With the building of a new section of road called the ‘New Cut’ in 1832, a sharp bend in the High Street was removed. The buildings constructed following this work included No. 47 which became the china, glass and pottery emporium of Joseph Wells.
Here on 21 September 1866 Herbert George Wells was born. He spent much of his early childhood in the town until he was apprenticed to a draper and left the area. No. 47 became part of Medhursts in 1879 when Fred Medhurst bought several adjacent properties. The Primark store still has the name Medhurst on the building which stands today, and a plaque to commemorate the birthplace of H G Wells is displayed on the front of the shop.
Built in 1888 to provide shop premises. It was designed by Walter Albert Williams and built in the Flemish style.
Above the first floor window are terracotta carvings which include the letters ‘C’ and ‘H’ for Covell & Harris, the butchers, former occupants of the building.
Market Square is the centre of the Old Town which until the coming of the railway in 1858 comprised a single street.
The Market Charter, to hold a market every Tuesday (later changed to Thursday) was granted to Bishop Gandalf (the Bishops were the Lords of the Manor) by King John in 1205.
The limits of the town are still marked by existing buildings – Bromley College in the Upper High Street and Tweed Cottage, now Barclays bank in the Lower High Street.
Market Square from the upper / north part of the High Street
The town pump is in the corner of Market Square, with the Darwin mural behind it.
The Royal Bell is a beautiful Queen Anne style Arts and Crafts style building just north of market square. The architect was the renowned Ernest Newton and it is Grade II listed.
This range of buildings was rebuilt in 1898 on the site of an earlier hostelry of 1666; as part of the front required propping up by the 1890s. It was this older building that was made famous in Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ when Lady Catherine de Burgh says to Elizabeth Bennet “Where shall you change horses? – Oh! Bromley, of course. – If you mention my name at the Bell, you will be attended to.” Jane Austen frequently travelled to Kent to visit her brother and would certainly have changed horses at the Bell.
Planning permission has been granted to restore this iconic building, as a niche market hotel, commissioned by Gary Hillman who has a personal project to restore it, as he has childhood memories of family functions there. The website describing the history and restoration is at: http://www.theroyalbell.co.uk/.
Fine Paregetting on the bay window of the Royal Bell. This was probably originally stone coloured.
The Bell Inn before it was rebuilt as The Royal Bell, parts of it dated from 1660s.
The developers presented their plans at the Royal Bell in August 2018, and these photos date from this occasion:
Views: South to Churchill Theatre; East to the Parish Church; and north, from the first floor of the Royal Bell
Ornate plaster ceiling of first floor rooms
Fireplaces on the first floor of the Royal Bell
Staircase to the first floor showing the plasterwork patterns.
Mosaic on the ground floor
Aberdeen Buildings – this distinctive high profile parade was built in 1887 by a local butcher, Amos Borer. His premises was the end shop (which was “No 1 Aberdeen Buildings” but is now 107-109 High Street, occupied by Clarke’s Shoes).
The architecture is French Empire and thought to be a tribute to the Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie, who lived in exile at Camden Place, Chislehurst. Mr Borer held the coveted title of being ‘Purveyor of Meat’, by Royal Appointment, to the Prince of Wales.
Bromley College was founded by John Warner, Bishop of Rochester, in 1666 as almshouses for 20 widows of clergy. The intention was for it to be in Rochester but land was not available. John Warner was one of only eight Bishops to survive until the restoration of the Stuart Monarchy in 1660. When he died in 1666 his legacy was to provide £8,500 for the foundation of a College or almshouse for ‘twenty poore widowes of Orthodoxe and Loyalle clergymen’. The College was built between 1670 and 1672 to the design of Richard Ryder, a Master Surveyor
It was built 1670-72 around a quadrangle.
The red brick walls andiron gates in London Road are 18th century.
Sheppard College to the NE was built in 1840 for 5 spinsters, designed by Thomas Hardwick, was added at the end of the 18th century for 20 more widows. The 2 bedroomed accommodation provided room for a live in servant and/or spinster daughter. The chapel was rebuilt in 1863 in a gothic style with patterned brickwork.
The red brick walls andiron gates in London Road are 18th century. John Warner was one of only eight Bishops to survive until the restoration of the Stuart Monarchy in 1660. When he died in 1666 his legacy was to provide £8,500 for the foundation of a College or almshouse for ‘twenty poore widowes of Orthodoxe and Loyalle clergymen’. The College was built between 1670 and 1672 to the design of Richard Ryder, a Master Surveyor
One of the best Arts and Crafts buildings around, with extravagant turret, balcony and decoration.
The Star & Garter Inn was constructed in 1898 and was designed by Berney and Sons for Nalder and Collyer, a local Croydon brewer. The sign hanging over the High Street has become a local landm