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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t!J?ecreation 8round.

J3eckennam.

49. The heavy park architecture fashionable in the late 19th century is here shown in about 1905. Rustic public shelters, like the one at extreme left, were very charaeteristic of Beckenham's parks right through to about the 1960s, built solidly of timber, with long comfortable benehes inside, divided into separate seats by woeden armrests, and usually prettily thatched. Sadly, the present trend towards vandalism made them the target of destroyers and arsonists, notably those shelters in nearby Kelsey Park; generally it has been necessary to replace them with more mundane brick or concrete structures.

ยท,:.15227 RECREATION GROUND. ,

50. A good example of the work of the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain & Cattle Trough Associatien's legacy of park installations, They date from aperiod before reliable pub!ic supplies, when running water was so contaminated by cholera and typhoid bacteria, especially in cities, as to be dangerous; one reason for reliance on cheap gin and beer. This campaign to bring clean wholesome water to public streets and parks put such fountains into almost every town park during Queen Victoria's reign. The horse troughs were strategically placed where weary working horses most needed a drink; locally they included one at Swan Hill, otherwise known as Beokenham Lane, and several on the long hills leading up to Crystal Palace.

51. Comic cards have always been uncommon for places other than seaside resorts: a suburban funny card is even rarer. Here the drunkard feeling bis way horne along some railings punningly suggests the area's wealth of rail connections, But even more interesting are all those that might have been, had their proposed enabling bills ever got through Parliament. Among these abortive schemes were the Beokenham Lewes and Brighton Railway; a line from Shortlands Junction to Eastbourne, abandoned as too costly because of hilly terrain; the Bromley Farnborough and West Wiekham Railway; another from Lewisham to Croydon and Bromley, traversing parts of outer Beckenham; and a Famborough (Kent) branch off the West End Of London & Crystal Palace Railway, one of the earliest companies to build through Beckenham towards Bromley.

I'mO commg home from BECKENH

Beckenharn [unction Station.

52. This is Beckenham Junction before Southern Electrification by third rail during the 19208. As far back as about 1870, local timetables included services denied to modem commuters for decades, unless recent prospects of a re-opening of the Snow Hilllink materialise. London Chatham & Dover timetables show that an early train leaving Beckenham at 7.11 am (including stops at the now long-lost stations of Camberwell New Road and Walworth Road) reached Farringdon at 8.04; a weary limp of nearly an hour for about eleven miles; but then it took to a gallop, burrowing under London to reach Kings Cross (Midland) in only four minutes, Some trains also served the Kings Cross Great Northern section, opening the Midlands and North by means of an easy change. Running in the other direction, it could take four hours to crawl to Dover under steam, and over 3112 hours from Beokenham to Margate.

53. Kent House station, like Clock House, has lost the landmark house that originally decided its name; in this case, the first house in Kent when approaching from the west. Described in about 1874 as 'a fine old brick mansion', Kent House was then so rural that the shortest cut from it to Sydenham was by open field paths: an unimaginable situation today. Onee Kent House Farm, after which was named Kent House Road, became a hotel; its site had been used for country houses sinee the 13th century. The slogan 'Southem Electric' dates this view to a time after amalgamation in 1923, creating the Southern Railway, and before its merger into BR in 1948. Electrification was a prime reason for the massive building boom which turned miles of countryside into miles of suburban roads; it brought London nearer than ever before, in terms of time, thus creating the commuter belt.

54. Costumes of the very early 20th century photographed in about 1901-1902 at Kent House, then a new suburb whose ranks of uniform smal! Victorian villas still form the greater part of the housing near Kent House station. As the name implies, the original house and the modern district named after it marked the site of the ancient boundary between Kent and Surrey, somewhere between Beckenham and Penge. In Lambarde's day it was identified by a stile. Other local names on this theme included Surrey Field, at the edge of Monk's Orchard estate (but a name probably older than that). This lay on the county boundary, but Monk's Orchard itself did not have the seemingly logical derivation. It did not come from any monastery, but from the Monk family of Addington, from over the Surrey border, who also were large landowners at West Wickham and Beckenham in Kent.

55. Ruby Verrell's Dainty Blossoms were a large and very wellknown children's dancing troupe, performing throughout Beckenham, Bromley and district, especially between the two world wars, and on into about the 1950s. Their massed displays, spectacular for sheer numbers, were given mainly in church and public halls. Picture postcards of stage and (later) film stars circulated in thousands before TV made their features readily familiar to their public. Even more localised entertainers followed this trend, which publicised their talents and names, such as in this attractive Ruby Verrel! card.

Ruby Verreil.

56. A Shortlands butcher's trade picture, probably taken early in the 20th century for publicity purposes. As recently as the 1950s Shortlands kept its true village shops, whereas today these are interspersed by addresses of convenience, They included a fishmongery whose floor was deep in clean sawdust, where a lady cashier sat imprisoned in state within an enclosed wood and glass cubicle, Another shop, a grocery, ran a simplified version of the once common overhead cash railway, whereby a cylinder containing the customer's bill and cash was catapulted along a wire into the cash desk and returned with the receipt and change; in larger stores quite complex networks evolved, with cylinders continually rocketing across at celling height by complete networks of wires.

57. Butehers in partienlar preserved the tradition of the annual trade photograph, taken when the shop was most fully stocked; it was usually reproduced in posteard form for local advertising and eorrespondenee purposes. In this sample of a smaller shop, the staff of Sangster's in Shortlands Village pose with the usual ranks of flesh and fow!. They include an errand boy with bis bicycle, at left, and a young butcher's boy at right, wearing a miniature trade apron; such boys were hired at very low pay ofperhaps a shilling (Sp) to ls.6d. (7Yzp) a week to learn the trade and make themselves useful at odd jobbs.

THE LAKE. PARKLANGLEY, BECKENHAM. KENT

58. Many cards were issued of Park Langley as a developing suburb, when smart new roads cut into the old estate, whose owners could be traeed right back to the 1450s. It had survived partially intact up to 1904, when the remaining lands were split up and sold, though much of it was kept green in the form of Park Langley golf course. Players enjoyed the stateliest of club-houses, the magnifioent ancient rnansion, until it was tragically destroyed by fire in 1913. Today Park Langley is best known for its unique so-called Chinese Garage, which is actually in J apanese style; its charming pagoda roof and forecourt edged with orientallanterns have recently been complemented in a modern road roundabout nearby, whose bollards have been designed to be in keeping, again in this unusual style.

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