Beckenham Hill

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Abbey Estate

Abbey School.  The largest and best known of the boys' schools which was built on a site of an old gravel pit between Copers Cope and Park Roads. The land had been part of Copers Cope Farm, and the school was built in 1868 by the first headmaster Rev Thomas Lloyd Phillips and was designed to give the impression of a venerable antique Abbey building. The school flourished but in 1940, to avoid the bombing, it moved to East Grinstead and never returned after the war. It finally closed in 1969. the Abbey Estate of flats and houses has been built on the site. The Worsley Bridge Primary School was built on the Abbey playing fields.


Bromley’s little sister.  Name from Beohha a saxon farmer.. ‘Beohha hammesgemxru’ 973 in an Anglo-Saxon charter, ‘Bacheham’ 1086 in the Domesday Book, ‘Becheham’ 1179, ‘Bekenham’ 1240, that is 'homestead or enclosure of a man called *Beohha', from an Old  English personal name genitive case ‘-n’ and Old English ‘ham’ or ‘hamm’. The first spelling from a description of the Anglo-Saxon bounds of  Bromley contains the Old English word ‘gemxre’ 'boundary'. An even earlier reference in another Bromley charter dated 862 is the phrase’Biohhahema mearcx’ 'boundary of the people of Beckenham', from Old  English ‘hxme’ 'dwellers' and mearc 'mark, boundary'.

the coming of suburban railways to Beckenham in the 1860s led to a spectacular growth of population. In 1861 the population of the village was 2,391; in 1871 it was 6,090, in 1881 13,011 and by 1891 29,707. A soaring population meant expanding spiritual requirements, and this was in turn reflected by a  mushrooming of places to worship.

Beckenham Hill Road

Red House.  Good early c20 neo-Georgian.

Lodges - one heightened later by a Jacobean gable

Beckenham Place Drive

Historically, the land on either side of the drive was open parkland. Drive was the main Beckenham Road and it was cut off by Cator

Beckenham Place Park

The only large mansion in ample grounds to remain in the area.  The grounds, now a public park and golf course is mostly in Lewisham.  The house actually lies just over the boundary, in Bromley.  The estate was bought by John Cator, the developer of Blackheath Park in 1773 from the trustees of the second Earl of Bolingbroke. Cator became Lord of the Manor in 1773; the park belonged to his descendents throughout the c19. It was opened to the public two years after the LCC acquired it from the family in 1927. Records of the estate can be traced to the reign of Edward I 1272-1307. It has been held by a number of families of local and national significance, notably the St.John family: Henry St.John, Viscount Bolingbroke was leader of the Tory Party in the 18th century. In 1773, the estate was sold to John Cator, a prominent member of a family which had an immense influence on the form and character of the contemporary town. Cator built the current Beckenham Place and sold Beckenham's Old Manor shortly thereafter. By 1840 Beckenham Place was occupied by William Peters, followed in 1858 by H.L. Holland of Langley Farm. Subsequently the mansion was a Boys' School, then a Sanatorium and now the Golf House of the G.L.C. Golf Course after the L.C.C. bought it in 1928. The Cator family, no longer holds the manor but maintain their interest in Beckenham. The debts of the estate built up during the lifetime of John Cator's son, John Barwell Cator (1781-1858). Parliament sanctioned the sale of entailed land bound to a family by a longstanding trust in 1825. The timely administration of the estate and the drawing up of a development plan 1864 by Peter Cator, an ex Indian Civil Servant, enabled Albemarle Cator, Barwell's son, to inherit a reduced area, saved from ruin by income from new property rents and sales. Both before and after the drafting of Peter Cator's development plan, many new houses were constructed on the formerly rural estate as a means of raising income, a process that continued until the 1890's, by which time Beckenham was firmly attached to London and a complete network of new residential roads had been built.

Walled Gardens planted by Linneus.  Dr.Johnson advised on the trees.  Now many birds.  Cator was a timber merchant.  Planting in the park was reputedly carried out by (amongst others) the noted botanist Linnaeus many species belong to him. Cator's father-in-law, Peter Collinson, was also an early botanist and landscape architect. He introduced exotic trees and shrubs into the grounds.

Park. park with formal decorative plantings and a large golf course, now close. The golf course included acid grassland and a pond. Elsewhere, the grounds are dominated by grasses like rye but the presence of bent grass and sheep sorrel help to indicate underlying acid conditions. Around the edges hawthorn and willow grow. . The main block of woodland is to the North of the pavilion and South of the Ash Plantation. The oak-dominated ancient woodland has been modified by some planting of exotics such as sweet chestnut and cherry laurel. Hornbeam and ash add to the canopy and the understorey consists of natives like wild service, blackthorn, hazel, holly and hawthorn. The ground flora includes bluebells and dog's mercury. Alder with remote sedge, which shows a damp environment. The park slopes towards the Ravensbourne. The river has been canalised to prevent flooding but in some places looks natural where the bank is covered with water edge plants like reed-canary grass or bistort. Such a range of habitats attracts many birds. Some 45 species have been recorded although this marks a decline on numbers taken 25 years ago when 65 species were noted. Nature Conservation Centre. Ravensbourne through the park, ancient wood, pond and swamp

Pond to the west of the mansion,. It is fenced off but this has more to do with the mud than for protecting the habitat.

Homestead with small pond in the rear gardene4

Beckenham Place.  The main house is a Palladian block, stone, with a curved feature on the garden side, the only ornament here an iron balcony and rusticated basement quoins.  an addtion was built from materials brought from Wricklemarsh House at Blackheath Park, the Palladian mansion by John James of 1721, which Cator demolished in 1787.  was the house already in existence in 1773?  In the pediment are the Cator arms and palm fronds of Coade stone.  a bare central roof-lit hall, with balconies on four sides.  it has become clubhouse, tearoom.  In the 19th a boys school and sanatorium.  Leased to golf club in 1910.  Then taken over by London County Council 1927.  During the period of John Cator's ownership, the mansion was regularly visited by Dr Samuel Johnson who assisted Cator in the establishment of a library. Fanny Burney, authoress of the novel "Evelina" was also a regular guest.

Stables plain late c 18 brick.  Symmetrical, with clock turret.  Clock from clock house at Bellevue Place. Another former Cator residence that was located near the current Clock House Station.

Brackley Road

Edward VIII Pillar box Carron ironworks very rare.

St.Paul's Church.  By Smith & Williams, 1872 Decorated.  Ragstone.  Font of White marble in the form of a shell held by a life-size kneeling angel with a Date 1912, With the development of the Cator Estate, it had been proposed to build houses and shops in the New Beckenham area, on both sides of the railway, but the church, a daughter church of St George's, was built in 1864, consisting of the Nave and North Porch. In 1872 a separate Parish was created when the main church was consecrated. No houses anywhere near when it was built it was in open country.  


Manor Of Foxgrove In the reign of Edward III, about 1350, this Manor belonged to John de Foxgrove, then to Bartholomew de Burghersh and after that to Sir Walter de Paveley. wevntially it descended to Sir Francis Leigh, and after his death in 1711 the Manor was sold for £6,000 to John Tolson whose descendants conveyed it in 1765 to Jones Raymond, of Langley and then to the Burrell family. 

Early in the 19th century the farm was occupied by William Gibbons, and then until his son Henry Gibbons. The original farm building, the old Manor House of this estate, was demolished about 1830 and a new farm house was built; and this demolished about 1878.The Volunteer Fire Brigade did much of their practice at Foxgrove, using water from the moat around the house for that purpose.. After the Gibbons, the farm land subsequently passed into the hands of Charles E. Purvis who was still the occupier in 1910

Cricket field

Foxgrove Road

Preserves the name of the old manor of Foxgrove, recorded as Foxgrove 1275, Foxgrove 1355, Fox Grove 1805, that is ‘-grove’ or ‘copse frequented by foxes', from Old English ‘fox’ and ‘groffa’.

Foxgrove Manor and/or Farm stood between Foxgrove Road and the Avenue, which used to be called Moat Road.  The old manor house was demolished about 1830 and a new farm-house built on the site. This was pulled down about 1878, but the moat was not drained until some years later.. Towards the end of the last century the West Kent Drainage Scheme tapped the stream which fed the moat. This had the effect of drying out the site, eventually leading to its being filled in. Whilst no visible signs remain, some of the local residents, who were totally unaware that a moat had existed in the area report that water lies in parts of their gardens after heavy rain.

Catholic Convent of Handmaids of the Sacred Heart founded in 1930

Lodges - nice pairs of stone one-storeyed

David Bowie lived here

Southend Road

This is the historic South End Road, leading from Beckenham to the south end of Catford.  Large Italianate houses of c. 1850. This section of Southend Road was formerly Copers Cope farm. Added to the Cator lands in 1783, the 225 acre farm was amongst the first land to be developed when the Cator fortunes declined. It has given its name to the Council ward surrounding it. Shortly after the acquisition of Beckenham Place by John Cator in 1773, Southend Road was diverted to provide privacy for Beckenham Place Park.

8-22 Cator developments. A range of tall houses constructed around 1850. Peter Cator's 1864 estate development plan shows that they had already been built, some while before the wholesale suburbanisation of the Beckenham area commenced. They were not particularly influenced by the coming of the railways. The semi-detached   houses   were   large,   providing accommodation for both a family and servants. 

Stone wall for the Abbey, now demolished, it was a private school - Abbey School.  On the site of a gravel pit.

Beckenham Place lodges First houses in the area. Constructed to flank the old road, now a drive. Both lodges are statutorily listed.

Stumps Hill Lane:

View of Crystal Palace

Stumps Hill,

Many posh people lived there, view to Crystal Palace.

Stables walk round Beckenham. Clock from Clock House

Westgate Road,

Beckenham Convent.  in a school run by nuns of the Convent of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an order founded in Spain, but now with schools in many countries. The Beckenham Convent, which occupies a large corner site in Westgate and Foxgrove Roads, opened in 1930, for girls of all ages. In 1968 a new Primary School, known as St Mary's, was built on part of the grounds. This is classified as a Voluntary Aided Primary School under Bromley Education Committee, and takes boys and girls up to the age of 11. The Convent School, which is entirely independent, now only takes girls of secondary school age, of whom about a quarter are boarders.


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