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Heritage Festival 2021

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Kingson Heritage Festival took place in September, a month-long celebration of Kingston's heritage with a series of events, talks, walks and open house days celebrating the borough’s rich 1100-year history, all of which were free to explore! 

 Volunteers and heritage staff have aworked hard behind the scenes to bring history to (virtual) life and to celebrate the diverse cultural heritage of the town through a range of content you can access online. As well as in-person talks and walks which took place, we also compiled a selection of trails you can do year-round at your own leisure, from urban strolls to longer walks discovering our beautiful Royal Borough of Kingston. Check out some of the online content below, which you can still access. 

Kingston Heritage Festival is organised by Kingston Heritage Hub. Kingston Heritage Hub is a borough-wide network open to all local heritage groups and individuals managing heritage projects, it is an initiative set up by Kingston Heritage Service with Kingston First and the Kingston-upon-Thames Society. This year Kingston Heritage Hub would like to thank Kingston University and Kingston Council for funding Kingston Open House. 



SHEDx Growing Ideas

Community Brain

SHEDx is project designed to stimulate communities in Tolworth, and surrounding areas, to become engaged in re-imagining space, both urban and green, through interventions and creative opportunities.

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The Museum of Today

Community Brain

Now is a moment. Now is unusual. Now is important for different reasons. Now means different things to different people. So how will you remember now? What is important to you … now?    The Museum of Today invited individuals and households to select an object from their home that has a particular resonance for them now, and to tell its story.

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The Wheels of Time

Community Brain and Kingston History Centre

The Borough of Kingston has a rich history of cycling, cyclists and bicycle manufacturing. The Community Brain is undertook the project ‘The Wheels of Time’ to research and celebrate this heritage.  We are extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund, Kingston Council and our team of volunteers for their support and help. 

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KRPM; the musical heritage of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames

Creative Youth

In 2017, with generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and the Royal Borough of Kingston, the Kingston RPM project team, including Kingston History Centre, uncovered the rich and varied musical heritage of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and the surrounding region. This activity culminated in a public exhibition, a wide range of participatory events, educational resources, and the conducting of 15 oral testimony interviews.

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Kingston's History of Aviation

Kingston Aviation

This Kingston Aviation Centenary Project website celebrates the achievements of the 30,000 or more individuals who designed and built aircraft for the Sopwith, Hawker, Hawker Siddeley and British Aerospace organisations based in Kingston upon Thames from 1912 to 1992. Some 18,000 Sopwith designed aircraft were built by 1920 and a further 30,000 Kingston designed aircraft were to follow.

Kingston-designed aircraft have been in service with British Armed Forces on every single day since late 1912 and that unique record is expected to continue for many more years.

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Kimjang Festival Film

Korean British Cultural Exchange

Check out highlights of the Kimjang festival that took place in 2020 before rustling up your own Kimchi using a newly published recipe book! 

Kimjang: Making and Sharing Kimchi is a brand-new project made possible by money raised by National Lottery players. It involves recording, archiving and distributing 20 authentic kimchi recipes and personal Kimjang experiences from North, South and Chinese-Korean residents, and hosting an annual Kimjang Festival on New Malden High Street on the third Saturday of November.

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Tradition Tamil music and dance by Tamil students living in Kingston

Tamil Community Information Centre

The Tamil community in Kingston have made this film to explain their traditional instruments and dances as demonstrated by local students who have learnt them at the Tamil schools in Kingston.

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Our 100 Histories

Kingston Heritage Service

Our 100 Histories is a year-long project managed by Kingston Heritage Service aiming to celebrate the heritage of the borough, past and present. Over the next year, we will be searching for the 100 Histories that residents and people connected to Kingston Upon Thames feel best represents the heritage of the borough using a digital map. You can get involved by contributing stories, places, objects, events and people that you think are important to the culture and heritage of Kingston Upon Thames. You don’t have to pin something to get involved though, help decide what makes it into Our 100 Histories by favouriting posts. These will then be used to tailor the development of events, collections and much more produced by Kingston Heritage Service.

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FIGHTING FOR OUR RIGHTS: Kingston’s Role in the Disability Rights Movement 1960s to 1990s

Kingston Centre for Independent Living

In 2017, Kingston Centre for Independent Living (KCIL) collaborated with disabled people and those working with the disability community to collect stories regarding disability rights in the borough. Generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the ‘Fighting for our Rights’ project involved conducting oral history interviews with 23 prominent local people to celebrate this fascinating history. The interviews form part of Kingston Heritage Service’s permanent archive, and are all available on this website. We hope their content will inspire a new generation of disability campaigners.

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Life Itself is a Story: Reminiscence Project

Kingston Libraries

Over the last 17 months we have been living in extraordinary circumstances and have shown an amazing level of resilience. Kingston’s Community Library has been delivering books to some wonderfully resilient residents during that time. They range in age from their forties to over 101 years young and some have only recently joined the Community Library as they were shielding or advised to stay at home. We asked them if they would like to talk to a story teller to share their tales and this book was the result. Many more people have great stories to share and we hope to hear some of them face to face as society starts to open up again.

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Kingston Heritage Trails

By Kingston University and Kingston Museum

Three trails have been created to encourage you to get out and about in the Borough, stopping off at historic places, nature spots and famous landmarks. There is so much to see and we will help you to discover it!    

Bespoke maps include talking head video clips by Kingston University students and local experts, who bring to life the importance of the sites. Images from past and present are also available to view along with detailed information about each site and walking directions. The trails range from a 30 minute jaunt to a 2 hour walk, but you can modify your journey to suit your needs. We have included a ‘Google Map’ view so that you can pin point your own location in relation to the trails. The maps are compatible with most phone browsers so you’ll be able to take the experts with you and watch their videos as you go.

Discover the trails here

Hogsmill River Walks

Discover the borough's Hogsmill River with these three trails

Hogsmill Walk: A walk along part of the Hogsmill Valley to Tolworth Court Farm. 
Distance: Approx 4 miles. 

Hogsmill River Trail, part one: A 7km linear walk from Ewell West rail station to Malden Manor rail station, following the course of the Hogsmill River and part of the London Loop long distance path.  
Distance: 4.5 miles

Hogsmill River Trail, part two: A 7km linear walk from Malden Manor rail station to Kingston rail station, following the course of the Hogsmill River and part of the London Loop long distance path.
Distance: 4.5 miles


Wheels of Time Bike Trails

By Kingston University and Community Brain

Community Brain's maps were designed by volunteers and students of Kingston University to encourage people to get out on their bikes and explore their local area. They range from a short trip around Surbiton parks for young cyclists, to 25-mile trails taking in some of the best landscapes Kingston and South West London have to offer.

Discover the trails here

Kingston Sculpture Trail

Brought to you by Kingston First, Kingston University, Kingston Council and Canbury Community Trust

Kingston Sculpture Trail launched in August 2021, bringing seven new sculptures by world-class artists to the town centre and Canbury Gardens. Head to to find a trail map, learn more about the trail, the sculptures and the artists behind them. The map also shows you where you can find existing public artworks in Kingston town centre, such as David Mach RA's iconic Out of Order (1989) red telephone boxes installation, and Mat Collishaw's 3-metre long outdoor video projection, Echolocation (2021). 

Discover the sculpture trail here

Self-guided Old Malden walk

Starting and finishing at Malden Manor station

The walk is around Old Malden and covers residential developments within the district. Different styles of suburban architecture includes a selection of modernist housing. There are also historic buildings and other places of interest.

Discover the trail here

Kingston Biodiversity Nature Trail

Explore the Hogsmill Catchment

This year as part of the Heritage festival get involved with the local nature trail and explore the Hogsmill Catchment! Wildlife inspired posters have been hidden around the borough and across the whole catchment, there are 78 in total!! Your challenge is to find them all!

Find out more here


Coombe Conduit, An Enigmatic Tudor Waterworks

By Kingston upon Thames Society

Coombe Conduit is one of Kingston’s most important ancient monuments. It was built around 1540 as part of a system to collect fresh water from springs on Kingston Hill and channel it to the palace of Hampton Court.

In its atmospheric interior visitors can see crystal-clear water still flowing into lead-lined cisterns in two brick-walled chambers, which are connected by an 80ft underground passage. The imposing entry to the Conduit is a chapel-like building in stone and brick, topped with crow-stepped gables. 

Click here for the virtual tour

St. Raphael's Church

By St. Raphael's Church

The Grade II listed St Raphael’s is one of the finest examples of Victorian Italianate architecture, built in Bath stone and standing prominently overlooking the Thames. The interior is built in the Renaissance style and the whole of the sanctuary, High Altar, pulpit and font are made of white Sicilian marble.

Click here for the virtual tour

Cleaves Almshouses

By Kingston upon Thames United Charities

In 1669, William Cleave founded Almshouses for older, poor people of Kingston. Today, that legacy lives on with The Trust housing residents who are aged at least 60, of limited means, have some connection with the area and can live independently. This year at Kingston Heritage Festival, go on a virtual guided tour of the Almshouses.

Click here for the virtual tour

Kingston School of Art, Knight's Park

Open House and Kingston University

Designed by Howarth Tomkins Kingston School of Art's Mill Street Building houses new state of the art open-access workshop facilities and studio spaces used by students of all disciplines, to support the School’s underlying ethos of Thinking Through Making.

Click here for the virtual tour

Town House

Open House and Kingston University

Designed by this year's RIBA Gold Medallists Grafton Architects, Town House is an uplifting building. The exterior is grand yet contemporary. Inside there is a sense of light and space, with high ceilings, wide open staircases and walkways creating a feeling of being able to see the entire building at once. It is designed to connect staff and students from different disciplines and encourage collaboration.

Click here for the video tour

Picker House

Open House and Stanley Picker Trust

Designed in 1968 by Kenneth Wood for the patron of the arts and businessman Stanley Picker. The house is a time capsule of 1960s art and design.

Click here for the video tour

Kingston Guildhall & History Centre

Open House Films

Short film created by Open House, talking about the Guildhall, a Grade II listed building designed in 1935 by Maurice Webb. The film focuses on the Mayors Parlour and History Centre. 

Click here for the video tour

  • childrens activities

Muybridge and the Magical Time Travelling Camera

Kingston Heritage Service

Peppa Pig animator Tim Wheatly, creates a new animated film for families about Kingston's Eadweard Muybridge. As part of Year of Muybridge, Kingston Museum has comissioned this short animation celebrating Kingston Museum's Muybridge Collection.

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Building Models

Open House

Create your very own model of Kingston's iconic Surbiton Station or Tolworth Tower!

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