Why the cows?

The trough from 1899 on City Road

The trough from 1899 on City Road


Honestly? kithandkin.co.uk was taken. *shakes fist*

Well, that’s just part of the reason.

I started hosting guests through Airbnb in our spare room off Old Street in December 2013. I did it primarily to make a little extra cash while I built up my client list. But as the guests from the US, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Australia, South Korea, Israel, Singapore… stayed with us, I was gobsmacked by the trust that these strangers put in me.

When it came to launching the second property, I wanted to give it an identity. Something that represented the goodwill of the sharing economy experience and the character of the place itself.

We tried out a lot of names and concepts before ‘Kith and Kine’ emerged. Kith are your friends, and we believe that hosting has allowed us to make a lot of friends; some passing through, many who have kept in touch.

But ‘Kine’?

It turns out ‘kine’ is an archaic word to mean assets or property. So far, so accurate.

It also means ‘cows’.

I guess at one point someone’s cows were his or her assets or property. So we had a word that means ‘property’ but where was the local connection? I really wanted the name to somehow tap into the rich history or culture of this area of London. Up against a deadline, this would have to do.

As I left the property one day and crossed City Road, I spotted the old water trough. No longer functioning as a means of keeping your animals from getting thirsty, but filled with flowers. The inscription read ‘The gift of Mrs Leigh, Summerville, Halifax 1899’.

And then I remembered that City Road was one of the busy routes for farmers in the early 19th century and earlier who would drive their cattle into the bustling markets of Spitalfields and more.

There, outside our door, were my cows. My connection. My kine.

Welcome to Kith & Kine.

Enda Guinan