The History of Beckenham Place Park
A History of Beckenham
Brochures and Guides
Centre Closure: the visitor centre was closed on the 8th March
2020 as the room has to be vacated by mid March before Covid lockdown began and unconnected with it.
The Visitor Centre has been run by the Friends since 1995 and been in
the Mansion since 2000. The centre was run voluntarily and has been the
only interpretation and awareness facility for park visitors during
Friends have, as well as running the visitor centre, organized a
program of walks and events, carried out conservation work and
the Sensory Garden. We have facilitated fund raising for the Sensory
Garden (about £25,000), a Nature Trail and park signage.
Most recently about £50,000 has been raised for restoration of the
Ancient Pond and installation of a path and pond dipping platform.
Thank you to all our visitors, members and volunteers who have enabled
the Visitor Centre over the past years and hope we can find a way to
continue into the future.
Events; see events page (events currently restricted due to Covid guidelines)
See the History links for updated history information.
Our research into the history
of Beckenham Place has
uncovered several aspects Beckenham's historyas
well as some nearby
Bromley and Lewisham facts. These will be added to regular edits and are held on this site in .pdf format.
Did you know John Evelyn the diarist briefly owned part
of the Manor of Beckenham with his two brothers from 1648-1650?
Frederick St.John/Lord Bolingbroke had leased Beckenham Manor to the
Burrells, Raymonds, Cator and Thomas Motley and others circa 1768. Some
early historical facts by Hasted and other writers have been
found to be wrong or at
least challenged. Scandals, intrigue and even murder are included in
the story. We are now producing the history pages in .pdf format and
with a good browser or pdf reader you can search the articles for
"foxgrove" "Langley" "Kelsey" "Cator" "Burrell" etc.
Lewisham Open Spaces Forum a
group made up of representatives of park Friends groups, for
Friends of: Chinbrook Meadows, Ladywell Fields, Telegraph
Blythe Hill Fields, Hilly Fields, Sydenham Wells, Home Park, Mayow Park
to mention a few. The Forum will address issues and problems
arising in park use and management. See the
Forum page and newsletters.
Garden - When Covid restrictions are not being applied our
volunteer team regularly
undertake work once a month and often every 2 weeks in the growing
Garden pdf A
leaflet explaining the uses
and design of the sensory garden. Volunteers welcome. see the Events
page, saturday mornings 10am to 12noon.
The trail was established before the recent works in the park but the
leaflet may help visitors find their way around The leaflet is on this
file and on our pamphlets page via 'Events' page, or use this easy to print file
Also a .kml file
of waypoints which will work with smartphone, google earth
and tablet map and gps apps to show the
waypoints for the nature trail. Also, a .gpx file of the
route so that you technofiles can have all the electronic aids
available. I like the Maverick Android mapping app. Leaflets are still
available in the visitor centre. We are working on a version that wont
display upside down on a digital screen.
About the Park (see
other pages for full history etc.)
or occasional visitor to BPP may not appreciate its true extent. The
on the Lewisham/Bromley border strictly speaking between Downham,
Beckenham and Shortlands.
was acquired from
the Cator Estate by the LCC circa 1927, passed through the hands of the
then on to the London Borough of Lewisham. A 'well kept secret' from
Londoners, the park has been thought of as a private golf course or
house and grounds as it is not widely publicised. It does lie on the
Chain Walk and Capital Ring. A railway bisects the park and the only
joining both parts are the bridge north of woodland called the Ash
or by leaving and re-entering the park in the viscinity of Ravensbourne
Station or bridge near Beckenham Hill Station. Hence the railway
divides the park into West and East.
is the surviving nucleus of what was once a large estate of park and
history of the
park and its environs is extensive and is covered in other Friends
and the About and History pages on this site. Information is available
Friends of BPP Visitor Centre (see navigation hyperlink). Various
Beckenham Place Park, The Cator family and the history are on the
other publications, all are subject to some correction as varioius
have been made. We attempt to seek accuracy where possible. The best
have been written by Pat Manning and the late Eric Inman.
Even these are
updatable by more recent discoveries enabled by records appearing on
park's life as a
public recreation area began around 1927/29 when the park was purchased
London County Council and London Borough of Lewisham to satisfy a need
public open space in the area as the large housing estates of
Downham were being developed.
'listed' buildings in the park include The Mansion, The Stables and
(and Garden Cottage), Southend Lodge (gatehouse). See the About the
and other pages of this website for more information.