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The Parish Church of St Anne, Kew

Temperate House in Kew Gardens
Kew is located in Greater London
 Kew shown within Greater London
Area  3.30 km2 (1.27 sq mi)
Population 11,436 2011 Census (Kew ward 2011)[2]
   – density  3,465/km2 (8,970/sq mi)
OS grid reference
London borough Richmond
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town RICHMOND
Postcode district TW9
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Richmond Park
London Assembly South West
List of places

Kew is a suburban[3] district in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north-east of Richmond[4] and 7.1 miles (11.4 km) west by south-west of Charing Cross; its population at the 2011 Census was 11,436.[2]

Kew is the location of the Royal Botanic Gardens ("Kew Gardens"), now a World Heritage Site, which includes Kew Palace. Kew is also the home of important historical documents such as Domesday Book, which is on public display at The National Archives.

Successive French Revolution, many refugees established themselves there and it was the home of several artists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Since 1965 Kew has incorporated the former area of North Sheen[5] which includes St Philip and All Saints, the first barn church consecrated in England.[6] It is now in a combined Church of England ecclesiastical parish with St Luke's Church, Kew.

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.


  • Etymology 1
  • Governance 2
  • Economy 3
  • Royal associations with Kew 4
  • Georgian expansion 5
  • Artists associated with Kew 6
  • Other notable inhabitants 7
    • Historical figures 7.1
    • Living people 7.2
  • Demography 8
    • Homes and households 8.1
  • Transport 9
  • Parks and open spaces 10
  • Sport and leisure 11
  • Societies 12
  • Education 13
    • Primary schools 13.1
    • Independent preparatory schools 13.2
  • Places of worship 14
  • Cemeteries and crematorium 15
  • Literary references to Kew 16
  • See also 17
  • References 18
  • Sources 19
  • Further reading 20
  • External links 21


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[7] although this has been disputed. The name Kew is a combination of two words: the Old French kai (landing place; "quay" derives from this) and Old English hoh (spur of land). The land spur is the bend in the Thames. The name was recorded in 1327 as Cayho.[8]


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. For elections to the London Assembly it is part of the South West London Assembly constituency.

Kew was added in 1892[9] to the Municipal Borough of Richmond which had been formed two years earlier, and which was in the county of Surrey. In 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, the boundaries of Greater London were expanded to include Kew which, with Richmond, transferred to the new London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.


The fashion clothing retailer Jigsaw's headquarters are in Mortlake Road, Kew.[10]

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.[11] Itsr former premises can still be identified from Kew Bridge, with its name on the building.[12]

Royal associations with Kew

"Sarah Kirby (née Bull) and Joshua Kirby", by Thomas Gainsborough
Marianne North Gallery, Kew Gardens, interior
French painter Camille Pissarro's impression of Kew Green in 1892

Henry V developed a Carthusian monastery to the south west of where Kew Observatory now stands.[13]

Thomas Cromwell, who resold it for the same amount to Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. Brandon had probably already inhabited Kew during the life of his wife Mary Tudor, the daughter of Henry VII and widow of the French king Louis XII. According to John Leland's Cygnea Cantio ("Swan Song"), she stayed in Kew (which he refers to as "Cheva")[14] for a time after her return to England.[15]

One of Henry VIII's closest friends, Henry Norris, lived at Kew Farm,[13] which was later owned by Elizabeth I's favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.[16] This large palatial house on the Thames riverbank predated the royal palaces of Kew Palace and the White House. Excavations at Kew Gardens in 2009 revealed a wall that may have belonged to the property.[17]

In Elizabeth's reign, and under the Stuarts, houses were developed along Kew Green.[18] 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.[19]

Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I, was given a household at Kew in 1608.[15]

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.[20]

The Hanoverians maintained the strongest links with Kew, in particular Princess Augusta who founded the botanic gardens[21] 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.[22] Frederick commissioned the building of the first substantial greenhouse at Kew Gardens.[23]

In 1721 the future Queen Charlotte moved into the White House at Kew.[22] They established their main summer court at Kew from the 1760s and 1770s. Queen Charlotte died at the Dutch House in Kew in 1818.[22]

William IV spent most of his early life at Richmond and at Kew Palace, where he was educated by private tutors.[24]

Georgian expansion

During the French Revolution, many refugees established themselves in Kew, having built many of the houses of this period. In the 1760s and 1770s the royal presence attracted artists such as Thomas Gainsborough and Johann Zoffany.[15][25]

Artists associated with Kew

  • Franz (later Francis) Bauer (1758–1840) was an Austrian microscopist and botanical artist who became the first botanical illustrator at Kew Gardens. By 1790 he had settled at Kew, where as well as making detailed paintings and drawings of flower dissections, often at microscopic level, he tutored Queen Charlotte, Princess Elizabeth and William Hooker in the art of illustration, and often entertained friends and botanists at his home. He is buried at St Anne's[26] next to Thomas Gainsborough
  • 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"[27]
  • [29]. He is buried in St Anne's Churchportrait miniatures was one of the greatest English painters of [28]
  • 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[25]
  • Arthur Hughes (1832–1915), Pre-Raphaelite painter, lived and died at Eastside House, 22 Kew Green, Kew.[30] The site is marked by a blue plaque[31]
  • [35] He died in Kew and is buried at St Anne's[34] in 1767.Fellow of the Royal Society He was elected a [33]
  • Sir [25]
  • 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[37]
  • 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.[38] During his stay he painted Kew Gardens – Path to the Great Glasshouse (1892), [4] Kew Greens (1892) and Church at Kew (1892). [6] His third son, Félix Pissarro (1874–1897), painter, etcher and caricaturist, died at a sanatorium at 262 Kew Road in 1897[39]
  • The painter Johann Zoffany (1725–1810), who lived at Strand-on-the-Green, is buried at St Anne's[40]

Other notable inhabitants

Historical figures

Cottages on Kew Green

Living people


In the ten years from the time of the 2001 census, the population rose from 9,445[68] to 11,436,[2] 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 those for Kew ward,[68] the boundaries of the enlarged parish having been adjusted to allow for all wards in the borough to be equally sized.

Homes and households

2011 Census homes
Ward Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes/houseboats Shared between households[2]
Kew 426 1,029 1,212 2,268 4 25
Kew Railway Bridge stonework
2011 Census households
Ward Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares[2]
Kew 11,436 4,941 30 30 330


A main mode of transport between Kew and London, for rich and poor alike, was by water along the Thames which, historically, separated Middlesex (on the north bank) from Surrey: Kew was also connected to Brentford, Middlesex by ferry, first replaced by bridge in 1759. The current Kew Bridge, which carries the South Circular Road (the A205) was opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1903.[22]

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.

Since 1869 rail services have been available from Kew Gardens station. London Underground (District Line) services run to Richmond and to central London. London Overground trains run to Richmond and (via Willesden Junction) to Stratford.

Three bus routes serve Kew: the 65,[69] 391[70] and R68.[71]

River bus services supported by publicly funded Transport for London are from Kew Pier, to Richmond, Hampton Court and to Westminster Pier in central London.[72]

Nearest places
Nearest railway stations

Parks and open spaces

Kew Green
Japanese garden in Kew Gardens
  • Kew Green includes an old horse pond and is used by Kew Cricket Club for cricket matches in the summer.[73]
  • Kew Pond, northeast of Kew Green, has a reed bed habitat and a resident population of water birds.[74]
  • 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.[75] It is also the home of a local football club, Kew Park Rangers. A new £1 million sports pavilion[76] was opened in September 2011.[77]
  • Pensford Field,[78] 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, a quiet sitting area and toddlers' play area, was previously a playground for a former Victorian primary school.[79]
  • Westerley Ware Recreation Ground, a small garden and recreation ground at the foot of Kew Bridge, 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, its name refers to the practice of netting weird or "wares" to catch fish.[80][81]

Sport and leisure

Kew's several other sports clubs include:

The nearest football club in the Football League is Brentford FC, approximately 1 mile away.


The Kew Society
Motto We care about Kew
Formation 1901 (as the Kew Union)[85]
Legal status registered charity
Caroline Brock
Main organ
The Kew Society Newsletter
Website .org.kewsocietywww

The Kew Horticultural Society, founded in 1938, organises an annual show on Kew Green in late August/early September[87][88][89] as well as talks, events and outings throughout the year.

The Kew Society, which was founded in 1901 as the Kew Union,[85] 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,[86] organises community events including lectures and outings and produces a quarterly newsletter.


Primary schools

  • 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.[90] 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.[91]
  • Kew Riverside Primary School, on Courtlands Avenue, opened in 2002.[92]
  • The Queen's Church of England Primary School is in Cumberland Road, where it moved in 1969.[93] 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.[94] 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

Independent preparatory schools

  • Broomfield House School, on Broomfield Road, was founded in 1876.[95]
  • 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.

Places of worship

Five churches in Kew are currently in use:

Former churches include the late 19th-century Cambridge Road Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, previously known as the Gloucester Road Wesleyan Methodist Chapel[96] and also known as Cambridge Road Methodist Church,[97] which was in use from 1891 to 1969.[97]

Cemeteries and crematorium

Mortlake Crematorium and two cemeteries – North Sheen Cemetery and Mortlake Cemetery – are located in Kew.[98]

Literary references to Kew

Lilac in Kew Gardens

I am His Highness' dog at Kew;
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?

Epigram, engraved on the Collar of a Dog which I gave to his Royal Highness (Frederick, Prince of Wales), 1736[99] (Alexander Pope, 1688–1744)

And the wildest dreams of Kew are the facts of Khatmandhu

In The Neolithic Age, 1892 (Rudyard Kipling, 1865–1936)

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!)

The Barrel-Organ, 1920 (Alfred Noyes, 1880–1958)

Trams and dusty trees.
Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew
Undid me.

The Waste Land, 1922 (T. S. Eliot, 1888–1965)

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.

Arcadia, 1993 (Tom Stoppard, 1937–)

See also


  1. ^ Census Information Scheme (2012). "2011 Census Ward Population Estimates". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density [1] Office for National Statistics
  3. ^ A City of Villages: Promoting a sustainable future for London's suburbs (PDF). SDS Technical Report 11 ( 
  4. ^ "History of Kew, in Richmond upon Thames and Surrey". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS /  
  5. ^ a b Blomfield 1994, p.131
  6. ^ Blomfield, David. The Story of Kew, second edition, p.36, Leyborne Publications, 1996
  7. ^ Blomfield 1994, p.3
  8. ^ Room, Adrian: Dictionary of Place-Names in the British Isles, Bloomsbury, 1988
  9. ^ Great Britain Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, Richmond MB (historic map). Retrieved on 21 November 2009.
  10. ^ Turney, Gilly (February 2012). "The Jigsaw of Style". The Barnes Magazine. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Caxton Name Plate Manufacturing Company Limited". Company Check. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  12. ^ "Caxton Name Plate Manufacturing Co". Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Blomfield 1994, p.5
  14. ^  
  15. ^ a b c Malden, H E (editor) (1911). "Parishes: Kew". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. London. pp. 482–487. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  16. ^ Blomfield 1994, p.12
  17. ^ "Replacement children's play area: land adjacent to the Climbers and Creepers Building, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: an archeological evaluation" (PDF). Compass Archaeology. September 2009. pp. i and 4. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  18. ^ Blomfield 1994, p.16
  19. ^ Blomfield 1994, p.18
  20. ^ Blomfield 1994, p.23
  21. ^ "Kew, History and Heritage".  
  22. ^ a b c d "Royal Richmond timeline". Local history timelines.  
  23. ^ Blomfield 1994, p.32
  24. ^  
  25. ^ a b c Blomfield 1994, pp.43–45
  26. ^ "St Anne's Church, Kew Green" (PDF). Local History Notes.  
  27. ^ Blomfield 1994, p.95
  28. ^ "Penelope Blathwayt, Mrs Jeremiah Pierce Crane (1755–1810): George Engleheart (Kew 1750 – Blackheath 1839)– National Trust Inventory Number 453454". National Trust Collections.  
  29. ^ Nisinger, Connie (31 October 2001). "George Engleheart".  
  30. ^ Riggs, Terry (November 1997). "Arthur Hughes: artist biography".  
  31. ^ "Blue Plaques". Visit Richmond.  
  32. ^ (English) Life of the rev. William Kirby par John Freeman. Ed. Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1852.
  33. ^ John Joshua Kirby in the RKD (Netherlands Institute for Art History)
  34. ^ "Library and Archive catalogue".  
  35. ^ Geer, Samuel Taylor (10 August 2011). "John Joshua Kirby".  
  36. ^ a b c d  
  37. ^ Blomfield 1994, p.96
  38. ^ "Pissarro's home on Kew Green".  
  39. ^ Reed, Nicholas (1997). Pissarro in West London (Kew, Chiswick and Richmond) (Fourth ed.). Lilburne Press. p. 46.  
  40. ^ Blomfield 1994, p.45
  41. ^ Nisinger, Connie (31 October 2001). "William Aiton".  
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  46. ^ "Hooker, Sir Joseph (1817–1911) & Hooker, Sir William (1785–1865)". Blue Plaques.  
  47. ^ "Princess Alexandra unveils blue plaque for former directors of Kew Gardens". News.  
  48. ^ "Alfred Luff".  
  49. ^ Faulkner, Scott (August 2009). "Phil Lynott remembered".  
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  54. ^ "George Vassila". CricketArchive. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
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  56. ^ Ambrose, Tom (22 February 2014). "Original Kinks drummer Mick Avory returns to Twickenham Eel Pie Club".  
  57. ^ "Interview With Ray Brooks, Voice Of Mr Benn, Lover Of Chiswick And Resident Of Kew". Chiswick Herald. 30 August 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  58. ^ "'"Justin Lee Collins 'kept girlfriend's sexual history.  
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  61. ^ Moore, Cliff (3 October 2011). "Milton Jones, Bournemouth Pavilion".  
  62. ^ Conway, Juliet (12 October 2012). "My London".  
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  64. ^ "Letter: Kenneth Clarke's Budget: taxes, consumer spending, unemployment and Canada's Tories".  
  65. ^  
  66. ^ Sternbergh, Adam (7 September 2003). "Selling your Sex Life".  
  67. ^ Jeffries, Stuart (20 January 2012). There is a clue everybody's missed': Sherlock writer Steven Moffat interviewed"'".  
  68. ^ a b "Statistics from the 2001 Census of Population for Kew Ward" (PDF).  
  69. ^ "Route 65". London Bus Routes. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  70. ^ "Route 391". London Bus Routes. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  71. ^ "Route R68". London Bus Routes. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  72. ^ "Thames River Boats to Kew, Richmond and Hampton Court". Westminster Passenger Service Association. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  73. ^ "Kew Green".  
  74. ^ "Kew Pond".  
  75. ^ "North Sheen Recreation Ground".  
  76. ^ Mason, Ian (26 September 2009). "Work kicks off on £1 million sports pavilion".  
  77. ^ Fleming, Christine (8 September 2011). "Delight as new pavilions in North Sheen and Palewell finally ready".  
  78. ^ "Pensford Field". Pensford Field Environmental Trust Ltd website. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  79. ^ "St Luke's Open Space".  
  80. ^ "Westerley Ware Recreation Ground".  
  81. ^ "Westerley Ware". London Gardens Online.  
  82. ^ "Contact Us". North Sheen Bowling Club. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  83. ^ "Welcome to Priory Park Club". Priory Park Club. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  84. ^ "Home". Richmond Gymnastics Association. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  85. ^ a b Blomfield, 1994, p.112 and p.131
  86. ^ a b "The Kew Society". Civic Voice. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  87. ^ "History". Kew Horticultural Society. Retrieved 2 December 2013. 
  88. ^ "Summer Show". Kew Horticultural Society. Retrieved 2 December 2013. 
  89. ^ Gupta, Lila Das (28 August 2004). "When the country comes to town".  
  90. ^ Blomfield 1994, pp.114–115
  91. ^ "About our school: history". Darell Primary and Nursery School. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  92. ^ "Ofsted". Kew Riverside Primary School. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  93. ^ "Queen's History in Kew". The Queen's School Kew. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  94. ^ "The Queen's School, Kew: Records".  
  95. ^ "The Early Years". Broomfield House School. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  96. ^ "Cambridge Road Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (Kew, Surrey): Church records, 1892–1902". Family History Library Catalog.  
  97. ^ a b "Cambridge Road Methodist Church, Kew GB/NNAF/C6825 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/O83449) – 1891–1969: minutes, baptism register and misc papers".  
  98. ^ "Kew Village Plan Consultation Boards" (PDF). Village Plans.  
  99. ^ Thomas, W K (April 1969). "His Highness' Dog at Kew". College English ( 


Further reading


External links

  • Kew area profile
  • : Kew timelineHistoryWorld
  • Kew Community Trust
  • Richmond Local History Society
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