North Street Demolished – The Parish School

The Parish school, then known as the National School, was built on the corner of North Street and College Road, in 1854.  The building was especially designed for it, by the eminent architect James Piers St Aubyn, who also designed the romantic additions to Saint Michael’s Mount in Cornwall.

It was locally listed and, protected as a key building in a Conservation Area but nevertheless in 1987 the Council offered it to the Methodist Church to relocate from their existing site which the Council wanted for what was to become the Glades shopping centre. Thus, it was demolished.

The old National School was a successor to the Bromley Charity School that started in 1717, in an old gravel pit that’s now covered by the south corner of Bromley South station.  The children of the working or middle classes were not normally educated in that day and age, so it was remarkable that the Bishop of Rochester (they were Lords of the Manor of Bromley) funded 10 boys, and (surprisingly), 10 girls.  This attitude of not educating poorer people changed with the Elementary Education act of 1880 requiring all children to be schooled,  

According to HG Wells, funding these school places was in opposition to the great and the good of the Vestry (who ran the town until it became incorporated in 1901 with a Local Board), as it was

 “achieved against considerable resistance. There was a strong objection in those days to the use of public funds for the education of “other people’s children”, and he continues to say that the school offered

 “a mere foundation of an education that saw to the children up to the age of thirteen or even fourteen, and no further.”

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Widmore Road Demolished – Homeopathy Hospital

Homeopathy was a popular treatment in Bromley, starting in 1865  when part of the White Hart Inn was opened as a homeopathic dispensary, and when it outgrew this accommodation,  Bromley’s first homeopathic hospital opened in 1889 at 19 Widmore Road.  This backed onto White Hart Field (part of which is now Queens Gardens).

“When a new homeopathic hospital was under discussion, the Lord of the Manor, Coles Child, presented White Hart Field to Bromley in 1897, part given for the hospital and the rest laid out as a public recreation ground.”

“Phillips Homeopathic Hospital had opened in 1900, was enlarged further in 1907, but it was bombed in WWII by a direct hit and although it temporarily became a home for homeless people, escalating costs meant that it was eventually demolished in 1951.”

With the recreation ground next door, patients had used what was then called Victoria Gardens, but now renamed to Queens Gardens, during their convalescence.

* London Gardens Trust: from https://londongardenstrust.org/conservation/inventory/site-record/?ID=BRO061

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New Virtual Tour – A visit to Bromley Palace and Park!

Bromley Palace
The Bishop’s Palace, Bromley

Join us for a close look at the 18th century Bromley Palace, now the nerve centre of Bromley Council – we’ll also ‘walk’ around the secluded Park behind the Palace

The 18th century Bromley Palace was the Georgian home of the Bishops of Rochester. It was transformed in 1845 to the home of Victorian entrepreneur Coles-Child. Now we know it as part of the Civic Centre and is the nerve centre of Bromley Council.Inside we will see the magnificent grand staircase, carved oak panels, Robert Adams fireplace, Mayor’s parlour and the Council’s Cabinet room.The online ‘walk’ will also take in the secluded Park behind the Palace where we’ll see the St Blaise Well, the Pulham Rocks, the Ice House, Ha Ha and Victorian folly.The virtual visit will take the form of a Zoom meeting led by members of the Bromley Civic Society.  If you want to join the ‘walk’ please register for Eventbrite tickets by clicking the button below.

Click here to get free tickets

We like to ‘pass the hat’ after our walks but if you want to donate something now just click here

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Saturday Mornings at the Gaumont by Adrian

An extract from Adrian’s contribution to the memories on the Havelock Rec in 2018, he writes:

“On Saturday mornings many of us attended the Gaumont cinema at Bromley South where, for sixpence, we would sing popular songs before watching features like Zorro, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers and Dick Barton – Special Agent.  At one time we had yoyo championships on stage and my pal Pete Gilbert, another Raglan Road pupil, won a dart board and I won a cricket bat which I still have.”

There’s more about the Gaumont cinema, on the lower “Broadway” part of the High Street, in our page High Street No. _44, the former Gaumont Cinema – Heritage Building Profile

Gaumont Cinema on high street
The Gaumont in it’s heyday years
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Reminices – Weeks Ironmongery by Peter

An extract from Peter’s contribution to the memories on the Havelock Rec, he writes:

“I had a regular delivery (of broken coke) to the lady next door at No 109 Homesdale Road, called Mrs Stokes. Her husband was the manager of a large Ironmongers in the High Street called Weeks. Manager or not, he still had to come in the house through the back door AFTER HE HAD CHANGED INTO HIS SLIPPERS AND CLEANED HIS SHOES FOR THE FOLLOWING MORNING. But she was very kind to me. I still remember her giving me a lovely shiny Half a Crown for my birthday in 1943  I dropped it between the floor boards when we were hiding in the cupboard under the stairs. My parents continued to live there until my mother died. Then I moved my father to live near me in Crawley, and he sold the house to a Mr Hennesey in 1986 – I often wondered if he found my half Crown.”

There’s more about Weeks ironmongery, on the north part of the High Street, in our page High Street No. 206 Diners Inn formerly George Weeks ironmongery

gable-topped mid-3-storey terrace, civic pride era shop with green tiles.
Diners Inn at 106 High Street, originally Weeks & Sons, by Paul Ylaes

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High Street No. 111 – Heritage Building

Number 111 is Tweed cottage. This modest 2-storey building marked the southern most end of the High street until the railway came, in 1858.

Since then, this Georgian building has been Barclays Bank, before becoming Tiger shop, selling arts and crafts materials.

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Comments on the Supplementary Planning Document consultation

oval of proposed high-rises compared with oval of nicer ones
comparison of proposed overbearing designs with nicer modern developments (as built in Kent this year)

This summer the council has run a consultation to decide whether to issue supplementary planning guidance for Bromley and Orpington town centres.

The consultation was run by Commonplace and closed 5th October 2020. You can view the comments people made by clicking the [View Comments] button at the bottom of each theme’s page: overview.

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Supplementary Planning Document consultation: ‘The Future of Bromley Town Centre’

oval of proposed high-rises compared with oval of nicer ones
comparison of proposed overbearing designs with nicer modern developments (all those developments are in Kent, selling houses in 2020)

This summer the council had a consultation for drawing up a supplementary planning documents for Bromley (and Orpington) town centres.

These guidelines could determine the appearance and height of future developments.

The documents add to, but not change, the policies in the Bromley Local Plan (Local Plans are enforceable 10-year building programmes) .

The responses can be looked at, at the consultation website by Commonplace, here. Under each theme, you press the [Comments] button to see what people said. The consultation closed on the 5th October 2020.

We would like to see it result in appealing good quality, locality-specific proposals in future rather than the androgynous high rises already put forward.

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Bromley Town Centre consultation: Bulletin No.2 –‘Have your say on your Local Area’

oval of proposed high-rises compared with oval of nicer ones
comparison of proposed overbearing designs with nicer modern developments

At Bromley Civic Society, we think it is important that we all take part in this Consultation.  To assist you in making your contribution we are producing a series of Bulletins on each of the Themes in the Consultation to meet the deadline of 5th October 2020.

The purpose of the new Planning Guidance is to add to but not change the policies and proposals in the Bromley Local Plan that was adopted in 2019 (Local Plans are enforceable ten-year building programmes) .

On our website here: http://bit.ly/howtomakecomments there is a detailed explanation of how to use the ‘Commenting’ and the ‘Thumbs up’ procedure.  For a simple way in, follow the steps below.

When you Save your comments, you will be asked to confirm your email address.  You can make further comments later. Remember to find those emails and click on their links!

Have your say on your local area 

‘Have your say on your local area’ enables you to place a pin on a Bromley Town Centre map and make a comment about a specific site or place and say what you would like to see there.

First click on 
https://bromleytowncentre.commonplace.is/ then ‘
Have Your Say’, then 
‘Have your say on your local area’ then 
‘Have your say‘ again (top right) 

Place the pin‘ in the location (on the map) you’re commenting on. Click ‘Ok got it‘ and drag the pin to the place on the map where you wish to make a comment.
When the pin has been placed, fill in boxes on the left to say where it is and what it is. 
There are further boxes to click and finally a box for ‘Do you have further comments’
Remember to Save when you’ve finished 

BCS suggests that the places listed below are among those that may merit some comment.  The list is by no means comprehensive and you will probably want to add further places.
Church House Gardens – any development to the south (Churchill Qtr, Site 10 in Local Plan) should be limited in height to reduce impact on the open space and the Conservation Area
Bromley North Station – any development to the north of the station (Site 2 in the Local Plan) should be limited in height to reduce impact on the Conservation Area
High Street – more greenery and planting possible green walls to soften the impact of unsightly buildings
Picturehouse Cinema, High Street north – cinema should be protected from development and excluded from Site 3 Hill Car Park, in the Local Plan (which plans to replace it with housing)  
former Maplins building (cnr of High Street and Ethelbert Road) – this building contributes to the character of the High Street and should be protected from development 
former Gaumont cinema building (now Dreams and Wilko in the High Street on the corner of Ravensourne Road) – this building contributes to the character of the High Street and should be protected from development
Laura Ashley building, cnr of High Street and Ringers Road) and adjoining neo-Georgian terrace (54-60 High Street) – these buildings contribute to the attractiveness and character of the High Street and should be protected from development 
Bromley North Station – plant trees in forecourt in front of the listed station building
Market Square (and elsewhere) – Heritage Interpretation Panels to provide a public heritage information display about nearby historic buildings  
Bromley North Village – improve tree planting throughout the area.

Editor’s Note: This consultation is about what future development of the town centre will look like. It cannot be used to change the amount of future housing that will be built. It can change what it looks like and how high it is.

We would like to see it result in appealing good quality, locality-specific proposals in future rather than the androgynous high rises already put forward.

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Bromley Town Centre consultation: Bulletin No.1 – ‘Quick Feedback’

oval of proposed high-rises compared with oval of nicer ones
comparison of proposed overbearing designs with nicer modern developments

At Bromley Civic Society, we think it is important that we all take part in this Consultation.  To assist you in making your contribution we are producing a series of Bulletins on each of the Themes in the Consultation to meet the deadline of 5th October 2020.

The purpose of the new Planning Guidance is to add to but not change the policies and proposals in the Bromley Local Plan (adopted in 2019).

Continue reading
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