Picturehouse is new home for rescued Art Deco Screens

coloured ray screen
Restored Art Deco screen, from Widmore Road co-op, at The PIcturehouse Cinema

“Look out in the new Picturehouse Cafe for the Art Deco screens from the former Co-op in Widmore Road.

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Proposals for Old Town Hall, from the new owners

Old Town Hall

Adding double-height mansard roof on two sides

Our initial thoughts are that although the leaflet contains precious little detail the proposals look promising.  74,000 sq ft of serviced offices is proposed for the both the 1907 town hall and the 1939 ‘extension’.  The hotel of 26 bedrooms replaces the 1970’s extensions that overlook Court Street (see artists impressions).  This seems far less obtrusive than the previous hotel proposals that were granted planning permission.   

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Picture Perfect Day, our heritage walks, in the words of a lady on the street…

A Picture Perfect Day


On Saturday 22nd June I lined up outside Boots in The Glades more out of curiosity than anything else, as a lifelong resident of the borough of Bromley I figured there wasn’t much I didn’t already know. How wrong I was, and what an absolutely fantastic day I experienced, along with at least 25 or 30 other folk. Our two hosts for the morning tour entitled ‘Bromley Palace and Park’ were clad in Victorian suits and hats and provided entertaining and illuminating information about aspects of Bromley previously unknown to me, and I’m sure others were equally surprised and delighted.

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Write To Stop Sell-Off of more Public Heritage Open Space

The site is part of the Bishop of Rochester’s Palace Park which is the setting of 6 listed buildings

stone and flint mini tower with arched window
To Be LOST: the stone-and-flint folly from the Bishops Palace – made with fragments found in the Moat during restoration work in the 19th Century

Please write and object to this sale to :David Mark Bowen, Director of Corporate Services, LB Bromley, Stockwell Close, Bromley, BR1 3UH  or email it to : mark.bowen@bromley.gov.uk    Mark it Proposed sale of land at Bromley Civic Centre  and include your name address and postcode otherwise it will not be accepted.  Don’t be put off by this mad deadline !:  Copies to the Ward Councillors and BCS would be welcome.
CllrNicky.Dykes@bromley.gov.uk   William.Harmer@bromley.gov.uk   Michael.Rutherford@bromley.gov.uk
chair@bromleycivicsociety.org.uk

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Press Release: Bromley High Street could qualify for a share of £44 million

In recognition that HERITAGE IS A TRADING ASSET the government has put forward £44 million for High Streets, like Bromley, that are in Conservation Areas.  

Green tile frontage of Civic Pride era, mid-3-storey-terrace, shop front
Diners Inn at 206 High Street, built for Weeks & Sons, by Paul Ylaes.

Bromley is expected to apply with an ‘Expression of Interest’ by 12 noon 12th July.  A previous grant from the Mayor of London was used to restored historic shop fronts, the best example being the Diners Inn.

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Don’t Clutter Market Square

We like our Market Square with enough open space for our market – If you want to continue to have our market in Market Square, find a moment to object to this planning proposal 19_00241: https://searchapplications.bromley.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=PLEVE4BTJHM00

The Garden Shed style additions to Market Square

From our chair: “A finance driven Council co-development abuse of our Market Square?   We’ve always supported using Market Square for the Charter Market and always opposed any permanent structures of any design.   Permanent Garden Sheds – This is street clutter, out of character and harmful to the character and appearance of the most sensitive part of the Conservation Area and setting of five adjacent Listed and locally listed buildings”

green topped market stalls in market square
Market Square with the Charter market taking place last Thursday
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Broom time – Heritage Event

The annual flowering of the shrub, from which Bromley takes its name, takes place on Martin’s Hill mid April to the end of May and we recommend all visitors and locals to witness this event of living history so fundamental to the heritage of Bromley Town.

Tony Banfield, Chair of Bromley Civic Society Heritage officer – The Friends of Bromley Town Parks
Yellow flowered bush on hillside, with war memorial obelisk behind.

Just two minutes walk from Market Square along Church Road behind Primark, Bromley’s name- sake shrub burst into spectacular bloom on Martin’s Hill. The name ‘Bromley’ is from the Anglo Saxon ‘Bromleag’ or ‘Broomleigh’ literally meaning Broom meadow.

Just two minutes walk from Market Square along Church Road behind Primark, Bromley’s name- sake shrub burst into spectacular bloom on Martin’s Hill. The name ‘Bromley’ is from the Anglo Saxon ‘Bromleag’ or ‘Broomleigh’ literally meaning Broom meadow.

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Building works at Churchill Theatre – grey painted concrete instead of Lakeland tiles?

The High Street fontage a few years ago before the nails holding the slate tiles started to fail

Just to let everybody know about the plans with the lakeland slate tiles that are falling off the cladding on Churchill Theatre:

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BCS Newletter and February talk

The latest BCS newsletter was published before Christmas containing all the latest information about town centre planning and other important issues.

One important story concerns the approval given for the revised planning application for the Royal Bell hotel on 13 December. Benedict O’Looney, one of the architects, will be giving an update on progress with the Royal Bell at a talk  in February (see below).

Benedict O’Looney
Talk on 28th February 2019, 7:30pm, in the Parish Rooms, Church Road, Bromley BR2 0EG:
‘Conserving and celebrating the historic architecture of South London’
Benedict will be able to give us an update on progress with the Royal Bell – also his experience in restoring and building new work around Peckham’s historic townscape and what was involved with the initiation of central Peckham’s conservation area
(£3 voluntary donation).

 

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London Forum

Photo by Heidi Sandstrom. on Unsplash

Bromley Civic Society is a member of The London Forum which works to protect and improve the quality of life in London. It is a most influential body with input into Government and London Plan policy.

Take a look at their regular NewsForum bulletins and see what is going on elsewhere and what other Societies like ours are dealing with.

We are not alone!

The 2018 summer edition is now available here for viewing and downloading. Do please pass this on to others who may find it of interest. You can find all previous editions of newsforum on the London Forum website.

Next London Forum Open Meeting 26th September; London Forum AGM on 30th October

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Churchill Quarter Planning Application

The planning application for the “Churchill Quarter” development in Bromley town centre has now been submitted (planning reference: 18/02181).

The development, adjacent to library gardens, is a co-development with the Council providing the land and Countryside Properties responsible for building and operations.

Before and after images showing the effect of the development can be seen on the right.

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179-183 William Hill formerly Martins Bank – Heritage Building

Designed by the Arts and Crafts architect Ernest Newton (see our page here).

The Martins Bank website provides some more pictures of the interior of the building, with an interesting note on the occasion: “For our Bromley Branch features, we look at the retirements of two members of the staff reported as usual by Martins Bank Magazine. The second one takes place in 1969, and we find that although a farewell party is held for him, it is the wish of Manager Mr Howard that no-one should make a speech or offer a retirement gift paid for by colleagues. Note the interesting choice of words by Martins Bank Magazine, citing Mr Howard’s “individualism” as the reason. “

Image from Martins Bank website from Barclay

This beautiful drawing by S Crawford, is printed in the French magazine “L’Architecte” in 1914. It show the newly completed façade of Martin’s Private Bank in Bromley, designed by Architect Ernest Newton.

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Market Square Nos 12-13 Cafe Rouge – Heritage Building

Cafe Rouge occupies the first building displaying the transition from a small market town into a Victorian shopping centre. It was built in 1883 by local draper, Herbert Collings, well known for banishing the old system of credit in favour of the modern concept of cash only sales and introducing the idea of window shopping displays made possible in the design of his new premises.

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BCS and Parks Heritage Walk No.1 Market Square and North High Street

Start at the south side of Market Square, outside Ann Summers. Look at the Primark Extension opposite you:

  1. Market Square & Primark Extension
  2. Medhursts 1898 building, now Primarks, now walk north a bit towards McDonalds and look to your left:
  3. HSBC bank occupying Covil & Harris’s butcher shop and parade
  4. MacDonalds occupies an 18th century shop which for generations until around 1971 was the Bakery of the Maunders family. Next door, Jessops also occupies a Georgian terrace of similar age and importance.
  5. Lloyds and Bon Marche occupy the former ‘Caters’ store built in 1957, one of the first supermarkets in the country. The architecture has a ‘Festival of Britain’ feel. It occupies the site of the Old Bull Inn which was, in the 19th c was divided in two as Skilton’s the Butcher and Issards Stores. Some beautiful early 19th century paintings on wood panels from the old Bull Inn can be seen by appointment at Bromley Museum.
  6. Cafe Rouge, built in 1883 by local draper, Herbert Collings, well known for banishing the old system of credit and introducing the idea of window shopping.

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Martins Hill and the War Memorial

Saved from development by public subscription.

Some debate as to the origin of the name; it could be because it was where all the house martins flew in the thermals from the slope.

In the early years of the railway, the slopes were noted for the perfusion of broom, and made the hillside appear quite yellow from the train.

H.G Wells describes playing here in his writings, and the former appearance of the Ravensbourne, in the days before the pumping stations at Shortlands and Sparrows Den had not taken much of the flow away:

“Here, too, if my memory serves me aright, the river met – with a
certain air of patronage – a shallow, rippling foot-wide tributary, rich
in cress and water-snails and minnows, that came from a tree bordered pond [below Durham Road], duckweed covered and dear to
dragon-flies and water-wagtails. Over that tributary Frank Blake used
to jump with his little brother in his arms.
“Thereafter the river ran shallow for a time under a fence, and became
a mere stew of frog spawn or black tadpoles according to the time of
year. Then a long line of trees and a footpath to Shortlands touched it.”
[This account fits well with the 1863 Ordnance Survey map. Paul Rainey]
“When I was about nine years old [1875] there was talk of improving
the town. It was about this time that the Ravensbourne began to shrink. I
remember how we youngsters thought it a very fine thing at first.
Gravelly islands covered with dried green algae began to appear in the
river where no islands had been before, and one could wade
anywhere. The fishes crowded into the deeper pools, and were more
easily caught.
“That winter the meadows were not flooded, and there was no skating,
and the next summer the fishes had gone, the tadpoles and the forget-me-nots, and the river bed was only fit for playing Sahara in, with one
thin thread of water trickling down its centre.
“I saw my River Ravensbourne from the train yesterday [1894]. The little trickle of water is still running, but most of the bed of the river is dry.”

These quotes are taken from the Pall Mall Gazette, a note HG Wells had written, called “The Degeneration Of The Ravensbourne, A Memory of Bromley”. Paul Rainey and the BBHLS had taken these quotes from this publication and correlated them to the Ordinance Survey maps of that time.

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Arts and Crafts movement – imitation in the Suburbs

Though the classic and best examples of the arts and crafts movements are in our historic town centre, many of the houses in the large new suburb areas, drew inspiration from them.

These 1930s houses draw inspiration from the black-and-white fashion, that recalled medieval black-and-white buildings that are traditional.
row of semi detached houses with bow windows
These houses on Godwin Road (1932) have the same bow fronts as Ernest Newton’s Royal Bell Inn on the high street.
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2010 Area Action Plan Site L – 1 Westmoreland Rd & BCC

Site L: DHSS Building and Christian Centre, Westmoreland Road & Mason’s Hill.

A hotel development was approved in 2013 by the Council but the site was acquired by the Department of Education and subsequently subject of an application for a 10 storey School building (the SHAW). This was recommended for approval by Council officers but refused by Councillors. The subsequent planning Appeal was dismissed February 2019 mainly on grounds of the loss of the protected view of Keston Ridge which is something of a breakthrough decision for environmental matters in the Town Centre.

The next proposal for this site is awaited.

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2010 Area Action Plan Site K – Westmoreland Place

APPROVED by Bromley Council in 2012

Site K: Westmoreland Road. Now the 16+-storey “St Marks Reach” complex. In March 2012 Cathedral Group received planning permission to replace the existing multi-storey car park with a nine-screen multiplex cinema, hotel and 200 homes in a very high tower.

(Planning ref: 11/03865/FULL1). The outline plans predate the drafting of the AAP and the development is now complete nicknamed variously as the ‘ski slope’ or ‘titanic’ because of its shape by locals.

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2010 Area Action Plan Site J – Bromley South Station

Site J: Bromley South Station ( now included in Site G/10 in the Local Plan. Upgrade of the station facilities, funded through the government’s Access to All programme. Completed Spring 2012.

Now part of Site G/10 (west side of the High Street) earmarked for housing development: the station and platforms will be underground, with 8 high rise blocks above it.

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2010 Area Action Plan Site G – High Street west side

Site G: Lower High Street (Local Plan Site 10 now extends to include BS Station and platforms). AAP proposals for a shopping Mall now scrapped in favour of the Local Plan modification for 1230 residential units plus offices. Vicinity of TK Maxx site is identified in the AAP as possibly suitable for a tall/taller building. This gave rise to a 2018 consultation by the owner for a 20 storey block of flats opposed by BCS. No planning application as yet.

This is the most controversial of all the development sites. The Council intend acquiring by CPO the 40 homes in Ethelbert Close for what is called Phase One – Churchill Quarter. This is a co-development with the Council of 410 flats still awaiting a decision. The AAP Inspector required the Council to produce a Masterplan for the whole site but this was only produced in 2018 well after the Churchill Quarter application was made and proposes a mass of tower blocks. The upper part is in the town centre conservation area and environmental groups including Historic England have objected both to Churchill Quarter and the Masterplan. A decision on both from the Council is still awaited. In 2014 Crest Homes implemented a large flatted development in Ringers Road on part of the site which had already gained permission from the Council before the AAP have been drafted.

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2010 Area Action Plan Site F – Palace park lands

Site F: Civic Centre (Local Plan Site 1). AAP proposals were relocation of the Pavilion Leisure facilities, housing and retained Council use.

These were superseded by the Local Plan proposals are retained offices, retained car park, 70 housing units including conversion of the listed old Bishops Palace building, retention of south east open space as a public park as now.

BCS sought restoration of the Palace grounds in consideration of what has been lost to build Kentish Way, the multi-storey car park & the newer Council offices and continued public use of the Grade II listed Palace. This has been rejected by the Council.

In October 2019 the council sold the freehold of a quarter of the palace park land to an unknown bidder, even though the Urban Open Space designation may still apply. The new owner can use permitted development to convert the Y blocks (that the council allowed to fall into disrepair) to housing without planning permission.

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