Proposed Development of Library Gardens, Bromley

BCS are keen to bring to the attention of residents, businesses and customers of Bromley town centre, the proposed development of Library Gardens. This land was given to the people of Bromley in the will of Emily Dowling in 1900 for recreation and education. It is historically and visually distinct from the adjacent Church House Gardens which were acquired by the Council in 1926.

Library Gardens and Church House Gardens are designated as Urban Open Space which does not allow development other than small structures related to open space use. In 1987, both Gardens were designated as part of the Bromley Town Centre Conservation Area which carries a duty to ensure that any development will preserve or enhance the historic character or appearance.

The new proposed development will comprise 380 flats in two 11 storey blocks on the site of adjacent Ethelbert Close, which will extend into Library Gardens necessitating the sale of land. In its current form, the development continues along the Garden’s frontage opposite the library and theatre to provide more restaurants and shops along with paved forecourts. The development is likely to block the sky line and greenery and in our view removes any semblance of the Gardens given us in Emily Dowling’s will.

The Council has already issued a public notice of intention to sell parts of Library Gardens to the developer under the 1972 Local Government Act s.123(2a). This is largely the land where the tower blocks will intrude into the Gardens. While it is argued that other land will be added to Library Gardens, this is essentially an area hemmed in by the two tower blocks. This notice of sale comes in advance of consideration of consultation comments or a planning application.

BCS wrote to the Council before the 12 July deadline setting out our objections to sale of the land and we will continue to keep the people of Bromley informed of developments.

Please see our original flyer here.


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Heritage Walks on Civic Day! Saturday 17 June

Bromley Civic Society is organising four heritage walks on Civic Day, Saturday 17 June.

Walks will start and finish at Market Square, Bromley and times are given below. Each walk will last for approximately 90 minutes and will be free.

10.00am Bromley Palace and Park

The 18th century home of the Bishops of Rochester and the adjoining historic park.


12.00pm 17th century Bromley & Shepherd’s Colleges

The 17th century Grade 1 listed building form a quiet oasis in Bromley North.


2.00pm Victorian Bromley (Arts and Crafts, HG Wells)

A walk around the old town of Bromley to get a flavour of its Victorian heyday.


4.00pm Bromley’s Green Spaces, Parks and Gardens

Discover Bromley’s rich heritage of historic landscape features.



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BCS May and June events

A Walk Around Bromley Palace and Park
Sunday 21st May 2017

Meet at 10:00am on the corner of St Blaise Avenue and Widmore Road
FREE (donations welcome)

The walk will last not more than 2 hours.

The 18th century Bromley Palace is the jewel in the crown of Bromley’s heritage. This is an opportunity to take a close look at the building and its transformation from the Georgian home of the Bishops of Rochester to the home of Victorian entrepreneur Coles-Child in 1845. Inside we will see the magnificent grand staircase, carved oak panels, Robert Adams fireplace and more. The walk will also take in the Park including the St Blaise Well, the Pulham Rocks, the Ice House, Ha Ha and Victorian folly.

Bromley Civic Society Annual General Meeting

Wednesday 7th June, 7.30pm, Parish Rooms, adjacent to the parish church in Church Road, Bromley BR2 0EG (behind Primark).

It is that time of year again for our AGM. Please do join us at 7.30pm for our Annual General Meeting. Light refreshments and drinks will be served. It will be an opportunity to renew your membership of Bromley Civic Society and find out what we have been up to this year. We will also have a guest speaker from Bromley Historic Collections to tell us about the new exhibition space in Bromley Central Library and the collections on display.

Subscription rates for membership of BCS remains good value and the rates are below:
Full members £7.00 per annum
Two or more full members in the same household £11.00 per annum
Under-18s £3.50 per annum
Corporate members £12.00 per annum

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Bromley Civic Day – Saturday 17 June 2017


Spread the word!  Tell your friends to visit the BCS tent on Saturday 17th June and come on the walks.

We also need volunteers to help staff the tent in two hour slots on the day and to assist in any preparation for the walks. Please contact if you are interested in helping out.

The Society plan to celebrate Civic Day by staging an exhibition in the Market Square in Bromley Town Centre.  The exhibition will be in a market stall style tent from which four walks will be scheduled throughout the day.  Each walk will have a different theme and visitors will be shown different aspects of the town’s heritage.

The aim is to increase awareness of and enthusiasm for heritage amongst visitors, residents, businesses and people who work in the town centre so that heritage issues are given greater prominence in the future.  The event will be used as a launch pad for a yearlong programme of walks and talks.  We will get as many people as possible to sign up to the Civic Society and we hope to recruit more walk leaders and speakers.

Civic Day is a National Initiative with the theme of celebrating civic pride and getting people to ‘care about where they live’.  BCS have registered their participation with Civic Voice (formerly Civic Trust) who are the organising body. The event, supported by Theresa May, will have National media publicity which will be used to publicise our own exhibition.

2017 is also the 50th anniversary of Conservation Areas legislation and our exhibition will use this to focus attention on the Bromley Town Centre Conservation Area.  The exhibition will be a celebration of our Town’s heritage that will hopefully encourage a great appreciation of the local environment.



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BCS Spring Newsletter!

The Spring BCS newsletter is now available. It’s packed full of new information about Bromley Civic Day on Saturday 17 June, the possibility of bringing back the Broom Day festival and an update on the London Borough of Bromley Local Plan. We also review the very successful walks and talks led by BCS over the last few months. We hope you enjoy the newsletter and if not already a member of BCS we’d be delighted if you’d join us! Details on the membership page.

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HG Wells in Bromley: a Bromley Civic Society talk

The talk will be held at the Parish Rooms, Church Road, Bromley at 8.00pm on Thursday 26th January 2017.

The places and sights that the young HG Wells would have known, described in his own vivid words.

Tony Banfield, Jane Secker and Peter Martin, in their best Victorian attire, will tell the story of his early years with the aid of period photographs from the archives and ‘then and now’ comparisons.

Bertie, as he was known, was born in 1866 and brought up at 47 High Street (now Primark) then “one of a row of badly built houses..” with a shop on the ground floor selling china crockery and a special line of cricket goods. He says “We lived mostly downstairs and underground, more particularly in the winter”

Young Bertie was free to roam out on to Martin’s Hill where he imagined soldiers charging across the slopes sending a defeated army off towards Croydon! Martin’s Hill was also the scene of real battles between the boys of Morley’s Academy (now the Frames & Art shop) where Bertie attended and the boys of the National School (now the Methodist Church).

Booking recommended via

£5 entrance fee to include light refreshments.

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Events at Bromley & Sheppard’s Colleges

Following our post on July 20th, BCS would like to remind people of the celebrations taking place in October around the 350th anniversary of Bromley & Sheppard’s colleges. On 13 October at 7.00pm, you can find out about the life of John Warner, the founder of the College through a dramatised account of his life.

Details of other College anniversary events from 13-16 October can be found on the following flyer.

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HG Wells Bromley Walk: Sunday 25 September

To celebrate the 150 year anniversary of HG Wells’ birth in Bromley and complement the upcoming Sci-Fi weekend, Bromley Civic Society will be conducting a costumed walk around the Bromley that HG Wells knew as a boy.  At various stopping points we will read extracts from his memoirs which give not only insights into his boyhood imagination and the famed novelist he was to become but also a colourful picture of life in the Town in the mid 19th century. Booking is not required, however it would be helpful if you plan to come to email

The walk will take approximately 1.5 hours and involve some rough terrain. Meet outside the Churchill Theatre at 11am Sunday 25th September. Members and non-members very welcome.

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Bromley & Sheppard’s Colleges: 350th Anniversary Celebrations!

Bromley Civic Society would like to congratulate Bromley & Sheppard’s Colleges as they celebrate their 350th anniversary on 13-16 October 2016. There will be several days of musical events which will include performances by the Bromley Youth Music Trust and the Kentish Opera. There will also be a display by the Sealed Knot who specialise in the re-enactment of battles between Roundheads and Cavaliers. Further details can be found in the Bromley College Flyer.

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Bromley Civic Society: May 2016 Newsletter

The latest BCS newsletter is now available. It contains a range of important local news stories set within the context of the Government’s Housing & Planning Bill which received Royal Assent this month. From a heritage perspective we include a fascinating glimpse of the life of HG Wells in Bromley.

This year our AGM will be held on  Thursday 2 June (8.00pm) at the Parish Church Rooms, Bromley Parish Church, Church Road (behind Primark).  Refreshments will be provided. Please come and join us!

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