New Malden, Kingston upon Thames
London’s unlikely Korea Town, located south-east of Norbiton
New Malden began to develop as a separate township from Kingston in the second half of the 19th century, boosted by the coming of the railway in 1846 and the opening of the Kingston loop line in 1869. Until this time the area had fewer than a thousand inhabitants and consisted mostly of farms and smallholdings separated from Kingston by Norbiton Common.
The first roads to be laid out were the Groves, to the north-west of the station. New Malden became an urban district in 1894. Suburban development reached a peak in the 1930s and the town become a borough in 1936.
New Malden has long had an industrial element and was subjected to bombing during the Blitz, which had the effect of clearing the way for more housing after the war.
With around 5,000 Korean residents in and around the locality, New Malden has the largest and most concentrated Korean population in Europe.
No one is quite sure how this came about. One explanation is that 1970s Korean expatriates followed the example of their ambassador and settled in Wimbledon, but when prices there rose excessively they decamped to nearby New Malden.
The community is served by its own shops, restaurants and other enterprises, and several local churches hold services in Korean.
New Malden also has a sizeable Tamil community, originating from Sri Lanka.