Chislehurst A Popular Town With A Village Atmosphere

Published: 23rd September 2011
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In Anglo Saxon Chislehurst means a gravel wooded hill. Areas of the stony wood that named Chislehurst are still in evidence today.

Chislehurst is located in Kent, south East England and forms a suburban settlement as part of the Borough of Bromley. Nearby towns include Elmstead, Petts Wood, Bickley, Sidcup, Petts Wood, Mottingham, Eltham and New Eltham.

A royal manor during medieval times Chislehurst was held by the Walsinghams. The village sign commemorates the visit of Queen Elizabeth I in 1597 to Sir Thomas Walsingham IV. In 1669 Sir Thomas Walsingham V was the last of the Walsingham family to be laid to rest in the family vault at St Nicholas' church.

The village became popular with Londoners wishing to escape to the country. In 1870 Emperor Napoleon was exiled to Camden Place (now home to Chislehurst golf club) where he subsequently died in 1873. The presence of Emperor Napoleon soon turned Chislehurst into a fashionable place for businessmen and city workers. The bodies of of the Prince Imperial and Napoleon were originally laid to rest in St Mary's Church. |Subsequently they were placed in St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough.

Between 1894 and 1934 Chislehurst civil parish formed an urban district of Kent. In 1934 it became part of the Sidcup and Chislehurst Urban District. In 1965 the district was turned into the boroughs of Bexley and Bromley.

Chislehurst was primarily developed during the Victorian period with the exception of small developments in the early 20th century in the area of the Mottingham and Eltham borders. A garden suburb called Petts Wood was also developed on the Orpington border. Recent developments have been restricted and to date the area around the common has never been developed resulting in Chislehurst retaining its village atmosphere.

Sydney, Australia is named after the Viscount Sydney family who were residents of Chislehurst. Scadbury Park houses the family's manor house, now in ruins. The area is used as a nature reserve.

Other famous residents include Richard Crompton (author of Just William), Malcolm Campbell (world water and land speed record holder), footballer Gianfranco Zola, Siouxsie and the Banshees singer Siouxsie Sioux and George Somers Leigh Clarke (architect from 1822-1882).

Chislehurst caves are a well known local attraction. During World War II the caves were used by the local population as a shelter from air raids, during this time there was even a baby born in them. The caves have their own chapel and have been used to host live music with artists such as The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and The Who. You can tour the caves, which are open most days. Tours last about an hour.

Today the village atmosphere combined with the good transport links in to London still make Chislehurst an ideal location for those wishing to work in London whilst living in the countryside. With 4 schools, 7 churches and a mosque Chislehurst is the ideal place for families of all ages to settle. The village also boasts a selection of pubs and restaurants. Two of the eldest of these being the Sydney Arms and the Rambler's Rest both of which are listed buildings from the 1800's.

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