Successive Tudor, Stuart and Georgian monarchs maintained links with Kew. During the French Revolution, many refugees established themselves there and it was the home of several artists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Today, Kew is an expensive residential area because of its suburban hallmarks. Among these are sports-and-leisure open spaces, schools, transport links, architecture, restaurants, no high rise buildings, modest road sizes, trees and gardens. Most of Kew developed in the late 19th century, following the arrival of the District Line of the Underground. Further development took place in the 1920s and 1930s when new houses were built on the market gardens of North Sheen and in the first decade of the 21st century when considerably more river-fronting flats and houses were constructed by the Thames on land formerly owned by Thames Water.
The earliest written reference to Kew is thought to be contained in Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars, as the location where the Roman Army forded the Thames in 54 BC. The name Kew is a combination of two words: the Old Frenchkai (landing place; "quay" derives from this) and Old Englishhoh (spur of land). The land spur is the bend in the Thames. The name was recorded in 1327 as Cayho.
Kew forms part of the Richmond Park UK Parliament constituency. The current Member of Parliament is Zac Goldsmith. For elections to the European Parliament it is part of the London constituency.
Kew has several independent retailers, many of them in "Kew Village", the parades of shops adjoining Kew Gardens station. They include a bookshop, a whole foods store, and restaurants and cafes. A village community market  is held in Kew Village on the first Sunday of every month.
Sandycombe Road has a specialist guitar shop and other retail outlets.
There are also major high street retailers at the nearby Kew Retail Park (originally known as Richmond Retail Park).
A former industry in Kew was that of nameplate manufacturing, by the Caxton Name Plate Manufacturing Company, based on Kew Green. The company was founded in 1964 and folded in 1997. Their former premises can still be identified from Kew Bridge, with their name on the building.
In Elizabeth's reign, and under the Stuarts, houses were developed along Kew Green.West Hall, which survives in West Hall Road, dates from at least the 14th century and the present house was built at the end of the 17th century.
Queen Anne subscribed to the building of the parish church on Kew Green, which was dedicated to St Anne in 1714, three months before the queen's death.
The Hanoverians maintained the strongest links with Kew, in particular Princess Augusta who founded the botanic gardens and her husband Frederick, Prince of Wales who lived at the White House in Kew. Augusta, as Dowager Princess of Wales, continued to live there until her death in 1721. Frederick commissioned the building of the first substantial greenhouse at Kew Gardens.
In 1721 the future George III and Queen Charlotte moved into the White House at Kew. They established their main summer court at Kew from the 1760s and 1770s. Queen Charlotte died at the Dutch House in Kew in 1818.
William IV spent most of his early life at Richmond and at Kew Palace, where he was educated by private tutors.
The American-born English artist Walter Deverell (1827–1854), who was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, lived at 352 Kew Road, then called Heathfield House. He had a studio at the end of the garden where there are now garages. In this setting he painted "The Pet"
Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) visited Kew many times, staying with his friend Joshua Kirby and, after Kirby's death, in a house probably rented by his daughter close to St Anne's Church, where he is buried
Sir Peter Lely (1618–1680), portrait painter, had a house on the north side of Kew Green. On almost exactly the same site, Jeremiah Meyer (1735–1789), miniaturist to Queen Charlotte and George III, built a house a century later. Meyer is buried at St Anne's
Victorian artist Marianne North (1830–1890) did not live in Kew, but she left to Kew Gardens her collection of botanic art, painted on her extensive overseas travels, and funded a gallery – the Marianne North Gallery – to house them
French Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro (1830–1903) stayed in 1892 at 10 Kew Green, on the corner of Gloucester Road, which is marked by a blue plaque. During his stay he painted Kew Gardens – Path to the Great Glasshouse (1892), Kew Greens (1892)  and Church at Kew (1892).  His third son, Félix Pissarro (1874–1897), painter, etcher and caricaturist, died at a sanatorium at 262 Kew Road in 1897
William Aiton (1731–1793), botanist, was appointed director in 1759 of the newly established botanical garden at Kew, where he remained until his death. He effected many improvements at the gardens, and in 1789 he published Hortus Kewensis, a catalogue of the plants cultivated there. He is buried in St. Anne's churchyard 
Samuel Molyneux (1689–1728), Member of Parliament, and an amateur astronomer, who was married to Lady Elizabeth Diana Capel, the eldest daughter of the Earl of Essex, inherited Kew House on the death of Lady Capel of Tewkesbury. Molyneux set up an observatory at the house and collaborated there with James Bradley in innovative designs for reflecting telescopes. Kew House which later, as the White House, became the home of Prince Frederick and Princess Augusta, was pulled down in 1802 when George II's short-lived gothic "castellated palace" was built
John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (1713–1792), botanist and honorary director of Kew Gardens, 1754 – 1772, adviser to Princess Augusta and tutor to George III and, later, Prime Minister of Great Britain (1762–1763), lived at King’s Cottage, 33 Kew Green
In the ten years from the time of the 2001 census, the population rose from 9,445 to 11,436, the sharpest ten-year increase in Kew since the early 20th century. This was partly accounted for by the conversion of former Thames Water land to residential use, and increases in property sizes. The figures are based on the ward, the enlarged parish being adjusted to allow for equal sized wards in the borough. This means a minority of the 'North Richmond' ward is correctly signed as in Kew on all streetname signs.
The A205 road commencing there passes through Kew as a single carriageway. However Kew Road provides the main road link to Richmond. The M4 motorway starts a short distance north of Kew, providing access to Heathrow Airport and the west. The A316 road starts in Chiswick and continues over Chiswick Bridge and a complex junction with the South Circular Road at Chalker's Corner at the south-eastern end of the district.
Kew Pond, northeast of Kew Green, has a reed bed habitat and a resident population of water birds.
North Sheen Recreation Ground in Dancer Road, known locally as "The Rec", was originally part of an orchard belonging to the Popham Estate, owned by the Leyborne Pophams whose family seat was at Littlecote House, Wiltshire. Opened in June 1909 and extended in 1923, it now contains football pitches, a running track, a children's paddling pool, two extensive playgrounds, a large dog-free grassed area and a pavilion set amongst trees and shrubs. It is also home to local football club, Kew Park Rangers. A new £1 million sports pavilion was opened in September 2011.
Pensford Field, previously playing fields of the former Gainsborough School, is now a nature reserve and also the home of Pensford Tennis Club.
St Luke's Open Space was derived from a former Victorian school, and is now a quiet sitting area with toddlers' play equipment.
Westerley Ware Recreation Ground, a small garden and recreation ground at the foot of Kew Bridge. It has a memorial garden bordered by hedges, a grass area, three hard tennis courts and a children's playground. Originally created as a memorial garden to the fallen in the First World War, the name refers to the practice of netting weird or "wares" to catch fish.
The Kew Horticultural Society, founded in 1938, organises an annual show on Kew Green on the Saturday of the August Bank Holiday weekend as well as lectures, events and outings throughout the year.
The Kew Society, which was founded in 1901 as the Kew Union, is a civic society that seeks to enhance the beauty of Kew and preserve its heritage. It reviews all planning applications in Kew with special regard to the architectural integrity and heritage of the neighbourhood, and plays an active role in the improvement of local amenities. The Society, which is a member of Civic Voice, organises community events including lectures and outings and produces a newsletter, On Kew.
Darell Primary and Nursery School is on Darell Road and Niton Road. It opened in 1906, as the Darell Road Schools, at the southern end of what had been the Leyborne-Popham estate. Darell School was Richmond Borough Council’s first primary school and was built in the "Queen Anne" style, in brick with white stone facings. Although it has been extended several times, it is now the only Richmond primary school still in its historic original pre-1914 building.
Kew Riverside Primary School, on Courtlands Avenue, opened in 2002.
The Queen's Church of England Primary School In her will of 1719, Dorothy, Lady Capel of Kew House left to four trustees Perry Court Farm in Kent, which she had inherited from her father. One twelfth of the rent from the farm was to be given to St Anne's Church to establish a school in Kew. In 1810, a "Free School" was opened in the church for 50 children, financed by subscribers who gave one guinea a year, in addition to a contribution by King George III. In 1824 the school moved to a site near the pond on Kew Green. The foundation stone was laid on 12 August, the birthday of King George IV, who gave £300 on condition that it be called "The King's Free School". Queen Victoria gave permission for it to be called "The Queen's School" and decreed that its title should change with that of the monarch. The school moved to Cumberland Road in 1969.
Independent preparatory schools
Broomfield House School, on Broomfield Road, was founded in 1876.
Kew College, a co-educational school for 3–11 year olds, was originally founded in 1927 by Mrs Ellen Upton in rooms over a shop in Kew. Mrs Upton’s young daughter was one of the first pupils. The school later moved to Cumberland Road. In 1953, Mrs Upton retired and sold the school to Mrs Hamilton-Spry who, in 1985, handed over the buildings to a charitable trust to ensure the school's long term continuity.
Kew Green Preparatory School, at Layton House, Ferry Lane, near Kew Green, opened in 2004.
Unicorn School, established in 1970, is a co-educational, parent-owned school on Kew Road, opposite Kew Gardens.
Former churches include the late 19th century Cambridge Road Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, previously known as the Gloucester Road Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and also known as Cambridge Road Methodist Church, which was in use from 1891 to 1969.
Literary references to Kew
Lilac in Kew Gardens
I am His Highness' dog at Kew; Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?
Go down to Kew in lilac-time, in lilac-time, in lilac-time; Go down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn't far from London!) And you shall wander hand in hand with love in summer's wonderland; Go down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn't far from London!)
Lady Croom: My hyacinth dell is become a haunt for hobgoblins, my Chinese bridge, which I am assured is superior to the one at Kew, and for all I know at Peking, is usurped by a fallen obelisk overgrown with briars.