The Palace Park

The Palace Parkland in 1899 (Francis Frith)

The park is the grounds of the former Bishops Palace. A quarter of the parkland was sold in November 2019 (including the listed folly and 2 buildings that Bromley Council have allowed to become in bad repair), and it is expected that the ‘Urban Open Space’ status from this land will be stripped so the new owners can build housing.

The SE quarter of the park is supposed to be a public park, though the entrance has been chained up since the summer of 2019 (supposedly due to anti-social behaviour, but one where the litter is taken home). Access is now through the civic center car park.

The park includes four listed structures, of which the Ice house has partially collapsed.

The park was remodeled in the 1860s, by R Norman Shaw, who also designed some estate cottages and a bailiff’s cottage for the Lord of the Manor, Mr Coles Child. He also improved the grounds by constructing Pulhamite landscape features and a folly. Ernest Newton worked here in 1902 and 1920.

The Park and palace grounds incorporate

  • The Listed 18th Century Folly
  • Ice house adapted to be a summer house and boat house
  • Pullham rockery
  • St Blaise’s Well
  • Remains of the moat
  • 1732 decorated lead cistern
  • Lord of the Manor’s Folly

    The folly for the BIshops Palace was Grade II listed by English Heritage in 1955 because: * It is an intrinsically interesting mid-c19th folly, unusually employing Norman-style decoration to evoke the spirit of the former bishop’s palacr. * It is by Pulhams, one of the most innovative and interesting c19th firms of garden contractors.
  • Palace Park – 1732 Lead Cistern

    This lead cistern says that it was installed by Bishop of Rochester, Joseph Wilcocks. He carried out renovations and improvements to the palace. Thanks to Bromley Borough Local History. The whereabouts of the cistern is not now know, it was last on the land that the council has sold for housing development.
  • circular pond and little lake behind

    St Blaise’s Well

    View over moat from St Blaise’s well (2019) St Blaise’s well was rediscovered in 1754 (by the Bishop’s domestic chaplain, a Rev Mr Hardwick); a worker showed him a spring, seeping into the moat, which he identified as a chalybeate spring. It had buried ancient oak steps. The spring is called “Chalybeate” because the water…
  • summery porch

    The Ice Well and Boating House

    The original ice well was built in the mid 1700s, when the well-to-do would store ice, stored in layers of straw. In the winter, ice was brought 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 in…
  • dry cascade looking like real rocks

    The Pulham Rockery and Fernery

    The Pulham’s Rockery and Pulham’s Fernery were fashionable garden installations in the late Victorian era. Pulhams had invented an early form of concrete, which looks quite convincingly like rocks – but was much easier to install
broom stem
Letter ‘Y’ for our Easter Hunt game

Below are photos, old and new, of the Palace Park.

broom stem
Letter ‘Y’ for our Easter Hunt game
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