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Thames Tributary Ravensbourne

The Ravensbourne continues to flow north and slightly west.

Beckenham Lane

Was there a summerhouse on Church Hill?

Browning's corner.  Site of the shop of a sausage making butcher who did not pay rates because he was a non-conformist

The area around Blythe and Swan Hills has several springs which feed down to the Ravensbourne.

Pest House Field was between Beckenham Lane and Park End.  The Pest House itself was in the south east corner.

Pixfield; or Pitts Field.  This is now the field for the Valley School.;

Pixfield was also the name of a house.  On the corner of Farnaby Road.  It is said to have had inside panels from the Great House.

Bromley Hill Place lodge stood opposite Pixfield.

Frogs Swam – name of the area between Pixfield and Bromley Hill Place

Valley Primary School.  It was built by Bromley School Board and opened in 1891. The Board had held an architectural competition in which was won bt1888/9 to select a suitable design. A design submitted under the name 'Bromley' was subsequently approved. It was by Evelyn Arthur Hellicar and Sydney Vacher. The school was built on land belonging to Pixfield, whose owner made conditions which dictated the basic form of the school.

Glebe Knoll.  Flats

Hollydene.  Flats

Footpath to Deadmen's Steps.

Ravensbourne Bridge.  Site of a mill dam there at Domesday.

Alley way with tiny padlocked All Saints Mission

Bromley Gardens

St.Mary’s disused church hall-cum-chapel survived until about 1982

2 new houses on site of St.Mary's Hall

Binello grocery

Bromley Park

Area between Beckenham Lane and London Road.  This was a small country estate which belonged to the Blyth family 1769.  Developed in the late 19th until 1913 and the name has been taken for the whole area.

Farwig Lane

Mr.Farwig. came from Newington Causeway metal working company

Beech Tree pub.  .  Nursery site and home of very old beech tree which was a favourite of Paxton.  the tree was taken to Crystal Palace whole.  Pub rebuilt after bombing.

Head office of Russell and Bromley Shoe Co.

Lawn Villa

Gas Works, opened by Mr. Farwig, it became the gas works for the whole area.

Glassmill Lane

Mill dam on the river.  This was a very big pond.

The mill has disappeared but the extensive mill pond remains.  Mill in Domesday Book.  Initially it would have ground corn but in 1449 Lord Saye purchased the mill to produce paper.  In 1811 it belonged to Messrs. Fentham of the Strand, London, and was used to polish mirrors and lenses.  Later used for grinding and polishing concave and convex mirrors from one to five feet diameter by Thomas Ribright, optician in the Poultry, London.

Cottages 1819

Grasmere Road

3 by Ernest Newton.  Tile-hanging above brick. Big half-timbered porch bay with caryatids framing the first-floor window.

5 was built as the stables.

Harcourt House.  Built in what was originally the Bromley Hill Estate, as a family home in 1870 by local architect W.A. Williams.  It was originally named "The Glade,” and used as a school 1908 -1940, known as "The Glade Garden School" and then "Harcourt House School, Highland and Grasmere.”  During the Second World War it was used as offices for the Red Cross.  Listed.  Freda’s Garden.

High Street

The Swan & Mitre.  An old coaching inn which was popular with carters carrying farm produce and fish on their way to London markets.  It dates from the early 19th although part of the stables is 18th. Inside is seating from Old Gaiety Theatre in London and ornate mirrors presented by Marie Lloyd.  In 1855 a large pile of crutches was found here, left by patients cured by the surgeon James Scott.

Highland Road

Entrance lodge to Bromley Hill house.

Christ Church.  Built for Samuel Cawston in 1887 using the same architect, W.A.Williams, as the houses of the Bromley Hill estate in the Early English style

28 Bromley Reform Synagogue

London Road

Parish gravel pit on the west side. In 1929 became Tranquil Place farm cottages

Salubrious Range .Laurel Inn houses. East side just north of the Beech Tree.

Bromley workhouse 1721-1845;

Park End was the site of a windmill. Moved 400 yards in 1768 and gone by 1845 opposite the Beech Tree

Bromley Central Methodist church (1965) Gone

50 Lygon House

Lauriston House 1883/1896 lived Joseph Swan of the electric light.

Bromley College.  Lies behind red brick walls and 18th iron gates with a bishop's mitre. John Warner was one of only eight Bishops to survive until the restoration of the Stuart Monarchy in 1660 and when he died in 1666 he left £8,500 for the foundation of a College or almshouse for  'twenty poore widowes of Orthodoxe and Loyalle clergymen'. It was built 1670-72 to the design of Captain Richard Ryder, a Master Surveyor who had worked with Wren. Although the style is associated with Christopher Wren it had developed before the Civil War and was a speciality of masons, bricklayers of the City of London both before and after the Great Fire. The College has 20 house around a quadrangle - a paved walk within has a lean-to roof on Doric columns of stone plus a large stone archway to the courtyard facing London Road with houses for the treasurer and chaplain on either side. There is speculation that the columns are those recovered from Gresham’s Royal Exchange. At the end of the 18th a second courtyard was added by Thomas Hardwick. For twenty more widows but using wooden columns. The college now accommodates retired clergymen and their wives. The original widows had two rooms on the ground floor, two bedrooms, and a semi-basement kitchen and was expected to be attended by a resident servant and, a spinster daughter.

Chapel between the two quadrangles of red brick. Windows by Waring & Blake, 1863. The original chapel had to be enlarged this is the replacement.

Shepherd's College.  House for spinster daughters when their mothers had died.  Will of Mr. Benetson 1840

Motorworks - James Young has bought the coach building firm of J.K.Hunter in 1863, makers of the ‘Bromley Brougham’.  Their first motor body was built in 1908 for Orpington MP, Smithers.  Made aeroplane parts in two world wars.  From 1921 they made bodies for Bentley cars as well as Alfa Romeo, Sunbeam and Rolls-Royce.  James Young also fitted some cars including Talbot and Sunbeam.  In 1937 they were bought by London Rolls-Royce dealer Jack Barclay.  They stopped coach building in 1967 but continued with body work until 1979.  Factory later used as a snooker hall.  Factory building still there 2009.

31/33 Carn Brae and Holmby House became the Lady Margaret Hospital, which was fruitarian.  Founded 1903 by Josiah Oldfield with no infectious admittances.  No proper training accreditation although they pretended there was.  Was offered to the War Office especially for Indian soldiers in 1914.  Some Belgians accommodated c. 1915.  Closed 1920.

Martin's Hill

The land formed part of an estate owned by the Bishops of Rochester.  Coles Child became Lord of the Manor in the mid 19th and following the sale of some land residents became concerned about preserving the hillside.  The Local Board bought Martin's Hill for £2,500 in 1878.

Hop Field.  The lower slopes were where hops were grown successfully.  The produce formed part of the Palace crop which was so heavy it often needed month to pick.  In 1872 the first hops to arrive at the London Hop Exchange came from gardens at Bromley Palace, the fifth successive year that Coles Child's hops were first at the market.

The Meadow, which included the Hop Field, was purchased for the public on Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887, and given the name Queen's Mead.

Obelisk War.  Memorial at junction of Glassmill Lane and Church Road.  1922. On land adjacent to Martins Hill Recreation Ground.  The white stone obelisk and the base feature magnificent life-size bronze figures.  The memorial was unveiled on 29th October 1922 by General Lord Home GCB, KCMG.

Martin's Road

Fire brigade house.  This was on the site next to the supermarket.  The disused station lasted well after the Second World War.  The tiny station had a single arched stall for the engine.  After it had been merged into a bigger service, the building, named The Old Fire Station; became a private house.

Kerbs painted alternate red and blue for 1977 Jubilee

Meadow Road

Mill Vale

Mitre Hill stream in the garden of Mill Vale

Queens Mead

Recreation ground.  In the corner was a footpath to Pickhurst Green; footbridge over railway to a meadow with another gravel pit with more river gravel.  before the mid-1950s it was used for events and  Until about 1953 there were funfairs, with roundabouts, chairoplanes and boat swings, a few driven by steam.

Ford over Ravensbourne until 1764; part of old bridge in new building

Queens Mead Road

Brick building.  In a narrow alleyway which was once All Saints Mission.  A leaning iron chimney poked from the roof, serving an old-fashioned stove.


The Ravensbourne Flood Prevention Act was implemented following the disastrous floods of September 1968.  Thirty- six hours of torrential rain caused hundreds of houses to be filled with deep water.  Since then the Ravensbourne has been widened, deepened, culverted and canalised most of the way from its source at Keston to Deptford where it flows into the Thames.


Marked with this name on the Ordnance Survey map of 1876, which refers to the 18th Shortlands House which later became a school, originally it was a field name meaning 'short strips of land in common fields’.

Shortlands golf course

Station Road

Shortlands Station.  3rd May 1858.  Between Bromley South and Beckenham Junction and also Ravensbourne on South Eastern Trains.  Built by the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway opened as ‘Bromley’.  Was called ‘New Bromley’ originally.  The line from Beckenham went to Pimlico, then line to Bickley, tried to get LBSCR to Bromley.  In 1885 it was renamed ‘Shortlands’.  In 1889, the line from Nunhead

Gas lamp sewer vent pipe cast iron 1860s

Shortlands Tavern

Shortlands Laundry.  Almost facing the waterworks across the railway from the corner of Station Road and Martins Road.  Chimney removed.  Low down on the main wall in Station Road was a small square of filled-in brickwork, distinguishable as some sort of former window. In steam days it was filled not by glass but by a wooden hatch which was usually open during working hours.  The building was later occupied by a clothing factory and a motor workshop.

Valley Road

Shortlands Pumping Station.  Well of the Kent Water Works which housed a Cornish engine beam.  In 1867 it belonged to the Southwark & Vauxhall Water Co. then Metropolitan Water Board in 1910.  Water from Honor Oak is pumped to it.  It was rebuilt 1935, with new machinery and additional well.  The pump house 1860s, in rock-faced ragstone.  Now all housing.

Kingswood House.  Old people's homes 1963, near the station on a sloping site.  Comfortably by Clifford Culpin & Partners,


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