London Borough of Bexley ( ) lies to the south
east of Greater
London, one of those boroughs referred to as Outer London. It has common borders
with the London Borough of Bromley to the south, the London Borough
of Greenwich to the west and the River
Thames is the northern boundary with the London Borough
of Havering and the London
Borough of Barking and Dagenham.
To the east there is a boundary with the
borough in Kent.
the 19th century the area now forming the Borough was practically
unoccupied: very few of the present settlements were mentioned in
the Domesday Book, although the
village of Bexley has a
charter dated 814CE. Erith was a port
on the River Thames until the 17th century; the opening of the
sewage works at nearby Crossness in the late 19th century turned it into an
Today's settlement pattern is the result of the gradual extension
of the London influence. Until the 19th century it was an area with
few isolated buildings: examples being the Georgian Danson House and the Red House on Bexley Heath built for William Morris in
With the coming of the railways building began apace,
although the area is still composed of many disconnected
settlements, interspersed with area of open ground and parks.
Borough of Bexley was formed in 1965, under the London Government Act 1963 from
Boroughs of Bexley and Erith; Crayford Urban District: and part of Chislehurst
and Sidcup Urban District.
The Council now styles itself the "London Borough of Bexley" in
common with its formal name, although it previously styled itself
"Bexley London Borough" until 1999 (possibly to maintain the link
with its predecessor, Bexley Municipal Borough), and "Bexley
Council" from 1999 to October 2007, when it reverted to its full
formal name in conjunction with the adoption of a new Council logo
bearing this name alongside the 1965 Coat of Arms.
Ohio, a suburb of the city of Columbus, was named at the suggestion of an early resident,
Mr. Kilbourne, in honour of his family's roots in Bexley,
England. In addition, a suburb of Sydney, Australia bears the name of Bexley, New
administrative centre of the Borough is in Bexleyheath.
The 21 wards of the London Borough of
Bexley (green) and surrounding London boroughs (light grey) and
other districts (dark grey)
There are 21 wards
represented on Bexley Council; each ward elects three councillors,
63 in all. The wards are shown on the accompanying map.
All seats were up for re-election during the election
on May 4, 2006. Until
that date, Labour held control of the council by a margin of one
(32 Labour to 31 Conservative councillors). In the election, the
Conservatives took 23 seats from Labour, giving them the
as central government is concerned, the borough is divided among
the constituencies of Old Bexley and Sidcup; Erith and Thamesmead (shared with the London Borough
of Greenwich); and Bexleyheath and Crayford
After the 2005 General Election, Erith and Thamesmead is
represented by a Labour Party MP while the remaining two seats were
held by the Conservative Party; although on 29 January 2008 the
Conservative Party whip was withdrawn from Old Bexley and Sidcup's
MP Derek Conway
misuse of funds, leaving him as an Independent MP.
Bexley, lying as it does on the outer fringe of London, has many
relatively large areas of open space. The ridge of higher
ground in South London crosses the Borough from its high point of
Hill, on the boundary with the London Borough of
Greenwich, to end above the River
Thames at Belvedere, where the land drops down to the old port of
Erith. This high land, whose geology is the sand
and pebbles of the Blackheath beds, and which results in
heathland, provided the line on the old
Roman road (Watling Street) ran between Crayford and Welling. The land falls away to the north of the high
ground, across the Erith Marshes to the River Thames, which here makes a loop to the
north at Crossness. There is further ridge of less higher ground
from the west terminating at Sidcup.
from the River Thames the other rivers within the Borough are the
Darent, which, with its tributary the River Cray and the smaller Stanham River, all form
part of its north-eastern boundary; and the River Shuttle, a tributary of the Cray.
The major centres of settlement can be considered in two parts: the
older established erstwhile villages; and the infill areas of
suburban houses and centres. Among the former are Erith, in the 17th
century a port on the Thames, and an industrial town in the later
19th century; Bexleyheath, created at the same time on the London to Dover road.
earlier 20th century, both were created Urban District Councils (UDC), as was
Cray (an ancient village site). Thamesmead, the "new town" built on what was the Erith
Marshes, extends into the Borough: both Thamesmead North and South
are located here.Crayford was mentioned in the Domesday Book, and its parish later included
the hamlets of North End and Slade Green.
settlements include Welling, like Bexleyheath a staging post on the Dover Road,
which was at one time of less importance than the nearby East Wickham (also an ancient village), was absorbed in Bexley
UDC. Barnes Cray and North
Cray were two hamlets in the Cray Valley; and Belvedere was the location of a medieval
The map of Bexley shows that a large proportion of its area
. Some named places,
Park and Barnehurst, are names given to developments engendered by the
building of the railways. Some came into being when large estates
and farmland were broken up for the sole purpose of suburban
building: these include Blackfen, Lamorbey and part of Falconwood. Others simply reflect the nature of area:
Heath; Longlands (part of Sidcup); Northumberland Heath and West
still open spaces, however, among the suburban streets and avenues.
the Borough owns and maintains over one hundred parks and open
spaces, large and small; and there is still a part of the Erith Marshes bordering the River Thames.
Marshes lie to the east of that river, as do Foots Cray
largest of the open spaces are Lesnes Abbey Woods, Danson
Park and Hall
There are also many golf courses
and sports fields, particularly to the west of Crayford.
In 1801, the civil parishes
the modern borough had a total population of 4,165. This rose
slowly throughout the 19th century, as the district became built
up; reaching 10,963 in the middle of the century. When the railways
arrived the rate of population
increased. The population peaked in the 1970s, when
industry began to relocate from London.
In the 2001 Census
borough has a population of 218,307 – of whom 105,148 were male,
and 113,159 female. Of those stating a choice, 72.94% described
themselves as Christian
, and 14.73% as
having no religion. Of the population, 44.25% were in full-time
employment and 11.63% in part-time employment – compared to a
London average of 42.64% and 8.62%, respectively. Residents were
predominantly owner-occupiers, with 31.71% owning their house
outright, and a further 46.53% owning with a mortgage. Only 2.18%
were in local authority housing
a further 11.45% renting from a housing association
, or other registered
three suburban railway lines crossing the Borough, all destined to
come together at Dartford. The most northerly is the North Kent Line: stations from west to east
within the Borough are at Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green. The Bexleyheath
Line has stations at Welling, Bexleyheath and Barnehurst; whilst the most southerly of the three lines,
the Dartford Loop Line, serves
Sidcup, Albany Park, Bexley and Crayford.
In common with many other boroughs
south of the Thames, Bexley has no London Underground
principal roads through the Borough include the A2 trunk road; the A20 (Sidcup By-Pass) which
generally marks its southern boundary; the A207, which is the route of the erstwhile Watling
Street; the A206 which takes
traffic from Woolwich and Dartford; and the latter's newer counterpart,
the A2016 through Thamesmead.
also some Long-distance
footpaths in the Borough: among them the Thames Path and the London
Outer Orbital Path. Bexley Borough has joined with three other
adjoining boroughs to for the South East
London Green Chain linking green spaces.
The greater part of the population are nominal Anglicans
, but a number of Roman Catholic
churches and non-conformist
.There are no Jewish congregations.A
small selection of churches is given here:St Paulinus, Crayford.
Parts of this church date back to the 12th century with additions
made in the later medieval period.St John the Baptist, Erith. A
Norman church dating from the 12th century. The Wheatley Chapel was
the burial place of successive Lords of the Manor.St Mary the
Virgin, Bexley. The building dates from the 12th century, but much
was restored in the 19th century.All Saints, Foots Cray. An ancient
church, heavily restored in the 1860sSt James, North Cray. An old
church but rebuilt in the 19th century.Greek Orthodox Church,
Welling. Probably of 13th century origin (formerly the parish
church of St Michael).Christ Church, Erith. 19th century building.
Grade II listed interior.Bethany Hall, Chapel Road, Bexleyheath,
now a meeting house of the Plymouth
though originally a Methodist chapel.
London Borough of Bexley has three fire stations controlled by the
Brigade within its boundary; those at Erith, Sidcup and
Bexley fire station's station ground is the largest
of the three; covering 23.7 kmsq
. One pumping
appliance, a fire rescue unit and an incident response unit reside
there. Although it doesn't have the largest station ground, Erith
was the busiest station in 2006/2007, responding to 1,314 incidents
- two pumping appliances are based there. The third station,
Sidcup, attended the least incidents in the same time period - 785.
One pumping appliance is situated there. The three fire stations
attended 3,095 incidents in the 2006/2007 period.
Postal code areas
SE2 (part), SE9 (part),
DA1 (part), DA5(all), DA6 (all), DA7 (all), DA8 (all), DA14 (all),
DA15 (all), DA16 (all), DA17 (all), DA18 (all).
Note: Since Postal Counties were abolished in 1996, it is no longer
necessary to include the county name of Kent in any address,
providing the post code is provided as the last line. Addresses
within the SE postal area
should be prefaced with "London".