Bexley

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION - buildings of note

ST JOHN'S CHURCH was built in 1881 as a chapel of ease for St Marys, following railway development. It became a parish church in 1936. Its spire has inclined since a land mine fell nearby in WWII. Opposite is a Penfold Hexagonal pillarbox.
WAR MEMORIAL 1920
UNITED REFORM CHURCH 1890
PARK HOUSE 19th century villa with 1890 additions
Nos 1-3 & 7-9 18th century cottages
STYLEMAN'S ALMSHOUSES were built in 1755 with funds from John Styleman, a director of the East India Company who lived at Danson. The 12 cottages still serve as almshouses but were modernised in 1961 & 1985.
JACKSON HOUSE built 1676 with weatherborded later extensions
FREEMANTLE HALL built 1894 Clock tower added 1920
KINGS HEAD PH (pictured in header) is a late 16th century timber-framed building with later front & rear extensions
Nos 34/6 now with 19th century shopfronts was the Parish WORKHOUSE until 1834. The date 1787 and various initials can be seen on bricks between the sills. Outbuildings were used as a school for the poor from 1809 and by 1812 had over 100 pupils. During the 19th century it served as the stationmaster's house.
RAILWAY TAVERN PH c1770 with late 19th century alterations, obviously re-named
STRICT BAPTIST CHAPEL of 1846 now shops
KENT BREWERY SITE demolished for railway in 1866. Buildings used as stables and malthouses remain. Adjoining driveway to Pharmax and old ELECTRICITY GENERATING STATION of 1903 for trams.
REFFELL'S BREWERY 1874-1956 now a business park. No 17 was shop and storehouse, 19 was offices. Water tower remains
No 11 built 1890 was a Reffell's home and later a post office
BAPTIST CHAPEL of 1905 with Sunday School to left
LIBRARY of 1912 designed by Edward Maufe who was later knighted for his new Guildford Cathedral. He and his family lived at the Red House.
VICTORIA HOMES almshouses of 1897 (Diamond Jubilee)
BEXLEY NATIONAL SCHOOL 1834 Teacher's house with classrooms behind on right. School hall of 1900 on left. Industrial use since 1974
NATURE AREA was overflow cemetery of 1857
MANOR FARM its granary was moved to Hall Place
MANOR HOUSE of the 18th century with Victorian additions can be viewed from the churchyard
MANOR COTTAGE 1870
MANOR LODGE right section is early 19th century
SOUTH LYCHGATE 1891
WEST LYCHGATE early 18th century
CHURCHYARD BUILDING is a bone & tool house of 1844
HIGHSTREET HOUSE 1761 rebuild of earlier (Tudor?) house with view of old roof to rear was the home of historian John Thorpe
BROOK COTTAGE (No 117) the central & left sections were the coach house and stables 1860-70 of Highstreet House. Parts of a Tudor boundary wall remain
101-105 began as a single house but became 3 before 1772 until the 20th century when they reverted to one. The Georgian fronts could well be on earlier buildings.
Nos 107-115 19th century cottages (111-115 possibly 17thc)
CRAY HOUSE built 1775 probably for the mill owner on the site of a Medieval building. Extended to the left
CRAY BRIDGE built 1872. The first was late 18thc on the site of a ford
OLD MILL (due for development as housing) is a 1972 replica of c1779 mill burned down in 1966. Victorian alterations were made in 1884 to house a steam engine.
MILL COTTAGE late 18thc
No 85 late 18thc brewery house for Kent Brewery
THE GEORGE PH was an inn by 1717. The present front dates from the 1870s
BEXLEY STATION built 1866 weatherboarded with its original canopies

ST MARY'S CHURCH
This could well have a Saxon foundation and is mentioned in the Domesday book. Some walls remain from the Norman period. It was rebuilt in the 12th century and from 1130 until 1531 was granted to Holy Trinity Priory in Aldgate. It was altered in the 13th & 14th centuries to its present plan. Inside there is a fine marble memorial of 1590 to Sir John Champeis and his family and pews are allocated to Danson (4), Hall Place (2) & Blendon (1). On the outside wall of the south chancel are 5 mass dials. The 92' shingled spire of an unusual 'Candle Snuffer' design is probably Medieval. The church is open weekdays 12-2.
HALL PLACE
The stone part of the present house (using monastery masonry) was built c1540 for merchant & Lord Mayor John Champeis and altered in 1560. In 1649 it was sold to Sir Robert Austen, who by 1653 had doubled its size by adding the brick part. It was owned by Sir Francis Dashwood from 1772-1926 but served as a boarding school for much of the 19th century. From 1917 until her death in 1943 the tenant was the Countess of Limerick who made alterations and began the topiary garden. This was completed by Bexley Council to mark the Queen's coronation. Hall Place had been owned by Bexley Council since 1935 and after serving as an American army communications centre in WWII was restored in 1968 for use as the headquarters of Bexley Libraries & Museums (until 1995). It is now run by Bexley Heritage Trust.
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Most rooms are open to the public and it mounts changing exhibitions as well as organising special events. There is an admission charge but if you Gift Aid tickets are valid for 12 months. It has a cafe and small shop. The view through the 18thc gates is of the Great Hall ahead with a kitchen & service wing to the left and the solar & chapel to the right. The present entrance is through gates adjoining a lodge of 1872. The Jacobean Barn is in use as a pub/restaurant with bars in the Mill House (18thc/Edwardian) to which it has been linked. The Stable block is late 17thc and the Granary (early 19thc) was moved from Manor Farm. An old corn mill was demolished in 1925 but the weir and sluices remain at the bridge. The attractive riverside gardens include herbs, rockeries, heathers, rose beds, topiary and a spring orchard.

london-footprints.co.uk 2012

Books
Bexley Village by P J Tester
Discovering Bexley area (Vol IV) by Darrell Spurgeon
Village London by Andrew Duncan

Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre is located in the Central Library [details]

Maps & instructions for the Riverways which pass through Bexley are available online [CRAY] [SHUTTLE] at Hall Place or telephone 020 8303 7777 ext 4784

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