In recent years, the council has spent millions of pounds subsidizing opera tickets and paying tax rebates to all except the poorest at a time when services for youths and toddlers were reduced, and free swimming classes for state-funded schools and older residents were canceled. The contempt directed at those raising concerns about fire safety at Grenfell Tower was not an exception, residents said, but the fire exposed the disconnect between an elitist council and poor residents in the north.

Kensington and Chelsea is a microcosm of a divided Britain. The south is home to Kensington Palace Gardens, better known as Billionaires’ Row, one of the most expensive streets in the country. Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire, owns a mansion there reportedly worth £125 million($163 million). And Kensington Palace is where Prince William and the Duchess of pCambridge will be raising their children.

To the north, Golborne ranks as one of the two poorest wards in London. Victorian-era diseases like tuberculosis and rickets have made a comeback. Life expectancy in parts of North Kensington is 20 years lower than in South Kensington.


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