Beckenham in old picture postcards volume 1

Beckenham in old picture postcards volume 1

Author
:   Muriel V. Searle
Municipality
:   Beckenham
Province
:   Greater London
Country
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-4541-1
Pages
:   80
Price
:   EUR 16.95 Including VAT *

Delivery time: 2-3 weeks (subject too). The illustrated cover may differ.

   


Fragments from the book 'Beckenham in old picture postcards volume 1'

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9. An impressive view posted in 1910, showing the stately splendour of the then Town Hall, later known as the Publie Hall. The ornate roof is most unusuaJ in England, strongly suggesting civic architecture in F1anders or Holland; as does the hall-like upper floor. At the turn of the century this and the adjoining building (at right) were used as a public hall and LoeaJ Board offices, whilst the next one in line, a fine corner block, was owned by the then London & County Bank; the latter is still a bank, the National Westminster. The long sheltered front verandah has disappeared, and also the omamental rooftop eupola.

10. 'When is the spire to take the place of that unsightly woeden cap?' asked an important local gazetteer in the 189&, six years after most of the present handsome Parish Church was eompleted. The lower stages of the tower can here be seen, up to the nave roof level, unsatisfactorily topped by this unworthy temporary version of a 'Kentish Cap'. The right side of the road is still fairly familiar, but the old brick wall and few country type shops at left long ago vanished, replaced by today's shopping parades. However, the flight of steps and raised embankment planted with shrubs are recognisable, keeping something of a less suburbanised Beckenham than we knowtoday.

11. Church Hil!; a card postmarked 1906, soon after completion of the new St. George's. The charming village church has been replaced by the majestic town church that is familiar today; urban shopping parades appear on the right and again at the left. The left-hand trees and wall, however, still look countrified compared to the modem shops that replaced them. The traffic - or lack of it - again suggests the last days of Beckenham as a country town, as does the only lightly made-up road surface. The now familiar police station, approached up attractively mellowed steps in the right background, was built in 1884.

CHURCH HILL. BECKENHAM.

CHU'RCft Hu.J ?. 6ECKEHliAM.

12. This upward view looks towards St. George's Church from the lowest part of the High street; a part always liable to flooding. Boats have several times been rowed around this hollow, prone to trap water off this and the High Street gradients, and from a now hidden stream. A particularly vicious visitation occurred in 1878 when flood water lapped the tops of shop counters, and goeds floated out of the doors and away down the street. Lowlying Shortlands has a similar history of flooding, culminating in the disaster of September 1968; in some houses then, water was level with table tops inside the rooms. As aresuIt, widespread prevention measures were taken in the Ravensboume Valley, all the way from Bromley, past Beckenham, and to the Thames confluence at Deptford; these included culverting, canalisation, and deepening.

13. Little now remains of pre-20th century Beckenham, but for the ancient George and the picturesque Kelsey Square. But within older living memory cottage shops like these stili existed, alongside landed detached properties in spreading gardens, facing onto the old High Streel. All were long since replaced by shops. They included the lovely Old Wood House, divided up into three shops, but believed to have originally been one single unit. The visual unity of a Kentish yeoman's haUhouse was bom out on its demolition, when the intern al structure was revealed; a single building with one fireplace and no chinmey; a primitive gap in the roof allowed the smoke to rise. Old Wood House was situated about where W.H. Smith's shop is now. Other lost High Street gems included the Parish Oerk's House, demolished in about 1928 for 'irnprovements', and a fine Manor House.

14. Superficially a similar view, but with differences marking the march of development. Over the central alley a sign advertises the entry to Padbury's Carriage & Motor Works, confirming the changeover from horses; there was still some work done there with carriages and wagon wheels, and also horse-shoeing, but business must move with the times and cash in on the rise of motoring, by catering for both. A third grade of transport is in evidence, the bicycle. The business of A. Shepherd combined repair shops with dealership in the current popular makes, and also advertised over the window 'Cycles on Hire'. Behind the standing figures is alaundry office, more common in high class Beckenham than in werking Penge. When laundering a sheet cost one penny (1,6p9, a lady of shop managerial status and above could send most of her househeld linen out and stili receive a bill oflittle over 1s.6d (7~) a week.

15. An interesting account survives of the St. Paul's Church dedication festival of 27th January 1880. 'The large number of carriages outside testified that the congregation consisted of a large number of the elite of the neighbourhood,' it was said, a reminder that St. Paul's lay in the smart part of Beokenham. Massed choirs from other local churches were joined by voices from the Chapel Royal, led by no less a musician than the Chapel Royal organist. The order of service was copied from a festival at the namesake St. Paul's Cathedral of 1878 with emphasis on the best in church music, including elaborate anthems and choruses; a string orchestra added to the lavish effect. On the other hand, the sermon by Canon Baynes broke Victorian convention by being 'short and eloquent'. So many gentry attended that the colleerion paid the heavy musical expenses, and also swelled the church's own choir funds.

15173 SHORTlA 'OS CHURCH.

BROMLEY.

16. This lovely church initially stood on an open country hilltop, serving those big properties in spreading grounds whose narnes live on in local street names, such as Hillside, Kingswood and Ravensbourne. It was consecrated in 1870, to serve this emerging landed parish, long before the quîet 19208 residential roads came to hem it in. In 1940 a landmine badly damaged it; four years later the remains were totally destroyed by a doodlebug, which was watched by residents of Hillside Road and Queen Arme Avenue as it barely cleared their homes, but it glided on in ominous silence, onto the church, exploding it into millîons of fragments. The present replacement was consecrated in 1955 in the presence of the Mayor of Beckenham, CouncilIor Duncan, and the Lord Mayor of London, Alderman (later Sir) Cuthbert Ackroyd; the latter was much connected with this area, and resident at Widmore. He unveiled a commemorative plaque during the service.

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Si. }t1ary' S,

... ....,....

17. St. Mary's. Shortlands. was designed in the revived English Gothic style; with a traditional lychgate, it gave the impression of being older than it really was. The church was totally destroyed in 1944, following severe damage by an earlier air raid. For some years it was possible for anyone reasonably active to climb to the top of the spire without special gear and down the other side; this was because it lay almost intact on tbc ground, where it had fallen. A new St. Mary's, in a very light modern hall style, occupies the same site, facing the original war memorial at a nearby road junction, where a very large scale outdoor Remembrance Service is held every November.

15~5 PARISH CHURCH.

BECKENHAM ?

. - ..

18. St. George's Beokenham in a halfway state in about 1902-03, during rebuilding of the pretry old village church. Church building has for centuries been started always at the east end, comprising the sanctuary and chancel; the setting of the high altar was completed first, followed by transepts and nave, and finally by a tower or spire. Here St. George's apsidal chancel is complete but as yet the noble tower now dominating central Beckenham is missing. Chief of Beckenham old chuteh's features was Mary Wragg's Charity, distributed on 28th January, It involved payments to the Curate and parish officers in return for annually opening Mary Wragg's tomb, entering the family vault, inspecting it for needful repairs. and dusting the coffin. Any remaining cash after repairs was distributed, including 18d (7lhp) worth of beef, 1&1 worth of bread, five shillings (25p) worth of coals, and 4.6d (22~p) in money, to twenty poor of the parish,

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