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).

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New Town Centre Planning consultation – How to work the commenting and thumbs up

A quick guide to commenting, or giving a comment a thumbs up:

The consultation is divided into 12 categories, so to prevent the old blank-page scare, compose what you want to say, and work out which ‘theme’ it fits in, first.

The procedure involves quite a lot of clicks, being redirected, losing your place in whichever page you’re on, and confirming by email.  I recommend not doing it by mobile, nor in a rush.

The procedure to comment, or thumbs-up a comment:

Go to the category, or 'Theme' page that you wish to engage with.  There's 12 of these, so it's not quick and no suitable for a mobile.
Go to the category, or ‘Theme’ page that you wish to engage with. There’s 12 of these, so it’s not quick and no suitable for a mobile.
Step 2: empty your junk mail folder so you can find  your email confirmations easily
Step 2: empty your junk mail folder so you can find your email confirmations easily
Step 3: Either fill in your comment, or click the Show Comments button
Step 3: Either fill in your comment, or click the Show Comments button
Step 4: Click the ‘Agree’ button next to a comment you like - it's a good idea to work from the bottom up doing this
Step 4: Click the ‘Agree’ button next to a comment you like – it’s a good idea to work from the bottom up doing this
Step 5: Type in your email address, then press the ‘Back’, or <- arrow, until you return to the page, to carry on down the comments
Step 5: Type in your email address, then press the ‘Back’, or <- arrow, until you return to the page, to carry on down the comments
Step 6: Find the Commonplace email in your junk box
Step 6: Find the Commonplace email in your junk box
Step 7:  Open the email and click the confirmation button
Step 7: Open the email and click the confirmation button
Step 8: Close the thank -you page and return to the tab with the consultation on
Step 8. Close the thank -you page and return to the tab with the consultation on
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2020 BROOMTIME IN BROMLEY

Broom bushes on hillside covered in flowers
This year’s broom flowers on Martins Hill parkland

Here’s the first of the articles from our August 2020 newsletter, the full contents of which, has been sent to members. Please support our work to promote and save our heritage, by joining the town’s civic society – a snip at £10 a household. 


Thank goodness for our wonderful Town Centre Parks which have offered such a respite from the lockdown! 

Albeit that they’ve been a bit overwhelmed at times by people with nowhere else to go.  

Martin’s Hill (pictured here) was ablaze with colour from our namesake flowering shrub, the Broom from mid April to late May.  The grassland is a rare example of acid grassland. It is good to see how good it looks after the work to clear invasive bushes.

Queens Mead took on something of a festival air reminiscent of Victorian and Edwardian times when it was the venue for fairs, circuses and fetes. In those times, too, enjoyment of our open spaces was a fundamental part of a visit to Bromley. In recent times they have been almost forgotten but now is the time to reinvent what Bromley is all about and rediscover the significance of our precious green space heritage.

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2020 Online ‘Easter’ Hunt!

broom stem
Broom, the flower Bromley is named after (see Broom Time)

To provide a bit of light hearted entertainment, we have compiled an online website ‘Easter’ hunt.

The competition is to look on our website, and find all the pages which have a picture, like the one above, of a sprig of Broom (the spring flower that Bromley is named after) at the bottom of the page.

When you’ve found the picture at the bottom of one of our pages, it will have a letter next to it. Write down the letters, they are an anagram for a word. When you’ve found them all, shuffle the letters to find the word!

The competition is really just for fun and kudos, but Survey Monkey will email us your answers, and the correct answers will be entered into a prize draw – though this will only be for Cadbury’s Easter Eggs! The competition is to show you our website, so explore and find those pages with the broom pictures!

For instance, with the Clue: “The vanished and haunted moated manor that gave Ringers Road its name” you could put ‘Haunted’ in the search box (top right) and see an entry for Simpsons Moat in the list, when you visit this page and scroll to the bottom, there’s a picture of a sprig of broom. Under this is an ‘M’, so enter ‘M’ in the box for this question! There’s one done for you already!

Use each of these clues to help you find a page with the picture of a sprig of broom at the bottom:

2)  An innovator of self-service shopping.
3)  Bromley’s toy town station.
4)  Our clickable map of the town’s heritage… look under ‘Heritage’.
5)  The future of the seat of our local government in the 2019 Local Plan.
6)  Famous former resident reputed to have used the term ‘So ******* Croydon’ when disgusted with something.
7)  A quarter of this parkland was sold off in November – including the listed folly.

And a final question (search for our page on Broom time): Which of our green spaces was the Broom Time festival held in?

Here’s a link to SurveyMonkey to enter your answers. Alternatively you can print this word document, and fill in the boxes – in this case, if you want to enter the prize draw, you will need to email it to us at bromley.civic.society@gmail.com

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Simpsons Moat

Simpsons Moat, or Palace, was a moated, crenellated manor house at the bottom of Ringers Road.

Most of the building had been of Tudor age, dominated by a large chimney. Henry VIII was reputed to have visited. It was later converted to a farm house, and the last tenant, Jeraimiah Ringer filled in two sides of the moat. Ringers Road is named after him. There is a page on wiki, though these details are challenged by the notable local historian E.L.Horsburgh.

It was demolished in the 1850s.

The area is haunted ,not just by one ghost, but by two ghosts! Often they’re seen together. One is a white lady, and her companion has old fashioned clothing and a black floppy hat. Join us on our Murder, Ghosts and Highwaymen walk next time it’s held (usually at Halloween, for more details!)

A drawing from 1850 in the British Museum
broom stem
Letter ‘M’ for our Easter Hunt game
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Answers to online Family Heritage Treasure Trail

Answers to online edition:

  1. Charles Darwin
  2. The author H.G. Wells
  3. The Old Town Pump
  4. Drapers shop (sold cloth by the yard)
  5. 1888 (the year Covell & Harris ‘s shop)
  6. 1866 (HG Wells was born)
  7. ‘Old English’ Arts and Crafts style, Queen Anne movement
  8. 1912
  9. There’s furniture suspended from the ceiling.
  10. Aberdeen Building.
  11. Ravensfell Parade.
  12. Bromley House Parade
  13. Bromleag was the old name for Bromley (also spelt Bromleage)
  14. David Bowie.
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Family Treasure Hunt Heritage Trail

You can either walk around this trail (which we recommend), or you can look in this website to find the answers!

From the start point in The Glades, go out towards the Market Square and turn right to see the mural:

These two men were famous residents of Bromley in Victorian times. What are their names? See post…

What is this? 150 years ago, this is where all the people living nearby got their water. See post…

Go past the mural to the corner and look up to the right above Café Rouge

Can you see the flowers on the building? Victorians loved to decorate their buildings in the Arts and Crafts style. This one was built nearly 140 years ago in 1883. What kind of shop did Herbert Collings have here? see post…

Can you see all the strange creatures high up on the building? This one looks like a dragon! It was built by a local butcher. What year was it built? (the date is on the building) see post…

This plaque marks the spot where HG Wells was born (it’s on the ground near the entrance of Primark). His mother called him Bertie. You’ve already seen his picture. What date was he born? see post…

See the clock? It’s over 160 yrs old. The building is just 90 yrs old and has been made to look as though it’s made of wood and brick. Can you see the pegs in the timbers? What style is this central block built in? see post.

Can you spot the round windows on the David Greig building across the Market Square? There’s a lot of decoration on it. It’s called Neo baroque. When was it built? (the date is on the building) see post.

Carry on down the High Street and look for the purple building on the right.

This old building shows that the High Street was narrower in Victorian times. People lived in flats above the shops. Have a look inside Paperchase. What do you see on the ceiling? see post.

Can you see the curved roofs on this building? It’s called the French Empire style – another one of a number of grand shops built after the railway came to Bromley in 1858. What is it called? (the name is on the building). See post.

Turn left around the Market Square toward the HSBC building. Look up

This is what is left of Ravensfell House. It’s about 150 years old. In Victorian times there were several houses like this along the High Street. Most of them were knocked down when the shops were built in the 1923. The parade of shops along the front is called what? see post.

Carry on to the end of the pedestrianised part of the High Street – look down to the right

Can you spot the porch on the Bromley Town Church in Ethelbert Road? It used to be on a Georgian Mansion that was where Metrobank is now. It’s probably 200 years old. See post.

An easy one to spot! Ethelbert was King of Kent and he granted the first Charter in Bromley over 1,000 yrs ago! What was the name of Bromley back then? see post.

Now go into the Glades shopping centre through the Elmfield Entrance on the left. Go all the way along on the ground floor to the far end, past Krispy Kreme and Boots and go through the double doors leading to the toilets.

Another famous resident of Bromley! Who is he?

Now go out of the double doors back past Krispy Kreme up the escalators and back to where you started

The answers (to this online edition) can be found here.

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The Old Bromley Oak

The Bromley Oak in Autumn colour

This veteran oak tree (Quercus robur) was reprieved, when the Glades was being built, and still proudly stands at the side of Kentish Way.

Originally it grew on the corner of the grounds of the house “Bromley Lodge” and Love Lane. It is over 500 years old.

It is one of the Great Trees of London #GTOL

The Bromley Oak
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The Ice Well and Boating House

The original ice well was built in the mid 1700s, when the well-to-do would store ice, collected 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, by Pulhams, in the Victorian era, so that it also had a nice porch with a seat in (currently removed for alleged antisocial behaviour), with a view over the Ha-Ha.

It has also been used to store boats.

summery porch
The Ice House (and boat house)
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St Blaise’s Well

View over moat from St Blaise’s well (2019)

Rediscovered in 1754 (by the Bishop’s domestic chaplain, a Rev Mr Hardwick); a spring seeping into the moat was identified as a chalybeate spring, complete with buried ancient oak steps.

“Chalybeate” means that the water contains minerals, usually iron. There was a fashion for ‘Spa’ cures from about 1600AD onwards with towns like Bath and Tunbridge Wells being built around them, catering to the rich ‘taking the waters’. The Pulham Rock site says that it was supposed to possess healing properties capable of curing almost everything, including:

‘ . . . the colic, the melancholy, and the vapours.   It made the lean fat, the fat lean; it killed flat worms in the belly, loosened the clammy humours of the body, and dried the over-moist brain.’

In 1754 it was roofed with thatch over 6 pillars – replaced with tile roof by the Lord of the Manor, Coles-Child, but this has not survived into modern times. The spring is chalybeate, and from a perched water table that also seeps out by Churchill Theatre and along the base of Martin’s Hill. St Blaise was the patron saint of wool carding (bishop of Sebaste in Armenia with a gruesome death) and quite popular in medieval times.

St Blaise’s well, with roof and six pillars, sometime around 1928, from EL Horburgh.

The Pulhamite website describes the spring as follows:

“The Bishops built a well a few hundred yards from the chalybeate spring, and marked it with oak trees.   It was about 16 inches in diameter, and the canopy had a roof of thatch, thus heightening the picturesque appearance of the scene, as shown on the left of Fig 2.   The water rose so slowly, however, that it took nearly four hours to yield a gallon of water.   There was an orifice in the side of the retaining wall that enabled surplus water to trickle over into the adjacent moat – or small lake – that borders the grounds of the palace. It eventually became a place of pilgrimage, and an oratory in honour of St Blaise, the patron saint of the wool trade, was built close by.

After the Reformation, however, the oratory fell into ruin, and the well into disuse, although it is not clear whether they ran out of pilgrims because they died of the colic, melancholy, the vapours or old age while they were waiting for their cups to be filled with chalybeate water, or as a result of drinking it. “

Some photographs, old and new, of the well:

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