Market Square The Old New Townhall – Heritage Buildings

From 1863 until 1930, the market sported a ‘Elizabethan’ style, brick ‘Town Hall’. The new Lord of the Manor built it at his own cost.  He had bought the title and the Old Bishop’s Palace from the Bishops of Rochester in 1845 (on a reorganisation of the English dioceses that resulted in Bromley – for a time – not being in the Rochester diocese).  The new landowner was a Mr Cole-Childs, a coal merchant from Deptford. As the ‘Town Hall’ was constructed at his own cost, in 1863, the bricks were made from his own brick-pit, from where Havelock Rec is now:…/.

It replaced a much smaller, more traditional market building in the centre of the square.

“The ancient heart of Bromley, the Market square, was re-laid out in 1863 when an all purpose town hall (centre background), was erected.

It housed the first police station (with a cell to replace the ‘Cage’ on Widmore Road), the first fire-station (before that the engine was lodged at the White Hart and then the Parish Church) – the next one is on West Street, and the current one on South Street), and a large upper room for civic meetings.  At various times it also housed the literary institute and meeting rooms.  However, the Vestry (who ran the town) never met there, so it was not used as a Town Hall.

It seems that it was at least 3 different buildings kludged together.  Most of its life it was rented by an estate agents.   Whilst the style was fashionable at the time it was built, by the end of it’s life, the local paper described it as ‘monstrous’.  This did not stop it being featured in many of the postcards of the town centre.

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