east from the Royal Crescent on Holland Park Avenue to Sloane Street. The plan includes the areas of Holland Park, Earls Court, and the Brompton. Ecclesiastical and and ward divisions are marked and coloured. To the lower left is the detached part of the parish, depicting the Royal Hospital Gardens in Chelsea. The map is drawn on a scale of eleven inches to one statute mile.

The plan shows the westward expansion of Victorian London in great detail. Between 1850 and 1880, Kensington underwent a complete transformation, from a rural landscape to an urban one. Estate development played an important role, which led to a greater architectural harmony as landowners frequently used the same architects and builders. They also co-operated in improving communications, in particular the laying out of roads. South Kensington, despite the speed of construction, was a high-class residential area composed mainly of large terraced houses of the ‘premier type’. In North Kensington large terraced houses, garden squares and fine villas were built, especially in Notting Hill. Smaller speculative projects were the norm in Chelsea. In southern Kensington alone 1600 houses were built in 10 years. By the time of the present plan’s publication the Borough accounted for ten percent of all buildings erected in London.

The plan proved so popular and the rate of expansion so quick that Edmund Daw, published editions in 1848, 1863, and 1879. It is dedicated to Archdeacon John Sinclair (1797-1875), who was Archdeacon of Middlesex at the time, which makes up the Kensington episcopal area of the Diocese of London.