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Bromley is a large suburban town in southeast Londonmarker, England and the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Bromleymarker. It is located southeast of Charing Crossmarker and is one of the major metropolitan centres identified in the London Plan. It was historically a market town in the county of Kentmarker and formed the administrative centre of the Borough of Bromleymarker. Its location on a coaching route and the opening of a railway station in 1858 were key to its development and the economic history of Bromley is underpinned by a shift from an agrarian village to commercial and retail hub. As part of the suburban growth of London in the 20th century, Bromley significantly increased in population and has formed part of Greater Londonmarker since 1965. It has developed into one of a handfull of regionally significant commercial and retail districts outside central London.

History

Toponomy

Bromley is first recorded in a charter of 862 as Bromleag and means 'woodland clearing where brooms grow'. It shares this Old English etymology with Great Bromleymarker in Essex, but not with Bromleymarker in closer by Tower Hamletsmarker.

Economic development

The history of Bromley is closely connected with the See of Rochester. In AD 862 Ethelbert, the King of Kent, granted land to form the Manor of Bromley. It was held by the Bishops of Rochester until 1845, where Coles Child, a wealthy local merchant and philanthropist, purchased Bromley Palacemarker (now the hub of the Bromley Civic Centre) and himself became lord of the manor. The town was an important coaching stop on the way to Hastings from London, and the now defunct Royal Bell Hotel (just off Market Square) is referred to in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It was a quiet rural village until the arrival of the railway in 1858 in Shortlandsmarker, which led to rapid growth, and outlying suburban districts such as Bickleymarker (which later overflowed into Bromley Commonmarker) were developed to accommodate those wishing to live so conveniently close to Londonmarker.

Local government

Bromley, also known as Bromley St Peter and St Paul, formed an ancient parish in the Bromley and Beckenham hundred and the Sutton at Hone lathe of Kent. In 1840 it became part of the expanded Metropolitan Police District. The parish adopted the Local Government Act 1858 and a local board was formed in 1867. The board was reconstituted as Bromley Urban District Council in 1894 and the parish became Bromley Urban Districtmarker. It formed part of the London Traffic Area from 1924 and the London Passenger Transport Area from 1933. In 1934, as part of a county review order, the borough was expanded by taking in from the disbanded Bromley Rural Districtmarker; an area including parts of the parishes of Farnborough, Hayes, Keston and West Wickham.

Governance

Bromley forms part of the Bromley and Chislehurstmarker Parliament constituency and the London European Parliament constituency. The current MP is Bob Neill. James Cleverly is the London Assembly member for the Bexley and Bromley constituency, in which the town is located.

Geography

The historic heart of the town is Market Square, which sits at the junction of the High Street and Church Road.

Economy

The town has a large shopping and retail area, including a pedestrianised High Street and The Gladesmarker shopping centre. Bromley is one of the major metropolitan centres identified in the London Plan. Bromley's main retail rival is Croydonmarker, to the west.

Transport

Bromley is served by two railway stations. Bromley Southmarker, the larger and more frequently served of the two, is on the main line from London to the east Kent coast. Long distance trains from Victoria to Medway and Thanet have their first stop at Bromley, providing a fast and frequent non-stop service to central London. Bromley South is also a stop on the southeast London suburban rail network, with local services for Orpington and Sevenoaks from Victoria and the central London Thameslink stations calling at the station. Bromley Northmarker station is served by a shuttle service to Grove Parkmarker, where there are onward connections to other central London stations.

Culture

Empire Cinemas own a 4-screen site in Bromley, with screen 1 being its biggest with a capacity of 392. Screens 2 and 3 have disabled access. Bromley has a number of theatres, the most notable being the Churchill Theatremarker in the town centre and the Bromley Little Theatre close to Bromley North railway station. The town's football club Bromley F.C. is in the Conference South, which is the highest level of regionalised football in England, two divisions below the Football League.

Education

Bromley has numerous schools, and is home to Bromley College of Further & Higher Educationmarker.There are two selective schools in Bromley with an 11+ exam. They are Newstead Woods School for Girls and St Olave's and St Saviour's Grammar School.

Landmarks

The parish church of St Peter and St Paul stands on Church Road. It was largely destroyed by enemy action and rebuilt in the 1950s incorporating the medieval tower and reusing much of the flint and fragments of the original stone building. The most noteworthy historic building is Bromley College, London Road. The mature and very well maintained central public open spaces are noteworthy: Queen's Gardens, Martin's Hill, Church House Gardens, Library Gardens and College Green.

Notable residents

H. G. Wells, most famous for his novel, The War of the Worlds, was born in Bromley in 1866. In August 2005, the wall honouring H.G. Wells in Market Square was repainted. The current wall painting features a rich green background with the same H.G. Wells reference and the evolution sequence of Homo sapiens featured in Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, a former resident of nearby Downe Village.

Other famous people who lived in Bromley include David Bowie, Pixie Lott, Peter Frampton, Aleister Crowley, Siouxsie Sioux, cricketer Jill Cruwys, the anarchist Peter Kropotkin, the former Clash drummer Topper Headon, actor Michael York who attended Bromley Grammar School for Boys, clarinetist Chris Craker, Don Perrin, Canadian author who attended Burnt Ash School in Bromley, and Sir Thomas James Harper, an officer decorated in the Crimean war. In the 20th century, the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul produced, in quick succession, three Church Of England Bishops: Henry David Halsey - Bishop of Carlisle, Philip Goodrich - Bishop of Worcester, and David Bartleet - Bishop of Tonbridge.

References




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