South Kensington From Above


Aerial Photograph of the South Kensington area 2006

Copyright: English Heritage. NMR

This view of September 2006 shows clearly the main streets which mark out the area developed by the 1851 Commissioners:

  • Queensgate on the left, running directly up to Kensington Gardens (1)
  • Cromwell Road, which runs perpendicular to Queensgate, is dominated by the Natural History Museum (2)
  • Exhibition Road crosses Cromwell Road at a right angle and runs up to Hyde
    Park (3)


The Victoria and Albert Museum can be seen in part in the middle of the image to the far right. Opposite this is the Natural History Museum, of which Phase I of the Darwin Centre can be seen in the back left corner, alongside a building site which has since been completed to become Phase II of the centre.

Imperial College

Behind the Natural History Museum are the buildings of Imperial College, London. Three of the most dominant are: the Imperial College Faculty Building by Foster + Partners, which stands out due to its strong blue colour; the Tanaka Business School, now the main entrance to the college facing Exhibition Road (3) also by Foster; and T.E. Collcutt's Queen's Tower, which stands proudly in the centre of the site.

Beyond the mass of Imperial College buildings, the view to the park is dominated by the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial.

Dating the photograph

This aerial view can be easily dated due to the unusual bright white egg-like structure in the background in Kensington Gardens. This is the annual Serpentine Pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery, designed in 2006 by the architect Rem Koolhas and the structural designer Cecil Balmond.