Bromley Common and its Schools

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Some Local Roads and Their Names

Princes Plain - In the oldest street directories, Brewery Lane was called Princes Plain. After the brewery was built in the early 1880s, only the four oldest cottages, up a side alley, kept the name. Later, that side alley became known locally as Dog Kennel Alley although it is officially part of Brewery Lane.

The road we now know as Princes Plain was one of the roads built after the enclosure of Bromley Common in 1821.  The Enclosure Map (c1826) marks it as The Princes Plain Road but in all the street directories before 1928, it was known as Rushey Road, probably because of the rushes growing in the drain by the side of the road.  When the road was developed in the late 1920s, it was renamed Prince’s Plain in the directories.  (The OS map of 1909 was already using the name.) The apostrophe is not used now.

The name, Princes Plain, came from the nearby field of that name. There is some doubt as to how the field got its name but one popular story goes back to 1812 when it was levelled to make a cricket pitch.  The members of the cricket club were in the Plough Inn, considering a name for the new ground, when the Prince of Wales, the future George IV, rode by.  The field was named in his honour.  Another story is that the field was already called Prince’s Plain after an earlier Prince of Wales (Frederick, son of George II) who attended race meetings at Turpington Farm (see below) in the eighteenth century. 

Bromley Common/Hastings Road/A 21 See the link below.

Church Lane - It was built as part of the enclosure of Bromley Common in 1821 and called First Common Road on the enclosure map.  It became known as Church Lane after Holy Trinity Church was built in 1841.

Turpington Lane - Turpington Farm is at the end of the lane where it joins Southborough Lane; opposite the library.  It dates back to the fourteenth century.  Horse races were held there in the eighteenth century.  The farm is long gone but the house remains (see picture).  Before being called Turpington Lane, the road was called Slough Lane after a farm at the other end of the road. 

Jackson Road - This road lead to a small hamlet called Skim Corner that was just outside the Common.  Some of the pre-1821 houses still stand.  It was known as Skim (or Skym) Corner until a Mr Jackson agreed to a change of name towards the end of the Victorian era.  He owned the general shop and post office on the corner of Hastings Road and much of the land further down the road.  Part of the road continued to be called Skym Corner for many years after the rest became Jackson Road. The link at the bottom of the page is to memories of the road and its inhabitants in earlier times.

The Coppice Estate - On early maps, this area was New Wood Coppice.  A coppice is an area of trees that have been cut off near the ground and allowed to continue growing.  The result is a lot of thinner stems that are good for making fences. Some of the roads on the estate take their names from trees, a reminder of the past.

Cherry Orchard Road - On the 1865 map, this was Plough Lane, perhaps because it joined the main road by the Plough Inn.  Both the road and the inn were appropriately named because, just behind the inn, was the village smithy.  On the other side of the lane was Plough Pond with two ramps for horse drawn traffic to enter and leave the water, perhaps so they could be washed.

Brewery Road See link below.

Gravel Road - It got its name from the gravel pit between Gravel Road and Oakley Road.  The gravel was used to make the new roads built after the enclosure.  The hole left by excavation has since been grassed over to make a recreation area.

Lower Gravel Road - On the enclosure map of 1826, it is called Scrubs Road because it leads to an area of the Common called Lower Scrubs.  Lennard Road was part of Lower Gravel Road until 1935.

Lennard Road - On the enclosure map (c1826) this was Clay Road.  Clay Farm, to the south of the road, was sold in 1985 and developed for housing.  In the street directories, this road was part of Lower Gravel Road and only became Lennard Road in about 1935.  Locally, it was known as Hospital Road because it led to the Bromley and Beckenham Joint Hospital for infectious diseases.  The first hospital here was opened in 1885.  In its early years, it was so busy in times of epidemics that they had to put some patients into tents. 

The postcard below shows Bromley Common Sanatorium in 1913.  Most of the patients would have had tuberculosis.  There was no cure.  The only treatment was fresh air, good diet and light labour.  Half those entering sanatoria were dead within five years.  The sanatoria for the poor resembled prisons.  This was obviously for the more affluent.  Remember, there was no National Health Service. 

Bromley Common Sanatorium in 1913
Bromley Common Sanatorium, 1913. It is believed that
it was replaced by the building below in the 1920s.

By 1960, there was no longer a need for an isolation hospital following the development of antibiotics so it became a geriatric hospital known as the Lennard Hospital.  This closed in 1984.

Picture of Lennard Hospital.
The Lennard Hospital after it closed in 1984. 

The site has now been cleared and developed for new housing.  Further along the road was a small­pox hospital built in 1907.  For many years, it was hardly used, smallpox was becoming uncommon in this country.  Ten or twenty years earlier, it would have been useful. 

The road was probably named after an influential local family.  Sir John Lennard was chairman of the Farnborough Workhouse towards the end of the 18th century.

Rookery Lane - This is the short road leading to Bromley College of Further and Higher Education.  The main home of the Norman family stood here until it was destroyed by fire in 1946.  It was named the Rookery sometime in the middle of the 19th century, presumably after a nearby colony of rooks, a rookery.

Cross Road - This was once known as Workhouse Road owing to its closeness to Workhouse Field.  This was land set aside in the 1821 enclosure of the Bromley Common for the building of a new parish workhouse.  The workhouse was never built.  Instead, Bromley joined forces with a number of other parishes to build a large workhouse at Locks Bottom.  In time, this became Farnborough Hospital.

Cottage Road - Most of the homes down this road are marked on the OS map of 1909 but a small group at the end were built in the late 1960s.  Their owners built them themselves as a co-operative group (Vanbrugh Housing.)  Previously, the land had been an orchard; two of the original cottages were demolished to provide access.

Barham Close and Barham Court - They were named after Barham House and its first occupants, the Barham family.  Barham House was on Hastings Road, just behind where Barham Court is now.

Daerwood Close - A misspelling of Dearwood, derived from the names of the developers who built the road in the 1930s (Mr Dear and Mr Cristwood.)

Oakley Rd A21 Brewery Rd Jackson Road