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Prince Alfred probably c.1870
wonderful townscape as it descends
the houses are on the west side, and provide fantastic views eastwards; towards the river. Steps lead down to Abbey Crescent, where a terrace continues curving to the
west and rounding the corner with the pub probably
the south of the heath ran the Bedon stream, a small tributary of the Thames
which is now converted to an underground drain for much of its length. A fifteenth
century form of the name was Beton Well, and despite plausible conjectures
about this meaning "praying
well" its derivation is unknown, though the Old English "Bydan",
a shallow valley, seems a probable origin. Bedonwell, also referred to in the
fifteenth century as Bedynstrete, was a small hamlet reputed to have been a
manor. It was held in the 14th century by the Burford family, which
became extinct during the reign of Richard II, and was afterwards in the hands
of the Draper family for many years. In the reign of Charles I the property was
divided, and lost the title of a manor, being later subdivided still further.
The connection with Bedwell is
commemorated to this day by the name of Bedwell Road. Sir Culling Eardley died in 1863 at Bedwell
Park, leaving two daughters and a son
6 similar to the Vicarage, with fanciful barge boarded porch and gables, probably 1860s.
Until 1888 called Lessness Heath. Crossroads at Blinks Hill (?? Is this Picardy
Road) and the building of three big houses
14 Heathfield. Impressive detached
Italianate villa, only survivor of an 1860s development in Berkhampstead Road / Essenden Road.
Stream east and west into the Cray. No access
Well there until 1864 providing a water supply
Brewers Arms. Trueman’s green tile pub frontage
with fake beams inside
Duchess of Kent pub
4-12 4/12 a terrace of cottages of the 1860s, with quaint dormers and Gothic windows.
Technical Institute became
Campus of Bexley College, and then the original building of the Erith College
of Technology. A magnificent building
1906, prominent turret and octagonal cupola, lavish use of terracotta, and ornamental flourishes.
Campus, part of Bexley College, a grand house with a
magnificent bargeboarded gable, c.1905.
unusual terrace, c.1905, doorways flanked by bulbous
columns, pointed oriels, and other interesting decorative features.
Laurels, attractive house 1860s, a tower and a long
parapeted first floor terrace.
All Saints Church. A Victorian Gothic flint church,
looking like an elongated village church. 1853. Colossally deep transept 'not in accordance with
ecclesiological ideals’. Knapped flint walling. Cast iron foliage 1853. Built by William & Edward Habershon as a proprietary chapel for Sir Culling Eardley, and
with shingled spire; added in 1861 when it
became the original parish church of Belvedere. Shortish chancel. Careful Decorated tracery and careful knapped flint walling. The interior long and striking when viewed from the west door, and eccentric
when one looks at the details. As the nave
arcades carry straight past the transepts. Galleries
in the transepts, with curvaceous balcony fronts
of cast-iron foliage, part naturalistic, part palmettes. Long north transept with triple dormers, similar single dormers
on the south transept and on each side of the
nave roof - transepts added in 1864, when
the church assumed its present appearance. The
nave arcades continue straight past the transepts and up to the chancel. The transepts have galleries, with extraordinary curved
balcony fronts of cast-iron foliage;
a large rose window above the north gallery, and the south gallery is taken up by the organ. The fine hammerbeam roof rests on
fantastic carved and vividly painted
including some grotesque heads. The reredos is lavishly decorated. On the east wall of the north transept are tablets to
Isabella Lady Eardley 1860 and Sir
Eardley 1863, commemorating their role in the foundation of the church. To replace the Tower
Church, Sir Culling Eardley erected this church and it was dedicated on 20th
October 1853. He was soon in disagreement with the minister, transferred from
the Tower Church, and with the Vicar of Erith, when in 1855 it was proposed to
join the Church to the Church of England. After a lengthy battle conducted by
pamphlets published by the various parties, this was accomplished on 10th May
1856, when the Archbishop of Canterbury licensed the Vicar of Erith to perform
divine service at All Saints. Some of the congregation protested that the
church was still really dissenting, and its liturgy incomplete. Lady Eardley's
dying wish was for the church to be fully consecrated, and this was done on 2nd
August 1861 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. John Bird. Sir Culling made a
gift of the church, with its parsonage house and its schoolroom, which had cost
him altogether £6,000 to build. The tower was erected in memory of his wife,
and the transepts were added in 1864, since when the flint-walled church, with
its substantial Victorian vicarage and
churchyard trees, has changed but little.
Called after Frank Beadle who donated the open space a local industrialist
living at The Oaks who bequeathed the money for
the purchase; a pillar near the children's playground commemorates the bequest but its plaque has disappeared. Earlier called Belvedere Park. Originally part of the grounds of Belvedere
House, it was acquired by Erith Council in 1920. Highly attractive, with a
grassed area surrounded by a horseshoe of precipitous hills which are densely
wooded wit magnificent oak, sweet
chestnut and beech trees and forms the eastern point of the ridge which runs from Bostall Heath through Lesnes
Abbey Wood and Belvedere. On top of a hill in
the northern part of the park is a sunken concrete bowl, the remains of a garden feature belonging to Temple Mount,
a mid 19th century house demolished after the
last war, which was on the hill. Fox House Road goes
through the park.
5 Lodge for the Manor a large late 19th century house, now demolished, which had become the infirmary for the
Gilbert Road commemorates
the name of the last owners of Heron Hill.
St Augustine, A large red brick Romanesque
church by Moore 1916, west front and porch added 1962. Clerestory of
round-headed windows and gable with Lombard arches. The interior is very
imposing, with great round red brick arc.
Church hall projects as an extension. To serve the growing part of All
Saints' Parish at Lower Belvedere, a mission church was built near the Leather
Bottle in what was then called Bottle Road. Dedicated to St. Augustine, it was
poularly known as the Iron Church, and was opened by the Bishop of Dover in
March 1884. By the turn of the century the population of the mission district
had reached 4,000, and a larger church
was required. At a meeting held on 25th February 1909 a building fund was
started, but the area was far from prosperous at that time, and there was much
unemployment among the local factory
workers. As the curate-in-charge observed, "to collect money for building
a church from people on the verge of starvation was very difficult". The plans
prepared by the architect C. Hodgson Fowler were altered to reduce expense, and
the building of the new church was begun in October 1914. The foundation stone
laid on 26th June 1915 was dedicated by the Bishop of Rochester, but the
original plan for the church could not be completed until 1965. St. Augustine's
became a separate parish covering Lower Belvedere and Abbey Wood in 1916.
Lower Belvedere called ‘Picardy.
Parish’ in 1916. Not finished until 1956. By Temple Moore to a design by Hodgson Fowler and
consecrated in 1916. Red-brick Romanesque, front finished off in 1961
New flats in gay colours with bright
By the G.L.C.,
1977—82, and is an interesting example of the new policies of the later 1970s.
A mixture of public and private housing, 553 houses and flats in low broken
terraces ingeniously stepped and angled so that nearly half directly overlook
the green fingers which penetrate from the local park. This housing sectionhas a remarkably rural
setting, with small greens and longer green fingers penetrating amongst the low
terraces of houses and flats. The housing is all in one style, vernacular
revival in dark brick, in informal and irregular groupings. The area has a
pleasant local shopping centre in similar style and incorporating some
intriguing metal sculpture.
Large semi-detached houses date from the 1850s.
Denehole recorded in 1885
impressive pairs 1860s with pediments and round-headed
a rusticated ground floor.
at the eastern end occupy the site of Belvedere
Lord Saye and Sele. Built for Sir Sampson Gideon c. 1775 by James Stuart, author of The Antiquities of Athens.
There was little about it that
was Grecian. Originally built c.1740, and in 1751 acquired by Sampson Gideon, a Citysss financier. He died 1763, and
in 1764 James ‘Athenian’ bought the house for his son
sir Sampson Gideon, later to become Lord Eardley,
the estate was inherited by Sir Culling Eardley; who built All Saints Church in 1853 and developed the Belvedere Estate from 1859, and
was thus largely responsible
for the development of the area of Belvedere. He died in 1863 and the mansion was sold in 1865 to the Shipwrecked
Mariners Society, and later became
the Royal Alfred Home for Aged Seamen. In
1920 the eastern pan of the grounds became Frank's Park. In 1959 the old
mansion was replaced by a
large modern block, but this was in turn demolished in 1978. The western
part of the grounds, were later developed for housing
Was the name of part of Lessness
Heath. . The former Little or Nuxley, Heath remained as farm land until the
1930's when it was also built over.
13-15 three distinctive large houses 1860s. The main entrances are on Lower Park Road, but they also have
entrances on Picardy Road, each entrance having a
Park Road / 10 Picardy Road, classical;
Park Road / 8 Picardy Road, Tudor porch;
Park Road / 6 Picardy Road, prominent gables
on both sides.
wonderful townscape as it descends
the houses are on the west side, and provide fantastic views eastwards; towards the river. Descends from a small green, and
then becomes a flight of steps with
terraced houses directly on the steps leading down to Abbey Crescent. Probably 1870s
On the south side of the Bedon stream
was a further area of heathland, called Nuxley or Little Heath, which occupied
the area around the present Belmont Primary School. The name Nuxley, sometimes spelt Naxley,
is possibly a corruption of Knocksley, from Knox, a hill.
is the former Bexley Road which was renamed in March 1939.
shopping centre, and retains a village atmosphere, with several older buildings, though some have been quite
1853, adjacent to the church, fanciful bargeboards over the porch and gables. Later extension to the south, and
Belvedere Social Club, originally a unified terrace 1860s, much altered. Note
the series of different sized gables, and the Gothic door and windows in the northern block.
39 Royal Standard pub
called the Coffee Tavern, now a restaurant, late 19th century, though it looks like an older cottage.
79 Fox. Décor to rival Kew Gardens. an attractive and
bold pub, basically of 1853 but refronted 1921. The interior is one large,
L-shaped room with comfortable
seating There is a children's
playground in the rear garden.
Queen’s Head pub.
Coffee Tavern. As an alternative to the public house, run by
a management committee under the chairmanship of Charles Beadle for many years.
Belvedere Public Hall For meetings and functions with seating for 500
people. It was built in 1871, at a cost of £1,500, and in later years has been
employed for various purposes not originally envisaged, such as a food office,
canteen, and finally as a Catholic Church, for which function its gothic style
of architecture rendered it not inappropriate.
Old Baptist Chapel. On August 10th 1800, two young Baptist
evangelists, one John Chin, the other unknown, were crossing Lessness Heath on their way to a
preaching engagement at Erith, when they stopped there to hold an open-air
meeting. From this modest beginning the Baptist community at Belvedere
originated. John Chin became pastor of a church in Southwark in 1807, but in
the meanwhile the work at Lessness Heath had been continued by Benjamin Lloyd,
a native of Chatham and a member of the Woolwich Baptists. A small group of
Baptists was formed but they encountered opposition, and met in various local
houses in turn. Eventually they used a wooden building erected for them by a
local carpenter at a rent of £5 per annum, and soon afterwards purchased it for
themselves. In 1805 they replaced it at a cost of £300 by the chapel which
still stands in Nuxley Road, and is the second oldest church in Erith. It
probably stands on the site of two previous cottages, whose sculleries remain
as small rooms behind the existing building. The church was actually formed on
5th November 1805, of six persons. The church was of the strict, that is
restricted communion, Baptists, but a rift occurred in 1862, when Pastor Davis
favoured the open communion Baptists, and left to found a new chapel nearby.
Despite the division the original chapel continued to flourish, and a Sunday
school room was added in 1921. Although superficially damaged by a flying bomb
and a V-2 rocket during the second World War the chapel still retains its
simple but dignified appearance, and is often referred to as the old Baptist
New Baptist Chapel. By the middle of the nineteenth century,
there was some desire for an open communion Baptist chapel in Belvedere, the
the idea including the Rev. Ebenezer Davis, pastor of the strict chapel, as
mentioned above. The group wished to found a separate chapel, and Mr. Davis
appealed for help to Sir Culling Eardley. In his letter of reply sent on 26th
September 1862 Sir Culling said: "I have made up my mind to meet the
wishes of yourself and your friends, and to give you the promised site for an
open communion Baptist Chapel, in the Bexley Road". He also gave £50
towards the cost. Although only nine out of the twenty-five leaders of the
church favoured the offer, the nine decided to accept and went ahead and
launched a successful appeal for the necessary funds. Sir Culling Eardley was
unable to lay the first stone himself as had been arranged on 23rd April 1863,
owing to illness, and he died a month later. The church opened for worship on
29th September 1863. but the following year Mr. Davis surprisingly withdrew as
pastor. His successor had been in office less than a week when the chapel was
damaged by the Gunpowder Explosion of 1st August 1864. Nevertheless the new church prospered, and by
the turn of the century had about 250 pupils in its Sunday school, and in 1900
the chapel was enlarged and renovated, and a second schoolroom added. The Second World War brought greater
troubles, for on 20th March 1941 the church and school were wrecked by the
blast of a nearby bomb, and for several years services were transferred to the
Coffee Tavern and the local Cooperative Hall. After the war the new church and
school were built on the site of the old, and opened in September 1950.
Site of Erith Parsonage
Farm. Up to the Reformation the
advowson of the Parish of Erith was in the possession of Lesnes Abbey, and
afterwards passed to the owners of the Parsonage Farm. Until the end of the nineteenth
century the farm retained medieval remains indicative of its former
ecclesiastical importance, including several hundred feet of surrounding wall
and two ponds over 200 feet long for fish, supplied with water from Bedonwell
Stream. The farm also had a walled garden and a bowling green. In the later
years of the nineteenth century it belonged to the Vinson family, who were at
one time sufficiently important to issue their own trade tokens in lieu of
coinage, and owned much of the farmland to the south and west of the village
until it was sold for building from 1930 onwards. The house itself survived to
be used as an auxiliary fire station in World War II, and afterwards fell
gradually into final decay and was demolished.
Street was built on land belonging to the Parish family, a prominent family in
nineteenth century Erith, which was sold by public auction at the nearby
Railway Hotel in 1865.
Second World War, when German bombs
started a clearance of nineteenth century buildings. The greatest damage to
Belvedere was done in the air raid of the nightof the 19th/20th April 1941,
when a parachute
mine effected a massive clearance at Picardy Street. there was a comprehensive
redevelopment; the road was straightened and widened, the Co-operative stores,
which dated from 1899, were replaced by new shops, and some blocks of flats and
a branch library were erected. The whole scheme was completed in 1962.
Priory. Very large house of 1866. Barge boarded porch and Gothic doorways. The
archaeologist Flaxman Spurrell lived here in the 1880s
barge boarded contemporary.
imposing Italianate pair, 1860s.
163 Chilton Lodge, 1860s, white and fanciful,
central tower and barge
boarded porch with Gothic doorway.
Belvedere and Erith Congregational
Church intricately patterned Gothic frontage built in 1897,
replacing an earlier iron structure dating from 1865 which stood nearby.
Belvedere Methodist Church, a striking Gothic church of 1876, with a fine
Gothic porch and a wheel-window above. typically Victorian
houses set back from the road, probably early 19th
century, and the oldest surviving houses in Belvedere.
Baptist Chapel a simple classical building opened as a strict chapel in 1805; interior, which is small and pleasing,
with a gallery
mid 19th century
Head 1871 masks along the upper floor
1871. Masks along the upper floor
40 Prince Alfred pub
V2 attack 26
February 1945. In front of
houses 6 killed, 21 seriously
injured,110 slightly hurt. 11.26am
Developed when the Eardley estate was broken up in 1856. Upper Belvedere was developed as a good class
residential area, and apart from a few rows of cottages, the new houses were
mainly large and substantial villas, many with extensive gardens. . Gas for
private and public lighting was extended to Belvedere in 1860, being supplied
by the West Kent Gas Company from their Crayford Works, and then from their
Erith Works when it was built in 1862. Water was still available only from
wells, many of which gave a limited supply, the exception being a well in Brook
Street which was inexhaustible, but from 1864 piped water was provided by the
North Kent Water Company. Some of the new roads were taken over as public
highways in 1869, and the remainder in 1878, the Erith Local Board of Health
assuming responsibility for their maintenance.
Upper Park Road
Merchants Seamen's Home.
Opened 1959. Was built as the Royal Alfred Home for Aged Seamen 1957/9 by Gollins, Melvinby Ward. Long four-storeyed block facing with a short central projection at the back. Curtain walling, the
spandrel panels the palest of
blues. Single-storey ranges snaking out at front
and back. In design and colour a little insipid perhaps for the old salts. Before
1957 the seamen occupied the eponymous Belvedere demolished in 1978
St. Joseph's Convent 1904. Secondary School for girls
enlarged in 1956
16a April 1984 opening of a 15ft. shaft beneath
the feet of Mrs. Trott in the garden No
explanation for the shaft was suggested.1
Prince of Wales Pub