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Bexleyheath is a large suburban town in southeast Londonmarker, situated in the London Borough of Bexleymarker, and located 12 miles (19.3 km) east-southeast of Charing Crossmarker. It is situated on the London to Dovermarker section of the Roman road, Watling Streetmarker. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.

History

Until the early 19th century, Bexley Heath comprised an area of scrub-land with few buildings (Bexley Heath windmill stood at the corner of what is today Erith Road and Mayplace Road). The heath bordered Watling Street. In 1766 Sir John Boyd had Danson Housemarker built in parkland (now Danson Parkmarker between Bexleyheath and Wellingmarker). In 1814 the land to the north of Bexleymarker that would become Bexleyheath became subject to an Enclosure Act. In 1859 architect Philip Webb designed Red Housemarker for the artist, reforming designer and socialist William Morris on the western edge of the heath, in the hamlet of Upton — before Upton became largely developed as a London suburb. The National Trust acquired the house in 2003.

Bexleyheath's parish church, Christ Church, dates from 1841; and the parish of Bexleyheath from 1866; the building of the current church finished in 1877. Alfred Bean, railway-engineer and one-time owner of Danson House, furthered the development of Bexleyheath as a London suburb by championing the Bexleyheath Line in the 1880s to support the growth of estates around Danson Park. The clock-tower at the centre of the modern shopping area, built in 1912, commemorates the coronation of King George V. In the late 1970s the London Borough of Bexleymarker built its headquarters, the Civic Offices, in Bexleyheath.

Geography

Bexleyheath was originally part of Kentmarker until the expansion of the London County Council in the 1960s. It is generally seen as being split into two parts by the old Roman road. The DA6 postcode area which is south Bexleyheath has a less homogeneous feel and features Danson House and the Red House. Adjacent to the park, Danson Road has an array of large houses, including a small number of Modernist buildings. In the north DA7 postcode area the majority of houses are predominantly 1930s semi-detached residences, apart from bungalows situated close to the railway station. This area includes part of the Bostall Park Estate which was built by the developers Feakes & Richards.

Town centre

The modern town area is dominated by an early 1980s shopping centre, now on its second faux-American name as "The Mall Bexleyheathmarker" (formerly "The Broadway Centre", opened 1984), and an Asda supermarket (opened 1988), similar to facilities in other Outer London towns and post-war 'New Towns'. A face-lift in 2008 on "The Mall" gave the centre a more modern internal appearance; externally it was largely unchanged. Other developments included the building of "Bexleyheath Square" in the early 2000s as an extension to the then "Broadway", providing more retail units. The 1990s saw the pedestrianisation of the road adjacent to "The Broadway" shopping centre (also known as the Broadway) following the construction of two minor bypasses (Arnsburg Way and Albion Way). Many of the changes to the town centre since 2000 have been in some way a response to competition from Bluewater Shopping Centremarker, 9 miles to the east in Greenhithemarker, Kent.

In May 2009 a major redevelopment scheme was approved by the local council following public consultation. This involves the redevelopment of the land currently occupied by the Bexley council buildings. The magistrates' court will move to a new building on land currently occupied by the library, which will be incorporated into the new development alongside 300 new homes.

Bexleyheath has drawn a lot of custom to match the expansion in retail space from residents of towns in the borough, particularly from Erithmarker and Thamesmeadmarker which have expanded in size with development along the River Thames. Custom is also drawn from Plumsteadmarker and Woolwichmarker (in the neighbouring borough of Greenwichmarker). The residents of these areas include a large West African community, predominantly Ghanaianmarker and Nigerianmarker.

Leisure

Bexleyheath has a bingo-hall, Cineworld cinema hotel, reference library, six-a-side football centre and ten-pin bowling alley (Ten Pin). Cultural events include concerts given by the Sidcup Symphony Orchestra regularly in the hall of Townley Grammar School for Girlsmarker, and the Edward Alderton Theatre which produces a number of non-professional productions each year.

Notable residents

(alphabetical order)

Places of worship

  • Bethany Hall, Chapel Road, Bexleyheath
  • Bexleyheath Community Church, Lyndhurst Chapel, Lyndhurst Road, Barnehurst, DA7 6DL
  • Bexleyheath United Reformed Church, Geddes Place
  • Christ Church (Church of England), Broadway
  • Bexleyheath Methodist Church, Broadway
  • Trinity Baptist Church, Broadway
  • St John Vianney Roman Catholic Church, Heathfield Road
  • St Peters (Church of England), Pickford Lane
  • St Thomas More Roman Catholic Church, Long Lane
  • The Salvation Army, Lion Road
  • Bexley Christian Life Centre (Pentecostal), Rowan Road
  • Pantiles Methodist Church, Hurlingham Road
  • Grace Baptist Church, Albion Road


Transport and locale

Nearest places



Buses



Rail

Two railway stations serve Bexleyheath: Bexleyheath Stationmarker and Barnehurst Stationmarker, both located on the Bexleyheath line. Trains go to London Charing Crossmarker or London Victoriamarker to the west, and to Dartfordmarker and Gravesend to the east. Some trains in peak hours go to Slade Greenmarker.

Nearest railway-stations



References

  1. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/kate-bush-return-of-the-recluse-509224.html


External links




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