(Thanks to Wikipedia and the Diocese of Westminster)
Kentish Town is ancient. Far more so than you would ever imagine. The most widely accepted explanation of the name is that it derived from ‘Ken-ditch’ meaning the ‘bed of a waterway’. Kentish Town was originally a settlement along the River Fleet which flowed through the area, and today runs underground.
Kentish Toun is first recorded during the reign of King John (1207) as kentisston. By 1456 Kentish Town was recognised as a thriving hamlet, and in this period a chapel of ease is recorded as being built for the inhabitants.
In the 18th century many people use to visit Kentish Town from the inner areas of London to take the fresh air or to walk down Anglers Lane to fish on the banks of the river Fleet. The cows in the meadows behind the houses in Kentish Town Road supplied the dairy that stood opposite Caversham Road, while the Bull and Gate and the Bull and Last pubs are a testimony to the herds that gazed here at that time.
The early 19th century brought modernisation, causing much of the area’s rural charm, the River Fleet and the 18th century buildings to vanish, although pockets still remain, for example Little Green Street. Between the availability of public transport to it from London, and its urbanisation, it was a popular resort.
Large amounts of land were purchased to build the railway, which can still be seen today. Kentish Town was a prime site for development as the Kentish Town Road was a major route from London northwards. Probably its most famous resident was Karl Marx who lived at 9 Grafton Terrace from 1856.
During the 19th century and early 20th century the area of Kentish Town became for many years the home of many famous piano and organ manufacturers, and was described by The Piano Journal in 1901 as “…that healthful suburb dear to the heart of the piano maker”.
Kentish Town was to see further modernisation in the post-World War II period. However, the residential parts of Kentish Town, dating back to the mid-19th century have survived and are much admired architecturally.