Bourne Wood

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Abbey Crescent

Prince Alfred probably c.1870

Forms a wonderful townscape as it descends the hill; 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 1860s,

Bedon Stream

To 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.

Bedwell Road

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

Berkhampstead Road

14 Heathfield.  Impressive detached Italianate villa, only survivor of an 1860s development in Berkhampstead Road / Essenden Road.  

Bourne Wood:

Stream east and west into the Cray. No access

Brook Street:

Well there until 1864 providing a water supply

22  Brewers Arms. Trueman’s green tile pub frontage with fake beams inside

Duchess of Kent pub

Cheshunt Road

4-12 4/12 a terrace of cottages of the 1860s, with quaint dormers and Gothic windows.

Erith Road

Erith 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.

47 Redcliffe Campus, part of Bexley College, a grand house with a magnificent bargeboarded gable, c.1905.

37/45 unusual terrace, c.1905, doorways flanked by bulbous columns, pointed oriels, and other interesting decorative features.

7 The 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 the tower 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; there is 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 corbels, 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 Culling 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.

Essendon Road

Douro Lodge

Franks Park

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.

Freemantle Road

5 Lodge for the Manor a large late 19th century house, now demolished, which had become the infirmary for the seamen's home.

Gilbert Road

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 shops

Greenmead.  1982. 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.

Greenmead Centre,


Halt Robin Road

Large semi-detached houses date from the 1850s.

Denehole recorded in 1885

5/8, impressive pairs 1860s with pediments and round-headed windows.

7/8 retains a rusticated ground floor.

Heathdene Drive.

Belvedere House. Houses at the eastern end occupy the site of Belvedere House of 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 known as 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

Little Heath Road

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.

Lower Park Road

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 different address.

13 Lower Park Road / 10 Picardy Road, classical;

14 Lower Park Road / 8 Picardy Road, Tudor porch;

15 Lower Park Road / 6 Picardy Road, prominent gables on both sides.

Milton Road

Forms a wonderful townscape as it descends the hill; 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.

Nuxley Road

Nuxley Road is the former Bexley Road which was renamed in March 1939.

A minor shopping centre, and retains a village atmosphere, with several older buildings, though some have been quite drastically altered.

Vicarage of 1853, adjacent to the church, fanciful bargeboards over the porch and gables. Later extension to the south, and contemporary coach-house.

27/37 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

45 formerly 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.

104 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, clinic, school 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 chapel.

New Baptist Chapel. By the middle of the nineteenth century, there was some desire for an open communion Baptist chapel in Belvedere, the supporters of 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.

Parsonage Manorway

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.

Picardy Road

Picardy 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.

163/169 interesting group

169 The Priory. Very large house of 1866.  Barge boarded porch and Gothic doorways. The archaeologist Flaxman Spurrell lived here in the 1880s

Coach-house barge boarded contemporary.

165/7 imposing Italianate pair, 1860s.

163 Chilton Lodge, 1860s, white and fanciful, central tower and barge boarded porch with Gothic doorway.

51 Chequers

Belvedere and Erith Congregational Church intricately patterned Gothic frontage built in 1897, replacing an earlier iron structure dating from 1865 which stood nearby.

Welfare Centre

Belvedere Methodist Church, a striking Gothic church of 1876, with a fine Gothic porch and a wheel-window above.   typically Victorian

Stapley Road

18/20 two houses set back from the road, probably early 19th century, and the oldest surviving houses in Belvedere.

Free Grace Baptist Chapel a simple classical building opened as a strict chapel in 1805; interior, which is small and pleasing, with a gallery

83 probably mid 19th century

The Queens Head 1871 masks along the upper floor

106 shop 1871. Masks along the upper floor

Upper Abbey  Road, 

40 Prince Alfred pub

V2 attack 26 February 1945. In  front  of  houses  6 killed, 21 seriously injured,110 slightly hurt. 11.26am

Upper Belvedere

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

Woolwich Road

St. Joseph's Convent 1904. Secondary School for girls enlarged in 1956

Technical School

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

138 Prince of Wales Pub


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