Beckenham (//) is a town in Greater London, England, within the London Borough of Bromley. It is located 8.4 miles (13.5 km) south-east of Charing Cross, situated north of Elmers End and Eden Park, east of Penge, south of Lower Sydenham and Bellingham, and west of Bromley and Shortlands. Its population at the 2011 census counted 46,844 inhabitants.
St George's Church, Beckenham
|Area||13.22 km2 (5.10 sq mi)|
|Population||46,844 (2011 Census|
|• Density||3,543/km2 (9,180/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Beckenham was, until the coming of the railway in 1857, a small village, with most of its land being rural and private parkland. John Barwell Cator and his family began the leasing and selling of land for the building of villas which led to a rapid increase in population, between 1850 and 1900, from 2,000 to 26,000. Housing and population growth has continued at a lesser pace since 1900.
The town, directly west of Bromley, has areas of commerce and industry, principally around the curved network of streets featuring its high street and is served in transport by three main railway stations — nine within the post town — plus towards its western periphery two Tramlink stations. In common with the rest of Bromley, the largest borough of London by area, Beckenham has several pockets of recreational land which are a mixture of sports grounds, fishing ponds and parks.
The place-name 'Beckenham' is first attested in a Saxon charter of 862 as Biohhahema mearc. The settlement is referred to as Bacheham in the Domesday Book of 1086, and in the Textus Roffensis as Becceham. The name is thought to derive from Beohha's homestead (Beohha + ham in Old English). The name of the small stream here – the River Beck – is most likely to have been named after the village.
Although early written history tells little of the area, archaeological evidence at Holwood Park, where Stone Age and Bronze Age artefacts have been found, reveals some evidence of early settlers. A Roman camp was sited here, and a Roman road, the London to Lewes Way passed through the district.
With the arrival of the Normans, the Manor of Beckenham took on added importance, controlling much of what is modern Beckenham, with other areas covered by the estates of Foxgrove Manor, Kelsey and Langley. Beckenham remained a small village until well into the 19th century. The beginning of its growth began after 1825 when the estates of John Cator and Peter Burrell, Baron Gwydir began to be developed. In 1760 Cator built Beckenham Place and became Lord of the Manor in 1773 after purchasing the Manor of Beckenham from Frederick St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke. After Cator died in 1806, his heirs became aware that an area in such relative close proximity to London was ripe for development, especially once the railway had arrived in 1857, and large villas began to be built around the new station. Wide roads and large gardens epitomised these properties, often built by developers who acquired land from the Cators. Peter Burrell, Baron Gwydir died in 1820 and his estates were purchased by the Hoare banking family and the Goodharts who purchased Langley. These estates were subsequently split up and developed. The Manor of Foxgrove was also broken up at some point; its name is commemorated in a local road.
The Kelsey Estate contained a mansion, built in 1835 to replace an earlier Medieval structure, though it was itself demolished in 1921 and the grounds turned into Kelsey Park. The only surviving buildings are the two Grade II listed lodge cottages at the entrance, which are over 200 years old.
Today Beckenham is an outer London suburb, though it has maintained its own identity and forms and a town in its own right. It is centred on its non-pedestrianised curving high street. Further rows of shops run east from the town centre along Bromley Road, south along Croydon Road, and west along Beckenham Road around Clock House station, where the town's library can be found. To the north lies the New Beckenham area, essentially a residential suburb of Beckenham proper.
The Municipal Borough of Beckenham came into being in 1935. It took over from what had been, since 1894, Beckenham Urban District Council and included parts of Hayes and West Wickham, previously part of Bromley Rural District Council. The new Borough status reflected the growth of Beckenham in less than fifty years.
In 1965, as part of the creation of the Greater London Council, the Borough council was disbanded and Beckenham came under control of the newly constituted London Borough of Bromley. Councillors represent various parts of the Borough of Beckenham. Beckenham Town Centre Management coordinates business interests in the town.
The original village of Beckenham was a cluster of development in its own fields, surrounded by a series of manorial estates: Beckenham, Foxgrove, Kelsey and Langley Halls and Parks.
The River Ravensbourne flows northwards at the eastern side of the town, towards its confluence with the River Thames. A small stream, the River Beck (sometimes referred to as the Hawkesbrook), passes through the town before joining the Ravensbourne via the Pool River further north.
Despite its leafy image, Beckenham's close proximity to Central London and generous provision of transport links, make Beckenham a good business location. The town's busy high street contains many restaurants and upmarket chains, as well as family-run independents, and the area has a good selection of well-performing schools. Beckenham is the headquarters to Capita Registrars Limited who provide share registration services for more than half of the UK's quoted companies, Proper Records, the UK's biggest independent music distributor, and Vizual a leading HR software developer.
Ravensbourne and Beckenham Hill stations provide direct access to central London and the City every 30 minutes - Peckham Rye in 12 minutes, Elephant & Castle in 23 minutes, London Blackfriars in 27 minutes, City Thameslink in 29 minutes, Farringdon in 33 minutes and London St Pancras in 37 minutes.
Beckenham is served by several Transport for London buses that link the town with other areas including Bromley, Catford, Chislehurst, Croydon, Crystal Palace, Eltham, Lewisham, Orpington, Penge, West Wickham and Woolwich.
The town has a number of places of worship. St. George's Church is the principal parish church, and is in the centre of Beckenham. It was extensively rebuilt, at the end of the 19th century, but an earlier building dates back to 1100. It has a 13th-century lych gate that is thought to be one of the oldest in England. The almshouses next to the church go back to 1694. There are also three other Anglican churches in the town: All Saints Church; Holy Trinity Church; and St James at Elmers End. In addition, there are Methodist and Baptist churches; and the Roman Catholic church dedicated to St Edmund of Canterbury.
Town churches include: St. George's Church (W. Gibbs Bartleet, 1885–1887), St. Barnabas on Oakhill Road (A. Stenning & H. Hall, 1878 or 1884), Christ Church, Fairfield Road (Blashill & Hayward, 1876), St. Edmund's Catholic Church, Village Way (J. P’Hanlon Hughes, 1937), St. James, St. James’ Avenue (A.R. Stenning, 1879–1898), St. Michael and All Angels, Ravenscroft Road (W. H. Hobday & F. H. Maynard, 1955–1956), St. Paul, Brackley Road (Smith & Williams, 1872), Holy Trinity, Lennard Road (E.F. Clarke, 1878), Baptist Church, Elm Road (Appleton & E. W. Mountford, 1889), Congregational Church, Crescent Road (J. W. & R. F. Beaumont, 1887-8), Methodist Church (James Weir, 1887).
Strictly defined to its historic parish area translated to today's modern wards of the United Kingdom, Beckenham covers four such wards, however as a post town it contains more than 82,000 people as at the 2011 census.
|Kelsey and Eden Park||15,892||5.20|
Culture and leisureEdit
Like most towns of its size, Beckenham has several leisure organisations and societies. The local Odeon cinema has six screens and is a grade II listed building. The Beckenham Festival of Music and Dancing takes place every November. Beckenham Theatre puts on amateur productions. The Beckenham Concert Band is a community wind band which has, over the last 35 years, raised thousands of pounds for local and national charities. It caters for amateur wind and brass musicians and performs locally during the winter months and across London and the South East during the summer.
The South East London Green Chain, a long-distance footpath, crosses through Beckenham. Both Cator Park and Beckenham Place Park form part of the Chain. There are other open spaces in the town, including Croydon Road Recreation Ground and Kelsey Park. There is also a walk starting in Cator Park, going down the High Street, through Kelsey Park, then Croydon Road Recreation Ground and back to Cator Park. Beckenham Green, in the town centre, hosts regular markets and activities throughout the year.
The principal secondary schools in Beckenham are Harris Academy Beckenham (formerly Kelsey Park Sports College), Harris Academy Bromley (formerly Cator Park School), and the two Langley Park schools: for boys and for girls. There are also a large number of schools catering for primary education, including the independent Roman Catholic school, Bishop Challoner, St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Marian Vian Primary School, Balgowan Primary School, Worsley Bridge Primary School, Harris Primary Academy Beckenham (formerly Bromley Road Infants School), Clare House Primary School and Churchfields Primary School.
Beckenham Hospital, now called Beckenham Beacon, following redevelopment, is a minor treatment centre and an outstation to Princess Royal Hospital in Farnborough for outpatient services. It has GP, dental and other services available.
Beckenham Cricket Club plays at Foxgrove Road, a former first-class cricket ground. It has been the breeding ground of England internationals Derek Underwood and Richard Ellison, and most recently Kent County captain Robert Key.
From 1886 to 1996, the club also staged the Kent Championships, an international tennis tournament, which featured many of the world's top players because it opened the grass-court season building up to The Championships at Wimbledon. In June 1968, the club held the world's first "open" grass-court tournament - one month after the sport became open to amateur and professional players - with Australians Fred Stolle and Margaret Court winning the singles titles. Beckenham Cricket Club is also the home to Bromley and Beckenham Hockey Club.
Beckenham Rugby Football Club is a rugby union club formed originally in 1894. It fields six senior men's teams a successful women's team, and also has one of the largest youth sections in the South East.
Swimmers from Beckenham Swimming Club, established in 1893, have gained medals in the 21st century at national and international levels.
In Simon Brett's long-running BBC Radio 4 comedy drama, No Commitments (1992–2007), Beckenham is the home of the wildly snobbish, socially aspirational and insecure sister Victoria; the town is frequently mocked by association. Beckenham is also one of the main locations of the novel The Buddha of Suburbia (1990), by Hanif Kureishi.
Numerous prominent personages were born or have lived in Beckenham. In the world of politics and governance, these include the colonial administrator George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland (1784–1849), politician and diplomat William Eden, 1st Baron Auckland (1745–1814), Admiral of the Royal Navy Sir Peircy Brett (1709–1781), CSgt Frank Bourne of Rorke's Drift (who lived at 16 King's Hall Road, Beckenham and is buried in Beckenham Cemetery), eminent judge Wilfred Greene, 1st Baron Greene (1883–1952 – born at 8 Fox Grove Road) and Fr. Thomas Pelham Dale SSC, an Anglo-Catholic clergyman prosecuted for Ritualist practices in the 1870s. Former British Prime Minister John Major lived at West Oak in Beckenham with his wife Norma from 1974 to 1978.
Show business people include Bob Monkhouse (1928–2003), Julie Andrews,, Floella Benjamin (now Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham), who grew up on Mackenzie Road, Maurice Denham (1909–2002),, Simon Ward (1941–2012). and Betty Box (1915–1999) and her brother Sydney (1907–1983), both film producers.
The most noteworthy musician associated with the area would be David Bowie (1947–2016), who lived at 42 Southend Road from 1969 to 1973. Other include Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, Peter Frampton, the Dutch singer Wende Snijders; and the pop/rock musician David Sylvian, who was born in the town but raised in nearby Catford.
There are many sports personalities, especially cricketers, plus Tom Pettitt (1859–1956), real tennis world champion 1885–90. Boxer David Haye, WBA champion, moved to Beckenham in 2010.
- Beckenham is made up of 3 wards in the London Borough of Bromley: Clock House, Copers Cope, and Kelsey and Eden Park. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.33.
- "Parishes: Beckenham". british-history.ac.uk.
- Brewer's Britain and Ireland, compiled by John Ayto and Ian Crofton, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005, ISBN 0-304-35385-X.
- Willey, Russ (2006). The London Gazetteer. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd. pp. 28–9.
- "Search". beckenhamhistory.co.uk.
- "Beckenham Place Park". Friends of Beckenham Place Park. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
- "Kelsey Estate". Beckenham History. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
- "Beckenham's Kelsey Park prepares to mark 100 years of opening to the public". Bromley Times. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
- Good Stuff. "Two Lodges to Beckenham Place - Bromley - Greater London - England - British Listed Buildings". britishlistedbuildings.co.uk.
- "Beckenham Cemetery". dignityfunerals.co.uk. 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
- "Beckenham Library". www.better.org.uk. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
- Kelly's Directory of Kent 1903, p.48 (Historical Directories), accessed January 31, 2008
- In 1861 its population was 2,100; by 1921 this had increased to 33,300, and to 77,300 by 1961. Kent History Illustrated Frank W Jessup, 1966 Kent County Council
- "Beckenham Town Centre Management". Archived from the original on 19 November 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- "Parishes: Beckenham". british-history.ac.uk.
- The Rural Landscape of Kent S.G.McRae & C.P.Burnham, published by Wye College, 1973
- "How to sell music the Proper way". BBC News.
- "Beckenham churches". Archived from the original on 28 October 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- "St George's Church | At The Heart Of The Beckenham Community". St George's Church. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
- "Business Category -Beckenham Community". beckenham.net. Archived from the original on 10 October 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- "Southwark Parish Directory". rcsouthwark.co.uk.
- John Newman. West Kent and the Weald. The "Buildings of England" Series, First Edition, Sir Nikolaus Pevsner and Judy Nairn, eds. (London: Penguin, 1969), p.142
- "Beckenham - politics.co.uk", April 2010, web: Pol-51 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link).
- "Check Browser Settings". statistics.gov.uk.
- Historic England. "The George Inn (1359323)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
- "Business Category -Beckenham Community". beckenham.net. Archived from the original on 28 January 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- Good Stuff. "Abc Cinema and Regal Ballroom - Bromley - Greater London - England - British Listed Buildings". britishlistedbuildings.co.uk.
- "Home". beckenham-festival.org.uk.
- "Beckenham Theatre Centre - home page". beckenhamtheatre.co.uk.
- "Home". beckenhamconcertband.com.
- "Harris Academy Bromley - Harris Girls' Academy Bromley". harrisbromley.org.uk.
- "Langley Park School For Boys - Home". lpbs.org.uk. Archived from the original on 24 September 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- "Home - Langley Park School for Girls". lpgs.bromley.sch.uk.
- "Bishop Challoner School". Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
- "Default - St. Mary's Catholic Primary School". st-marys-catholic.bromley.sch.uk.
- "Balgowan Primary School - Primary School". balgowan.bromley.sch.uk. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "Home Page". churchfields.bromley.sch.uk.
- Beckenham Beacon Archived 11 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "Beckenham Rugby Club". pitchero.com. Archived from the original on 15 June 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
- "Beccehamian RFC Home Page". beccehamians.co.uk.
- "Beckenham Swimming Club". Archived from the original on 12 February 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- "No Commitments". Dimsdale. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
- "Hanif Kureishi - The Buddha of Suburbia". Retrieved 17 August 2020.
- John Major (1999). John Major: The Autobiography. Harper Collins. p. 56.
- "Plaque: Enid Blyton - Beckenham". London Remembers. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
- "Floella Benjamin appointed Baroness of Beckenham". News Shopper.
- Simon ward
- "David Bowie". bowiewonderworld.com.
- Historic England. "THE STUDIO INCLUDING ATTACHED RAILINGS, 28, BECKENHAM ROAD (1390855)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
- Historic England. "Beckenham War Memorial (1406218)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
- Historic England. "Odeon Cinema (1031565)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
- Historic England. "Kelsey Lodge (1186808)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 August 2020.