2020 Online ‘Easter’ Hunt!

broom stem
Broom, the flower Bromley is named after (see Broom Time)

To provide a bit of light hearted entertainment, we have compiled an online website ‘Easter’ hunt.

The competition is to look on our website, and find all the pages which have a picture, like the one above, of a sprig of Broom (the spring flower that Bromley is named after) at the bottom of the page.

When you’ve found the picture at the bottom of one of our pages, it will have a letter next to it. Write down the letters, they are an anagram for a word. When you’ve found them all, shuffle the letters to find the word!

The competition is really just for fun and kudos, but Survey Monkey will email us your answers, and the correct answers will be entered into a prize draw – though this will only be for Cadbury’s Easter Eggs! The competition is to show you our website, so explore and find those pages with the broom pictures!

For instance, with the Clue: “The vanished and haunted moated manor that gave Ringers Road its name” you could put ‘Haunted’ in the search box (top right) and see an entry for Simpsons Moat in the list, when you visit this page and scroll to the bottom, there’s a picture of a sprig of broom. Under this is an ‘M’, so enter ‘M’ in the box for this question! There’s one done for you already!

Use each of these clues to help you find a page with the picture of a sprig of broom at the bottom:

2)  An innovator of self-service shopping.
3)  Bromley’s toy town station.
4)  Our clickable map of the town’s heritage… look under ‘Heritage’.
5)  The future of the seat of our local government in the 2019 Local Plan.
6)  Famous former resident reputed to have used the term ‘So ******* Croydon’ when disgusted with something.
7)  A quarter of this parkland was sold off in November – including the listed folly.

And a final question (search for our page on Broom time): Which of our green spaces was the Broom Time festival held in?

Here’s a link to SurveyMonkey to enter your answers. Alternatively you can print this word document, and fill in the boxes – in this case, if you want to enter the prize draw, you will need to email it to us at bromley.civic.society@gmail.com

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Join BCS (and calling all existing members!)

If you care about Bromley and its heritage and green spaces, please support us by joining the Society. Membership per household is only £10 per year. You can join or renew your membership either by visiting our membership portal. or by sending a cheque with a letter giving your full name, postal address, where possible your email address, and a contact telephone number to the Membership Secretary, 3 Hayes Road, Bromley BR2 9AF.

Joining will mean that you receive our regular newsletter emails, and help fund our efforts to save our historic town centre being dominated by tower blocks.

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The (not) Protected View from Queens Mead and S2 /Churchill Quarter Developments

high rises tower above the trees
Proposed buildings ruin the protected view from Queens Mead

The view of the town centre – or rather the trees – from Queens Mead and the railway line, is protected.

Two developments will ruin this view : the S2 application to put 16 storeys in place of the former Maplins neo-georgian shop [planning here] and Churchill Quarter [planning here]. Please write and object to these so we do not loose the lovely view our council is supposed to protect.

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Robert Dyas – a surprise Bromley resident

victorian gentleman with fine moustache
Robert Dyas

It has been good to welcome a branch of Robert Dyas now open in Bromley High Street and even more so since it has been discovered by staff at the Local Studies Library that Robert Dyas lived for the last 30 years of his life in Blyth Road, just off Beckenham Lane, in the Town Centre.    

Please object to the development, here at planning reference no : 19/04183 1, Blyth Road, Bromley BR1 3RS
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Write and Stop This Tower Block – we want our neo-Georgian shop to stay

S2 Estates have put in an application for a 16 storey tower on the site of the former Maplins store.  Their supporting statement said that they felt it would help locals find the High Street.

lovely neo-georgian shop
66-70 High Street, lovely example of a Neo Georgian Shop

This 1932 neo-Georgian shop is one of only 2 buildings considered good enough to be worth saving in the proposed Master plan of the lower high street.

This proposal is much higher than the surrounding buildings (16 storeys compared with 2 or 4) , overbearing, and will stick out for miles around (being on the ridge top). 

This area already suffers from inadequate infrastructure – shortage of GPs, overcrowded stations – and these units would be better built on sites that are walking distance from one of the other 16 railway stations in the borough.  

S2 Estates have ignored the feedback from their public consultation and pushed ahead with their over-sized development. 

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

two people in costume in front of georgian building
Jane and Peter leading a guided Walk at the BIshops Palace


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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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
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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.

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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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Simpsons Moat

Simpsons Moat, or Palace, was a moated, crenellated manor house at the bottom of Ringers Road.

Most of the building had been of Tudor age, dominated by a large chimney. Henry VIII was reputed to have visited. It was later converted to a farm house, and the last tenant, Jeraimiah Ringer filled in two sides of the moat. Ringers Road is named after him. There is a page on wiki, though these details are challenged by the notable local historian E.L.Horsburgh.

It was demolished in the 1850s.

The area is haunted ,not just by one ghost, but by two ghosts! Often they’re seen together. One is a white lady, and her companion has old fashioned clothing and a black floppy hat. Join us on our Murder, Ghosts and Highwaymen walk next time it’s held (usually at Halloween, for more details!)

A drawing from 1850 in the British Museum
broom stem
Letter ‘M’ for our Easter Hunt game
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Answers to online Family Heritage Treasure Trail

Answers to online edition:

  1. Charles Darwin
  2. The author H.G. Wells
  3. The Old Town Pump
  4. Drapers shop (sold cloth by the yard)
  5. 1888 (the year Covell & Harris ‘s shop)
  6. 1866 (HG Wells was born)
  7. ‘Old English’ Arts and Crafts style, Queen Anne movement
  8. 1912
  9. There’s furniture suspended from the ceiling.
  10. Aberdeen Building.
  11. Ravensfell Parade.
  12. Bromley House Parade
  13. Bromleag was the old name for Bromley (also spelt Bromleage)
  14. David Bowie.
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Family Treasure Hunt Heritage Trail

You can either walk around this trail (which we recommend), or you can look in this website to find the answers!

From the start point in The Glades, go out towards the Market Square and turn right to see the mural:

These two men were famous residents of Bromley in Victorian times. What are their names? See post…

What is this? 150 years ago, this is where all the people living nearby got their water. See post…

Go past the mural to the corner and look up to the right above Café Rouge

Can you see the flowers on the building? Victorians loved to decorate their buildings in the Arts and Crafts style. This one was built nearly 140 years ago in 1883. What kind of shop did Herbert Collings have here? see post…

Can you see all the strange creatures high up on the building? This one looks like a dragon! It was built by a local butcher. What year was it built? (the date is on the building) see post…

This plaque marks the spot where HG Wells was born (it’s on the ground near the entrance of Primark). His mother called him Bertie. You’ve already seen his picture. What date was he born? see post…

See the clock? It’s over 160 yrs old. The building is just 90 yrs old and has been made to look as though it’s made of wood and brick. Can you see the pegs in the timbers? What style is this central block built in? see post.

Can you spot the round windows on the David Greig building across the Market Square? There’s a lot of decoration on it. It’s called Neo baroque. When was it built? (the date is on the building) see post.

Carry on down the High Street and look for the purple building on the right.

This old building shows that the High Street was narrower in Victorian times. People lived in flats above the shops. Have a look inside Paperchase. What do you see on the ceiling? see post.

Can you see the curved roofs on this building? It’s called the French Empire style – another one of a number of grand shops built after the railway came to Bromley in 1858. What is it called? (the name is on the building). See post.

Turn left around the Market Square toward the HSBC building. Look up

This is what is left of Ravensfell House. It’s about 150 years old. In Victorian times there were several houses like this along the High Street. Most of them were knocked down when the shops were built in the 1923. The parade of shops along the front is called what? see post.

Carry on to the end of the pedestrianised part of the High Street – look down to the right

Can you spot the porch on the Bromley Town Church in Ethelbert Road? It used to be on a Georgian Mansion that was where Metrobank is now. It’s probably 200 years old. See post.

An easy one to spot! Ethelbert was King of Kent and he granted the first Charter in Bromley over 1,000 yrs ago! What was the name of Bromley back then? see post.

Now go into the Glades shopping centre through the Elmfield Entrance on the left. Go all the way along on the ground floor to the far end, past Krispy Kreme and Boots and go through the double doors leading to the toilets.

Another famous resident of Bromley! Who is he?

Now go out of the double doors back past Krispy Kreme up the escalators and back to where you started

The answers (to this online edition) can be found here.

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The Old Bromley Oak

The Bromley Oak in Autumn colour

This veteran oak tree (Quercus robur) was reprieved, when the Glades was being built, and still proudly stands at the side of Kentish Way.

Originally it grew on the corner of the grounds of the house “Bromley Lodge” and Love Lane. It is over 500 years old.

It is one of the Great Trees of London #GTOL

The Bromley Oak
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The Ice Well and Boating House

The original ice well was built in the mid 1700s, when the well-to-do would store ice, collected from marshes around the Thames or even as far as Norway, in the winter, and would be served in the summer.

This ice well was then remodelled, by Pulhams, in the Victorian era, so that it also had a nice porch with a seat in (currently removed for alleged antisocial behaviour), with a view over the Ha-Ha.

It has also been used to store boats.

summery porch
The Ice House (and boat house)
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St Blaise’s Well

View over moat from St Blaise’s well (2019)

Rediscovered in 1754 (by the Bishop’s domestic chaplain, a Rev Mr Hardwick); a spring seeping into the moat was identified as a chalybeate spring, complete with buried ancient oak steps.

“Chalybeate” means that the water contains minerals, usually iron. There was a fashion for ‘Spa’ cures from about 1600AD onwards with towns like Bath and Tunbridge Wells being built around them, catering to the rich ‘taking the waters’. The Pulham Rock site says that it was supposed to possess healing properties capable of curing almost everything, including:

‘ . . . the colic, the melancholy, and the vapours.   It made the lean fat, the fat lean; it killed flat worms in the belly, loosened the clammy humours of the body, and dried the over-moist brain.’

In 1754 it was roofed with thatch over 6 pillars – replaced with tile roof by the Lord of the Manor, Coles-Child, but this has not survived into modern times. The spring is chalybeate, and from a perched water table that also seeps out by Churchill Theatre and along the base of Martin’s Hill. St Blaise was the patron saint of wool carding (bishop of Sebaste in Armenia with a gruesome death) and quite popular in medieval times.

St Blaise’s well, with roof and six pillars, sometime around 1928, from EL Horburgh.

The Pulhamite website describes the spring as follows:

“The Bishops built a well a few hundred yards from the chalybeate spring, and marked it with oak trees.   It was about 16 inches in diameter, and the canopy had a roof of thatch, thus heightening the picturesque appearance of the scene, as shown on the left of Fig 2.   The water rose so slowly, however, that it took nearly four hours to yield a gallon of water.   There was an orifice in the side of the retaining wall that enabled surplus water to trickle over into the adjacent moat – or small lake – that borders the grounds of the palace. It eventually became a place of pilgrimage, and an oratory in honour of St Blaise, the patron saint of the wool trade, was built close by.

After the Reformation, however, the oratory fell into ruin, and the well into disuse, although it is not clear whether they ran out of pilgrims because they died of the colic, melancholy, the vapours or old age while they were waiting for their cups to be filled with chalybeate water, or as a result of drinking it. “

Some photographs, old and new, of the well:

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The Pulham Rockery and Fernery

These listed structures were installed by the new Lord of the Manor, Coles-Child, as part of his restoration and modernisation of the old Bishop’s Palace.

Pulhams had invented an early form of concrete, which looks quite convincingly like rocks – but was much easier to install the shapes and forms that customer’s wanted.

The basic structure was constructed from brickwork, and then the artisan would put a rendering of ‘pulhamite’ over the top, putting in rock-like layers and shapes as he plastered the render on. Top of the range installations had fossils incorporated.

The Palace Park boasts the Rockery – a cascade structure out of the moat – and a fernery, which had little scoops in, for planting. The fernery is situated on the spring line behind the little brick pool marking St Blaise’s well.

Newly restored in 2006
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Queens Gardens and formerly White Hart Field

Queens Gardens, thanks to Friends of Bromley Town Parks & Gardens

In 1897 the lord of the manor, Charles Cole-Childs, gave the field known as White Hart Field, to the people. This became Queens Gardens. Before the Glades was built it stretched between Market Square and the Bishops Palace (the Bishops of Rochester were the Lord of the Manor) – the palace is now the Civic Centre.

The current Queens Gardens is between the Glades and the Kentish Way bypass.

from the Friend’s page about this park: “Queen’s Garden represents the last remnant of the countryside hugging the old Market Square on the east side of town. It was part of the farmland belonging to Bromley Palace (now the Civic Centre) stretching from the White Hart Inn in the High Street all the way to Widmore Green. By the l8th century it was known as White Hart Field and it was here that the coaching horses could graze and where the town held their cricket matches. Despite its accustomed use by the townsfolk the field remained in the possession of the Lord of the Manor until donated to the town in 1897 on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee and on condition it was laid out as a public garden.”

A large section of it was sold to the developer’s of the Glades. They gave some exchange land, but as this lacked the protection of public park land, this was then claimed back in 2015 and the restaurant terrace built on it.

The agent of good fortune was “young Sutton,” the grown-up son of the landlord of the Bell. I was playing outside the scoring tent in the cricket field and in all friendliness he picked me up and tossed me in the air. “Whose little kid are you?” he said, and I wriggled, he missed his hold on me and I snapped my tibia across a tent peg. A great fuss of being carried home; a painful setting — for they just set and strapped a broken leg tightly between splints in those days, and the knee and ankle swelled dreadfully — and then for some weeks I found myself enthroned on the sofa in the parlour as the most important thing in the house, consuming unheard-of jellies, fruits, brawn and chicken sent with endless apologies on behalf of her son by Mrs. Sutton, and I could demand and have a fair chance of getting anything that came into my head, books, paper, pencils, and toys — and particularly books.

I had just taken to reading. I had just discovered the art of leaving my body to sit impassive in a crumpled up attitude in a chair or sofa, while I wandered over the hills and far away in novel company and new scenes. And now my father went round nearly every day to the Literary Institute in Market Square and got one or two books for me, and Mrs. Sutton sent some books, and there was always a fresh book to read… I cannot recall now many of the titles of the books I read, I devoured them so fast…

Some pictures of Queens Gardens, past and present:

(1) From An Experiment in Autobiography by H. G. Wells, 1934, Chapter 2.

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