A History of Beckenham

Edition January 2024 (previous edition : November 2023)

©Malvin Mitchell and Keith Baldwin

The Years 1800 onwards      Back to Intro


The beginning of the 19th Century which would see major changes in land ownership and the beginnings of suburban development. John Cator had exchanged land with Peter Burrell IV (Lord Gwydir) in 1793 and as a result Burrell land was south of the village and  Cator mainly north. After Mary and John Cator’s deaths, John left the Cator estates in the hands of several family trustees headed by his nephew, John Barwell Cator, making complex bequests. Whether John intended the Beckenham estates to be developed is in doubt. His will intends the estates to be kept intact although some development of the Wricklemarsh, Blackheath estate had taken place. His will dictated restrictions on selling or developing the estate which the Cators will get altered by Private Act of Parliament in 1825. Between the time of his death and a Private Act of Parliament in 1825 brought by the remaining trustees, some of the trustees had died intestate thus the primary heir, John Barwell Cator, son of John Cator’s brother Joseph, gains control of the estates and resides at Beckenham Place for at least some of the time. He buys estates in Norfolk and visits Ireland, his wife's family's home, regularly or for substantial periods and spends less and less time in Beckenham. After about 1840 the Park is mostly leased to a series of tenants. But other events affect the park such as the building of the railways and inheritance of the park by John Barwell Cator’s descendents. The Trust by which the estates are managed will perhaps never be fully understood, but John Barwell Cator’s brother Peter is reported as managing the Beckenham estate upon his return from being a magistrate in India. The pace of built development of the estates was dictated in part by the demand for housing and at least once that process stalled when demand was low. J.Barwell Cator along with his father Joseph and siblings as trustees were involved in further purchases of land including the enclosure of Penge Common and development of the Croydon Canal and later the railways. Apart from being landlords of the properties involved it seems the main protagonists for development where other entrepreneurs.

The other large estate under the Burrells, now Peter Burrell IV (Baron Gwydir) will survive until his death in 1820 and then be divided through sale. Langley and Kelsey are divided between different buyers. Edward Grose-Smith, John Woolley and the Hoare banking family take root. Other properties such as Austin’s Elmers End etc. change hands and the district begins to become suburbanized  although  OS maps  published as late as the 1890's  show large swathes of open land.

Return to the timeline:

1800 - Wricklemarsh, Blackheath; dated 1st April an engraving of Wricklemarsh in a state of demolition showing columns, window masonery and columns. Described as Sir G.P.Turner's House, Blackheath and the picture attributed to James Peller Malcolm (Philadelphia 1767-London 1815). But acquired by John Cator  before his death.  Parts of the  masonry  is believed to have been removed to Beckenham Place  but probably by John Barwell Cator beween 1806 and 1812.  The masonery of the windows and columns is strikingly  similar to  those  at Beckenham Place.

The  picture adds to the evidence that the addition of a portico to Beckenham Place with materials from Wricklemarsh is after John Cator's death in 1806.

1800 – Burials in Beckenham St. Georges from 1701-1800 total about 2500

 1800 – September 18th;  The Times reports that grain producers in Bromley and Lewisham including John Cator and John Forster undertake to supply their crop at a supplemented price to ameliorate suffering of the poor due to the high price of wheat and bread. A degree of means testing is applied by bakers to control the scheme. (Times newspaper and Ancestry.co.uk). But the corn  law of 1815  underpins the price of   wheat  and  John Cator's heir  and others become  targets of derision.

 1800 – The Canal; an act of parliament is passed to incorporate The Croydon Canal company.

In 1841 John Barwell Cator brings a case against the company.

1801 – John Cator and his brother Joseph are active in local affairs. Press cuttings in an online archive reveal how John is influencing church wardens Thomas Pool and David Bassett who are required to set a rate to provide relief for the poor. The poor rate is not set and the accusation is that Cator and other ‘local persons and Noble Lords’ perhaps referring to Lord Gwydir are used to influence this process. A Mr Jackson, a merchant, has the church wardens prosecuted for not fulfilling their duty. It would appear that Cator stays in the background but his identity is revealed by the lawyer Garrow in proceedings. The two churchwardens are confined in Kings Bench prison for contempt.

Subsequent to this legal case, Joseph Cator is prosecuted and found guilty of libel against Jackson, apparently an attempt at revenge by Joseph Cator for his brother John. A significant piece of evidence in the case is the fact that letters containing the libel are on paper only supplied by a Bromley statiuoner to Joseph Cator and the Bishop of Rochester who resides at the Bishops Palace in Bromley. Joseph’s defence lawyer is George Wickes.

Reference is made to John Cator’s experiences with the law, perhaps referring to his suits against Bolingbroke’s trustees over the purchase of Beckenham Manor as well as his time as Sheriff of Kent and as an MP and to his differences with Hester Thrale over Henry Thrale’s Will.

1801 – The Croydon Canal; July; It was resolved by the General Assembly of the Croydon Canal company that the Croydon Canal Act be carried into execution. (Times Newspaper). The  canal was short lived and much of the route is later  taken  over by the subsequent  railway.

1802 – John Cator is implicated in another court case at Maidston Assizes for an unwarranted eviction a tenant from one of his fields. A Mr Jackson sues Cator for damages. The case is prosecuted by the barrister Garrow. Cator is made to pay £100 damages.

1802 – Minor Road diversion to straighten part of what is now the High Street; Part of highway with footpath between village of Beckenham and village of Southend, from the churchyard of Beckenham, 264 yards long, being crooked and narrow, to be diverted to new line through lands of John Cator, Esq., from Beckenham churchyard, 242 yards long, 30 feet wide.
Part of footpath between village of Beckenham and village of Sydenham, from the highroad near Beckenham churchyard, 631 yards long, to be diverted to new line through lands of John Cator, 575 yards long.
Order: at Beckenham, 30 August 1802, with plans (scales: 80 inches to mile and 25 inches to mile) surveyed by G. Wildgoose.
Endorsed: consent of John Cator of Beckenham, Esq., 30 August 1802; certificate of completion, 4 October 1802.

Held At:Kent History and Library Centre

Document Order #:Q/RH/2/68

Courtesy of Kent Archive

1803 – Elmers End? Ambrose Austin is christened, son of Ambrose and Mary Austin. Ambrose Austin appears as landlord of the Elmers End Farms on the1838 tithe map. We have not been able to link Ambrose Austin to Francis Austin or Francis Motley Austin  who  inherited Elmers End Farms from Thomas Motley. And  an Ambrose Austin is described as a farm labourer on a census record.

1804 - Mary Cator dies and is buried in St. Georges churchyard with her daughter.  Although born and raised in a Quaker family, Peter Collinson was her father, the Cators embraced the Church of England about the time of John Cator the Elder's death in 1763.

1805 – John Cator prepares his Last Will and Testament, mentioning properties in Kent, Surrey, Essex, Herefordshire and Middlesex. These include his Mansion at Beckenham Place and an estate “situate near Addington”. Copies are in the National Archive, Surrey Archive and Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills. Middlesex may refer to his west end Adelphi apartment? It must be remembered that County boundaries have been modified. The original Southwark based business was in Surrey as were any properties in Croydon, Norwood and Addington. The small amount of Herefordshire (Ross on Wye) property relates to John Cator the elder's birthplace. The will copied into the records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills extends to 21 pages of difficult to read handwritten text. The original presumeably in John Cators handwriting is in the National Archive at Kew. Several of Cators nephews are mentioned including George and Henry Sparkes, his nephews by his sister Mary. His inention was that the estates remained intact and this leads to the later 1825 Act sought by his heirs to allow the break up of the estate. See 1825.

1806 - John Cator dies at his apartment in the Adelphi near The Strand and is buried in St George’s churchyard, Beckenham with his wife and daughter in the family vault. Having lived on Bankside in Southwark near his business and later acquiring an apartment in the Adam Brothers Adelphi near the Strand Cator was a man of property and we can only speculate on how he accumulated his wealth. Referring to Pat Mannings “Cators of Beckenham and Woodbastwick” will give details of John Cator’s legacy. His Will was complex and the assets extensive. The later Act of Parliament of 1825 listing properties is enlightening.

The family tomb bears this inscription:

JOHN CATOR, late of Beckenham Place, 21st February 1806 aged 76 years/ MARY his wife 13th August 1804 aged 71 years/ MARIA their only child April 1766 aged 3 years/ MARY his mother 28 August 1787 aged 78 years/ ANN his sister 27th July 1766 aged 17 years/ MARY daughter of his brother SAMUEL August 1793 aged 8 years.”

(source: P.Manning)

1806 – John Barwell Cator marries Miss Elizabeth Louisa Mahon, daughter of Sir Ross Mahon, 1st Baronet, of Castlegar, County Galway and a niece to Lord Vigo. They spend a good deal of time in Ireland and some of their children are born there. This contributes towards the Cator’s move away from Beckenham.

1806-1825 - John Barwell Cator (1781-1858), son of John's oldest brother Joseph, ultimately inherits the estate with other trustees although substantial assets are directly left to him in the Will. John Cator is following the practice of the gentry in leaving his estate ‘in tail’ i.e. in trust for the family.  It is held in trust by his father Joseph until Joseph's death in 1818. But not before two cousins of Barwell Cator who are also named in the will die before majority and hence the whole estate becomes J.Barwell Cator's and his brothers via an act of parliament, though this has yet to be fully unravelled and Pat Manning’s account of it is the best thus far so please read her book. According to John Cator’s will of 1805, No one person was left in charge of his estates and there were strict instructions in the will to keep the estates intact, avoid cutting down timber, defacing or destroying the land. He also wished that the property should remain in the family and be passed from father to son. Subject to limitations and conditions, Beckenham Place, all Manors and herediments in Kent, Surrey, Essex, Middx, Hereford and elsewhere including an Addington estate were left in trust to George Sparkes and Henry Sparkes, sons of John’s deceased sister, Mary Sparkes. Sarah Cator, the widow of his late brother William was left an annuity of £60 pa for life. £20 p.a. annuities went to Bridget Cator, widow of Kingston, Jamaica and Elizabeth Scott of Rodborough, Glos. Susannah Scott, Elizabeth’s daughter received dividends from bank annuities, similarly niece Harriet Heapy and great-niece Mary Ann Sparkes. Ann Frances Baynes, wife of Lt Col Baynes and daughter of John’s late brother William received £2000. By 1825, the Cators found the estates impossible to administer because the Sparkes brothers had died intestate and their heirs were all minors.

They submitted a private Act dated 27.6.1825 to King George IV to enable the descent to go down through Joseph’s eldest son, John Barwell Cator. (source: P.Manning “Cators of Beckenham and Woodbastwick”)

John Barwell Cator 1781-1858

1806 - Building leases begin to be sold for parts of the Cator Wricklemarsh, Blackheath estate. There is some debate about the alterations to Beckenham Place Mansion. Possibly John Barwell Cator having acquired great wealth through his inheritance indulged in adding the portico to the mansion and remodelling the lake as part of his spending spree. Without written records the maps available are a source of information. In 1799 the mansion appears on a map without a portico and it’s unlikely that John Cator the younger would engage in such alterations at this late stage in his life. The lake is of a different shape in the 1799 and later maps. The print of 1812 shows the portico and the maps of about 1860 show a different lake outline.

This description is from the 2009 Conservation Management Plan produced by Rees Bolter Architects:
Although the fabric of the north wing is of considerable archaeological significance, the architectural relationship between the extension and rest is clumsy and it is hard, almost impossible, to believe that the patron of the first house could have sanctioned such work. The survival of the shell of Wricklemarsh into the nineteenth century and the internal character of the extension make it far more likely that the extension was the work of John Barwell Cator, undertaken in the whirlwind of expenditure following his inheritance, to impress his new wife and family. Major expenditure on country houses usually follows a change of ownership. The wing has, within this report, generally been referred to as work of c1810 although no secure dating has been established. The new wing required the main hall to be approached along a rather long central corridor, with long rooms flanking it on each side. The overall impression of the new wing is that it was conceived as a showcase for masonry salvaged from Wricklemarsh, compromised by the levels existing within the original house. The pediment supported by the columns is visually too light and the rooms on each side of the central corridor are ill-proportioned. The additional accommodation was, presumably, welcome.

1806 – Kent House Farm; This will of a leaseholder, Thomas Randall, of Kent House Farm leaves unexpired terms of leases to heirs. Kent House had been acquired by the Barings in 1797, by 1828 Kent House ownership passes from Julius Angerstein, who had married Barings widow,  to John Barwell Cator and in 1838 and the Tithe map the Randalls have disappeared unless sub leasing, as by that time Michael Mathew Snr. is leaseholder. Thomas Randall is buried at St.George’s and his son James in 1815 and these are the last two Randalls recorded buried at St.George’s. The wife Mary is not recorded so presumably buried in another parish or possibly remarried.

I Thomas Randall of Kent House in the Parish of Beckenham in the County of Kent Farmer do make this my last Will and Testament as follows (that is to say)
I give and bequeath unto my Son James Randall my leasehold Estate called Kent House Farm whereon I now reside for all the Rest and Residue of my Lease to come The stock and Utensils Goods Chattels Effects whatsoever (save and except hereinafter mentioned) to hold the same and every part thereof save and except as aforesaid
I give and bequeath unto my Wife Mary Randall all that Cottage Tenement part of my Leasehold Estate Scituate in the Hamlet of Tonge and also five acres of Meadow Land now in the Occupation of James Marshall To hold to her all which I do direct she shall enjoy to her sole use during the Term to come
It is my Will that my Son James Randall do grant to Mrs. Randall a Lease for the unexpired Time to come at a Pepper Corn * per Year
* Peppercorn Rent: A token or nominal rent. The name comes from leases where the rent is one peppercorn a year. A peppercorn rent is often found where a premium has been paid for a lease.
I do desire my Son James Randall to suffer and permit my said Wife Mary Randall to occupy the Blue Room called in my house all the Residue of the Term
I give and bequeath to my Wife Mary Randall the Interest that shall become due from Time to Time of the Sum of five hundred pounds in the Long Annuities during her Life
And after her decease I give unto Thomas Randall the Younger my Grandson of Wallere? Street the Sum of Three hundred Pounds of the said stock
I give and bequeath unto my Grandsons John Field and William Field (of?) Brooks Market the Sum of Two hundred pounds Stock in the five per Cent Long Annuities the remainder of the said Stock to them or the Survivor
I give and bequeath unto my said Wife all such household Goods Plate and Linen and China as were her property and brought with her from her house (in?) Beckenham on our Marriage
I also give to my said Wife all my wearing apparell for her to distribute the same amongst my Brothers at her Discretion
If any part of the above Stock should be Sold out and made use of in the Farm in my Lifetime the said Sum so made use of out of the said Stock in twelve Months after my Decease the said stock shall be bought in and made good out of my Effects
And all my just Debts and Demands out of the said Farm to be paid by my said Wife Mary Randall and my said Son James Randall to be my joint Exors. [Executors] and Trustees
I do hereby desire that my said Wife do hold the Lease of the said Premises called Kent House Farm for the Deficiencies if any of the said Stock and shall at the years End after my Decease enter the said Premises and to sell any part of the Effects to make good the said Stock five per Cent Long Annuities
And my exors. Mary Randall and James Randall shall sell out and replace the said Stock Long Annuities into any other Stock at any Time they shall find it to be necessary and same to be divided in two ad the three Fifths as within mentioned
I do hereby appoint Mary Randall my Wife and James Randall my Son to be my Joint Executors to this my last Will and Testament revoking all other Wills dated the Twentieth Day of March One thousand Eight hundred and five Written and signed by me
Thomas Randall

Appeared Personally Matthew Concanon the Younger of Sandys Street in the Parish of St. Botolph Bishopsgate London Gentleman and John Garrard of Sydenham in the County of Kent Gentleman and made Oath that they knew and were well acquainted with Thomas Randall late of Kent House in the Parish of Beckenham in the County of Kent deceased for some Time before and to the Time of his Death Acquaintance with the said deceased they have often seen him write and Subscribe his name and are thereby become well acquainted with his manner and character of handwriting and subscription and having now carefully viewed and perused the Paper Writing thereunto annexed and purporting to be the last Will and Testament of the said deceased the Will beginning thus, I Thomas Randall of Kent House in the Parish of Beckenham in the County of Kent Farmer ending thus dated the Twentieth Day of March One thousand Eight hundred and five Written and signed by me Thomas Randall.
these Deponents say they verily and in consideration believe the whole Body series and Contents of the said Will together with the Subscription hereunto to be all of the proper handwriting and subscription of the said deceased
M. Concanon John Garrard
On the 5th Day of June in the year of our Lord 1806 the said Matthew Concanon the younger and John Garrard were duly sworn to the Truth of this affidavit before me C. Coote Surrogate J.B. Morgan Not. Pub.

This Will was proved at London on the ninth Day of June in the year of our Lord one Thousand eight Hundred and Six before the Worshipful Charles Coote Doctor of Laws Surrogate of the Right Honorable Sir William Wynne Knight Doctor of Laws Master Keeper of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted by the Oaths of Mary Randall Widow the Relict and James Randall the Son of the deceased and the Executors named in the said Will to whom Admon. of all and singular the Goods Chattels and Credits of the said deceased having been Sworn duly to administer.

1806 – Langley and Kelsey; Peter Burrell IV/Baron Gwydir resides in Sidmouth and Langley is occupied by his sons Peter and Lindsey.

Sun (London) 28th May 1806

1807 - J.Barwell Cator buys land at Woodbastwick, Norfolk. This is the beginning of the gradual move away from the Beckenham estate (source: P.Manning, see her account on

1807 – Monks Orchard/Park Farm; is bought by Peter Burrell/Lord Gwydir. This property had been part of the Leigh’s Addington estates which was bought by Barlow Trecothick and the Addington estates were divided in sale by Barlow Trecothick’s nephew James. The patch of woodland is Monks Orchard Wood and this plan shows the leased property to John turner tenant in 1809.

1808 - John Barwell Cator’s wife’s relative Mr Aylmer Bourke Lambert has access to Barwell Cator's papers inherited from Peter Collinson via John Cator at the mansion. Lambert's letter to James Edward Smith of the Linnaean Society in their archive is the route which leads to Collinson’s revelation about the date of the building of the Beckenham Place/Stumps Hill mansion. Lambert made copies of the catalogue which became the property of Lewis Weston Dillwyn who printed the version which we can now access on the internet and reveals the first date of the mansion at Beckenham Place.
Lambert comments about J.Barwell Cator "who has just come into all his uncles immense property" and "Cator has lately married a relative of mine Miss Mahon, a niece to Lord Vigo"

Stayed last week at Beckenham Park with [John Barwell] Cator who has recently inherited the estates of his uncle [John Cator (1728-1806)], who was married to [Peter] Collinson's [(1694-1768)] daughter, [Mary]. Collinson's books and manuscripts there, including last edition of [Philip] Miller's "Dictionary" full of Collinson's observations, intends to publish them. Received "fine China drawings" from Lady de Clifford. Plans to send Smith his just finished "suppl[ement]". (Linnaen Society)

1809 – A Burrell Estate map and book of plans is printed (source: British Library) showing their estates to the south of Beckenham extending to West Wickham in the south, Bromley in the east and Elmers End in the west. There are various small outlying properties owned by the Burrells. The estate book shows tenants, properties, names of fields and pencilled in notes of crops grown.

 This estate map along with the 1833 Cator estate map and 1838 Tithe map are the best sources of early 19th Century property distribution.

Part of the Burrell Estate plan 1809 (High Street, Bromley Road and Kelsey)

Courtesy of the British Library

Langley House or Place with Langley Lodge 1809


Langley Farm and Home Farm (near Chinese Garage) 1809

Eden Farm (Bune Gate) and Elmers End (Elmer Lodge) 1809

Kelsey Lake, residences and mansions. 1809

1809 – Langley; Lindsey Meryck Peter Burrell, second son of Peter Burrell/Lord Gwydir occupies Langley up until the time it is sold circa 1822. Lindsey and his wife Frances have 10 children baptized at St.Georges and one child when they move to Hampshire in 1823. Lindsey himself had been born in Paris while Peter Burrell IV was there on a legation with Lord Eden and others. This alters the known story of Langley and is more evidence that his father Lord Gwydir spent more time away from Beckenham, some of it at Sidmouth, Devon due to his gout and his eldest son, Peter deputized as Lord Chamberlain (Hist.of Parliament and Ancestry)

1809 - J.Barwell Cator sells The Manor of Bensham or White Horse in Norwood and Croydon according to Lyson’s but the 1825 Act still lists extensive property in Addington, Croydon and Norwood? Very little has been discovered about the Cator property beyond Beckenham. Historians in some of those outlying areas are also unaware of details, for example at Leigh in Kent they were unaware of Cators owning farms there. See 1825.

1809 - The Croydon Canal opens. This shows a section from Sydenham to Norwood crossing Penge Common. Much of the route would subsequently be used by the railway leaving some small isolated stretches at Dacres Wood and Betts Park.

1810 – John Barwell Cator’s daughter Elizabeth Diana Cator is born in Beckenham 27th July

1812 - Mr. Lambert, a relative of John Barwell Cator’s wife, visits Beckenham Place where he sees Peter Collinson’s catalogue of plants and also comments on the grounds of Beckenham Place. This view can be compared to Collinson’s own view of Beckenham Place or Stumps Hill as it was in 1762: “When I visited these grounds in 1812  I was much struck by the remarkably healthy appearance of many fine trees, including, as nearly as I can recollect, Cedars, Exotic Firs, Linodendrons and many large North American shrubs whose ages by this memorandum may be nearly ascertained”.

The trees which survive of evident age are native English Pedunculate Oaks, introduced Turkey and Red Oak, Sweet Chestnut (introduced by the Romans). Over time several oaks which may have been landscape boundary marks and field boundaries have died. Lack of tree management may have led to loss of trees and some ancient trees have been removed either by human interference or storm damage as with the storm of 1989.

1812 - J. Preston Neale produces a print of the Beckenham Place Mansion in a book of country houses, although the pediment on top of the columns is not drawn accurately. It does depict how it perhaps should have been built. Preston Neale's work was published from 1812 to 1825 so different dates may be attributed to this print but it appears in the earliest edition. The book of prints has a description which may be of questionable accuracy because the Place was not in existence before 1760 but Neale describes the history of Beckenham Manor and Langley in a hotch-potch of facts from Hasted, Lysons and Ireland. Perhaps John Barwell Cator was trying to embellish the history.

1812 - This print of Eden Farm is published and supports our evidence of the former house at Eden Farm which was originally Bune Gate on the 1769 Andrews map and also matches the footprint on the 1809 Burrell estate map. See 1822 for an image of the later house built for John Woolley.

source; British Library

And this earlier illustration 

Eden Park, Seat of Lord Auckland (William Eden) circa 1789

Painted by Peter la Cave,  French School artist working from 1789 onwards

1812 - Penge Place; 7th April John Scott reputed 'Lord of the Manor' of Penge Common according to a notice posted by the Croydon Canal Company

1813 - Penge Place and  Common; John Barwell Cator purchases Penge Place and Common by Articles of Agreement for £35,000. it will later be resold to another unrelated 'John Scott'  who in turn sells it to the Crystal Palace Company.

1813 – Albemarle Cator (the first or elder) is born at Beckenham, J.B.Cator’s eldest son who will inherit the estates.

1813 – Morden College property in Beckenham;  Langley Farm; The archivist of Morden College sent this statement; "Sir John Morden, as endowment for his College, bought the Manor of Old Court in 1699, and this included land at Beckenham, specifically Pightle Green, King’s Field, Shortlands Green, Langley Farm and Morden Field, and this land was exchanged for land in Lewisham with Lord Gwydir in 1813. Among the papers I took over from my predecessor is a photocopied plan, possibly from a large scale OS map, and I see that the land in question is bounded on the north by the Turnpike road from Wickham; on the northeast by Kelsey Park, and on the west by Langley Park and Langley Lodge lands. (source; Morden College archivist)" 

However, we believe that only the small patch between the Cocapanniers Woods was Morden land.

Morden College archive map extract.

1815 - Miss E. (Emily) Eden writes from Eden Farm; Miss Eden to Lady Buckinghamshire (Eleanor Eden married to Robert Lord Hobart)

March 9 [1815].

MY DEAREST SISTER, As the Queen has been so uncivil and even spiteful to me and my sattin gown, as to put off the drawing-room, our three letters per day upon dress may now cease, and this is merely a letter of thanks for all the trouble you have taken with Wynne, Pontet, lace, notes, hoops, drapery, sattin, carriers, feathers, jewels, etc., and which have unluckily, by this strange and unaccountable spitefulness of H.M., all proved useless. Poor Beckenham is gone mad about the corn laws, and have revenged themselves on poor innocent harmless out-of-the-way George (Eden, their brother), by drawing him on the walls hanging as comfortably as possible, and Mr. Cator on another gibbet opposite to him. Mr. Colvile is also hanging somewhere else.... Every house and wall is covered with mottoes, and “No corn laws” in every direction. Ever your affectionate,

The Cator mentioned was John Barwell Cator. Emily would have  resided in this Eden Farm mansion

Eden Farm 1812 as occupied by Emily Eden and perhaps other  siblings shortly after her father's death in 1814.

1816 – This map is said to be published in 1816, probably surveyed earlier in the 1799 OS drawing on the right. At 1 mile to the inch the lake is more of a curved canal shape than the kidney shape on later maps. See the 1833 estate map and the 1799 OS Survey drawing. As other smaller details are drawn in I assume the representation of the lake is reasonably accurate.  Apparently map  publishers  were using  OS  data before the Ordnance Survey began to publish their own maps circa 1860.


1817 – Beckenham Place; London Courier and Evening Gazette 09 June 1817. At Mary-le-bone church on the 7th June 1817 by the Rev. Thomas Wellings of Church Linch, in the county and diocese of Worcester, John Wellings, Esq. of Welbeck Street, to Mary, second daughter of John Wedderburn, Esq. of Devonshire Street, Portland Place. After the ceremony the bride and bridegroom departed for Beckenham Place, the country residence of the bride's father. Indicating an early lease of Beckenham Place to a tenant. If accurate this is the first record of leasing of the house. We should  mention that some confusions have taken place between Beckenham Place and Beckenham Lodge?


1818 - Kent House Farm; Baring has leased Kent House Farm to Compton and some dispute has arisen over the lease. Details unknown.

[C1818 C16].

Short title: Compton v Baring.

Document type: Bill and answer.

Plaintiffs: Peter Alfred Compton late of Hendon, Middlesex but now of Kent House Farm, Beckenham, Kent, esq.

Defendants: Sir Thomas Baring bart of Stratton Park, Hampshire and of Devonshire Place, Portland Place, Middlesex.

Subject: lease of Kent House Farm.


1818 – Joseph Cator dies at Clockhouse. On 25th March, the College of Arms authorised to John (Barwell) Cator of Beckenham and Woodbastwick the Cator Arms, an earlier form of which can still be seen over the pediment at the front of Beckenham Place.(source: P.Manning). Joseph’s wife Diana dies in 1829 in Beckenham and whether she remained at Clockhouse is unknown. They are both buried in the family vault at St.George’s.

1820 - King George IV until 1830

1820 - Peter Burrell IV of Langley and Kelsey and titled Lord Gwydyr dies and his Beckenham estates at Kelsey and Langley are shortly afterwards sold to new owners including the Hoare Banking family, Woolley, Grose-Smith and the Goodharts among others. (source: Bromley Historic Collections and British Library). These estates are mostly south of the Beckenham village whereas the Cator estates are mostly north of the village. Burrell was MP for Boston, Lincolnshire and has an entry on History of Parliament online. It was said the Burrells rose to fame by not doing anything much i.e. Lord Gwydyr inherited one of his titles from a great uncle, Merrik Burrell, and a high position through his wife’s family. His mother in law was Duchess of Ancaster, Mary Bertie nee Panton. Peter Burrell the fifth’s wife was Baroness Willoughby de Eresby. The mainstream of the family later changed its name to Drummond-Burrell and then to Drummond-Willoughby. The title of Baron Gwydyr ended up with a grandson, Peter Robert Burrell of Stoke Park, Suffolk via Gwydir’s younger son Lindsey Burrell. Wikipedia and History of Parliament are sources of information. Langley from circa 1807/9 had been occupied by Lindsey Burrell, Gwydir’s second son who had a family of 10 children baptized at St.George’s and one later when they moved to Hampshire, later to move to Stoke Park in Suffolk.

The Langley Estate was given as a total of 3202 acres in 1820 when put up for sale. Langley Park itself was 423.1.17 the house consisting of on the principal storey “a lofty drawing room 40x30ft, a dining parlour, morning room, gentleman’s dressing room & water closet & on upper stories 6 bedchambers, 4 dressing rooms, a water closet and apartments for servants extensive offices & out-buildings, stabling for 28 horses, barns, granaries, forcing houses, and a melon ground along with a cold bath in the park. This latter ‘cold bath’ has been described or styled as The Roman Bath

See 1821/1825 etc. The sales took place over a few years as Eden Farm had been sold and the house rebuilt by 1822 and the 1838 Tithe map and returns shows landlords and occupants for Beckenham Parish.

1820 (September) The Oakery, Clay Hill– Burrell/Kelsey estate; Copy assignment of term of 1000 years 1) E W Edgell 2) Rt Hon Peter Robert Drummond, Lord Gwydyr [Gwydir] 3) Most Noble Charles Duke of Dorset and Jeffries Spranger of Lincoln's Inn, Middlesex, esq 4) William Bray of Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, esq. Messuage or tenement with stables, barns, orchards, gardens, water, yard, passage and 8a called Crabbgrow alias Crabbgrove and 2a woodground and 1a arable or pasture lying in bottom of lower pasture of Upper Leas; also cottage and orchard, yard and backside, all near Clay Hill, Beckenham, Kent; also messuage or tenement called Tomlins at Elmers End, Beckenham, and 14a. Endorsed: 'to be reserved with Mr Wyatt Edgell's Title Deeds'

Peter Robert Drummond here is in fact Peter Burrell/Lord Gwydir’s son who adopted the name Drummond on marriage as his wife came from a senior family and she had inherited the Baron Willoughby d’Eresby title. This is also instrumental in Peter Burrell/Drummond selling the Beckenham estates. The Gwydir title later seems to have ended up with a cousin via a younger son of Peter Burrell IV.  With so many Peters and Peter Roberts in the family it gets very confusing.


Morning Chronicle 18 October 1820

1820 - 31st October the sale of Burrell estates is advertised "Freehold estate
Langley Park, Langley Farm, Langley Lodge, Kelsey Park and Eden Farm. Water Mill, three public houses, sundry farms, lands and woods.
With maps."

1821 – William Thornhill Cator is born at Beckenham Place, the younger of John Barwell Cator's two sons. This evidences that the Cators were still occupying the mansion at least for some of the time as Barwell spent some time in Ireland and Norfolk and some children were born in Ireland. See 1823 Anne Charlotte Cator.

1821 – The Census; May 29th; This press cutting describes the process and states that at the previous census 1811 there were a lot of absent males due to the Napoleonic War. The population of Beckenham was 1180 with figures broken down into males, females and divided up into various age groups. Those familiar with genealogy research will know that the first generally available national census is for 1841 but the census started in 1801. This 1821 Census records the household under the family surname with data for the male, female, children of the household.

1821 –  Mary Elliot, servant to John Barwell Cator and his wife Elizabeth of Beckenham Place leaves a will; mentions Mrs Cator and two of their children. Various bequests of effects and sums of money.

1822 - Eden Farm (Park); The catalogue for the  54th Royal Academy Exhibition 1822 (MDCCCXXII) lists; item 925  A perspective drawing of a mansion lately erected for John Woolley Esq, Beckenham, Kent G.Robins (artist?)

This seems to be the drawing which dated to 1822 was very soon after the Gwydir sale of Eden Farm of 1820.  It has been used to make prints describing it as the home of Edward Lawford to whom it was leased by John Woolley.
Eden Park is offered for rent for two years in the Morning Herald of 25th September

1822 - Langley; Emmanuel Goodhart purchases Langley Park from the Burrell estate. Covenant to produce deeds. 12 November 1822 Lord Gwydir and Emanuel Goodhart of Langley Park, esq to Thomas Stow. See the 1838 tithe map and returns. 1821 Langley etc; Date:1821-1823 Langley mansion with land (366 acres) including cottages at Wickham Green, Gamekeeper's Lodge and Bath House, all in Beckenham, West Wickham and Hayes. Including conveyance by Peter Robert Drummond Lord Gwydyr and others to Emmanuel Goodhart of New Grove, Bromley, Middlesex 1822, with map annexed. Held At:Kent History and Library Centre Document Order #:U1435/T1 bdl 6

1823 – Anne Charlotte Cator born in Beckenham, daughter of J.B.Cator. This establishes Cators still occupying the mansion upto this date.  Some of J.B.Cator's children  are born in Ireland.

1825 – Burrell, Kelsey and Langley; following the death of Lord Gwydir (Peter Burrell IV) in 1820 the Burrells centred their activities elsewhere in Lincolnshire and Sussex and the Beckenham Estates were sold in lots. There were it seems more than 70 lots, many of them small properties, but some large lots which can be seen from the documents in Bromley Collections and deduced from the 1838 Tithe map and returns.

1825 – Cator Estate; John Barwell Cator and other trustees of the Cator estate acquire permission via a private Act of Parliament to lease or sell plots of land for development on the Beckenham Estates. This is the beginning of a long process of disposal of the Beckenham estates which leads to the ‘remainder’ becoming the Beckenham Place public park. John Cator's Will had put family trustees in place and restrictions on selling land. His will stipulated that his estate was for the use of John Barwell Cator with remainder to his heirs or assigns and the family were ‘remaindered’ in order of seniority. He also stipulated that leases should not exceed 21 years and that Beckenham Place would not be leased. No land was to be sold so an Act of Parliament was required to permit J.Barwell Cator and the trustees to dispose of or exchange lands. This extract explains that sales from the estate have to be matched by purchases of new lands either close to the Beckenham and Kent holdings or near Woodbastwick. John Barwell Cator is said to have sold land in Croydon to enable the purchase of more land in Norfolk:

“An Act to enable John Cator, Esquire to grant building leases of lands in the counties of Kent, Surrey, Essex and Hereford; and also for vesting in Trustees for sale part of the Estates in said Counties devised by the will of John Cator Esquire, deceased, and for laying out the money arising from such Sales respectively, under the Direction of the High Court of Chancery, in the Purchase of other estates, to be settled to the same Uses; and for other purposes. Schedule 1 includes particulars of property purchased prior to and after the death of Cator.”

The intention was that the ‘estate’ remained intact for the family at least in value if not geographically fixed.

The petition on the Act was signed by John Barwell Cator, William Cator, Bertie Cornelius Cator, Sarah Cator, Thomas Cator, Charles Cator and Peter Cator. These were the surviving children of Joseph Cator. It is interesting that this Act is not sought until after the death of Joseph Cator in 1818.

As well as defining the property the Act lists the tenants of the Cators' at the time of the Act. This can be compared to later records such as the 1838 Tithe map and returns as well as census records which become more reliable and detailed from 1851.

The papers of Mother Mary Baptist (formerly Bessie Taylor) for her 1967 thesis include the transcript of the properties covered by the Act. It illuminates the extent of the Cator properties in Beckenham and the section for “Additional Information” will include more details from the Act. Pat Manning also acquired copies of the property schedules in the act from the House of Lords archive. The schedules list fields, acreages, tenants and rents. Several locations can be identified from old Ordnance Survey maps, for example, the Addington properties are located around what is now New Addington at Lodge Lane and Castle Hill. Some descriptions are vague and cannot be accurately located ie. Mansion in the Parish of Battersea with meadows (Probably Penge Place).

A reason cited for the application or petition for the Act was that there had been built development around the edges of the estate thereby make development of the estate advantageous. A similar reason was given by the Burrells and Raymonds in 1759 for seeking to develop parts of their estates probably around the edges of Bromley and Beckenham towns.

Briefly, the estate was in Beckenham (1108 acres purchased before 1806), Carshalton (12 acres), Croydon (about 560 acres), Addington, Chelsham and Farleigh (over 1100 acres), Ross, Herefordshire (only 9 acres), Chingford, Loughton and Waltham Abbey (about 140 acres), Bromley (about 25 acres), Lewisham (about 95 acres/ at Wricklemarsh and/or Sydenham), Chittenden Farm at Chiddingston and Hever in Kent (193 acres), Penge (55 acres before Cator’s death, 176 acres purchased after his death), Leigh Park Farm and Priory Farm, at Leigh, Kent (280 acres). Wricklemarsh isn’t separately identified and whether it is included in the Lewisham figure or disposed of already is unclear. Of note is the land in Penge acquired after John’s death in 1806 which Pat Manning attributes to Joseph Cator. References to the Cator involvement in Penge Common enclosures can be found and also involvement with the Croydon Canal company. I was surprised to see that land in Ross was only 9 acres compared to the extent of the other estates.

John Barwell Cator subsequently was widely referred to as just 'John Cator' which leads to some confusion over estate affairs and attribution of some developments to the wrong 'John'. The given names of the Cator 'landlords' alternate between ‘John’ and ‘Albemarle’ but John (Barwell) Cator was succeeded by his son Albemarle (1813-1868), who's first son John died before inheriting the estates so the second son also named Albemarle (1836-1906) inherited. His son John (1862-1944) followed but he broke tradition and had a son named Henry (1897-1965) who then returned to tradition having a son John (1926-1999) who's son Albemarle (1953-present) is the current holder of the remaining estates in Woodbastwick at time of writing (2019).

1826 – Cator Estate; The Cators dispose of some Cator property near Hever and Tonbridge. The British Press of 22nd July carries an advertisement for the sale by auction of three farms listed in Cator's properties in the 1825 Act of Parliament. We only have the information in the Act, the advertisement for sale of Chittenden Farm in 1788 and this advertisement for sale of the three farms. Chittenden Farm near Hever,  Leigh Park Farm and Priory Farm near Leigh (near Tonbridge, Kent). Chittenden Farm 193 acres, Leigh Park Farm 152 acres and Priory Farm 130 acres. These acreages match those recorded in the Act of Parliament and the fact that the Act records the intention to sell those properties for reinvestment elsewhere (ie Woodbastwick, Norfolk).

1827 - Penge Common Enclosure Act; Commons all over the country had already been enclosed, including Sydenham and Croydon, when the Act for enclosure of Penge Common was passed in 1827. This was as a result of a petition by John (Barwell) Cator (nephew and heir of John Cator the younger). It took ten years to make the award to the various landowners. The first enclosure petition for Penge Common was made to Parliament fifty years earlier. Penge was exceptional both for the time it took and its late date. There had been much opposition from the Vestry (Parish Council?) and some latterly from the Lord of the Manor of Battersea, Earl Spencer. Dr B. Taylor shows that a large amount of land at both ends of Penge ‘Common’ had already been enclosed by non-parliamentary means before the act of 1827. 

The dark line on the map is the old Croydon Canal route.

(BHC and David Johnson "Around Crystal Palace and Penge") The diagram appears to be wrongly dated 1837 but although the original act is passed in 1827 it is not settled until 1837 (source; Cator v Croydon Canal Company)

1827 – West Wickham Workhouse etc; The Weekley Times (London) 14th January reports on a theft

Evidence regarding the workhouse at Wickham Green is scant but this and a few other records shed some light on its existence.

1827 – The Morning Post of 16 August 1827 records that the daughter of James West of Beckenham Place and Bryanston Square marries Charles Wyndham Rawdon in Beckenham Church. Evidence of an early lease of  Beckenham Place.


1828 – The Cators acquire Kent House Farm from Alexander and Thomas Baring (National Archive and Lewisham Local Studies) Indenture regarding title to Kent House Farm. See 1691 for the beginning of records in this bundle. The John  Cator mentioned is John Barwell Cator, nephew of John Cator of Beckenham Place.

Indenture of Lease and release dated 26 and 27 July 1828, Alexander Baring, Sir Thos. Baring, John Cator, Wm. Cator and Bertie C. Cator in trust for Ann Loveday and John. Brundrett.


Details of field names and acreages of land on Kent House Farm and Penge Common, with names of tenants.

Following the Cator Private Act of Parliament of 1825 granting Cator the permission to sell building leases, this purchase follows some earlier sales of Norwood and Rockhills parts of the estate. Kent House adjoins other Cator property such as Clockhouse and the former Beckenham Manor land.

1828 – W.H.Ireland publishes his New and Complete History of Kent drawing on previous publications by Philipot, Hasted and Lysons. He describes the Manor of Foxgrove becoming divided in the 1700’s in three parts which we found to be Mary Tilly’s will to Timewell, Bridges and Tolson Tilly’s widow, then Jones Raymond, the Burrell’s and  John Cator. He describes Beckenham Place Park being embellished with infinite taste by its affluent proprietor (John Barwell Cator).

1828 - London Evening Standard 29 September 1828 records David Inglis from Tunbridge Wells for (removed to) Beckenham Place. Newspaper small ads published changes of address and movements of people (the social media of the day).

1828 – Kent House Farm; acquired by John Barwell Cator et al from the Barings. The accompanying documents summarise the passage of Kent House through several previous owners.

  1.  Indenture regarding title to Kent House Farm. Anne Loveday, Jonathan Brundrett, Alexander Baring, Sir Thomas Baring, John Cator, William Cator, Bertie Cornelius Cator and John Foakes. Details of other agreements receited - Indenture dated 27 Aug. 1691 between John Smallbone and Mary his wife and Benjamin Hodgekins;
  2. Act 5 and 6 Ann to rectify mistake in marriage settlement of William Peck - partitioning between William Pierrepoint and Hon. Charles Egerton, through which inheritance became absolutely vested in Jno. Reynolds.
  3. Indenture dated 6 Dec. 1706 between Jno. Reynolds, Lancelot Stephens, Edward Corbett, Wm. Peere Williams, William Williams; (Mortgage)
  4. Lease and release dated 6 and 7 April 1709 betw
  5. een Jno. Reynolds and Sir John Lethieullier; Indenture of Assignment of same date, Jno. Reynolds Wm. Peere Williams, William Williams, Sir John Lethieullier Samuel Lethieullier and John Lethieullier Lease and release dated 25 and 26 March 1778 between John Green Lethieullier and Susannah his wife, William Octber, John Seaber, Robt. Morphett, Thomas Symonds, Thom Hearden, George Jennett, John Kilvington, John Harrison and Thomas Lucas and a recovery of part of premises Trinity Term, 18 Geo.III.
  6. Thomas Lucas devises property to widow Elizabeth, who remarries John Julius Angerstein. John Beach, Thomas Plummer and Joseph Paice trustees.
  7. Indenture of Bargain and Sale dated 17 Feb. 1797 Joseph Paice, Thos. Plummer, Sir Francis Baring, Alexander Baring and Charles Wall.
  8. Details of wills, dates of death, etc. of Elizabeth Angerstein, Sir Francis Baring, Chas. Wall John Cator, Bridget Cator, Elizabeth Scott, Geo. Sparkes.
  9. Act 6 Geo IV enables John Cator to grant building leases.(1825)
  10. Details of dates of death, wills etc. of Samuel Lethieullier, William Lethieullier, Mary Tooke, Sarah Loveday, Dame Anne Hopkins, John Loveday, John Lethieullier, Smart Lethieullier, Charles Lethieullier, Elizabeth Lethieullier (marriage to Jno. Goodere), Mary Hulse, who died intestate. Letters of Admon. to Jonathan Brundrett. Indenture of Lease and release dated 26 and 27 July 1828, Alexander Baring, Sir Thos. Baring, John Cator, Wm. Cator and Bertie C. Cator in trust for Ann Loveday and John. Brundrett.
  11. Details of field names and acreages of land on Kent House Farm and Penge Common, with names of tenants. 18 August 1829

1828 – Kelsey; after the Gwydir sale, Edward Grose Smith had purchased a significant part of the Burrell estates and subsequently sold it off in sections.
Bromley Collections 834/7a-b Lease and release for £5,400 of capital messuage in Kelsey Park, bailiff's house, lodge, and land (40a. 20r. 11p.), including land covered by water, late occ. Hon. Henry Windsor, now occ. Edward Grose Smith (abuttals given). Recitals 1794-1827; 28/29 May 18281. Duke of Dorset and Jefferies Spranger
2. Lord Gwydyr
3. John Wooley, Charles William Hallett and Marmaduke Robinson
4. Greenway Robins
5. Edward Grose Smith
6. Frederick Lock of Arundel St., Middx, gent.
plan (endorsed)

John Woolley also acquires parts of Kelsey on the west side of Wickham Road totalling about 12 acres, presumably for development. The land is acquired from the Burrell estate and trustees so presumably did not pass through the ownership of Edward Grose Smith who had acquired other parts of Kelsey. 

On the 1838  Tithe John Woolley owns about 500 acres of property in Beckenham.

1829 - Alexander D. Inglis recorded as tenant of Beckenham Place Mansion in the Morning Post 22 August 1829. Pat Manning reports that the Cator family believe J.Barwell Cator occupied the mansion up to 1841 but these other tenants cast some doubt on it. It’s entirely possible that J.Barwell Cator leased the mansion during periods when he was resident in Ireland or Woodbastwick, Norfolk.

1829 - Reverend William Rose of St.George’s dies, His will leaves a substantial sum of money to his daughters. (£1500 apiece)

1830 - King William IV until 1837

1830 - Foxgrove Farm Manor house is demolished and a new farm house built. We don’t have detailed maps pre 1833 so we can only compare footprints on maps from 1833, 1864 and later. (source: Borrowman and Rob Copeland)

1831 – The Kentish Weekly Post records a daughter born to the wife of Alexander Inglis at Beckenham Place. Tenants of the Cator's the Inglis’s leave by 1834.

1832 - Langley Lodge; The Morning Herald, 5th May London advertises Langley Lodge to let. Emanuel Goodhart is the landlord and the property is 'in hand' in the 1838 tithe presumably empty? By the 1851 census Emanuel Goodhart's son Charles is living at Langley Lodge with his family and servants. The reference to Repton's landscaping is authenticated to some degree by the installation of paladian columns to the Lodge and the landscape drawings in his Langley Red Book.

1832/33 – Kelsey; is occupied by the Grose-Smiths. Edward and two sons Heathfield and Henly. Edward had become an attorney and solicitor for the Court of Chancery and his sons had entered into apprenticeships as clerks. They are variously registered in poll books for the City of London. Edward had married Mary Fielder Heathfield in 1792 hence the name Heathfield of one of their sons.

1833 - An estate plan is produced: Map entitled: 'Plan of an Estate belonging to John (Barwell) Cator Esq situate in the Parishes of Beckenham, Lewisham and Bromley in the County of Kent'. It shows roads, field boundaries, Southend, parish boundaries (with Croydon and Penge) and boundary with Lord Farnborough's lands. Scale is 5 1/2 cm: 1/4 mile. Certified as 'Plan marked B3' in declaration of Thomas Henry Burroughes and John Cator (Bromley Library).

Reproduced courtesy of Bromley Historic Collections

This extract from the map raises some questions as a subsequent estate plan says that shaded areas are on long leases to tenants so probably the same is true of this one. It is frustrating that any accompanying documents are not with the map which would have given field names and leaseholders. I assume unnumbered fields or buildings are not Cator property but illustrated for mapping detail, and perhaps seen as potential purchases? Although Barwell Cator was decamping to Norfolk the family were still dealing in this area as evidenced by documents concerning the Croydon Canal and Penge Common. Comparison with the Foxgrove plan and Beckenham Manor plan shows that field patterns changed and the River Pool was straightened for some of its course. Maybe some leaseholds can be identified from the descriptions in the 1825 Act of Parliament document. The map is orientated with West at the top and does illustrate how the Cator land was mainly to the north of the village. Even so there are plots belonging to others. S.Wilson Esq having some of the north side of the High Street including plots which had been Cator’s on the 1776 Foxgrove plan and G.Austin has the area around Thayers Farm north of Clockhouse. G. Austin is probably an heir of Francis Motley Austin found on the 1809 Burrell map. Lord Farnborough to the east of Cator’s land had the estate around what is now Bromley Court Hotel.

1834 – Launcelot Holland is recorded as tenant of Beckenham Place in the South Eastern Gazette 21 January 1834 when his daughter marries Charles Manners Forster, son of John Forster of Southend. Launcelot Holland would later be tenant or occupant of Emanuel Goodhart's Langley Farm in the 1838 tithe and 1841 census living on independent means. Martha Cator, daughter of Peter Cator, marries Launcelot’s son Henry Holland in 1841 so there are family ties and associations.

1834 - Penge Place and Common etc.; John Barwell Cator and  his trustees who had purchased Penge Place in 1813 put the property up for sale, advertised in the County Courier and London Chronicle etc. Penge Place occupied by Mr. Peters. Penge Farm. Whether this 'Peters' is the same or related to the Peters who took residence at Beckenham Place in 1835 is a question and if Penge Place is sold by the Cators then offering Peters the alternative of Beckenham Place is possible. see 1835 and 1838. 

County Chronicle:

"Kent, Surrey, and Essex. Important and very valuable Estates at Norwood, Penge, Beckenham, Chingford and Sevenoaks.

Mr Hoggart begs leave to announce for Sale, in May next some of the most valuable Estates ever offered, the chief part within six miles of the metropolis, comprising in the whole about One Thousand Acres, a great portion of which upon that delightful spot Norwood, so distinguished for the beauty of landscape scenery and extensive prospects and adapted for the erection of villas. The property commences on the ridge of the fine road from Sydenham to Croydon, bounded on one side by the road from Penge Place to Beckenham, and intersected by the new road from Norwood over Penge Common is Addington and Croydon. It includes the beautiful villa, pleasure grounds gardens and rich verdant meadows called Penge Place, in the occupation of Peters Esq.; the ornamental cottage of Mr Rose; the residences, pleasure grounds and gardens of Mr Rose, jun., Mark Brown Esq., Mr. Miller, and Mr Weare; several rich meadows near Beckenham; a valuable Farm called Mayes, with farm buildings, several cottages and buildings, the Crooked Billet public house and land, various valuable allotments ornamented with fine timber, the coal wharf and buildings on Penge Common, various pieces of rich marsh land in Chingford Marsh, cottages and land at Loughton, and two valuable farms called Leigh Park, and the Priory Farm, near Sevenoaks and Tonbridge. Future advertisements will more particularly delineate the subdivision of this very valuable and interesting property.

62 Old Broad Street, April 1834"

Several properties mentioned and this solves to some extent the mystery of some of them.  Leigh Park Farm and Priory Farm are near Leigh (Tonbridge) and Chiddingstone both in Kent which had appeared in the Cator list of properties in the 1825 Private Act.

Smaller properties in Essex which had been acquired by the late John Cator are also disposed of in this sale.  

A map derived from Ordnance Survey data published in 1816.  By the time of the 1838 Tithe the railway had replaced the canal. The first map on which the  Croydon Canal appears.Penge Wharf (the coal wharf and buildings) and land is sold to John Lawrie of Sydenham Place

1835 - Penge; An Act passed for the building of the railway from Croydon to the London and Greenwich Railway following the route of the now defunct Croydon Canal. The Canal Company had become insolvent circa 1822.

1835 – John Cator (1835-1859), eldest son of Albemarle Cator the elder is born but will not survive to inherit the estates, he dies in 1859 of wounds received in the Crimea. His birth date is subject of some speculation as the family may have been in Ireland at the time of his birth. Two siblings were born in Ireland but his younger brother Albemarle who does inherit, was born at Woodbastwick. This evidences that the Cators were mainly absent from Beckenham around this time. John Barwell Cator, the father/grandfather was also in Ireland very often at this time. (source: P.Manning and census evidence)

1835 - Mr Peters a banker is tenant at Beckenham Place. Whether some shading of the estate map reflects his lease is unclear. William Peters is recorded on the 1838/40 tithe map and returns and a Peters was resident at Penge Place in 1834 when John Barwell Cator put it up for sale. Peters was succeeded at Beckenham Place by Captain Walter Raleigh Gilbert, R.H.A., no dates available. Followed by R.H. Page who later changed his name to Page‑Henderson. Although census records note the occupants of the village there are not addresses in the first records. Later census records give addresses and eventually occupiers complete their own census returns. The 1838 Tithe map shows Beckenham Place divided into the leased house and grounds and land under Foxgrove Farm on the east side.

1835 – These details relate to sales of parts of the Beckenham and Penge Cator estates. Bromley archive has this document relating to Penge Place and Farm which will become Crystal Palace Park: John (Barwell) Cator Albemarle Cator Thomas Mason of Linden grove, Bayswater, Middlesex, Surveyor (2) John Scott of New Broad street, London, Esquire Property: Mansion House, stable and grounds called Penge Place, lately in the occupation of Henry Peters, Esquire. Also Penge Cottage, farmyard and stables, lately in the possession of Joseph Rose. Also 93 acres, 3 roods and 24 perches of land in the occupation of Peters, Rose and William Wilmot, all as tenants. Also Upper Barn Field, the Grove, part of Upper Wood, part of Hermitage Wood, part of Windmill Hill Field, Three Gate Field, Holly, Rag Field, Six Acre Field, Shoulder of Mutton Field, Nine Acres, Five Acre Field, Coal Earth Field and Filbert Orchard. All in Penge, Battersea, Surrey. Terms: 1st parties bargain and sell to the 2nd party, to hold for a year, at the rent of a peppercorn. (b) Attested Copy Conveyance Parties: (1) Bertie Cornelius Cator and John Foakes(2) John Cator(3) Albemarle Cator(4) Thomas Allason (owner of lots 5,6,23,24,25)(5) John Scott(6) George Grote Property: As above Consideration: £11,750 14s 6dTerms: 1st and 2nd parties release Penge Place to Scott, Grote as trustee

Also in 1835 The Crooked Billet public house, Penge Wharf and several other properties are offered for freehold sale in three newspapers. As the Crooked Billet and other Penge property had been in Cator possession it is almost certain these sales were by John Barwell Cator. Penge Wharf is recorded as being part of George Wythes property at a later date and it is known that George Wythes bought a lot of Cator property and subsequently developed it. One reason why my view is that the Cators were not the development and planning activists as some believe.

Penge Wharf is purchased by John Lawrie of Sydenham Place. Lease and release was a form of land sale made to avoid tax, later made illegal. 14/15 October 1835(a) Lease
Parties: (1) Bertie Cornelius Cator, John Foakes, John Cator and Albemarle Cator
(2) John Lawrie of Sydenham Place, Kent, Esquire
Property: Wharf, warehouse, lately erected barn, garden and premises on the borders of the
Croydon Canal and known as Penge Wharf. Also warehouse, containing in total 
1 acre, 18 perches, adjoining meadow containing 3 roods and 15 perches in the
occupation of William Walton. Also 2 further portions of land in Penge, containing 
2 acres, 2 roods and 30 perches and 1 acres 35 perches.
Consideration: 5s paid by 2nd parties to 1st party
Terms: 1st parties bargain and sell to the 2nd party, to hold for a year, at the rent of a
(b) Release
Parties: (1) Bertie Cornelius Cator and John Foakes (trustees)
(2) John Cator and Albemarle Cator
(3) John Lawrie
(4) William Thomas Longbourne of Gray's Inn, Middlesex, Gentleman
Property: As above
Consideration: £3408 7s 1d
Terms: Land is conveyed to Lawrie
Other details: Plan shows land sold and surrounding land owners.

Penge Wharf on the Croydon Canal was becoming or had become redundant due to the coming of the railways.

1835 - Kelsey sale by Grose Smith to Henry Merrick Hoare. Edward Grose Smith had bought it from the Gwydir sale of Langley and Kelsey. This is just part of the overall Kelsey estate accumulated by the Burrells.

London Borough of Bromley Archives



Ref No



Contract for sale and purchase for £8,000 of Kelsey Park; mansion house, offices, outbuildings, gardener's house, lodge, greenhouses, 2 pews in Beckenham Church, gardens, land and water (63a)


6 Jul 1835


Edward Grose Smith
To Henry Merrick Hoare of Fleet St, London, esq.


1 Item

1836 - Albemarle Cator II (1836-1906) is born at Woodbastwick, Norfolk. The family return to Ireland where subsequent siblings are born until about 1844 according to census evidence his sister Charlotte is born in 1838 in Ireland. With Albemarle’s wife’s family being in Ireland it is possible they travelled back and forth if she felt more comfortable going into labour near her family.

This is also the year of a great storm, from The Evening Chronicle 02 December 1836 "The storm of Tuesday morning raged here with great violence. In Langley Park above 100 trees have been uprooted. In Kelsey, Eden Farm and Beckenham Place forest trees of the largest dimensions are lying in all directions.

1837 - Queen Victoria until 1901

1837 – Cator estate sale, Shortlands House and Norwood/Penge Common John Barwell Cator and his trustees put some property up for sale in the County Chronicle, Surrey Herald and Weekly Advertiser for Kent 25 July 1837 page 2 col 

170 acres on Penge Common and 15 acres more, Shortlands House and 56 acres with Lodge Farm (Bromley/Shortlands borders) 75 acres, Norwood and Penge Common 40 acres, 50 acres and 42 acres, Oakery 9 acres (on Bromley Road), adj (Mr Scott) 23 acres, adj 9 acres, adj 1 acre. (total 490 acres)

Shortlands House with 100 acres is owned by Mrs Palmer in the Tithe of the following year. 18 acres sub-let.

Significantly these are sales of previously leased properties with sitting tenants in some cases.

1837 - Thayers Farm / Cator; 02/12/1837; Conveyance of Thayers Farm, Beckenham between Sir John Cholmeley, 6of Easton, Lincolnshire; William John Campion the younger, of Itchen Abbots, Hampshire; Samual Forster, of Lincolns Inn, Middlesex, esquire and Henry Forster, of Southend, Kent, Captain in the Royal Artillary (1st part);
Henry Goodford, of Chiltern Cantels, Somerset, esquire; Stephen Cholmeley, of Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, esquire; the Reverend John Thomas Austen, of Aldworth, near Reading, Berkshire, Clerk and Thomas Phillip Waite, of Louth, Lincolnshire, esquire (2nd part);
The Reverend Richard Stewart Evelyn Forster, of Carlton, Lincolnshire, Clerk and Catherine, his wife (3rd part),
and the Reverend John Brownrigge Collisson, now residing at Charmouth, Dorset, Clerk and Sarah, his wife (4th part),
and Albemarle Cator, of Beckenham Place Park, Kent, esquire (5th part).
In consideration of the sum of £2000 paid to the 1st parties and £2000 paid to the 2nd parties, the property is conveyed to Cator. Includes a map of the property. BHC 989/4/1/2

Combined with sales of Shortlands and  purchase of Kent House this adds to the adjustments the Cator Estate makes in creating a contiguous estate rather than diversely seperate holdings.

As Thayers Farm was part of the Thomas Motley properties descended to Francis Motley Austin the mention of John Thomas Austen seems coincidental and how the Forsters of Southend became involved is curious. But Francis Austin held extensive property extending into Lewisham so some complex bequests etc could esplain it.

1838 - The Tithe Map and returns for Beckenham shows the landowners and occupants of the Parish. William Peters is already the tenant of Beckenham Place House and parts of the park, 71 acres. But other parts of the park are occupied by the tenant of Foxgrove Farm, William Gibbons who is managing 274 acres. Michael Mathews who is tenant of Copers Cope Farm holds 534 acres, some of which extends to Bell Green. Early maps and the Tithe map demonstrate that reorganization and renaming of fields has occurred presumably as farming practices change with new methods such as crop rotation. The data from the source below allows us to add up all the acreages for each landowner, see who the landlords were and their tenants. A quick summary can be made of the share of the parish owned by each landlord ie the Cators; John (1060 acres), William (194 acres) and Albemarle (45 acres) had between them about 1300 acres, John having the most. The total for the Parish is about 3900 acres. Hence, the Cators owned about one third of the Parish. By 1838 the former large landowner, Peter Burrell/Lord Gwydir had died and his estates sold to the Goodharts, Woolley and Hoare families as well as others. A fuller evaluation of the share of the parish owned by the larger landlords will be added soon. The total acreage for the parish is also interesting when compared to the known acreage of Beckenham Manor in 1623 ie 193 acres. It can also be compared to rough estimates based on the Domesday Book for Beckenham which described 8 carucates estimated at 120 acres each being about 960 acres, plus unknown areas of woodland, waste, church and crown land.

Other landlords and their share/property:

Richard Adams 83 acres,

Ambrose Austin (who is not adescendant of Francis Motley Austin so far as we can tell) 165 acres at Elmers End Old and New Farms,

Albemarle Cator 45 acres Thayers Farm occupied by William Inglis

John Barwell Cator about 1300  acres inc. Copers Cope Farm, Kent House Farm, Foxgrove Farm, Beckenham Place, Rockhills and miscellaneous properties.

Edward Cranfield 168 acres, New Farm let to William Skinner

Edward Adams 83 acres Elmer Lodge

Emanuel Goodhart 723 acres Langley Park,

Peter Richard Hoare 61 acres Kelsey Park and the old Beckenham Manor House,

John Laurie 111 acres, Sydenham Park/Rockhill

Mrs. Palmer 100 acres, Shortlands House, Clay Hill

John Woolley 500 acres, including Kelsey and Eden Park. Most sub let and Woolley lives at Beckenham Lodge with 28 acres 'in hand'.

Robert Gibson 90 acres The Oakery, Clay Hill

Rev L.V.Harcourt (Glebe land) 50 acres.

Cornelius Lea  Wilson owned and occuped Village Place otherwise  known as The Cedars with about 11 or 12 acres of mixed land and leased or let properties around the High Street.

Various other small landowners make up the rest.

The Tithe shows a total acreage of about 3755 acres.


These landlords sub-let in many cases ie John Woolley was owner of Eden Park which was leased to Edward Lawford 329 acres. Woolley also leased Kelsey Cottage to Herbert Jenner. Woolley appears to be occupying Beckenham Lodge and adjoining land as it is shown ‘in hand’ on the tithe return. Peter Richard Hoare holds and occupies Kelsey mansion and grounds. Henry Merryk Hoare holds the Manor House and grounds but it is leased to Matthew Fortescue.  Just  south of Kelsey Cottage  was Lee Grove owned by  William Wright  but leased to William Whitmore.

The Tithe map and returns are cross referenced with numbered plots. Some but not all fields are named so identifying the plot against the tithe has to be done using the numbering system. Some areas are easier to identify than others ie Goodhart had Langley and Langley Farm, Adams had Elmer Farm yard and buildings (Elmers End), Ambrose Austin also had land around Elmers End in some cases which may have come down to him from Thomas Motley but he had a tenant, Paget and apparently lived in a small house in the village as an agricultural labourer.

(source; https://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/research/tithes/beckenham#02.htm)

Extract from the Tithe map.The village and Croydon Road

1838 - Eden Park is shown in a book of prints or directory as the Seat of Edward Lawford who had leased Eden Park from John Woolley. It's worth repeating here that this house is not the Eden Farm that  William Eden named as some images of the earlier  house were found for 1812 which probably began life as the Bune Gate that the Burrells built before 1769. Refer to the 1769 Andrews, Drury and Herbert map and 1812. This later house was built for Woolley after 1820.

1838 – Clockhouse; Is shown on the Tithe map return as belonging to John Barwell Cator and described as unoccupied.

1838 – West Wickham Workhouse, Wickham Green; Sale by the Bromley Union, 27th October; The Surrey and Middlesex Standard advertises;  Apparently a  small green of common or Glebe land was situated between Langley estates and West Wickham. It is described as Wickham Parish on the Burrell Langley map implying it is Glebe land  and a workhouse occupied some unidentified building there. The description of 'New' workhouse indicates a relatively recent build or rebuild. After Emanuel Goodhart  bought the building he either built a gatehouse there or adapted the workhouse building. The description in the sale particulars  adds detail.


1839 – West Wickham Workhouse;  Conveyance by Bromley Union to Emmanuel Goodhart of Langley Park, with affidavit that the property was not manorial. (Kent Archive ref U1435/T10)

1840 – John Woolley dies, buried at Norwood Cemetary on February 22nd.  landowner of substantial parts of the ex-Burrell estates such as Eden Park, Beckenham Lodge, Kelsey Cottage. Woolley had been a director of Atlas Insurance company and leaves property in Beckenham and Norwood to his wife Grace for her lifetime and to his son in law William Gibbs and friend Henry Desborough. Although his will requests burial in St.George's Beckenham he is buried at Norwood Cemetary, one of the newer cemetaries around London. He was shown as resident at Beckenham Lodge in 1839 on an electoral register and on the Norwood burial register. source; Ancestry.co.uk

1841-51 – Beckenham Place; The 1841 and 1851 census show William Peters of Beckenham Place and in 1848 his daughter Marianne marries Captain Walter Raleigh Gilbert. Recorded in Western Times 30th December 1848.
This evidences the length of the Peters lease of the house which was hitherto unknown. See 1835 which states that Walter Raleigh Gilbert takes over residence. Other press announcements evidence the Peter’s residence at Beckenham but also intimate a seasonal movement between Beckenham and other residences i.e. Brighton Gazette 03 April 1845 Mrs Peters and family have left Regency House for Beckenham Place and Sussex Advertiser 28 March 1848 Mrs Peters has left Brunswick Terrace for Beckenham Place.

In 1841 Foxgrove Farm is shown as occupied by William Gibbons, Farmer with family members and farm labourers.
There is no census record of the Cators for Beckenham or Woodbastwick as the family is believed to be in Ireland. John Barwell Cator’s wife’s family was in Ireland and though his son Albemarle was born in Beckenham, Albemarle had children born in Ireland by his wife who was born in Abbot Dangan, Ireland. By the 1851 census Albemarle had become established in Woodbastwick with three children upto the age of 7 born at Woodbastwick.

More extensive research into the census records from 1841 onwards can show occupations, residences and family structures. In 1841 the number of Agricultural Labourers is very high and the number of people in domestic service grows along with the building of large houses.

1841 - The Census record allows a great deal of data to be viewed. Clock House; John Goddard, independent means occupies Clock House with wife and 2 children and possibly step children with the surname Morgan. By 1871 he resides at Elmer Lodge.

1845 – Eden Park; The Morning Chronicle reports; Edward  Lawford  occupant of Eden  Park.  Lawford  was also tenant/leaseholder in the 1838 tithe of the Woolleys who owned Eden Park at this time.

1841 – John Barwell Cator v. The Croydon Canal Company; Cator (click link) sues the company regarding a land purchase relating to 1813.

1847 – Elizabeth Louisa Cator nee Mahon, wife of John Barwell Cator dies at Hessen in Germany. It is said that John Barwell Cator and Elizabeth were living in Germany to economise on living expenses having led an extravagant lifestyle. Whether true or not requires confirmation. John Cator recorded in the poll book below but it seems electors could be absentee voting by post?

1847 - Poll Book Electoral Register; John Dunkin Adams and Edward Richards Adams listed as resident at Elmer Lodge in a poll book. John Goddard at Clock House. Henry Latter is occupying John Cator's old residence at 5 Adelphi Terrace and holding some property interest in Beckenham?

a dash indicates votes cast and the 'returns' of voters seems less than 50 percent or maybe they cast their vote in another constituency for which they qualified?

1850 – Kelsey Cottage; John Woolley d.1840 had purchased substantial parts of the Burrell/Gwydir Kelsey estate in 1820 and built Kelsey Cottage. He had leased Eden Park to Edward Lawford.

Abstract of title of Mrs Grace Wooley, William Gibbs and Griffith Thomas, gentleman, devisees in trust under the will of John Wooley, esquire to a mansion house, a messuage called Kelsey cottage and lands in Beckenham, Kent. Begins with lease and release of 11/12 March 1824 and includes schedule of related deeds. (BHC ref 841/3/1/5)


Kelsey Cottage circa 1910 near Kelsey Lane relative to Kelsey Manor. The house had some farmland attached. These are further examples of how properties were swept away with changing ownership, fashion and taste. With a satellite image of the same area.

1851 - April; Beckenham Manor House (opposite St.George’s); Appears to be a lease as the property reverts to the Hoare family. The Manor House and grounds become to the use of Henry Fortescue. Also the Manor House has a much reduced 'estate' as the bulk of the Manor land had been purchased by John Cator in 1773 reducing the land around the Manor House to 'grounds'. 

Attested copy settlement of the Manor House Estate at Beckenham, Kent between Charles Hoare of Luscombe, near Dawlish, Devon, esquire and Henry Merrick Hoare of York Place, parish of St Marylebone, Middlesex and of Beckenham, esquire (1st part); Edward Tylee of Essex Street, The Strand, Middlesex, gentleman (2nd part); Henry Fortescue of Beckenham, esquire (3rd part) and Peter Richard Hoare of Fleet Street, London, esquire (4th part). Tylee assigns and the first parties confirm the property to Fortescue and Peter Hoare to the use of Fortescue for life then to Caroline, his wife, then to Francis, his son and in default of issue to Peter Hoare and his heirs. (Bromley Collections)

1851 – William Peters occupies Beckenham Place Park (since 1841 or earlier) shown in the census.

1851 to 1873 - Peter Cator is living at The Hall, Bromley Road, Beckenham. He is recorded as managing the Cator estate locally after spending several years in Madras. (sources: census, Manning and BHS). The 1851 census shows Albemarle Cator, the figurehead of the estates living at Woodbastwick and all his children are born in Ireland or Norfolk. The 1868 report of the Cator Estate shows that Peter Cator is renting ‘Beckenham Hall’ from the estate along with a block of five cottages since 1864. There is little evidence to show that Peter Cator is managing the estate and maybe this has emerged anecdotally is a question.

1852 – Crystal Palace, site of; at Penge Common and Rockhills.  By comparing the Beckenham Manor map of 1623 (1768 copy) and later Ordnance Survey maps circa 1860 we can see that the ‘Penge Common’ part of Beckenham Manor now lies at least partially within Crystal Palace Park.  A little to the north of the  site of the palace, and overlooking the grounds, stood Rockhill, from 1852 the residence of Sir Joseph Paxton, the designer of the Crystal Palace, the Great Exhibition building of 1851, of Chatsworth conservatory and gardens, etc.

Site of the Crystal Palace 1852. The direction of view is unknown

1853 – Rob Copeland records in his Manors of Beckenham that occupation of Foxgrove Farm passes from William Gibbons to his son Henry Gibbons. Under lease from the Cator estate as the farm is in Cator ownership in the 1838 Tithe. But the 1857 electoral roll lists William Gibbons in occupation. The 1851 census shows William as head and Henry as farm bailiff, perhaps William is retired. The 1861 census shows Henry as head of the household. From an OS map of about that time we might deduce where the Foxgrove Farm and Beckenham Place boundaries met and again the Tithe map and returns allow for fields to be placed under either property. On the OS map parkland was shaded and other fields in plain white.

1854 - Crystal Palace completed? at Sydenham Hill/Penge Common.

1854 - Eden Park; Related to possible sale and  division of the estate? This plan splits the Eden Park Estate into four numbered sections. Plan reference 1954/2 is a larger scale of section No. 2 of this plan. There is a smaller scale map of the area in the corner of the page. Names of the neighbouring land owners are given as: Edward Richard Adams; John Cator; Ambrese Austin; John Blake; Herbert Wathen; P.R.Hoare Brid's [Exors]Sarah PooleS.C.WilsonJohn BaxterPeter Richard HoareIsabella HoareGeorge HankeyJohn MarshalEmmanuel Goodhart. (BHC) see 1866

1855 - Elmer Lodge; is said to have been built in 1856 so maybe this deed refers to an earlier structure prior to a rebuild. Up until 1820 it was part of the Burrell estate and leased which can be shown on the map images below and in the 1838 Tithe Edward R. Adams owned it presumably by purchase from the Burrell estate. He owned 83 acres in the tithe return some of which was Elmer Farm which may not be part of this lease to William Hopcroft.





30 August 1855


Lease for 70yrs of messuages and land in Penge, Surrey (abuttals given); plan -.
(unexamined, membranes adhere)
Edward R. Adams esq. of Elmer Lodge Beckenham
to William Hopcroft, of London, printer & publisher


1 Item


Maps and Plans

Access Status


Elmer Lodge on the 1868 OS map, names truncated to Elm Lodge probably due to a mapping error

Elmers End, Elmer or Elm Lodge on the 1809 Burrell estate map.

1809 Burrell lease to G.W.Dickes

Tithe map 1838

The road layout changes between all of these maps but the former lodge footprint is similar in 1809 and 1838

1857 - John Clairmont Abrams is in occupation at the Beckenham Place mansion. (Pat Manning source) from an electoral roll.

1858 - John Barwell Cator dies at Woodbastwick Hall, Norfolk and the estates are inherited by his son Albermarle (1813-1868). Albermarle will eventually be succeeded by his 2nd son also named Albemarle. Pat Manning records that J.B.Cator and his wife lived in Germany for some time to save money. Though he had great wealth the restrictions on disposing of the net worth of the estate seem to have caught up with him and there are several opinions that he was extravagant. His effects are valued at under £35,000 but this may be just personal assets apart from estates left in trust. It requires deeper investigation.

1858 - South Eastern Railway: Service between London, Bromley and Southboro' Road. Refers also to Sunday train restrictions imposed by Mr. Cator of Beckenham. Which Mr Cator needs confirming but about this time John Barwell Cator is succeeded by his son Albemarle Cator.

1859-73 – Kent House Farm; leased to T. (Thomas) Covell by the Cator Estate 

1861 - Robert Henry Page a Merchant and Russia Brokerand family reside in the Beckenham Place mansion (source U.K.census) but the 1868 report on the estate shows that a lease has been granted to Sir John Kirkland from 1860 until 1881. Kirkland had other property at Blackfen, Sidcup. See 1871

1861 - The Census; information gleaned from the census returns; The public houses, George, Coach and Horses, Three Tuns and Bricklayers Arms are recorded and the Rising Sun at Elmers End (became William IV?). Occupants of Rockhills, Joseph Paxton,  (additions to be listed)

Kelsey Park; Isabella Hoare, Landed Proprietor and Head. Peter Hoare, son, Magistrate and Banker.

Langley Park ; Colvile.  Langley Lodge; Charles Goodhart.

1862 – The birth of John Cator (1862-1944), son of Albemarle Cator II (the younger) who will inherit the Cator estates in 1906. He will subsequently be responsible for selling off the Beckenham estates and dividing other property between family members who are trustees. Possibly as part of the dissemination of large family estates that took place post World War 1.

1863-73 – Copers Cope Farm leased to T.(Thomas?) Covell by the Cator Estate and as Covell also has the lease on Kent House Farm it looks like he may be farming Kent House and Copers Cope Farm together because in the 1871 Census “Coper Cope House” is occupied by William Edwards who is an Accountant and Liquidator.

1864 – Cator Estate; November, a map of the Beckenham Estate of Albemarle Cator is printed. The original may be lost but it exists in at least two copies. It excludes the site of Old Manor House opposite the church as that is part of the Burrell estate since 1759. One copy annotated ‘updated to 1889’ is in Bromley Historic Collections. Recently (2022) another copy of the map has been brought to our attention by Richard Mason. The ‘Mason’ copy is more like the original than the BHC copy, not coloured although annotated that certain areas shoudlcoloured to show leases. But this copy is dated 1864 without the ‘updated to 1889’ caption. Hopefully some good quality images will be hosted on the BBLHS website.

Some closer studies of the two versions seem to show that some roads planned in 1864 have been installed by 1889. For example Albemarle Road is just a dotted line on the 1864 but well defined on the 1889 and the Beckenham Place Park private road is not on the 1864 map but drawn in on the 1889. Thayers Farm adjacent to Clockhouse had been acquired and is attached to Clockhouse with census records naming occupants. More investigation is ongoing and the map adds to the story of the evolution of the Cator Estate, development of New Beckenham and surrounding areas. Both maps show a proposed road extending Westgate Road into Summerhouse Wood, Beckenham Place Park and illustrate the intention of the Cators to build on or sell/lease the land. A house called “Foxgrove” is already built by 1864 on the site of what is today Foxgrove Avenue. Kings Hall Road is not drawn in but the old station approach went from Lennard Road to the original position of New Beckenham Station. Beckenham Hill Road and Southend Road were called Beckenham Lane and Stumps Hill at this time. In the Copers Cope Road area another planned road which would have extended Lawn Road across what became sports fields is planned in 1864 but never laid down. However now that the sportsfields are coming under new ownership development is being allowed on a piecemeal basis even though a Metropolitan Open Land designation has been applied. Several other roads are drawn in but unnamed so presumably still in the planning stage and subject to amendment e.g. Copers Cope junction with Worsley Bridge Road is moved from the position indicated on the map.

The legend stating ‘revised upto 1889’ indicating that this is an amended later publication along with the indication of colour coding of the 1864 map does imply that other versions do or did exist. The 1889 version is also recorded as being part of documents lodged with a commissioner for oaths in 1906. Bromley Historic Collections/Museum also records a framed map dated April 1893 with colouring or the purposes of letting. All these maps are being investigated further.


1864 map courtesty Richard Mason                                                               extract of 1889 updated map

As one copy of the map is annotated "updated to 1889" and with the 1906 reference I list it there in the timeline as well. (Bromley Library Historic Collections and Richard Mason)

1864 - Albemarle Cator exchanges some land, probably Glebe land, unidentified 2 plots? Perhaps aided by the fact that the Cators held the advowson of the church and two Cators held position as Rector although not at this date. Church Warden Goodhart was landlord of Langley at this time.

Reference: MAF 11/78/2616 and 2617

Order of exchange of lands. Place: Beckenham, Kent. Parties: A(Albemarle) Cator and Rector and Churchwardens of Parish of Beckenham

Date: 1864 Dec 16
ef No 989/4/2/2
Acc No 989 BOX 2
Title Office copy of order of exchange of lands
Description Office copy of order of exchange of lands from the Inclosure Commissioners for England and Wales, who declare that property shall be exchanged between the Reverend Frederick Stene Courtenay Chalmers, Rector, Charles Emmanual Goodhart and Reginald Fowden (Churchwardens of Beckenham), and Albemarle Cator. Includes map showing the road from Beckenham to Penge, the clockhouse and 2 parcels of meadow land.
Date 16/12/1864

1865 - Charles Oliver Frederick Cator, son of the Rev Thomas and Louisa Cator of Kirk Smeaton, came to live in one of the first villas to be built at Stumps Hill. He helped his Uncle Peter Cator with the Beckenham estates and was a keen student of meteorology credited with the invention of the leverage anemometer. Peter lived with his wife, Martha and younger daughter, Diana, at The Hall in Bromley Rd. He was one of the founder members of the Beckenham Cricket Club at Foxgrove Rd. and was in the chair at a dinner at the Three Tuns on 1.5.1866 in celebration. Their first match was between Marrieds and Singles on 19.5.1866. He was interested in the seating plan of St George’s church and in 1868 he presented the church with a new east window. (source; Manning)

1866 - The Beckenham Place Mansion occupier is still given as Robert Henry Page Esq. (source: a directory found be E.Inman)

1866 - Eden Farm;  Plan related to sale  and  division of the  estate? Plan is entitled "Plan of South Eden Park Estate in the Parish of Beckenham, County of Kent; Containing 105.0.34 of valuable freehold building land eminently suited to first class villa residences being richly furnished with ornamental timber etc.". The plan has the land in this area (which is a larger scale version of the southern area in plan reference 1954/1) split into lots labelled with the size of the plot (in acres, roods and perches). The plan also marks proposed roads. There is a smaller scale map of the area in the corner of the page. Surveyor: Joseph Fogerty. Names of the neighbouring land owners are also given: Emanuel Goodhart Lewes Loyd Junr. W.R.Mace Isabella Hoare John Marshall George Hankey.(BHC)

1867 - This press cutting from the Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser of 22nd April 1867 describes several aspects of Beckenham at the time and some residents of the larger properties.

"BECKENHAM ; Beauties of Beckenham
We have been favoured with the following interesting account of Beckenham and its neighbourhood :- This formerly quiet and aristocratic parish is situate in the north-west corner of the county of Kent, having Surrey for its boundaries. It contains 3,875 acres, and 11 miles of roads, and is well watered by rivulets and streams. The principal is the Ravensbourne, with its silver springs. The ornamental waters in the parish are numerous and well-fed. The chief of these are in Kelsey Park, which contains 11 acres of great depth, surrounded by beautiful plantations of evergreens and rhododendrons of very great age and beauty. The water is well stocked with fish the proprietor, P. R. Hoare, Esq., having expended a considerable amount in enlarging and improving it. This park, as a whole, is very handsome; the undulating surface and fine old timber (especially oak and elm), the noble sheet of water, and the ancient mansion give it an air of importance. Next to Kelsey Park we come to the neat little residence of W. Whitmore, Esq., J.P., with its well-kept grounds, and close to which is Eden Park, which is now divided, and not long, I fear, to remain in its beauty. Bricks and mortar are likely to take the place of the beautiful walks and grounds, which a few years ago nothing could surpass. It formerly belonged to John Fowler, Esq., the eminent civil engineer of the metropolitan railways. It is a fine old family mansion with a park of 150 acres, remarkably well timbered.
Next we come to the newly laid out park ; and grounds of Lewis Loyd, Esq., J.P., for Surrey, and known by the name of Morrets (sic; Monks) Orchard. It extends to the parishes of West Wickham and Croydon. It has many very ornamental beds and plantations, and its beautful approach to an ornamental lodge and carriage drive is much admired by all travelling that way.
To the East we have the fine old park called Langley Park, with its several mansions, formerly belonging  Lord Gyder (sic, Gwydir), and now belonging to C. E. Goodhart . This is a fine  noble property, with its powerful spring, which supplies the whole estate with pure water, also we find one of the finest avenues in Kent, The trees are Spanish and horse chesnut intermixed with oak and elms, it was a few years ago a fine deer park but is now used for agricultural purposes. There are three mansions, they are at present occupied by Mark Collett, Esq., C. Goodhart, Esq., and Mrs. Gladstone, On the estate will be found an old and noble building formerly used as a Tennis Court, and has been visited in former days by Royal blood, It is perhaps the largest span roof of any building in the county. It is now used as a cow shed, with sufficient accommodation for over 100 cows, converted to that purpose by James Caird Esq., well-known agriculturist.
Next we have the exceedingly pretty little estate called “Shortlands,” the property of _ Wilkinson Esq., The grounds are neat and well kept, with magnificent cedars of Lebanon, supposed to be the largest in Kent. The family must not be passed without a word as to their charitable aid to the poor ; seldom one leaves without being well fed and cared for. This family is some of the good old English style, and with English hearts. The greater portion of this property is cut up and sold for villa residences, which command a pretty view over the Kentish hills, and also overlook the old ancient town of Bromley, and the seat of Col. Long, called Bromley hill. Next is the Oak Hill Estate, now occupied by F. Cramp, Esq. This is a pretty property with an almost a new mansion, built by the late Jas. Ogle, Esq. The grounds are well kept, and have a neat aproach from the high road from Bromley and Beckenham, Adjoining this is Beckenham hall, the seat of P. Cator, Esq., a brick-built mansion of the last century, but not extensive grounds. Then we have a handsome residence where the leader and chief supporter of the old Surrey foxhounds is to be found, H. Nichol, Esq., and next a Chancery-lane with its various trades, Farmers are nearly driven out of the Parish, but we still have Fox Grove, Kent House, Stone Farm, and a few others of importance, but bricks and mortar is fast taking the place of the plough. Next to Fox Grove is the fine and well timbered Park, with a noble mansion called Beckenham Place, with a fine sheet of water. It was formerly residence of the well known ‘‘Cator” family, and now occupied by R. H. Page Henderson, Esq. Too much cannot be said in praise of the great improvement of this fine old park and carriage ways, by the present occupier. So close to London it is doubtless the prettiest seat. Then comes the newly erected villa residences on the Beckenham Park Estate, and occupied by our London merchants, who patronise the South Eastern, and London, Chatham, and Dover Railways. Then the accommodating hotel, with its extensive grounds and accommodation, especially for wedding parties in the use of their noble grey horses which are so well known, The present proprietor is Mrs Bird. Then we have the fine old church of St. George’s, with spire and six bells and ancient lych-gate, and its many ancient family vaults and tablets. Close by is the Rectory, which is occupied by our much respected Rector, the Rev. Frederick Sreve Courtney Chalmers his living is the Rectory, annual value £900 with residence, in the gift of Alexander (sic. Albemarle?) Cator, Then we have Old Manor House belonging to Henry Fortescue, Esq., and now occupied by — Chrisby, Esq. The grounds are beautiful, over-looking a lake of several acres, and a good view of the Norwood Hill, and Crystal Palace in the distance. Opposite to the Old Manor House is the Ancient Alms Houses, the gift of Antony Rawlings,Esq., and the National School a very pretty structure. The village is a long crooked street of old fashioned houses, many of them modernised by putting up shop fronts of goodly dimensions by Col. Wilson. Many old cottages have been replaced by Gothic villas on the estate of P. R. Hoare Esq.
About the centre of the village is the residence of C. L. Wilson, Esq., J.P., called the ‘Cedars ;” it has a fine piece of ornamental water at the back, giving it a very pretty feature from the railway on passing it. Beyond that we come to the Clock House, which is occupied by Francis Tress Barry, Esq.; it is a fine old structure of olden times. Next to that is Beckenham Lodge, the seat of Hulbert Wathen, Esq. which abuts to the Croydon-road. Near the New Beckenham station is the new church, built and opened in 1863 by A.(Albemarle) Cator. Esq..  but this structure cannot well be  classed amongst the beauties of Beckenham but it is likely to be enlarged and improved as there is considerable neighbourhood springing up all around, and more accommodation is much required.

As a whole this parish is considered one of the most healthy and eligible spots for genteel residences around the metropolis and having a full view of the Crystal Palace fountains and  gardens. "

1868 - Albermarle Cator (the first) dies on the 1st May, Albermarle's eldest son John did not marry, dying without issue in 1859, hence Albermarle's second son, Albemarle junior (or the second) (1836-1906) inherited the estates (source: P.Manning). John had lost an arm due to injuries received in the Crimean War. Although they lived at either Trowbridge or Woodbastwick their estates in Beckenham are very much under their influence.

A report on the condition of the Beckenham estate is commissioned by the Cators and is archived in Bromley Historic Collections, it includes such detail as 5 brick fields, building and agricultural leases and describes Beckenham Place as ideal building land but it is on lease until 1881 which may partly contribute to its conservation toward becoming a public park much later on?

1868 – The Parish of Beckenham installs boundary posts, some of which can be found across the park. See 1884 for Lewisham boundary posts. (dates need confirmation).

1868 - Kenthouse Farm; Thomas Covell is shown as occupant in a poll book.  The Covells were in the meat trade. Edwin Covell will occupy Beckenham Place for a time from 1885 and have butcher's shops in the area.

1868 - Stone Farm sale by Goodhart? The farm had been leased to William Rogers Junior in the 1838 Tithe map.  Stone Farm had also been moved from its original base by the Burrells. Originally the farmhouse was about half way along Wickham Road (see 1766 and the Foxgrove Manor map). The farm was acquired by Burrell from Cator in land exchanges in 1793. The original farmstead buildings were absorbed into the Kelsey parkland and a new farm building called Home Farm erected, then renamed Stone Farm probably when the Burrell Gwydir estate was sold and Goodhart acquired the freehold. The fields of the farm were situated on the east side of Wickham Road.

Ref No



Sale Particulars


1 July 1868


Stone Farm, Beckenham, a farm house situated opposite the Langley Park Estate, land adjoining the farm house and the grounds of Eden Cottage, Burrell Cottage and Chichester Lodge, Beckenham, Lower Pickhurst Green Farm and Pickhurst Green Farm and Thrift Field, Hayes.

1869 - Albemarle Cator exchanges some land; St.Mary Aldermanbury had held some land in the Shortlands area which had been bought with a legacy in 1627, probably leased to local landowners for rent income. (TNA)

Reference: MAF 11/78/3542

Order of exchange of lands. Place: Beckenham, Kent. Parties: Churchwardens and Overseers of St Mary, Aldermary, London and A Cator

Date: 1869 Mar 27

Also, see this description of the endowment to St.Mary Aldermanbury.

1869/71 – The Beckenham Place mansion occupier is Sir John Kirkland, Bart. J.P. an army agent who had taken the lease on Beckenham Place in 1861. Kirkland apparently was on good relations with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and received gifts from them but he dies in January 1871 prior to the census and buried at St.George's with his wife Louisa who died in 1870. He is associated with Blackfen and is referred to on a relevant website. A press advert gave an indication of Kirklands activities at Beckenham Place as it lists furniture, farm stock and produce to be sold after his death. Kirkland had died before his lease on Beckenham Place was due to expire in 1881. The 1871 Census records his son also named John, a retired Major General in the army. A register of wills for 1871 shows that this latter John Kirkland also had to administer the probate of his sister’s death from 1869.  It appears Kirkland has either surrendered his lease or sub let because in 1874 another tenant is listed at Beckenham Place in a local directory.

1870 - The first publication of the Ordnance Survey maps shows very little built development around Beckenham Place park. Field patterns from the Foxgrove and Beckenham manor plans may be detected. The Ordnance Survey maps of the 1860's and 1890's in the British Library and National Library of Scotland illustrate the mainly rural nature of the estates at Beckenham and Blackheath. An internet search for 'NLS Kent VII' should access the full map from which the extract below is taken. We might assume that John Barwell Cator made changes to the estate as the lake is of a quite different outline to the 1799 Ordnance Survey drawing and comparing the two maps shows the difference in the footprint of the house ie with a portico on this map, without on the 1799 drawing.


OS map Kent Sheet VII – National Library of Scotland (their website has access to many digitized maps)

1871 - John Kirkland the younger is the Beckenham Place mansion occupant in the 1871 census with son, aunt and servants. Albemarle Cator and family are resident at Trewsbury House, Coates, Gloucestershire which they favour over Woodbastwick which is also leased to other occupants. The lease must have been vacated as a press advert puts the lease up for sale.

1871 - Beckenham Lodge (site of Barclays Bank, near the War Memorial) was occupied by Edwin Covell age 35 with his large family. Thomas Covell, age 43 (perhaps Brother) occupies Kent House Farm with 600 acres employing 20 men and 6 boys.(census record).

1871 – The Rectory; occupied by Frederick Chalmers, Rector of Beckenham (St.George’s).

1871 - Elmer Lodge occupied by John Goddard, retired Actuary.

1873 - Peter Cator, youngest son of Joseph Cator, dies. He had lived at The Hall, Bromley Road, Beckenham and is credited with administering the Beckenham estates for some time. By the 1881 census The Hall is one of the Cator properties leased, in this case to Henry Phillipps a merchant who came from Padstow.

As Peter Cator had held a post in Madras this obituary was published but the writer has confused some 'Cator' family events. It was Peter's uncle John Cator of Beckenham Place who amassed the fortune and he didn't lend money to George III but did negotiate lending to Prince Regent and his two brothers but the loan wasn't finalised (see other timeline entries). Also the "Crown Land" mentioned was in fact the Beckenham Manor land belonging to Viscount Bolingbroke, Frederick St. John who sold it to John Cator but had already taken secured loans on the property thereby involving John Cator in lengthy court proceedings to straighten out the situation while St. John effectively avoided any liability for fraudulently taking money from Cator. This is in entries circa 1773 to 1780 in this timeline. It may not have been Peter Cator who objected to the railway running but his brother John Barwell Cator who was primary heir to the estates until his death in 1858 or John Barwell Cator's son Albemarle Cator who became next primary heir. There is great complexity regarding the Cator property involving several family members as trustees and the mention of 'a nephew' is believed to be the confusion that John Cator d.1806 did leave immense wealth to his nephew John Barwell Cator (Peter's brother). Perhaps the distance from Beckenham to Madras led to several confusions?

 1873 - Return of Landowners 1873 Beckenham

Return of Landowners 1873 Beckenham A.R.P. Value £.s.d.
Acres Roods Perches
Nickall Harry 11 2 9 £152.0.0
Marshall Mrs 14 2 27 £370.0.0
Harris Charles W  14 3 21 £295.0.0 (Beckenham)
Cator Rev William  16 38 £180.0.0
Austen Rev J F  17 3 22 £11.14.0
May Richard 23 3 2 £50.0.0
Sydney Stanley 25 2 12 £130.0.0 (Beckenham)
Walthen Hulbert 29 3 34 £244.10.0
Brown Miss D 34 2 3 £3727.2.0
Ogle Ann exors 35 1 31 £590.0.0
Wilson Cornelius L 37 20 £2237.0.0
Wilkinson Conrad 59 20 £1036.15.0
Kirkland Sir J Exors 142 1 37 £275.0.0
Chumley Mr Ttee547.10s of  143 2 38 £1359.5.0
White F le Grix 178 3 35 £634.0.0 (Beckenham)
Hoare Peter 201 1 18 £2301.15.0
Goodhart H Trustees of  262 1 31 £547.10.0
Mace William R  274 3 21 £1696.16.0 (Beckenham)
Goodhart Charles E 727 6 £2057.10.0
Cator Albermarle of Woodbastwick 1085 2 0 £28016.12.0
Cox Mr 1 0 £75.0.0
Groves William 1 0 £120.0.0
Whiteman Mrs 1 1 0 £605.0.0
Wilkinson Miss 1 2 0 £84.0.0
Carey Edward 2 0 £122.0.0
Durage Inex 2 0 £135.0.0
Luck Edward J 2 0 £173.0.0
Cator Peter (exors of)  2 2 33 £135.0.0
Craik George H 3 2 0 £213.10.0
Harcourt Benjamin 4 2 16 £205.0.0 (Beckenham)
Hooker & Rayner  4 2 0 £392.0.0
Austin J  5 0 £250.0.0
Tapp A M 5 0 £220.0.0
Girdwood Alexander 6 0 £145.0.0
Parish of Beckenham 8 33 £165.5.0
3373 45 507
3387.42 14.41875 12.675
Some observations from the list, Sir John Kirkland is leaseholder of Beckenham Place so we might assume that some other parties are leaseholders?  Of the two Goodharts, sons of Emanuel Goodhart. Henry will die without issue having resided mostly elsewhere. Peter Cator of The Hall is the uncle Albemarle Cator of Woodbastwick who is primary heir of the Cator Estate and the Rev. Charles Cator is another uncle of Albemarle who having been Rector of Beckenham and Carshalton (both advowsons of the Cator family) has retired to Yorkshire and dying in 1872 this record had 'crossed over' the event of his death. The Parish land is most  likely Glebe land around the Rectory although the Rectory is seldom used as a residence for the Rector of the church. Peter Hoare is landlord of Kelsey etc, 

1874‑6 Joseph Fell Christie, occupant of Beckenham Place is listed in the 1875 Bromley Directory.

1875 – This record relates to at least some of the disposal of the southern part of Beckenham Place Park, being on the north side of Foxgrove Road:

Bromley Library archive: Agreement between Albemarle Cator of Woodbastock (Woodbastwick) Hall, Norfolk, esquire (1st part) and William Henry Maltby of Beckenham, Kent, builder (2nd part) in relation to 2 pieces of ground on the north and south sides of Foxgrove Road, Beckenham. Cator agrees to let the property to Maltby for 90 years at the annual rent of £10 per year for the first year and £40 thereafter. Maltby is to build a dwelling House. Includes a map of the premises and draft form of lease.
A large house in a large site was built called ‘Foxgrove’, not to be confused with Foxgrove Farm. Foxgrove Avenue is now on the site but that house is on the 1864 Cator estate map indicating that Maltby’s site is on parts of Foxgrove Road.

1876 - Charles Oliver Frederick Cator,1837- 1876 Inventor of the Leverage Anemometer. Author of various papers on meteorology. Son of the late Lady Louisa Cator and Rev. Thomas Cator. Succeeded to the entire management of the Cator Estate in 1873, when his uncle, Peter Cator died. 

Obituary Beckenham Journal (monthly bound volumes) January 1877, 10, 20 (Bromley Historic Collections)

1877‑8 No one is listed as in occupation of the Beckenham Place mansion as Sir John Kirkland had died before his lease expires in 1881 and his son has surrendered the lease.

1878 - The Village Flood; A flood of the Beck inundates parts of the High Street around what is now Thornton's Corner. It would have stretched from Kelsey Park downstream toward The Drive but been confined by the rise up the High Street toward the George Inn, by the hill up to the church and the hill at Court Downs Road.  Later floods are recorded and no doubt  there had  been more floods in the past but the less dense built up area probably avoided too much building on the flood plain of the river. For example The Manor House was on the hill by the Church as was the Rectory, Other buildings were on the higher ground up the High Street including the George, the Three Tuns, Village Place etc.


First picture looking up Kelsey Park Road and the second picture shows the Greyhound public house and Thornton's on the right with the spire of Christ Church, Fairfield Road in the background. (pictures courtesy of beckenhamhistory.co.uk)

This section of a map from circa 1870 shows the lake in the old Manor House grounds and how the Beck crossed the road junction before the river was conduited from Kelsey Park through to The Drive. The Manor House lake was filled in for property development

Map published 1870-74 but not necessarily keeping up with the pace of development in the village.

1878 – Foxgrove Farm demolished (source: RHCopeland)

Foxgrove Farm shortly before demolition

1879 - Spencer Brunton and his family are in occupation of the mansion. The Brunton children made a story book Christmas card depicting a royal family visit, maybe this harks back to the Kirkland residency or is just children’s imagination. This page from the book depicts a move into the mansion. But by 1881 they are in the census as living at Brook Street, London with their 6 children and a string of about 10 servants including a butler and two footmen. Spencer was a member of the London Stock Exchange but by 1891 his wife had filed for divorce. An earlier 1871 census shows they had lived in Copers Cope Road at a house called The Ferns with a daughter and only 3 servants. The six children were born in quick succession.


1881 - The mansion is occupied by Owen Henley aged 32 and family, a gardener - so we might assume he is acting as gardener/caretaker. Unless of course the official tenant is just absent and recorded at another address?
In the census for this year Albemarle Cator is recorded as being at Trewsbury House, Coates, Cirencester with his wife, 12 children and a string of servants.
Spencer Brunton had moved to Brook Street, Westminster. We find Owen Henley previously listed in 1871 aged 22 unmarried living in St. George’s Villas, Beckenham as a domestic gardener,

But 1881 is also the year for this event in June:

This article was discovered by one of our ‘eagle–eyed Friends’ in the Local Studies library in Bromley. It is from The Beckenham Journal. JUNE 1881.


On Saturday and Monday last, the 25th and 27th June (1881), a grand bazaar was held in Beckenham Place, which was kindly lent for the purpose by Albemarle Cator Esq., the object being to aid in defraying the debt remaining on the Building Fund of St James' Church, School, and Working Men's Club, Elmer's End. The idea of the bazaar had been originated and carried into effect by a number of ladies desirous of assisting the church, whose efforts had been made quite apart from those of the Building Committee. They had secured influential patronage, H.R.H. Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck, who had kindly promised to honour the bazaar with her presence, and to perform the opening ceremony, and of Viscount Lewisham, M.P., and Lady Lewisham, Major-General Lord Chelmsford, G C B and Lady Chelmsford, Right Hon. Lord Forbes, Hon. Lady Inglis, Hon. Mary Thesiger, Sir Charles Mills, Sir Edward Scott, Bart and Lady Scott, Co1. Sir John Farnaby Lennard, Bart., and Lady Lennard, Lady Cave, Lewis Loyd, Esq., and Mrs. Loyd, Mrs. George Lillie Craik, and Albemarle Cator, Esq. Great anxiety had been manifested to make the bazaar a success, the ladies who con­sented to take stalls, pledging themselves to pro­vide stock to the value of at least £100, a sum which was unquestionably for exceeded in nearly every case. Consequently there was no lack for those who came, to use the words of Marzials' popular song, "With their pockets full o' money," to exercise their liberality in a good cause.

At Beckenham Place excellent arrangements had been made for accommodating the large number of visitors expected, and all that was necessary to render the occasion completely successful was fine weather. Unhappily Saturday proved unpropitious in this respect for rain fell during the greater part of the morning, at times very heavily, so that by two o'clock, the hour fixed for opening the grounds, every place was thoroughly wet. This misfortune necessitated the alterations of some of the arrangements by rendering any proceeding in the open air impossible. Thanks, however, to the care of those who had the arrangements in hand, no inconvenience was felt beyond that occasioned by the crowding of the rooms.

Shortly after three o'clock, Princess Mary arrived, accompanied by her daughter, Princess May, and her little son, Prince Randolph, and attended by the Honorable Mary Thesiger. The Princess was received at the entrance of the fine old mansion by the Rev. A. Barber, Incum­bent of St. James', Lady Inglis, Lord Chelms­ford, G.C.B., Albemarle Cator, Esq., Mrs. A. Cator, and Rev. W. Cator. Having declared the bazaar open, the Princess proceeded to inspect the stalls. In the apartment on the left of the entrance­ hall were three stalls, the first held by Lady Inglis, the Misses Inglis, and Miss Buckworth; the second by Mrs. Barber, Mrs. PascalI, Mrs.Strickland, and Miss Isaacson; and the third by Mrs. Wallace and family, assisted by Mrs. Phillips. Each of these stalls was well stocked with the thousand-and-one articles always provided for such occasions, Lady Inglis’ being arranged as effectively, perhaps, as ,any in the bazaar. Mrs. Barber's stall, the goods on which were valued at upwards of £250, contained a number of contributions from working­ men and women, who had devoted their spare time of some months past to their production. A room on the other side of the building contained stalls kept by Mrs. and Miss Kirby, and by Mrs. W. C. Jones, Mrs. Green, and Miss Smart. The latter stall was stocked to a large extent with fancy stationery and kindred articles, amongst them being some beautiful views taken by instan­taneous photography. There was also a collection of New Zealand native spears and other arms, which soon secured purchasers. A spacious apartment, arranged in a most enticing manner, was devoted to refreshments, which were dispensed by a number of ladies under the direction of Mrs. Cameron and Mrs. Bicknell. Further provision in the way of creature comforts was made by Mr. Cameron, who had furnished a first-rate cold collation. The most attractive stall, at any rate in appearance, was that for flowers and fruit, which occupied a room by itself, presided over by Mrs. Radcliffe, Mrs. Blundell, Mrs. Newcombe, Miss Burleigh, and Miss Jones. These ladies had furnished themselves with a stock of choice flowers and fruit, which they had arranged so artistically that it was not at all surprising to find that the Duchess of Teck spent some little time there - indeed there was no department more worthy of a visit than this. Upstairs, Dr. Phillips had a number of microscopes, with some most interesting and instructive slides, on view; while Mr. Bloken was in charge of a Fine Art Collection, which preferred no claim to be considered "aesthetical." Another item calling for notice is that sketches of the new church of St. James, which has been designed by Mr. .A. R. Stenning and will be a very handsome structure, were on view.

Her Royal Highness, having completed her tour of the stalls and made several purchases, proceeded to a concert room, where some of the pupils of the Royal Normal College and Academy of Music for the Blind, Upper Norwood, were about to give selection of music. Mr. F. J. Campbell, the Principal, having been introduced to the Princess, who referred to the affection enter­tained for him by his late pupil, Prince Alexander of Hesse, the following pieces were performed, by Her Royal Highness' request :-Humerous glee, "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall" (Caldicott); song, "Die beiden Grandieri" (Schumann), Mr J. Prydie; trio," O Memory" (Leslie), Miss A. Campbell, Miss A. Carson, and Mr A. Hughes; piano solo, " Silver Spring," by W. Mason, a lad aged 14; and the humorous glee, "Little Jack Horner" (Caldicott.) All these pieces were per­formed with that skill and effect for which the members of the College are justly renowned, and they secured the hearty applause of the Duchess.

Her Royal Highness left soon afterwards, to the strains of the "National Anthem."

During the afternoon a very large number of persons visited the bazaar. A brisk trade was carried on at the different stalls, and there were several canvasers for subscriptions towards articles to be drawn for. A second selection of music was given by the Blind College, and the Band of the Royal Artillery, which was present under the conductor­ship of the Band Master, Mr. Albert Mansfield, also provided some most enjoyable music.

In the evening a Promenade Concert was given under the direction of Mr F. T. Newcombe at which the following ladies and gentleman took part:-Mrs. PascalI, Mrs. Newcombe, Mrs. Radcliffe, Misses Brown, Miss Wigan, (an exceedingly good per­former), Miss Burleigh, Mr. M. Beaumont, Mr. Sternhardt, Mr. Weber, Mr. A. H. Neuffert.

On Monday there was a very large attendance. The proceedings were enlivened by the band of the Duke of York's School. The total receipts of the two days amounts to over £750, which sum, after paying all expenses, provides the Ladies Committee sufficient to pay off the debt on the building fund, and a balance of £50 for other purposes.

1880 - This passage was taken from The Beckenham Journal and Penge and Sydenham Advertiser, JUNE 1880. Copies of these journals are in the Local Studies library in the Central Library in Bromley.

The area referred to is not clear, the Friends would be please to hear ideas on the location mentioned. Perhaps Cator Park, Kings Hall Road?


We have mentioned that a proposal has been made on behalf of Mr. Albermarle Cator to let on lease 42 acres of land for 99 years to the Local Board, to be appropriated as a recreation ground. The exact terms and covenants are not stated, but we believe they are liberal. The Board have applied for a statement of the conditions, and are favourably disposed to its consideration. The main difficulty is that which meets the Board at every point-that however moderate the terms, there will be some cost incurred, and with the many claims upon the rates for the execution of absolutely necessary works, there is much hesitation in entering upon others, however desirable, that will lay the slightest burden on the ratepayers. The ways and means are always approached with caution, and discussed with anxious care. It will always be the case that in a scattered district the expenses will be heavy and appear out of proportion when compared with compact and covered districts. We observe that about one-fifth of the amount collected is spent upon lighting and upon watering and repairing the roads, and these items of expense would not be greatly increased if the houses were much more numerous. The rating value of the neighbourhood in such case would be increased, and the expenses would appear lighter. We feel bound to say so much, when such a proposal is before the Local Board; but, at the same time, we should deeply regret if such a favourable opportunity of ob­taining a recreation ground of' suitable extent and in perpetuity is lost. The opportunity may never occur again, if allowed to pass away. We are aware another pressing matter is before the Board; that of obtaining a burial ground. We think that the leading ratepayers ought to assist, and there is one way of doing so that at once occurs to us. If the Cricket Club would unite in any way, the case might be met. No doubt the money required for laying out the grounds for such a purpose might be borrowed upon a long term, so that it really would be little more than the interest that would fall upon the ratepayers. We trust that the proposal of Mr Cator will not only be a liberal, but a generous one, and that the Board will be strengthened by the public approval to enter upon the undertaking.

1882 – A lease on a site called Hawthorndeans abutting Southend Road for 90 years, presumed to have been made freehold at a later date. A large house on a sizeable plot.

1883 – About this time a Beckenham directory records that the installation of the West Kent sewer caused the drying up of the moat around Foxgrove Farm. This area supplied the water for Beckenham Place’s lake so I’m concluding it was this that was the main cause of the lake subsequently drying up.

1884? – The Boundary posts are installed between Beckenham and Lewisham parishes. Robert Borrowman's book from 1910 records the ceremony of Beating the Bounds from parish records, but that the parish boundaries had become lost or forgotten so a sum of money was made available and cast iron boundary posts installed to mark the parish boundaries. Several of these posts are in Beckenham Place Park marked 'Beckenham' along with some marked 'Lewisham'. The parish, or now Borough, boundary has since been moved. Some posts are near old oak trees which for many years or even centuries were used as boundary markers. Some old maps record 'boundary mark on tree'. One interesting speculation or story is that the Beckenham parish boundary is strangely shaped as a body was found near Crystal Palace but no parish claimed it for burial apart from Beckenham so the boundary was drawn to where the body was discovered. Now boundaries are more 'political' and determined by the Boundaries Commission.

One curiosity is perhaps that Foxgrove Manor seems to have been partly in Beckenham Parish and a small part in Lewisham Parish as well as Bromley Parish. As Borrowman records that the Parish boundaries were forgotten perhaps the ancient parish boundary was more to the north than it was fixed in 1884. The Cator estate plan revised to 1889 shows a disputed boundary near the mansion. It would be interesting to see if these historic markers survive the park remodelling.

1885 - A Beckenham directory published by Thornton’s contains a brief history and informative data. Despite much of the information being presumably correct and quoted from sources I use in this account, some information is mixed up. 

For example in the passage below Beckenham Place was not the home of Piercy Brett, he lived at Clockhouse. And as I state in this history, Beckenham Place was in Foxgrove Manor and not in the 1773 Beckenham Manor property. Kent House was not an ancient seat of the Lethieulliers as they only possessed for about three generations and were probably absentee landlords for some of this time. This directory describes the water for the moat of Foxgrove being lost when the West Kent main sewer was installed.


1885 – From a local directory: The populatiop of Beckenham continues steadily on the increase. In 1871, the census recorded a population of 2391, in 1861, it was 6090, showing an increase of 3699 in ten years, and during the following period of ten years, there was a further increase of 6,921, making the total in 1881, 13,OII. The population is now estimated at 15,000, equal to that of Bromley at the last census. With this increase of numbers, much of the rustic beauty of the place has fallen a prey to the builder, and to the necessities of increased traffic and widened roads. The approach to the village, from Penge, not many years ago,wound through a splendid avenue of trees; Bromley road has been changed from a shady to an open thoroughfare; and last, but far from least, Church hill has been deprived of that wealth of wood and foliage which in past years made it a perfect picture. Whilst regretting the loss of so much that was beautiful, we cannot forget that we are living in a practical age, in which there seems to be no standing still, and with which few suburbs are going more rapidly or successfully forward than favoured Beckenham.

1885‑93 Edwin Covell lives in theBeckenham Place mansion, a butcher’s proprietor/meat salesman. An 1885 directory has an advertisement for his business and the 1887 Beckenham Directory shows him as at Beckenham Place. The Bromley Record reports his death in May 1893 and his obituary states “he was the largest importer of foreign cattle, farmed extensive land in and around Beckenham” Another Covell family occupies Kent House Farm as farmers presumably also as leaseholders. The Covells are recorded on the 1891 census along with several servants. Study of the census records reveals the number of people ‘in service’ and ‘living in’ in the large villas of the viscinity.

1885 - Killed, along with five others, including another family member, James Fisher, when a boiler exploded at Mid Kent Brickworks, Worsley Bridge Road, Beckenham.
Inquest Bromley Record March 1885, Mid Kent Brickwork Cottages, Beckenham

1889 – We should revisit the 1864 Cator Estate Plan annotated as ‘revised up to 1889’ as the plan shows areas leased in several cases to developers. Although this is the plan which shows an intention to have a road through Summerhouse Wood the plan predates the coming of the railway, its route is not even indicated on the plan but the map might be the basis for planning the railway which is authorized by an Act of Parliament in 1889. The recent discovery (2022) of another Cator Estate map dated 1864 provided byRichard Mason can be compared to the 1889 amended map. Some roads planned in 1864 are installed but with amended routes in some cases ie Copers Cope Road junction with Worsley Bridge Road is moved. Some

Looking at the areas outside Beckenham Place Park on the map it shows that very little development has taken place in Beckenham, Lewisham and Bromley. The OS map shows development near to Beckenham village, mainly large Victorian villas. The census returns for the period illustrate large households often with servants occupying coach houses, some houses used as schools, and often accommodating what is referred to as ‘professionals’. Of course there are some artisan housing areas of terraced property near the village centre. The records of the estates of the Wythes and Hoare families illustrate the nature of property leasing and development. Again searching online catalogues of Bromley Historic Collections is informative.

The legend of this map states that land coloured pink is on long lease to leaseholders and that roads made and now being made coloured brown whereas intended roads are outlined. The landlord reserves the right to alter omit or substitute other roads. What is now The Avenue is called Mote Road (after the moated Foxgrove Farm/Manor). Leased property can be seen in the southern corner of what was the original park. This is perhaps the cusp upon which the existence of the current public park is turned. Copers Cope Road, Brackley, Worsley Bridge, Park Road seem to bear the brunt of development over the next years. The small area next to the Beckenham Place mansion is shown as disputed parish boundary.


Estate Plan updated to 1889 – Courtesy of Bromley Historic Collections

Regretably so far no key to the field numbering has been found.

1889 - An Act of Parliament authorises building of the Nunhead to Shortlands railway which runs via Beckenham Hill station to Ravensbourne station across the park. It states that Albermarle Cator is to be compensated for lands purchased etc. Negotiations began as early as 1884. The Cators had obtained parliamentary approval to develop their Beckenham estates for housing in the 1825 Act and the 1865 estate plans show an intended road slicing right through Summerhouse Hill Wood, a proposal which fortunately never materialised. In 1879 discussions took place between the Cators, neighbouring landowners and the London, Chatham and Dover Railway concerning a proposal to build a railway along the Ravensbourne valley in order to encourage speculative builders to construct houses in the area. This came to nought, as did a bill brought before Parliament in 1884. However in March 1889, an agreement was signed between Albemarle Cator of Woodbastwick Hall, Norfolk, Sir John Farnaby of Wickham Court and representatives of the London, Chatham & Dover Railway, which paved the way later the same year for the passing of an Act authorising the construction of the Shortlands and Nunhead Railway.The landowners contributed land as well as finance whilst the L.C.D.R. guaranteed to operate the line once it was constructed. Records in Bromley Library note the Forsters and a Mr Redman as being promoters of the bill to authorise the railway with compensations and land purchases from Albemarle Cator (jnr.).

05/07/1889 Agreement between Alfred George Renshaw, of The Hall, Southend, Kent, esquire and William Stewart Forster, of 28 Lincolns Inn Fields, esquire, promoters of the Bill relating to the Incorporation of the Shortlands and Nunhead Railway Company (1st part) and Albemarle Cator, of Woodbastwick Hall, Norfolk, esquire (2nd part). It is agreed between the parties that if the Bill is passed in to law to authorise the construction of the railway, then the Company erect stations at Ravensbourne and Beckenham Hill and will pay compensation to Cator. Cator will sell property to the Company as required. (source: Bromley local studies)

The attraction for the railway company was that it offered an alternative route to that through the Penge tunnel, an important role it provides to this day. Maximum charges per mile were set at 3d, 2d & 1d for first, second and third class passengers, 4d for horses, 1d for cats and dogs and 5d or 4d for carts and carriages depending on whether they had two or four wheels. Five stations were to be provided on sites selected by the landowners, each well staffed and provided with all comforts for both lady and gentleman passengers despite the fact that when they first opened they were surrounded by fields with hardly a dwelling within sight! As the landowners provided the lions share of the resources the precise route of the line was dictated by them, not by the operational needs of the railway company. The result is that the line winds its way along the valley carefully avoiding major features, such as the former lake in Beckenham Place Park as can be seen from the sketch plan which shows the original field boundaries.

The railway company was very happy with their new route, which cost £265,000 and opened for business on 1st July 1892. Under a new Act passed in 1896, they assumed complete control of the Shortlands & Nunhead Co exactly five years after it opened. Ravensbourne Avenue, Crab Hill, Downs Hill and Farnaby Road owe their existence to the building of the line, as does the gully, which forms the present entrance to the park from Crab Hill. This was said to be the source of much of the gravel used in the construction. Many of the trees, which still shield the line, are the successors of those originally planted to screen it from the expected housing development. This house building never took place, but evidence of the Cators' expectations can still be seen today.

The width of the bridge, now connecting nothing but two parts of the park, suggests that it was originally designed to take considerable traffic. It contrasts markedly with the two earlier ones nearby in Westgate and Downs Bridge Roads, which are much narrower as they were probably intended solely to provide farm access. Despite several changes of ownership the railway service through the park continues substantially unchanged. Ravensbourne station lost its goods yard in the 1960s and in 1986 the booking office was badly damaged by fire. It has been rebuilt in a sympathetic style and the remains of the porter’s accommodation can still be seen in its basement by peering through a gap in the wall. Beckenham Hill station is basically unchanged apart from the loss of the down side canopy which was removed in 1968. We believe there was also a goods depot at one time.


Beckenham Place circa 1892 – if accurately dated this photo shows the roof dormers installed prior to the house being used as a school or sanatorium.

An earlier undated photo shows a roof without dormer windows, note the shrubs and ivy on the south wall


1891 – Eden Park; The Norwood News report shows that Eden Park had been left vacant for 17 years and subjected to vandalism.


1892 - 28th April Office copy of order appointing committees of person and estate in the matter of Albemarle Cator, 'a person of unsound mind', upon appointment of Mary Molesworth Cordelia Cator, who is appointed guardian and given custody of his person. Custody of his estate is committed to Thomas Henry Burroughes, who is to receive remuneration for his services. Includes schedule of existing agreements affecting the Beckenham and Blackheath estates.(Bromley Historic Collections ref 989/3/6). It appears Burroughs has been a land agent for the Cators since at least 1881.

1894 The Beckenham Place mansion occupier is listed as Mrs Covell, her husband Edwin has recently died in May 1893. E. Covell is also recorded as the tenant in the documents concerned with the authorisation of the construction of the Shortlands Nunhead railway through the estate. See also 1885

1894 OS map

The National Library of Scotland have georeferenced the Ordnance Survey map for 1894 It shows the map with as an overlay on  satellite imagery. For example the road now called Beckenham Place Park and Westgate Road which partitions off part of the original park. Only a few houses have been built, St. Margaret’s which still exists, Maywood, Westgate and Fox Grove as well as some houses on Southend Road. The proposed extension of Westgate Road into Summerhouse Hill Wood from the 1833 estate plan has not taken place. Exploring the other places such as Kelsey and Langley will show a degree of built development but the main estates can be identified.

1895‑99 No one listed as in occupation of Beckenham Place.

1900 to 2000 (Beckenham Place unless otherwise stated)

1901 – The Bromley Record reports that Beckenham Place mansion is to be leased as a school and states “the news has given considerable satisfaction in the locality it being felt that the estate is now, at any rate for the time being, safe from the all-devouring speculative builder”. The mansion had been vacant for seven years.

1901 - King Edward VII until 1910

1902 - Beckenham Place is listed as Craven College School. It had always been difficult, especially as the area became increasingly urban, to find tenants for Beckenham Place sufficiently wealthy to rent both the house and the whole of the surrounding park. At the turn of the century there was still a pheasantry in Summerhouse Hill Wood and a photograph of the participants at the last shoot together with their bag used to hang in the mansion. The local hunt last met in Beckenham in 1905, by which time the house was occupied by a private boys school called Craven College. An advertisement for which copied from Thornton's 1902 Beckenham Directory by kind permission of Bromley Library, is reproduced below.

The advertisement implies that the College was founded in the 1830s, but nothing is known of its early history or whether its name is derived from a place or a person. Immediately before coming to Beckenham it was only in Highgate for a few years, occupying a house in Millfield Lane on the north-east corner of Hampstead Heath.


The College occupied Beckenham Place from approximately 1900 to 1905 under the headmastership of J. Hartley French. It then moved to Elmer Lodge at Elmers End, possibly because of the loss of sports facilities due to the lease of the park to the newly formed Foxgrove Golf Club.

Elmer Lodge was built in 1856 on the site of a 17th century predecessor and still exists today, substantially unchanged externally apart from the loss of its conservatory. Today it is a mosque after many years existing as a public house called appropriately ‘The Elmer Lodge’

Elmer Lodge

J. Hartley French was succeeded as headmaster by Mr W.T. Carlin who held the post initially assisted by a Mr E M Verall, until the demise of the College at the outbreak of the 1914‑18 war. The existence of the former college was commemorated by the nearby 1930s shopping parade, known as "College Parade" until comparatively recently.

1906 to 1933 - From 1906 until 1933 Beckenham Place was the home of the Norwood Sanatorium which specialised in the voluntary treatment of wealthy(?) alcoholics and drug addicts. It was founded by a Dr Frances Hare, a retired Inspector of Hospitals for the Australian State of Queensland. The occupations of the patients in the 1911 census return is perhaps informative i.e. Medical practitioners and a chemist, a retired army officer, private means and an artist.

The reason for the name is probably because the sanatorium previously occupied a building at Crystal Palace, strictly speaking Upper Norwood, now called The Alma public house. The faint inscription 'Sans Souci’ still to be seen over the front door of the mansion is believed to date back to this sanatorium period or was imported with the stonework from Wricklemarsh in the late 18th or early 19th century.

The Conveyance of the park to the LCC in 1928 states that a lease was taken out on the Mansion on 1st of May 1906 for 21 years by Margaret Piper Rickman and later in 1925 the Norwood Sanatorium Limited took out or extended the lease for 7 years which would put the expiry into 1934. The implication here may be that Margaret Rickman sub-let or was acting on behalf of the Sanatorium.

Eric Inman relates: The sanatorium opened its doors on September 25th 1905 with 13 patients, a number which peaked at 232 in 1913. The average length of stay was six to eight weeks and the inclusive weekly charges pre‑war were £7.17s.6d a week, falling to £7.7s.0d after six weeks. This included medical attendance, medicines, board and lodging, games and ordinary services all provided in luxurious surroundings, as can be seen from the four interior pictures which are included by kind permission of Bromley Libraries.

The billiard and smoking rooms were reserved for gentlemen. The room to the left of the front door is thought to be the billiard room. That room was occupied by the Friends of Beckenham Place Park Visitor Centre from 2000 to 2019.  The drawing room was for the sole use of ladies, except when afternoon tea was taken there or gentlemen were invited for music or evening games. These could not last long as ‘lights out’ was at 10.30pm.

The sanatorium advertises its amenities as including, lawns for croquet, tennis and bowls. The home farm supplied fresh milk, new laid eggs and chickens for the table, whilst the hothouses and vegetable gardens provided fresh fruit and vegetables, including grapes, peaches and tomatoes.

Dr Hare retired in 1925 and died three years later at his home, 'Oakland's', 15 The Avenue, Beckenham. Kelly's Directory lists his successors as being Dr George (1926‑7), Dr Barham (1931) and Dr Given (1933). A Dr Walter Masters, who is not listed in the surviving editions of Kellys, is, in a detailed biography, described as taking over from Dr Hare before 1928 and moving the business to Chislehurst, because of a lack of space.

Doctor Hare authored several books on the treatment of addiction. We have accessed the 1911 census records which we reproduce here for illustration of the numbers of staff and patients present at Beckenham Place.


An interior of the mansion when a sanatorium

1906 - Albemarle Cator (II or jnr.) dies and is succeeded by his son John Cator (1862-1944). It is under this John Cator that we presume that Beckenham Place Park was sold to the London County Council. The various leases and sales of other land is too complicated and lengthy to attempt to fully relate here. A reminder that Pat Manning's book covers the Cator family in some detail and researching the various online archive catalogues is informative. Looking at the online catalogue of Bromley Local Studies also reveals some basic details of land sales and development. The estate plan of 1833 is annotated as being part of the Will documents of Albemarle Cator.

Estate Plan annotation – Courtesy of Bromley Historic Collections

1906 - The Eden Park Polo Club is disbanded but the Crystal Palace Polo Club move into their ground (to be identified). https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:VCH_Kent_1.djvu/595

1907 – Beckenham Place Stables: a lease for 21 years taken out by Philip George Collins and others and extended by one year to expire in 1927. The interaction between the Sanatorium, Golf Course and Stables is still unclear as the occupancies run alongside each other. The Home Farm is leased at a later date, see 1918 and maybe 1911 if I can find the census return.

1907 - The Foxgrove Golf Club is established on the grounds of the estate. A lease is taken out for 21 years with a ‘variation’ dated 1913 which might have related to the building of the clubhouse. This implies that the golf club occupancy expires in 1928. The "Foxgrove Club" Edwardian building is built circa 1912 by club members. From 1933 to 2016 it is a private social club. In 2017 it is occupied by caretaker tenants.

The Creation of the Golf Course

A group of Beckenham residents formed the Foxgrove Golf Club and in March of the same year leased most of Beckenham Place Park, apart from the woods and the immediate surroundings of the home farm, for a period of 21 years. Little time was lost in building a club house and laying out the greens, for in October of the same year the first monthly medal meetings were held for both ladies and gentlemen. Shortly afterwards a commemorative dinner was held in the new clubhouse, which over fifty members attended. (source: Eric Inman)

1910 – Robert Borrowman publishes his ‘Beckenham Past and Present’ drawing on the works of Philipott, Hasted and Ireland as well as material he could access in Beckenham Parish records. He reiterates the origin of Beckenham Place to 1773 and Cator’s purchase of Beckenham Manor from Bolingbroke. It seems he is not aware of the prior sale of the old Manor House or of the problems Cator has gaining full occupation of Beckenham Manor until 1780. Nor of the fact that Beckenham Place is in the Manor of Foxgrove. Nevertheless, his book has interesting information about the Parish. Borrowman admits that information about the early history of Beckenham is ‘meagre’. Borrowman does reveal to us other historians of Kent such as Lambarde, Kilburne and Harris, but they throw no further light on my research.

1911 – The 1911 Census is made available and we can tell who was occupying the various buildings in Beckenham Place and elsewhere. The Mansion was the aforementioned sanatorium which came under Beckenham district. The Stables, Garden Cottage and North gate Lodge, under Lewisham district, were occupied by golf course groundsmen and gardeners. It would appear that the Stables only had two families in residence whereas later as a public park the stables had 5 ‘Homesteads’ for park workers and families. In 1911 the Gamekeepers Cottage had a couple living there, we take this to mean the cottage that was in Summerhouse Wood. No mention of occupants of Home Farm in this census apparently or not yet traced.

1913 – Langley; 6th January – Langley House which had been adopted as the Clubhouse for Langley Park Golf Club burnt down. This building has replaced the earlier house shown in the 1779 Hasted print. The Burrells undertook some rebuilding circa 1790.

Some questions regarding Langley House and Lodge remain unanswered as some accounts say the house was a POW camp during WWII but aerial pictures attributed to 1945 show the House and the Lodge had been removed. We cannot say how or when the house or houses were built or altered, some say circa 1790 under Lord Gwydir (Peter Burrell IV) and maybe some papers will emerge from archives revealing some detail eventually. Humphrey Repton had produced plans for relandscaping the grounds in the late 18th Century but these do not appear to have been carried out  in full but some features of the earlier grounds had been  abandoned if not relandscaped ie see our account of the Roman Bathhouse and long ponds in the earlier 1735 onwards house.


1920 – Several conveyances of sites either on the private road, Beckenham Place Park or on Southend Road which were part of Cator’s parkland. One in 1921 on Foxgrove Road adjoining the private road, a house called Foxgrove which had been build in 1880’s?

1920 – Several conveyances of sites either on the private road, Beckenham Place Park or on Southend Road which were part of Cator’s parkland. One in 1921 on Foxgrove Road adjoining the private road, a house called Foxgrove which had been build in 1880’s?

1927 - The London County Council decides to acquire Beckenham Place park from the Cator Estate. The minutes of the LCC record that there is a need for public open space for the housing estates of Downham and Bellingham which are being developed. A transcript of the minutes can be found later on. Of course the LCC did not see the Local Authority boundaries which bisected the park as overly important. The price was £47,000 although the later conveyance states £43,000. At some point the Mansion and Homesteads have living accommodation provided for park staff. The Garden Cottage and the Gatehouse lodge also are lived in by staff. Seven 'cottages' and maybe 2 apartments in the Mansion. Over time managers, supervisors, gardeners and groundsmen are accommodated there with their families. Maintenance and security are provided by on-site staff. Large areas of woodland are fenced to protect it with a balance of areas of protection with areas of free access. The condition of the lake is not clearly known but the 1930's map below shows the lake has been reduced in size. To the east of the railway the land is described as a gravel pit, reed beds and an athletics ground. Thomas Cook's had the athletics ground for a period of time but it later became the Catford Sports and Social Club for council employees. The gravel pit and reed beds are believed to have been used for wartime bomb rubble or as one source describes for spoil from the building of housing estates. Anyone having more information please contact us. Old family photos or similar information welcome. Apart from the reason that the LCC saw a need for open space, the landed gentry had been finding it difficult to maintain estates after WWI and maybe this was an incentive for the Cator Estate to dispose of the park.

1928 – The date of the conveyance of Beckenham Place from the Cator Estate, John Cator of Woodbastwick Hall, Norfolk, the vendor and the estate trustees to the purchaser, the London County Council dated 24th January. The LCC cites the Open Spaces Act 1906 as amended by the LCC General Powers Act 1926. The purchase price of £43,000 is made up of two parts, £16,000 under the Open Spaces Act and £27,000 under the General Purposes Act. It should be a matter of record that the southern part of the eastern side of the railway which we call Summerhouse Field must have been acquired at a later date as at one time this was Thomas Cooks Sports Ground and became the Catford (Lewisham) Council sports ground at a date to be discovered. It is described as an Athletics ground on the map accompanying the conveyance. Some areas of Beckenham Place parkland had been either partially sold or leased over a period of time from the late 19th Century to early 20th Century. Whereas it would once have extended to Foxgrove Road in the south and to Southend Road/Beckenham Hill Road in the west, properties were disposed of along the latter roads on the west and the private road ‘Beckenham Place Park’ was inserted into the landscape for large properties, only 1 of which survives, St. Margaret’s. The others have been redeveloped into smaller plots over time. For example a house called Dura Den is now a close of several smaller houses.

Stumphill Wood is mostly outside of the park conveyance seemingly following the boundary between Beckenham Manor and Foxgrove Manor. Whether this has anything to do with the Cator’s ‘Lord of the Manor’ rights is subject to debate and research. The Land Act of the early 20th Century redefined some of these priveledges. It is still shown as an area of woodland on both sides of Beckenham Hill Road and Southend Road though some large houses are on the west side mostly in Lewisham Parish or Borough.

The farm, stables and lodges of the park had been leased and rented for several years prior to the LCC purchase. An area bordering Old Bromley Road on which now stands the ......Club, old abandoned changing rooms and the childrens playground is not included in the park purchase and must have been acquired at a later date or separately.

Some questions arise from the 1928 Conveyance map such as a building on Crab Hill on the site of later changing rooms for football pitches, a smaller hut close by. The path up from the Crab Hill entrance is more of an access into a gravel pit and it mush be assumed that the later Prisoner of War Camp had something to do with alterations in this area as well as any changes to do with public access to the park. The fate of the cottage or gamekeepers hut in the woodland which was even still showing on A-Z maps into the 1980’s is unclear but is now a few bricks at foundation level if you are lucky enough to find them.

The map explains the old water course to the lake in that there is a drain along Westgate Road following round into Beckenham Place Park (private road) and then turning into the park toward the lake. The lake had been reduced in size by approximately half by the time of the conveyance. Earlier maps show springs and ponds in this area and it is to be assumed that the spring is put into the drain in Westgate Road quite close to the school, which once had a pond on the site of its playground. The dryness of the stream or drain may be attributable to drying up of the spring or diversion of water into sewers. This can be compared to the drying up of Foxgrove Farm mote due to the West Kent Sewer installation and drying up of some ponds and drains on the west side of Stumpshill in the region of Braeside. Diversion of rain run-off from roofs and hard standing into drains rather than into the topsoil and groundwater can all contribute to drying up of the underlying clay and Blackheath (Harwich Formation) Beds. The fact that water for the new lake is drawn up from a borehole some depth below the surface indicates the dryness of the ground nearer the surface.

 1930 – Eden Lodge;  was constructed on part of the  Eden Park estate now  part of Harvington open space.  Some remains of the foundations are visible in woodland.

1931 - The Home Farm in Beckenham Place Park is vacated and demolished. Below is one of two paintings produced by a lady who lived at the farm when she was a young girl. There are some references to fresh milk, new laid eggs and chickens being supplied to the sanatorium in the 1920s from a home farm, no trace of which now exists other than in some aerial views of the park taken in 1996 the ‘footprint’ of the building can be seen clearly in the grass as 'crop marks'. Maybe at least two farmhouses were destroyed in the original creation of Beckenham Place Park and perhaps a new one built to supply John Cator in his mansion. It could be that Home Farm was in existence when Cator bought the land as the Rocque map shows buildings between the site of the mansion and Flower House. Some buildings shown on early maps appear to have been swept away in the creation of the park. Home farm was just inside the north gate. This was not demolished until 1931. Groundwork associated with the 2018 landscape work may have covered over the evidence of the farmstead, only time will tell.

If one studies the Roque map it might be deduced that there was a house already in this position and a farm in the vicinity of Home Farm. As map making was inaccurate before the Ordnance Survey then exact positions cannot be identified.

One of the early farms was on the opposite side of the road to the mansion, just outside the present southern gate to the park on a site now occupied by modern houses. Rocque's 1745 map also shows a building and gardens opposite the position of the present mansion, though whether this was a farm, outbuildings or gardens belonging to the previous house is not clear.It consisted of a picturesque huddle of buildings, which had obviously grown up over the years and is well depicted in this watercolour made in the early 1920s/30s by an unknown lady artist. Reproduced by courtesy of Miss I Krombach, who spent some of her childhood at the farm and is probably the artist.
The Home Farm lost much of its land when the private golf course was constructed, originally consisting of 9 holes. The purchase of the park by the LCC and the departure of the sanatorium to Chislehurst deprived the farm of its reason for existence. Its final occupants from 1931‑33 were the Krombach family, in residence when the farm was leased by United Dairies to stable its horses. It was demolished soon after they left and the site incorporated into the now public golf course.(source E.Inman) The position of Home Farm shown on an 1860 OS map. Home Farm just below the Lodge.


Home Farm or Beckenham Place Park Farm depicted by a young girl who lived there (Miss I. Krombach?).  map; National Library of Scotland (nls kent vii)

1933 - The Beckenham Place Golf Course becomes public and at one time the busiest in Europe, see 2016 for history and closure.

1935 – Beckenham Place; An avenue of Oak trees is planted along the drive in the park to mark the Silver Jubilee of George V’s reign. (source; anecdotal evidence).

Among the changes which are thought to have take place after the purchase of the park from the Cator estate are: removal of some outbuildings and greenhouses around the kitchen garden, conversion of the kitchen garden into formal gardens and tennis courts, removal of the game keepers cottage and pheasantry in the woodland. Conversion of the homesteads including the installation of Crittal type windows and installation of sheds for park management equipment. Essentially before English Heritage property listing features which might otherwise have been preserved were lost. But in the light of more recent decay due to neglect then the situation is about the same.

1939/45 – WWII: Other accounts recount the events of WWII but an Italian Prisioner of War 'Summerhouse' Camp was constructed on Crab Hill in Beckenham Place Park and an anti aircraft gun and barrage balloon emplacements were installed, although later the AA batteries were positioned around London as falling shrapnel was causing more damage to ground infrastructure than it was to enemy aircraft. Sheep grazing and growing of some crops for the war effort is introduced. Curiously enough the nearer one comes to the present day the more difficult it becomes to find out what happened to the mansion and park although maps of bomb sites now show that many fell in Beckenham generally.

These recollections of Derek Bates who was aged 6 or 7 at the end of WWII and lived in the stable yard homesteads in the park because his father was part of the park staff although he joined the RAF during the war. Derek recalls a V1 falling on the golf course in front of the mansion. In a memoir written primarily for his family but a copy donated to the Friends of Beckenham Place Park he recounts the windows and roof of their cottage being damaged and repaired, collecting bits of V1 and the army taking away parts of the rocket. Disappointedly he recalls his mother giving his shrapnel collection to the army. He also recalls seeing a V1 destroy housing nearby which must be the record below.

Nearby residents recall a bomb crater just off of Worsley Bridge Road and Greycot Road. The area experienced several bomb hits, V1's and V11's. Bomb strikes were mapped quite comprehensively.

This entry recalls a V1 strike near the park: “The Flying bomb exploded In Beckenham Hill Road. 1-11 ,2-16 Highland Croft,1-23 and 2-50 Braeside.184,186,188 Beckenham Hill Road, 37b Beckenham Hill Road, 31-37Southend Road, 42-80 Southend Road, Ada Lewis House Southend Road. Were damaged.”

An anti–aircraft gun and later a barrage balloon were sited near the mansion, with the operators of the latter being based in a wooden hut to one side of the mansion forecourt. (A recent park visitor, who had been stationed with the AA battery, informed us it was only here for a short time as the tactic was changed from having single weapons stationed locally, to having a larger battery at West Wickham). It has been said that Anti Aircraft fire injured or killed more civilians than it did enemy aircraft. Sheep were grazed on the golf course, but whether this displaced or supplemented the golf is something else it would be interesting to know.

Part of the park was dug up to grow potatoes and other vegetables particularly during the latter part of the war, when it was used as a prisoner of war camp. It housed Italian prisoners and according to one Italian book entitled ‘Prigionieri Italiani in Gran Bretagna (1940-47) was Camp No 233, known as Summerhouse Camp, Ravensbourne, Bromley, Kent. Probably some of the bumps in the ground may owe their origins to this period and not to some more distant times as some believe. Some of the paths through the woods also owe something to the efforts of the prisoners, as well as stonework and path-laying in some local houses.
A consultants report produced for the Heritage Lottery Fund bid found that several high explosive bombs fell in the park but no damage to buildings is recorded. Several websites show maps of bomb and rocket explosion sites. No deaths were reported for those in the park.
Another camp on Worsley Bridge Road accommodated German navy POW's according to local residents. Again, this camp narrowly avoided being hit by bombs which fell nearby. The camp was on a sports ground which once belonged to Cornhill Assurance Company close to the Lower Sydenham Industrial estate and nearby housing. Currently the site belongs to Sydenham High School. The photographs on historicengland.org are mostly dated 1946 and 1947. Prefabs can be seen constructed on what appear to be bombsites after rubble was cleared.

The photographs tempt me to believe that some records or anecdotal evidence must be incorrect or the dates on photographs are suspect.  Some photos show parts of POW camps start as a collection of bell tents presumably later replaced by huts as the need to accommodate more POWs increased. When trying to match bomb sites with photos there is very little evidence of craters so presumably the rate of clean up  was quite fast.  Today we can trace relatively new constructions on these sites compared to the surrounding 'original' houses. Bear in mind  that in most cases houses built late 19th/eary 20th Century were the first houses built on the majority of the areas which had been agricultural land.


This image from Google Earth Historic imagery shows the Beckenham Place Park POW camp (Summerhouse Camp) on Crab Hill and  the other image from historicengland.org which shows additional structures in Summerhouse Field.

1945 – Beckenham Place; From here until 1990 very little is known apart from the fact that the LCC/GLC managed the park and golf course and kept it maintained to a high standard with staff and wardens. Derek Bates is again a source of some information relating how his father spoke with visitors to the gardens giving horticultural advice. Some photos from his family album show how the park was well maintained. Several records are in the London Metropolitan Archive regarding maintenance work at Beckenham Placer performed by the LCC.

I personally recall how busy the golf course was, with a long queue of cars waiting for the park to open with eager golfers. It was almost impossible to get a game at weekends and usually very busy during the week. For many years the golf course brought plenty of money into the coffers of Lewisham Council after 1970’s but very little money was spent on the infrasture of the park. Regretably few records are easy to acquire but at the Public Enquiry recent accounts showed a income of over £230,000 but somehow all of it was spent or absorbed into general “parks” budgets obscuring any accurate profit and loss accounting.

1959 – Langley Roman Bath; this is from the archive of G.W.Tookey; (The Roman  Bath and a few other features in a ruinous state are all that remain of the Langley estate which passed through the ownership of the Stiles, Raymonds, Burrells and Goodharts).


These baths are situated on Langley Park Golf Course in a hollow about one quarter of a mile to the south of the Beckenham Girls’ Grammar School buildings. The larger bath is open and comprises a brick lined basin about twelve feet wide and fifty feet long. The smaller bath is in a brick building and comprises a small plunge bath about four feet wide and nine feet long the depth of the water cannot now be gauged with accuracy owing to the amount of debris in the baths, but there was at one time without doubt several feet of water in the big bath and at least two or three feet of water in the small bath.

Early maps show the field to the east of the site as "Conduit Field" which indicates that the springs of water which rise out of the ground there were piped down to the Langley mansion which stood on the site now These springs are not now serving as a means of water supply to any house, but they still keep the baths filled with fresh clear and cold water, although the general appearance of the baths has for many years now been spoilt by the sad state of ruin into which they have fallen, largely as a result of the destructive work of children playing there and throwing everything movable into the water and also as a result of the side walls of the large bath caving in.

There is a photograph (No.963) which was taken some time in the late nineteenth century showing the large bath in a reasonable state of upkeep, although it can be seen that the sides are already slightly bowed inwards due to the pressure of the surrounding soil, much of which would have been excavated from the bath when it was constructed. The building at the north end, in which the small bath is situated, is beginning to show signs of lack of repair with one light out of the window over the doorway. The tree at the corner of the building has already reached an uncomfortable size for its position.

The original of the picture is in Virginia U.S.A in the possession of Mr. Leander McCormick-Goodhart whose father was the last owner in residence at Langley. A copy of the photograph was supplied by him in 1954.

The small bath is shown in the photograph taken in 1952 (No.820) after it had been cleaned out to a certain depth by F.A.Watts and G.W.Tookey of the Beckenham Historical Association. The clearness of the water can be seen and there was an abundant supply coming in at the time. The conduit at the south end of the bath connects with the large bath, and the outlet at the other end goes to form a stream running through the park towards the site of the house.

The date when the baths ware constructed is not known for certain, but it is probable that they were built in the first half of the eighteenth century. They are shown on a map of the Langley estate in the time of Jones Raymond (Photograph Q.116) end this is the first map which is available of the site. Jones Raymond succeeded to the estate on the death of his father Hugh Raymond, in 1757, and Jones himself died in 1768, It is possible that the baths were constructed at the same time as the new Langley Mansion was built, which was probably in Hugh Raymond's time at Langley (1752-7). The house was certainly of that period.

The baths would serve the purpose of both sport and hygiene. The large bath would provide a swimming pool of ample proportions, and the small bath would fulfil the purpose of a plunge bath in the privacy of the small building. There would have been no such baths in the mansion at that time. The house was improved by Sir Peter Burrell (later Lord Gwydir) when he inherited in 1789 from his mother Amy Burrell, who was Jones Raymond's sister. Even so, the house contained no bathroom, although by 1820 at any rate the house could boast of two water closets. These are referred to in the particulars of the Auction which followed on the death of Lord Gwydir in 1820, The particulars mention the "cold bath in the park”.

Although the small bath has sometimes been referred to as a "Roman Bath" there is no indication that the construction is of Roman date at all. Nevertheless it is worth noting that the bath lies within a few feet of the ancient Roman road which ran from Lewes to London through West Wickham and Beckenham and that it is probable that the place was known and used as a source of pure spring water from very early times.

The spring is not to be confused with the "Woe Waters" referred to by Johan Warkworth, the chronicler in the time of Edward IV, as being a "pytte ie Kent, in Langley Park". This reference applied more appropriately to the subterranean flow of water in Langley Park near Maidstone (see Hasted’ s History of Kent Vol.II page 140).

15th September 1959. G .W .TOOKEY


1971 - Control and ownership of Beckenham Place passed from the Greater London Council to the London Borough of Lewisham (LBL) and in 1995 the boundaries were adjusted so that the whole of the park fell within Lewisham. Prior to this the mansion was in Beckenham, (since 1965 part of the new London Borough of Bromley), whilst the stables were in Lewisham as evidenced by a number of parish boundary posts which can still be seen within the park today. The present condition of the mansion and stables reflects the inability of any borough council to fund, repair and maintain a Grade 11* nationally listed building, when faced with competing higher priority responsibilities. Some sources mention the park was briefly in the possession of Bromley Council but we can’t confirm that.

1976 – Beckenham Place Park and other open space is designated Metropolitan Open Land, a form of inner city Green Belt under the Greater London Development Plan.

1984-7 – This extract from the Beckenham Place Conservation Management Plan of 2009:

Records at English Heritage confirm the undertaking of further repair works in 1984-7 including the insertion of the large steel beams above the lantern, repairs to stacks,  the aluminium light over the main hall, dry rot repairs. Investigation of the decorations to the ground floor ceilings was undertaken by English Heritage in about 1985. No record of the investigations has been found but they are understood to have been entirely consistent with the ceilings being of late C18 date.

1992 - Football pitches and changing rooms in the eastern part of the park are closed to enable David Lloyd scheme (DLL). Stable Block Homesteads and other accommodation cleared of tenants to provide vacant possession to DLL. 11 football pitches were fully used at weekends so this was another example of removing one group of park users for another as with the golfers at a later date.

1992 – London Borough of Lewisham attempt to pass occupation of the park to David Lloyd Leisure for the purposes of an indoor Tennis centre and extended golf facilities. A Public Enquiry leads to rejection of the plans to extend golf and add indoor tennis centre. Ironically, this scheme would have more than doubled the golf area, as well as covering a large area of the park with indoor sports facilities. Later, in 2015, the golf is deemed unviable and removed completely.

1993/2000 – Although the Tennis Centre scheme is refused the Park is managed by David LLoyd Leisure as a 7 year management contract had been awarded prior to the public enquiry. Rejection of the tennis centre and golf extension plans was largely because of the MOL status of the park. In 1993 planning permission was granted in principle by London Borough of Lewisham for a sporting venture, which would have radically transformed what is Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) into inaccessible sporting areas, at the expense of informal leisure activities by the general public. Determined opposition by a widely supported and well-organised ‘Save Beckenham Place Park Campaign’ and other groups led to a public inquiry and rejection of the application in 1994. Many local and national groups were active in the campaign, primarily the Ravensbourne Valley Preservation Society, a local residents association. Other groups included The London Wildlife Trust, Council for the Protection of Rural England, Friends of the Earth and Save BPP Campaign group. Despite DLL being a large tennis related company they cannot provide enough nets for 3 tennis courts?

1993 - The Friends of Beckenham Place Park is inaugurated to attempt to positively influence the management of the park for conservation, heritage and open space use. At the same time the London Borough of Lewisham ex-Mayor John Rudd establishes the Beckenham Place Park Working Party for all interested parties to have a forum to discuss park related matters. Unfortunately the Council disband this forum in 2016 in a democratic backward step, in favour of forums which divide opinion.

1996 – The Friends of Beckenham Place Park open a volunteer run visitor centre in a vacant cottage in the stable block. There had already been a high level of vandalism and the Friends repaired and decorated the cottage to a degree where a park conservation worker lived there for some years afterwards. Permission was granted to open a Visitor Centre in the stable block in January 1996 to be run by volunteers from the Friends.

1997 – about this time, Eric Inman produces a series of articles on the History of Beckenham Place for the Friends of BPP newsletter. Eric and I accepted various other sources such as Hasted as bonafide but this timeline account explores aspects of written histories which have been shown to be inaccurate.

1998 - Len Hevey's book "The Early History of Beckenham" is published. Written circa 1994 is confirms many early events which we have rediscovered independantly. It was published after Len's death.

1999 – The Visitor Centre removed to the Mansion in November 1999. We regret leaving it as it might have saved the stable block from the later fire in 2011.


The 21st Century (Beckenham Place unless otherwise stated)

2000 - The Friends’ Visitor Centre moves into the Mansion at the invitation of a park manager.

2000/2014 - Various changes is park management take place after the expiry of the David Lloyd Leisure contract and the takeover of the  leisure company by Whitbread Brewery. Consultations are carried out regarding use of buildings, including rejection of a charitable trust bid for management of the mansion. As part of one management tendering exercise around 2009 a firm of architects, Rees Bolter, produced a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the Mansion and a summary of possible uses. The CMP has a lot of interesting information about the park and mansion including details of past stages of renovation and repair. It is worth a read but bear in mind that some of the history has since been altered and revealed. The CMP describes how the mansion resembles Palladian designs in Italy among other things.

2002 - Local Nature Reserve Listing (LNR) and Large Turkey Oak blown down: Wayne Butler as an in-park conservation officer employed by a park management company gets the park listed as a nature reserve. The Turkey Oak tree which was the second largest of its species in the UK and was over 230 years old came down on a windy day. The trunk had been hollow for many years and it had suffered from vandalism which weakened it. The date and age indicates it may have been planted by Cator. Perhaps supplied by his father in law, Peter Collinson who supplied many of his contacts with young trees probably cultivated in his Mill Hill garden. Turkey Oak was introduced from Turkey early in the 18th century and thought to be a valuable timber but it decays quickly when harvested. 15 years after its demise very little can be seen of it apart from some largest pieces of its trunk. It would have stood very near the end of the original lake.

Turkey Oak - over 230 years old

2004 (?) - Beckenham Place: Mander and Mitchenson Theatre Collection leaves the mansion: having occupied most of the mansion upper floors for over 20 years the collection is moved firstly to the Greenwich University and then to Bristol University to join other theatre memorabilia. Though the collection originally had plans to turn the mansion into a theatre museum they both did not raise enough funding and also did not in my opinion take the opportunity to apply to the National Lottery Arts Fund to achieve their aims. Though occupying the mansion the collection made no contribution to its upkeep and was not open to the public.

2009 – A Conservation Management Plan is produced by Rees Bolter Architects. One of several ‘consultations’ commissioned by L.B.Lewisham this plan outlines possible uses for the mansion, its condition and history of maintenance. Though containing some errors or omissions regarding the history in our view, the Plan was comprehensive but not acted upon to any great degree. The Plan may be viewed through a link on the Friends of BPP website.

The management plan was introduced thus: (but in this history we dispute some dates) but the plan does reveal some otherwise unknowns.

Beckenham Place is a Grade II* listed mansion of c1774 with a simple stone faced exterior and a number of important interior rooms. It was extended in about 1810 by the construction of a new entrance front which incorporates a great deal of material from the great house of c1723 at Wricklemarsh. The estate was purchased by John Cator in 1773 and remained in the Cator family until 1926 when it was purchased by the London County Council. The Cators occupied the house until about 1825; it was let to a series of tenants during the remainder of the nineteenth century and was in institutional use in the early twentieth century. Since passing into public ownership the house has provided accommodation for refreshment rooms and golf related uses on upper and lower ground floor levels. Upper floors were in residential use for a time, were briefly occupied by a theatre archive and have now been empty for about ten years. The mansion is an important building, reflected in its Grade II* listing, principally because of its position in the designed landscape, the interiors of the upper ground floor and the salvaged fragments of Wricklemarsh.

As the conservation management plan concentrated on the house more will be said in ‘Additional Information’ under ‘The House on Stumps Hill’

Ground Floor Plan of the Mansion


A gap in the history here needs filling with information regarding Consultations and Tendering for use of the Mansion, such as the bid by a Korean Hotelier which would have involved unacceptable extension of the building.

The Golf Course is put under the management of Glendale with the intention of increasing income from the course. However, Lewisham retain all the cost centre expenses such as grounds staff and machinery therefore most income remains with Glendale and all costs incur to L.B.Lewisham

2011 - Most of the Stable Block is destroyed by fire after being left abandoned and insecure for several years. Most of the heritage features of the building are destroyed including the clock which was about 300 years old. Below, the rear of the stable block facing the gardens in less than perfect but complete condition. The righthand end had been extensively remodelled probably after LCC takeover but the centre and left hand end had old if not original features. The clock was nearly 300 years old and may have once been at Clockhouse, Penge.

The Stable Block and gardens circa 1990

2012 - The Friends and the Sensory Garden: Over time and with cutbacks in park staffing levels one part of the gardens became a bit past its best. The old Rose Garden had overgrown and spent plants, overgrown path edges and weeds in the paths. A grant application was made via Groundwork Trust and the Big Lottery to obtain funding for a Sensory and Nature garden. Cooperation between the Friends and a Local Authority officer on behalf of the landowner produced an application and after much ado funding was awarded allowing for upgrading of the landscaping including an improved disability access ramp. A local landscaping firm completed that work after Friends and other volunteer groups grubbed out the old planting and dug over the beds. When the landscaping was finished the park gardeners turfed around the beds and planted the central area with lavendar. The Friends began a program of planting and maintenance gardening. Corporate volunteers from Deloite put in a stag beetle loggery and installed a bench and helped with a wet area for wildlife. The garden changes with the seasons providing habitat for birds, invertibrates, small mammals and amphibians. We get the occasional surprise if a bank vole or frog jump out while gardening. Some local people keep the bird table supplied with seed and leftovers. The beds are broadly themed for touch, smell, sight and a bit of sound if its windy. Volunteer gardeners are welcome to come along to workdays regardless of experience. Although there's a kind of plan its flexible.

2014 - London Borough of Lewisham decide to bid for Heritage Lottery Fund money under the 'Parks for People' scheme to fund improvements to the park. The mansion remains excluded from any funding at this time. Although various works had been done to the mansion over a long period such as repairing the roof, installing disabled toilets etc. No complete restoration has been done. If we added up all the money spent on tinkering it would probably have paid for a proper job or at least provided match funding for a grant a long time ago. However, the scheme is not popular with all and various people object, not least the golfers whose course is deemed to close under the scheme. The Public Consultation such as it was presented four schemes either including the existing golf course or closing the golf course in favour of an 'Eighteenth Century Parkland Landscape' restoration. The latter narrowly won having the biggest quarter of the votes out of about 300 public responses. The restoration should include the reconstruction of a lake, rebuilding of the stable block and restoration of other Homestead buildings.

2014 - The Environment Agency evaluated a flood alleviation scheme to use part of the park to prevent flooding further downriver. Floods have been recorded in Lewisham, Southend, and Beckenham over hundreds of years but infrequently i.e. the 100 year flood which intimates a flood event will happen even if rarely. A prevention scheme was installed on the River Quaggy at Sutcliffe Park some years ago. The Quaggy, Ravensbourne and Pool rivers have combined by the time they get to Lewisham near the station. A deluge backs up at that point threatening housing and businesses. The flood risk is the result of uncontrolled or ill advised development on river floodplains. There could be some landscaping and nature habitat advantages to this scheme but the scheme was shelved in 2019/20 due to escalating costs.

2015 - The mansion remains at risk awaiting HLF restoration bid, The park and homesteads await the production of stage 2 HLF bid for restoration etc.

2016 - Lewisham Council close the public golf course, unable or unwilling to make it financially viable. The Mansion is put on short term lease to a property management organisation RJK Properties with intentions to increase use of the building.

At this time Lewisham Council (councillors and officers one presumes) decide to disband the Beckenham Place Park Working Party, probably because members of the working party tell them things they don’t like to hear. They establish 3 forums which in the view of some is a ‘divide and rule’ tactic. Public representation of views is suppressed by this procedure in my opinion.

2017 - Heritage Lottery Fund bid for £4.9million approved for park and some buildings regeneration. At time of writing the Local Authority are tendering for design consultants for the actual scheme after former consultants produced plans for the bid? Why the original tender couldn't have included a proviso that if the bid was approved the former consultants would continue with the scheme God alone knows. Seems a lot of the money will be spent before a shovel hits the ground or a brick is laid. Fairly comprehensive plans were submitted with the bid and for the planning permission application but a furter 'detailed design' phase is being tendered.

2017 - May 13th The Public Park's 90th anniversary. This is the date of the LCC meeting in 1927 which appears to have decided the purchase of the Park from The Cator estate. The Foxgrove Club Golf Course and the Norwood Sanatorium had active leases for a short time.

2017 - August: New design consultants have been appointed to perform the detailed planning. Planning permission for the scheme is still not granted awaiting, we assume, presentation of detailed plans. Apparently some concerns remain regarding the lake and its proposed source of water i.e. the stream appears inadequate, a borehole would be perhaps inadmissable and its event suggested that filling of the lake would be by mains water.

2017 - October. The planning application for grant related works is approved by Lewisham Council. Alterations to the landscaping will include removal of some trees which were planted to define the now closed golf course. The Mansion although in use and under a short term lease to RJK Properties is still on the English Heritage at risk register and not included in any current restoration grant or scheme.

2018 – Over the winter of 2017/2018 a large number of trees have been felled to meet the ‘vision’ of the landscape architects and invisible ‘design team’. The desire to recreate a lake and wetland area required the felling of what were quite mature trees of up to 100 years age. Due to the lack of maintenance of the former artificial lake it was either overgrown, partially filled in or generally left to its own devices. As the new lake may have to be filled with an engineered water supply I wonder what the long term future of any new lake will be. As previously mentioned it seemed the original lake was created for John Cator circa 1790, probably extended or remodelled by his nephew John Barwell Cator after inheriting the estate circa 1810. Subsequently reduced in size and mostly dried up due to diversion or building over the supplying stream. Any overflow of the lake area is taken by a conduit under the railway to the Ravensbourne. At time of writing (Spring 2018) I’m informed that the current rainfall is creating a pond. The area will require artificial lining as most man-made lakes either made use of natural clay beds or clay was imported and ‘puddled’ down as a liner.
Some work is commencing around the Stable Block but we have no indication as to whether original 18th century heritage features will be conserved or restored. “Heritage Lottery” seems just that.....a lottery as to whether any heritage is preserved.
An update on the progress of the works reveals that contamination of soil at the site of the lake requires sealing in of contaminant and cancellation of a proposed raised landscaping feature. Some architectural feature flooring in the stable block is to be retained. Some archaeology is discovered under the old lake bed. The new lake is to be provided with water from a borehole as the old water source is either dried up or periodically may carry polluted road run-off.
Excavations for the lake and car park are creating large piles of spoil and the installation of pathways is also contributing to this eyesore. The concept of ‘restoring 18th century landscape’ is in fact obscuring the landscape as well as destroying it. All I can say is that previous landscaping for golf course or sports pitches did not endeavour to conserve any landscape either.

2019 – Beckenham Place; Work continues on the landscape of the park, installing a new lake and rearranging the garden area, installing a car park and continued work on the stable block, homesteads and garden cottage.
Contaminated war time landfill was discovered on the lake site and was tipped on another area of the park under protective plastic sheeting.
The Flood Alleviation scheme for the east side of the park was abandoned in late 2018 due to escalating costs, perhaps among other reasons. Now the fate or prospect of funding for works to that side of the park is in doubt.
Although there is some support for the works, there have been objections and criticism of some of the works as not being in keeping with ‘restoration of 18th century landscape’ in fact destroy and covering up a lot of it. Excessive tree planting which alters the character of some areas and felling of mature or maturing trees purely for visual aesthetic reasons. One ancient tree was drawn to the attention of project workers as being in need of management and lopping to balance the crown. The work was refused and subsequently the tree fell and though the work might not have prevented it we will never know if conservation could have been achieved.

2019 – Beckenham Place: July, The lake and Homesteads are opened but shortly after some safety concerns are raised concerning use of the lake, some children rescued from deep water. The profile of the lake bed is such that it deepens from paddling depth to over 2 metres quite suddenly. Maybe a forseeable design flaw as a gradually sloping lake bed would not hide any surprise drops. The other unforeseen issues around the lake have required temporary fencing, security patrols and additional safety measures

The Homestead cafe is opened to the delight of some. Unfortunately the stable yard looks like its just been resurfaced over the top of any other surfaces which might have had some historic or heritage significance. The new clock tower (minus the destroyed ancient clock) cannot take the weight of the bell which is apparently dated to 1734 (probably the date which it was installed at Clockhouse). The bell is destined to be hung inside the cafe area (time gentlemen please).
Works are still being carried out and snagging to address footpath erosion, stairways etc
The 'mound' near the railway who's main purpose is to accommodate spoil from lake excavation and provide a viewpoint etc is merely a pile of earth with steps and a  path leading to it and shows signs of being a mud trap. The old burning yard which we know has a concrete surface somewhere underneath it has been levelled but the remains of years of waste disposal can be seen in the soil, such as plastics and glass. Several young trees planted to reclaim the site a few years ago have been bulldozed in the process. One step forward, two back it seems.
As the flood scheme has been cancelled L.B .Lewisham are planning a 'makeover' of the east side of the park with reed beds and more mounds of spoil.  I'm informed this is to meet the Heritage Lottery Grant conditions which included a guarantee  that  'improvements' would be made to the east side. L.B.Lewisham are providing a further £2m for the scheme.
The Friends of Beckenham Place Park continue to run a Visitor Centre in the mansion on Sundays and their volunteers maintain the Sensory Wildlife Garden area of the formal gardens. Volunteers under the L.B.Lewisham volunteer coordinator perform works in other areas of the garden and around the park. The Garden Cottage is a volunteer hub and base for the coordinator.

2019 - Beckenham Library: Bromley Council propose demolishing the purpose built library to make way for housing. Certainly the neighbouring site of the old Technical Institute and Swimming Baths was given to Beckenham for a nominal sum by the Cator Estate under Albemarle Cator circa 1900. A campaign to oppose the closure and sale begins.

2020 - Beckenham Manor; The manor along with the other areas has disappeared long ago under the urban sprawl. Development becomes less planned and depends on financial influence and supposed need.  A remaining green space on Copers Cope Road which was Natwest Sports Ground is being buried under indoor football pitch and artificial surfacing Astroturf in an age where we know that plastics and micro paricals are harmful.


A Crystal Ball is required beyond this point.

See Additional Information in another next file to be completed soon. Full references will be added here shortly and amendments or corrections will continue to be made to this account.

2022 – A recent visit to Bromley Historic Collections and delving into the research of G.W.Tookey revealed this vision of the future, possibly from the 1930’s