The Kensington Society
The objects of the Kensington Society are to preserve and improve the amenities of Kensington for the public benefit by stimulating interest in its history and records, promoting good architecture and planning in its future development and by protecting, preserving and improving its buildings, open spaces and other features of beauty or historic or public interest.
Formed in 1953, the Kensington Society strives to ensure that our part of London retains its magnificent heritage of buildings, parks and gardens alongside the best of contemporary architecture and design.
With close to 700 members and some 40 affiliated societies, we are very active in planning issues and exert a real influence on planning decisions in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
We have a programme of lectures, talks, walks and visits, covering a wide range of subjects. The events offer the chance to meet your Kensington neighbours. During the pandemic these activities were forced to take a pause, but now they are coming back again. All upcoming society events can be found on the Events page.
Our annual report is produced in the spring and has both an update report on the activities of the society as well as interesting and topical articles relating to Kensington. The most recent annual report can be read or downloaded via this link, or at the Archive page, were all the annual reports since 1954 can be found.
The annual membership subscription is £20 and you can join here.
The Kensington Society was formed in 1953 by Mrs Gay Christiansen (1912-2001) who lived at 18 Kensington Square. Mrs Christiansen was passionate about good architecture and planning within Kensington. When a planning proposal came forward to demolish several houses on Young Street, the street that leads into Kensington Square, Mrs Christiansen opposed the application. Despite her efforts the houses were knocked down and replaced by the NCP multi-storey car park (which right now is being replaced by a 53 flat complex).
Our constitution, annual reports & newsletters
The Kensington Society constitution, as well as our annual reports since 1961 and our newsletters since 2006, can be found on the Archive page.
These are the persons leading The Kensington Society on behalf of its members.
Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill (since 1 June 2023)
The trustees listed below comprise residents and professionals active in the affairs of Kensington, each of whom has a specific role on the committee.
Amanda Frame, chairman
Amanda Frame moved to Kensington in 1987 from Houston, Texas. She is a graduate of the University of Florida in Architectural Design. After having been a partner in a large commercial architectural practice in the City, she ran her own architectural firm for 20 years.
Amanda has been a member of the executive committee/trustee of The Kensington Society since 2004. In 2008 she became the society’s chairman.
She is married to fellow trustee Martin Frame and has one son, Andrew. Besides her love of Kensington and her role as chairman for the society, her interests include architectural heritage, gardening and travel – and when time allows a walk on a beach.
Martin Frame, treasurer & membership secretary
Martin Frame is a Scottish chartered accountant and has been the group finance director at the Royds Advertising Group, Taylor Nelson Sofres, a listed FTSE 250 plc and Mott MacDonald Group. Martin has lived in Kensington since 1987.
Appointed a Kensington Society trustee in 2011, membership secretary since 2012 and treasurer since 2013, Martin has brought credit control and membership coordination to the society and advanced the gift aid process, increasing our financial controls. He enjoys skiing, golf, shooting and travel and a walk on a beach.
Michael Bach, chairman of the planning committee
Michael Bach came to London in 1962, when he entered University College London. After degrees in Economics and Geography and Regional Planning, he worked as a planner at the Greater London Council, before going to Columbia University in New York 1967-1969 for a degree in urban planning. From 1981 to 2005 he worked as town planner for the government, first as principal inner cities research officer for the Department of the Environment 1981-1990, and then as principal planner for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 1990-2005, responsible for developing national planning policy, especially on housing, town centres and the location of developments.
Apart from the two years he studied at Columbia University, Michael has lived in Kensington since 1966 and in the Victoria Road area since 1969. He was a founder member of the Victoria Road Area Residents’ Association in 1983 and is currently its chairman.
Michael has been a member of the executive committee/trustee of the Kensington Society since 1974, apart from a break in the late 1980’s. He has been chairman of the society’s planning committee since 2007.
Henry Peterson, OBE, planning committee
Henry Peterson lived off Holland Park Avenue in the 1980s in a small co-ownership housing scheme and then moved (when children arrived) to a family house in North Kensington. He was deputy chief executive at neighbouring Hammersmith & Fulham until 2005 and has worked subsequently as a consultant on public service reform.
As chairman of the St Helen’s Residents Association and of the more recently formed St Quintin and Woodlands Neighbourhood Forum, he is involved in the many planning issues affecting the northern part of Kensington. Proposals for the three surrounding opportunity areas of White City, Kensal and Old Oak (HS2/Crossrail) involve a scale of development completely changing this part of London.
Experience of the inner workings of a London borough has proved useful in several campaigns and lobbying exercises. Work in preparing a neighbourhood plan is proving predictably time-consuming for all involved, but worthwhile in giving people some small influence in shaping the future of the area.
Henry became a Kensington Society trustee and member of its planning committee in 2011.
Sophia Lambert, CB, planning committee
Sophia Lambert was brought up in Kensington and has lived in the borough most of her life.
She was a career diplomat before moving to the home civil service, where she served in three different government departments. She was for six years the chairman of the standards committee of RBKC, dealing with ethical standards for councillors, and has also been on the board of London Travelwatch, the passenger watchdog body for London.
Sophia is currently the chairman of the Ladbroke Association. She became a Kensington Society trustee and member of its planning committee in 2013.
Thomas Blomberg, planning committee & website
Thomas Blomberg is originally from Sweden, where he worked for many years as a newspaper journalist and magazine editor before being offered a position in a quickly growing translation subtitling company that his wife Paula was working for. In 1991, they both moved to London to start up a daughter company for the Swedish company, which quickly became the largest of its kind in the UK.
Living in Vicarage Gate, off Kensington Church Street, they joined the Cherry Trees Residents’ Amenities Association after a few years, where Thomas soon was asked to join its committee and started its newsletter. The newsletter eventually evolved into the CTRAA website, and since 2011 he is also handling planning issues for the CTRAA.
Thomas joined the Kensington Society in 2012 and became a trustee in 2013. Beside being a member of the society’s planning committee, he also manages its website and the annual autumn newsletter.
Vanessa Batulovic, planning committee
Vanessa Batulovic lives in Norland Square in Holland Park and works as planning director for a Mayfair developer. Many of the applications she is involved in cover conservation and heritage matters, such as the iconic former St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in Rochester.
Having a career in architecture, with studies more latterly at the Architectural Association, her previous projects include the Eden Project with Grimshaw Architects and various Canary Wharf headquarters. She has also carried out work on the Continent on a World Heritage Fund asset.
Vanessa is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has previously taught diploma units at the Architectural Association.
As chairman of the planning committee to the Norland Conservation Society, Vanessa has commented upon many planning applications within the Norland conservation area through the last five years.
Having joined the Kensington Society in 2017, Vanessa became a trustee in 2020 and is on its planning committee.
Barry Munday, planning committee
Barry Munday is an architect who has lived in London for most of his life and in Kensington for over 20 years. He became the chairman of the Edwardes Square Scarsdale and Abingdon Association (ESSA) in 2020, taking over from Anthony Walker.
His early career was spent with Powell and Moya, where he worked on many high-profile projects including Chichester Festival Theatre and The Museum of London. In 1973 he joined Phippen Randall and Parkes (PRP), where he spent the remainder of his professional career. He designed many major housing projects in the New Towns and large inner city housing schemes before leading the company’s move into urban regeneration in the 1990’s. He became chairman of the practice in 2000. Since retirement from PRP in 2007 he has continued to practice under his own name as well as undertaking various pro-bono roles relating to architecture and housing.
He was a board member of The Housing Forum for over 10 years and was its chairman 2010-2014. He has been an active member of The Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects since 2004 and served as its Master in 2018-2019. For over 10 years he sat on an advisory panel to Octavia Housing Association, guiding them on matters of design quality. He is a trustee of The Temple Bar Trust, an education charity dedicated to exploring and promoting architecture within the Square Mile.
His leisure interests include painting and drawing, golf, and Chelsea FC.
Barry joined the Kensington Society in 2016 and became a trustee and member of its planning committee in 2021.
Michael Becket, annual report editor
Michael Becket was for over thirty years a financial journalist with The Daily Telegraph, which included editing regular supplements and he was City news editor. Before that he was for six years a civil servant. Other jobs have included two years working for Shell International, market research interviewing, operating a lathe at a Lewisham factory, and kitchen porter at the Regent Palace Hotel. He has also contributed to dozens of magazines, including The Spectator, New Scientist, What HiFi, Accountancy Age, Good Housekeeping and Amateur Photographer. His books include Computer by the Tail (co-author), Economic Alphabet, Bluff Your Way in Finance, Office Warfare, How the Stock Market Works, An A to Z of Finance, Stakeholder Pensions, and Starting Your Own Business. He has recently completed a book on history provisionally called Why The Why Then Why There but has not yet found a publisher. He is now a portrait and wedding photographer, one half of photoBECKET.
Michael became a Kensington Society trustee and editor of the Annual Report in 2012.
Peter Mishcon is a practising architect who works in Notting Hill and has lived in Kensington for over 40 years. For most of that time he has been a committee member of the Ladbroke Association, responsible for planning issues together with two other architects.
Peter has had a long involvement in housing, reflected in his practice’s work in both public and private sector housing. and in his role as chair of a national housing association for 16 years. His main enjoyment beyond work and his family is coastal sailing, music and fixing things he’s in the habit of breaking.
In 2018 Peter became a trustee of the Kensington Society.
Steve Mertz has lived in Kensington since 1988. He is a graduate of Stanford University and studied land use and planning at USC Law School. He worked as a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles before moving to London to continue his career in a large City law firm, initially working in its planning department and then in its media and entertainment department. Steve then moved to an in-house role at Warner Bros. Most recently, he headed up Warner’s corporate legal and business affairs department, and was senior vice-president and general counsel, as well as the corporate compliance officer, for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
As well as serving as co-chair of the Lexham Gardens Residents’ Association, Steve is also a governor of the National Film and Television School, and a member of its governance, appointments and remuneration committee. He previously chaired its audit committee.
Steve joined the Kensington Society in 2019 and was appointed trustee in 2021.
The area we cover
The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea was created in 1965 through the merger of the Royal Borough of Kensington and the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea, which both had existed since 1900.
Kensington – the part we watch over on your behalf – is the area north of Fulham Road and Walton Street, marked with a green line on the map.
In 2014 new ward boundaries came into effect. Ward boundaries play a significant part in how the council organises and publishes its planning information, so the map also shows the 18 wards within blue boundaries, whereof 14½ are in Kensington (half of the Brompton & Hans Town ward is in Chelsea).
The council has a more detailed map of the wards.
Our affiliated societies
The following associations are affiliated to the Kensington Society:
Alexander Square Residents’ Association
Ashburn Courtfield Gardens Residents’ Association
The Boltons Association
Campden Hill Residents’ Association (CHRA)
Cherry Trees Residents’ Amenities Association (CTRAA)
Clarendon Cross Residents’ Association
Cornwall Gardens Residents’ Association
Courtfield Gardens West
Eardley Crescent Residents’ Association
Earl’s Court Gardens & Morton Mews Residents’ Association
Earl’s Court Society (ECS)
Earl’s Court Square Residents’ Association (ECSRA)
Earl’s Court Village Residents’ Association
Edwardes Square Scarsdale & Abingdon Association (ESSA)
The Friends of Holland Park
Grenville Housing Association
Holland Park Residents’ Association
Kempsford Gardens Residents’ Association
Kensington Court Residents Association (KCRA)
The Ladbroke Association
Lexham Gardens Residents’ Association
Nevern Square Conservation Area Residents’ Association (NSCARA)
Norland Conservation Society
Old Court House Residents’ Group
Onslow Neighbourhood Association
Pelham Residents’ Association (PRA)
The Pembridge Association
Princes Gate Mews Residents’ Association
Royal Crescent Garden
South Kensington & Queen’s Gate Residents’ Association
St Helen’s Residents’ Association
Thurloe Owners & Leaseholders Association (TOLA)
Victoria Road Area Residents’ Association (VRARA)
Warwick Road Estate Leaseholders’ Association
Page updated 23/10/2023