Bromley Common and its Schools

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Bromley Common Mission
Sunday School

In 1861, 24 year old Thomas Nettleton and his wife* moved to Bromley Common from Southwark.  He had been a keen Sunday school teacher at his previous church so he volunteered to help at Holy Trinity Sunday school. 

One Sunday afternoon, he and his wife were walking along Gravel Road when they heard singing from one of the cottages.  They went in and found an elderly gentleman teaching some children to read.  Thomas and his wife offered to help teach the children each Sunday using the Bible as their reading book. 

The little Sunday school proved popular so they moved into the laundry next door.  Eventually, even those premises were too small and the leasehold of a plot of land in Plough Lane (now Cherry Orchard Road) was bought.  They built a small hall there in 1870.  The Sunday school used the hall in the mornings and afternoons and a new church, the Bromley Common Mission, used it in the evenings.  Thomas ran both the Sunday school and the mission. 

Both ventures were so successful that within two years they enlarged the hall.  In 1877, a classroom was built at the rear.  There were further extensions in 1881 and 1887.  At one time there was also a night school. 

In due course, Thomas Nettleton retired and, in 1892, the mission hall became Bromley Common Baptist Church.  The Sunday school continued but, by then, all children attended other schools during the week.

Bromley Common Mission Hall
The mission hall, much expanded in the 1870s and 1880s, still stands in Cherry Orchard Road but services are now held in a new church is just round the corner in Gravel Road.

*The 1881 census return tells us that Thomas was a spice salesman and he and his wife, Jane, had six daughters and an adopted son.  He died in 1897.

My thanks to Elisabeth Collins for her help with this.
She used ‘History of Bromley Common Baptist Church’ by S F Carter.