This shop was the site of Morley’s Academy, which was on the upper floors, where the author HG Wells went to school, after he had graduated from the Dame school on south street. It was demolished in 1902 and replaced with the current building.
Bromley Zoo Mural was designed and painted by artist Bruce Williams in 2001 to lead shoppers from the Hill Car park via Naval Walk to the High Street. A panda and leopard lurk among the shrubbery and a variety of animals are presented in cunning trompe l’oeil (trick the eye) scenes.
Unfortunately most of it has been lost, but it is hoped to replace it, this time on boards that can be removed if the walls change again.
This is one of a pair of early 18th century lodges at the entrance to the driveway to the Grete House, a Tudor mansion and its lands occupying all of what is now Sainsburys store and car park.
In the nineteenth century the lodge was the premises of Daniel Grinstead, one of a long line of seedsmen connected with the Mill at Southend, Downham. DG was a considerable entrepreneur and land owner. As director of the Bromley Electric Light Company he built, in 1898, a huge electricity generating station behind here with a tall chimney which belched black smoke over Market Square for 40 odd years.
The Diner Inn occupies George Weeks’ 1890s extension to his original shop next door. Its grand Arts & Crafts, Dutch influenced architecture, displays both his personal success and civic pride. Note the name above the front gable and advertisement on the side wall all in enduring ceramic tiles. The shop replaced an old house important as having been the premises of the famous Bromley based surgeon, Dr James Scott. So respected was he that special stage coaches, known as the Scott Coaches, regularly plied for London the Bell Inn opposite for the convenience of his affluent patients.
In the Victorian times, Dr James Scott’s (1779-1848) had a surgery, on Bromley High Street. His surgery stood opposite the Royal Bell Hotel, where the Diners Inn (formerly George Week’s shop, as a ceramic tile panel attests) is now.
He was nationally famous and renowned, gained his notoriety on account of his specialism and success in the treatment of diseased joints and ulcers.
As Dr Scott’s reputation spread in the early 1800s, sufferers of these chronic and painful conditions from all over the country would make their way to Bromley. Many came to London and stayed in hotels, traveling down to Bromley for the day by coach. Others stayed at The Bell, The Swan and Mitre, The White Hart or one of the many other Bromley Inns. When John Harradine took over the Swan and Mitre in 1855, he found a huge collection of crutches in the loft. They had belonged to those people who had badly needed them when they arrived in Bromley, but had no need of crutches when they left. For several years Dr Scott’s annual income exceeded £10,000, a massive fortune in that period. And more than well deserved.
People from far and wide would literally sing his praises for allowing them a normal life free from terrible pain and suffering. Dr Scott was also partly responsible for the growth of the town. Families who could afford to travel the length of Britain to come to Bromley for treatment were often upper middle class, and thus many decided to live permanently in the town of Bromley, buying up houses until demand outstripped supply. New developments were built as a direct result of this. The houses on Bromley Common between Homesdale Road and St Luke’s Church date from that period.
The Treasure of China, Chinese restaurant, was the original fire station in Bromley. Before this point, the fire engine had been housed in the New Old Town Hall of Cole-Childs, in the centre of Market Square. It backs onto the Local Board building. You can see where the stable, at the side, used to be for the horse.