Kensington Central Library

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Kensington Central Library, London W8

Kensington Central Library is a Grade II* listed building on Hornton Street and Phillimore Walk, Kensington, London. It was built in 1958–60 by the architect E. Vincent Harris on the site of The Abbey, a Gothic house which had been constructed for a Mr Abbot in 1880 and destroyed by bombing in 1944.[1] It was opened by the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother on 13 July 1960.[2] Its construction was met with demonstrations because of opposition to its architectural design.[3]

The public library is within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and is managed as part of a tri-borough integrated library and archive service, alongside those of Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham.[4]

On the south side of the library, facing Phillimore Walk, are two statues of a lion and a unicorn, both holding the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom. They were sculpted by William McMillan in order to reflect the "Royal" status of the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.[2]


  1. ^ Weinreb, Ben, and Hibbert, Christopher (1992). The London Encyclopaedia (reprint ed.). Macmillan. p. 405.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1119724)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  3. ^ Denny, Barbara; Starren, Carolyn (1998). Kensington Past. London, U.K.: Historical Publications. p. 153. ISBN 9780948667503. OCLC 42308455.
  4. ^ "Tri-Borough". Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2016.

Coordinates: 51°30′05″N 0°11′40″W / 51.5015°N 0.1945°W / 51.5015; -0.1945