Bromley Historic Collections

Bromley Historic Collections Bromley Local Studies Library and Archives collects, preserves and makes available current and historic materials on the area of the London Borough of Bromley.

Local studies library and archives
Bromley Historic Collections collects, preserves and makes available current and historic materials on the area of the London Borough of Bromley. The collections and records form a unique resource for information about the people, places and events that make up Bromley's history. Bromley Historic Collections is open to anyone, anywhere in the world, who wants to

Local studies library and archives
Bromley Historic Collections collects, preserves and makes available current and historic materials on the area of the London Borough of Bromley. The collections and records form a unique resource for information about the people, places and events that make up Bromley's history. Bromley Historic Collections is open to anyone, anywhere in the world, who wants to

Operating as usual

Ira Aldridge 1807-1867October is Black History Month, so this week we look at one of our more significant residents, cla...
07/10/2021

Ira Aldridge 1807-1867

October is Black History Month, so this week we look at one of our more significant residents, classical actor Ira Aldridge. We don’t have any pictures of him in the collection but there are plenty online. What we do have, uniquely, is the entry for his second marriage in April 1865 in the St. John’s Penge Parish Registers. Ref P/409/1/5
Ira was born in New York in 1807. His family may originally have been from Senegal. He had a life long interest in the theatre; immigrating to England in 1824. He married for the first time and made his London stage debut the following year. Frequently touring in the provinces he increasingly turned to Shakespearian roles, proving popular with audiences but less so with certain critics who could not see past his ethnicity. In 1852 he made his first tour of Europe, travelling as far as Russia. It was on one such European tour, in 1857 or 1858, that he met the woman who was to become his second wife, Amanda Pauline von Brandt. They married the year after his first wife’s death. Ira had moved to Anerley around 1861 settling at Luranah Villa, 5, Hamlet Road, naming the house after his mother and sharing it with his new wife and 4 children. The house is now marked with a blue plaque commemorating him.
Continuing to tour, Ira died in Łódź, Poland on 7th August 1867 of a lung infection and was buried there.

#BlackHistoryMonth

Ira Aldridge 1807-1867

October is Black History Month, so this week we look at one of our more significant residents, classical actor Ira Aldridge. We don’t have any pictures of him in the collection but there are plenty online. What we do have, uniquely, is the entry for his second marriage in April 1865 in the St. John’s Penge Parish Registers. Ref P/409/1/5
Ira was born in New York in 1807. His family may originally have been from Senegal. He had a life long interest in the theatre; immigrating to England in 1824. He married for the first time and made his London stage debut the following year. Frequently touring in the provinces he increasingly turned to Shakespearian roles, proving popular with audiences but less so with certain critics who could not see past his ethnicity. In 1852 he made his first tour of Europe, travelling as far as Russia. It was on one such European tour, in 1857 or 1858, that he met the woman who was to become his second wife, Amanda Pauline von Brandt. They married the year after his first wife’s death. Ira had moved to Anerley around 1861 settling at Luranah Villa, 5, Hamlet Road, naming the house after his mother and sharing it with his new wife and 4 children. The house is now marked with a blue plaque commemorating him.
Continuing to tour, Ira died in Łódź, Poland on 7th August 1867 of a lung infection and was buried there.

#BlackHistoryMonth

Beckenham Congregational Church, 1899This week we look at the history of Beckenham United Reformed Church in Crescent Ro...
30/09/2021

Beckenham Congregational Church, 1899

This week we look at the history of Beckenham United Reformed Church in Crescent Road which, sadly, recently announced it will close in June 2022.
Opening as Beckenham Congregational Church on the corner of Oakhill Road in 1878, an off shoot of Anerley Congregational Church, the congregation initially met in a simple building but in 1887/8 this rather grander building arrived, in keeping with the grand houses that surrounded it, with the original becoming the church hall. This survived until 1941 when it was destroyed by a WW2 bomb, killing Mr Curtis the Caretaker. The main church was damaged too. A new hall was erected behind the church in 1950 with the main church reopening two years later. It became part of the United Reformed Church on its foundation in 1972.
By the turn of the millennium the building was becoming too large for the shrinking membership and they retreated to the 1950 hall. This main building was sold and converted into flats named Spire Court around 2004.
Sadly this retrenchment was not enough and soon the church will close entirely ending 144 years of history.

Beckenham Congregational Church, 1899

This week we look at the history of Beckenham United Reformed Church in Crescent Road which, sadly, recently announced it will close in June 2022.
Opening as Beckenham Congregational Church on the corner of Oakhill Road in 1878, an off shoot of Anerley Congregational Church, the congregation initially met in a simple building but in 1887/8 this rather grander building arrived, in keeping with the grand houses that surrounded it, with the original becoming the church hall. This survived until 1941 when it was destroyed by a WW2 bomb, killing Mr Curtis the Caretaker. The main church was damaged too. A new hall was erected behind the church in 1950 with the main church reopening two years later. It became part of the United Reformed Church on its foundation in 1972.
By the turn of the millennium the building was becoming too large for the shrinking membership and they retreated to the 1950 hall. This main building was sold and converted into flats named Spire Court around 2004.
Sadly this retrenchment was not enough and soon the church will close entirely ending 144 years of history.

The Lake, Keston Common early 1920’sWith the autumn equinox this week here is an autumnal picture from around 100 years ...
23/09/2021

The Lake, Keston Common early 1920’s

With the autumn equinox this week here is an autumnal picture from around 100 years ago; featuring the Lake on Keston Common. The view is little changed today https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Keston+Common/@51.359517,0.0382586,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m8!1e2!3m6!1sAF1QipPmRfc-kM6zzxmvNuR-H__VJ-Maf8cIPScIicvq!2e10!3e12!6shttps:%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipPmRfc-kM6zzxmvNuR-H__VJ-Maf8cIPScIicvq%3Dw129-h86-k-no!7i3216!8i2136!4m5!3m4!1s0x47d8aac1463a8df7:0xdbacbedf82861bdb!8m2!3d51.359517!4d0.0382586?hl=en
This Picture was painted by local artist Audrey Nash (1903-1994). Audrey grew up in Bromley High Street, a couple of doors up from the Library where her father ran a confectioner’s and lived, after her marriage in 1932 to John Collins, in Palace View. The original painting is now believed to be in the USA. There is some evidence that Audrey was related to Paul and John Nash, artists, whose works can be found at The Tate.

The Lake, Keston Common early 1920’s

With the autumn equinox this week here is an autumnal picture from around 100 years ago; featuring the Lake on Keston Common. The view is little changed today https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Keston+Common/@51.359517,0.0382586,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m8!1e2!3m6!1sAF1QipPmRfc-kM6zzxmvNuR-H__VJ-Maf8cIPScIicvq!2e10!3e12!6shttps:%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipPmRfc-kM6zzxmvNuR-H__VJ-Maf8cIPScIicvq%3Dw129-h86-k-no!7i3216!8i2136!4m5!3m4!1s0x47d8aac1463a8df7:0xdbacbedf82861bdb!8m2!3d51.359517!4d0.0382586?hl=en
This Picture was painted by local artist Audrey Nash (1903-1994). Audrey grew up in Bromley High Street, a couple of doors up from the Library where her father ran a confectioner’s and lived, after her marriage in 1932 to John Collins, in Palace View. The original painting is now believed to be in the USA. There is some evidence that Audrey was related to Paul and John Nash, artists, whose works can be found at The Tate.

Today is the centenary of Richard Gordon, one of Bromley’s famous writers, who was born in Paddington 15th September 192...
15/09/2021

Today is the centenary of Richard Gordon, one of Bromley’s famous writers, who was born in Paddington 15th September 1921. Gordon, real name Gordon Stanley Ostlere, was a surgeon but is best known for his Doctor in the House series of comic novels written between 1952 and 1986. Moving to this house in St. George’s Road in 1955, he remained for over 60 years until his death aged 95 in 2017.

Designed by local architect C.H.B. Quennell (1872-1935) in 1907, this was one of many individually designed houses he built in Bickley around this time.

Gordon’s books were turned into films and a TV series, these have local connections too. James Robertson Justice (1907-1975) who appeared in both, grew up in Bromley and Betty Box (1915-1999) who produced the films was born in Beckenham.

#localhistory #RichardGordon #history #bromley #films #tv

Today is the centenary of Richard Gordon, one of Bromley’s famous writers, who was born in Paddington 15th September 1921. Gordon, real name Gordon Stanley Ostlere, was a surgeon but is best known for his Doctor in the House series of comic novels written between 1952 and 1986. Moving to this house in St. George’s Road in 1955, he remained for over 60 years until his death aged 95 in 2017.

Designed by local architect C.H.B. Quennell (1872-1935) in 1907, this was one of many individually designed houses he built in Bickley around this time.

Gordon’s books were turned into films and a TV series, these have local connections too. James Robertson Justice (1907-1975) who appeared in both, grew up in Bromley and Betty Box (1915-1999) who produced the films was born in Beckenham.

#localhistory #RichardGordon #history #bromley #films #tv

Did you know Shortlands had a Castle?! Well not quite, but this was a good effort to give it one. ‘The Castle’ at 10 Kin...
09/09/2021

Did you know Shortlands had a Castle?! Well not quite, but this was a good effort to give it one. ‘The Castle’ at 10 Kingswood Road was one of many large, individually designed houses built in Shortlands in the 19th century, following the arrival of the railway in 1858.

Originally called Ravensbourne, this huge gothic mansion was built about 1878 for George Western (1838-1929), a solicitor who remained in residence for more than 50 years. His wife Emily (1843-1928) was from an old Irish landed family but they didn’t have a castle either, it had been destroyed by Cromwell in the 17th century; perhaps she’d always wanted one! They had 10 children and would have had no trouble fitting them all in here.

After Western’s death it became the home of Bjorn Kverndal (1888-1953) a Norwegian insurance underwriter.

Converted into flats in the 1950s, for a while it was the home of Carey Blyton (1932-2002), a composer. Nephew of Enid he is best known for Bananas in Pyjamas and his work on Dr. Who. It was demolished shortly after this picture was taken in 1982. Castle Close now occupies the site.

Did you know Shortlands had a Castle?! Well not quite, but this was a good effort to give it one. ‘The Castle’ at 10 Kingswood Road was one of many large, individually designed houses built in Shortlands in the 19th century, following the arrival of the railway in 1858.

Originally called Ravensbourne, this huge gothic mansion was built about 1878 for George Western (1838-1929), a solicitor who remained in residence for more than 50 years. His wife Emily (1843-1928) was from an old Irish landed family but they didn’t have a castle either, it had been destroyed by Cromwell in the 17th century; perhaps she’d always wanted one! They had 10 children and would have had no trouble fitting them all in here.

After Western’s death it became the home of Bjorn Kverndal (1888-1953) a Norwegian insurance underwriter.

Converted into flats in the 1950s, for a while it was the home of Carey Blyton (1932-2002), a composer. Nephew of Enid he is best known for Bananas in Pyjamas and his work on Dr. Who. It was demolished shortly after this picture was taken in 1982. Castle Close now occupies the site.

Bromley Church of England School Group 1933As the schools return we feature a school picture. These children are from wh...
02/09/2021

Bromley Church of England School Group 1933

As the schools return we feature a school picture. These children are from what is now Bromley Parish School. Since 1986, this has been at Quernmore in London Lane as featured in our football post a few weeks ago but it has a much longer history.
Following the foundation of the ‘National society for the promotion of the education of the poor’ in 1811, a new ‘National’ school was built in 1814 at Gravel Pits (now Bromley South), replacing the existing Charity School. Built cheaply it was clear by 1854 that a more lasting solution was needed and a new building was constructed at the other end of the town on a site close to the later College Road, opening the following year. It is this building that features in the background here in 1933. Going through various name changes, it became ‘Parish’ some time in the 1940s probably the result of the changes coming from the 1944 Education Act.
The move to Quernmore was part of wholesale changes to the town centre in the 1980s culminating in the building of the Glades Shopping Centre. The 1855 building was demolished and replaced by a new Methodist Church which had been displaced from their Holwood Road home by the town centre redevelopment.

Bromley Church of England School Group 1933

As the schools return we feature a school picture. These children are from what is now Bromley Parish School. Since 1986, this has been at Quernmore in London Lane as featured in our football post a few weeks ago but it has a much longer history.
Following the foundation of the ‘National society for the promotion of the education of the poor’ in 1811, a new ‘National’ school was built in 1814 at Gravel Pits (now Bromley South), replacing the existing Charity School. Built cheaply it was clear by 1854 that a more lasting solution was needed and a new building was constructed at the other end of the town on a site close to the later College Road, opening the following year. It is this building that features in the background here in 1933. Going through various name changes, it became ‘Parish’ some time in the 1940s probably the result of the changes coming from the 1944 Education Act.
The move to Quernmore was part of wholesale changes to the town centre in the 1980s culminating in the building of the Glades Shopping Centre. The 1855 building was demolished and replaced by a new Methodist Church which had been displaced from their Holwood Road home by the town centre redevelopment.

August Bank Holiday 1921, Chislehurst With the Bank Holiday weekend coming up, this week we look at a bank holiday 100 y...
26/08/2021

August Bank Holiday 1921, Chislehurst

With the Bank Holiday weekend coming up, this week we look at a bank holiday 100 years ago in August 1921. Up until 1971 the holiday was the first Monday in August, from that date it moved to the present day of the last Monday. So this view is from 1st August and was taken from outside the Queen’s Head in Chislehurst.
The bus indicates it is a scheduled service on route 119 to Charing Cross. At this time route 119 normally operated between Chislehurst Queen’s Head and Lewisham Duke of Cambridge but on Saturday afternoons , Sundays and Bank Holidays it was extended to Trafalgar Square.
From the crowds waiting we must assume it is one of many buses running that day. It is a B type No.B2304, based at Camberwell Garage. B types were introduced in 1910 and had 34 seats. Built at Walthamstow, they are considered to be the first mass produced bus with more than 2500 in service by 1913. The photo is believed to have been taken by Edward Hall who was the conductor on this service.

August Bank Holiday 1921, Chislehurst

With the Bank Holiday weekend coming up, this week we look at a bank holiday 100 years ago in August 1921. Up until 1971 the holiday was the first Monday in August, from that date it moved to the present day of the last Monday. So this view is from 1st August and was taken from outside the Queen’s Head in Chislehurst.
The bus indicates it is a scheduled service on route 119 to Charing Cross. At this time route 119 normally operated between Chislehurst Queen’s Head and Lewisham Duke of Cambridge but on Saturday afternoons , Sundays and Bank Holidays it was extended to Trafalgar Square.
From the crowds waiting we must assume it is one of many buses running that day. It is a B type No.B2304, based at Camberwell Garage. B types were introduced in 1910 and had 34 seats. Built at Walthamstow, they are considered to be the first mass produced bus with more than 2500 in service by 1913. The photo is believed to have been taken by Edward Hall who was the conductor on this service.

Old Forge, Crofton Road, Locks Bottom c1950This week’s picture is fairly self explanatory. It features the Old Forge, in...
19/08/2021

Old Forge, Crofton Road, Locks Bottom c1950

This week’s picture is fairly self explanatory. It features the Old Forge, in Crofton Road, Locks Bottom which, it is claimed, was established in 1720. This image from around 1950 was when it was the home of Purton’s building supplies, run by William Joseph Purton (1867-1958) of Orpington. Although established in 1887 we have no evidence of them at this site before 1933. It was still a forge in 1914. The identity of the two women outside is unknown. Above the door is a picture, perhaps of the same building when still in use as a forge.
Purton’s survived at this location, opposite the Black Horse pub, until the mid 1960’s when the Forge was demolished and replaced by a flat roofed block of flats with shops beneath.

Old Forge, Crofton Road, Locks Bottom c1950

This week’s picture is fairly self explanatory. It features the Old Forge, in Crofton Road, Locks Bottom which, it is claimed, was established in 1720. This image from around 1950 was when it was the home of Purton’s building supplies, run by William Joseph Purton (1867-1958) of Orpington. Although established in 1887 we have no evidence of them at this site before 1933. It was still a forge in 1914. The identity of the two women outside is unknown. Above the door is a picture, perhaps of the same building when still in use as a forge.
Purton’s survived at this location, opposite the Black Horse pub, until the mid 1960’s when the Forge was demolished and replaced by a flat roofed block of flats with shops beneath.

High Street, Bromley November 1935This week we return to High Street, Bromley.During the 1930’s there were lots of chang...
12/08/2021

High Street, Bromley November 1935

This week we return to High Street, Bromley.
During the 1930’s there were lots of changes in the High Street. With the rebuilding around the Market Square around 1932, the numbering was becoming confusing, so the whole street was renumbered in 1933 with gaps left allowing numbers for future infilling while in 1935 Bromley Borough was expanded to take in Hayes and Keston. The prediction of increased traffic meant the decision was made to widen the bottom part of the High Street to become a dual carriageway, pushing the building line back on the west side.
The old Victorian houses, mostly in commercial use by this time, were swept away giving opportunities for chain shops to move into purpose built premises. Here we are looking south from what is now the southern end of the pedestrianised section, just after the changes. On the corner of Ethelbert Road is the Fifty Shilling Tailors, then Eve Sheldon, gowns; the Twelve and Nine Shoe Stores; Harrison Gibson department store and beyond Ringer’s Road Wolfe and Hollander, furniture.Today we have Home Land, household goods; Urban Junction, Leisurewear; Headmasters,. Hairdressers; TK Max and on the Wolfe and Hollander site, the recently closed Laura Ashley; Glasses Lab, opticians; Alice’s Attic, preloved clothes and What’s New Pussycat, women’s clothes.
This important picture, recording the start of a new era in Bromley was taken by Thomas Mesher of 129 Queen Anne Avenue. Sadly he didn’t live to see much of the future being killed aged 34, along with his wife and two young children, in an air raid on 29th September 1940 part of the Battle of Britain.

High Street, Bromley November 1935

This week we return to High Street, Bromley.
During the 1930’s there were lots of changes in the High Street. With the rebuilding around the Market Square around 1932, the numbering was becoming confusing, so the whole street was renumbered in 1933 with gaps left allowing numbers for future infilling while in 1935 Bromley Borough was expanded to take in Hayes and Keston. The prediction of increased traffic meant the decision was made to widen the bottom part of the High Street to become a dual carriageway, pushing the building line back on the west side.
The old Victorian houses, mostly in commercial use by this time, were swept away giving opportunities for chain shops to move into purpose built premises. Here we are looking south from what is now the southern end of the pedestrianised section, just after the changes. On the corner of Ethelbert Road is the Fifty Shilling Tailors, then Eve Sheldon, gowns; the Twelve and Nine Shoe Stores; Harrison Gibson department store and beyond Ringer’s Road Wolfe and Hollander, furniture.Today we have Home Land, household goods; Urban Junction, Leisurewear; Headmasters,. Hairdressers; TK Max and on the Wolfe and Hollander site, the recently closed Laura Ashley; Glasses Lab, opticians; Alice’s Attic, preloved clothes and What’s New Pussycat, women’s clothes.
This important picture, recording the start of a new era in Bromley was taken by Thomas Mesher of 129 Queen Anne Avenue. Sadly he didn’t live to see much of the future being killed aged 34, along with his wife and two young children, in an air raid on 29th September 1940 part of the Battle of Britain.

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2nd Floor, Central Library, High Street
Bromley
BR1 1EX

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Why can't I search on this page? If I click search, it searches all of Facebook, not just this group??
Here is a collection of postcards I found in my late fathers photographs. They may be on interest to you.
If you live in Bromley & Kent communities then please join.
🎬Hello Bromley! Do you have any old home movies? If so, bring them along to the free London's Home Movie Day at the Cinema Museum. Saturday 19th October, 11-4, family friendly and tea and cake available!🎬 http://www.cinemamuseum.org.uk/2019/home-movie-day-2019/
Tomorrow I am traveling to meet with a living relative of Bertram Holland Boxall from Bromley. I came to be in possession of Bertram’s medals and really wanted to return them to his family. After much research, a relative was found and tomorrow is the day! 🏅
Where is the Orpington village hall drinking fountain that was in the Priory ?
Hi everybody, I am having a problem, I hope someone can help me with. I am trying to locate the house in an old address, The house was the home of Captain Harry George Ernest Luchford in 1912-17 the name of the house was Walmer in Quernmore road, Bromley,over the years I have looked, but gave up. If any body could help, I would be most grateful, thank you Keith
Excellent service! Very helpful staff. Nice to be able to carry out research from a distance.
Kids had a great time making their bug masks yesterday. Thank you