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Bromley - Grade 1 Listed Buildings

Page 12

In order to preserve buildings of special architectural and historical interest, structures of almost any kind can be listed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (the one-time Ministry of Works). Once done, it is an offence to make any changes without consent. The aim is to maintain or restore the look of the structure and woe betide you if you try to install cheap imitations. This is an excellent idea so long as the owner can afford the repairs - if they can't the building is usually allowed to decay and collapse!

Grading depends on the Establisment's view of the importance of the structure and appears to be a somewhat arbitrary process - some buildings seem hardly worth the bother while others which the casual observer (me) find very worth protecting do not appear on the list! Bromley has over 800 separately listed structures although this includes many entries for single buildings e.g. each apartment in Bromley College is separately identified. The vast majority are of Grade 2 status, ranging from large buildings down to a telephone box and milestones. Below are pictures (mostly taken in November 2005) of most of the Grade 1 listed items with a few facts and figures:

To see a full size version, click on a picture!

12.1 Bromley College was completed in 1670 "for 20 Poore Widowes of orthodox and loyall clergymen" by John Warner, Bishop of Rochester (whose palace is now the Council offices). A second courtyard of houses was built between 1794 and 1805. Slightly oddly, the main gate is dated 1665, but investigations suggest it was erected some time after the main building! More detailed pictures are available here.12.2 The Lodge House to Bromley College (immediately to the right of the previous picture). It appears to have been added at a later date. The white door doesn't look very original!12.3 Sundridge Park Mansion was designed by James Wyatt in grounds set out by Humphrey Repton between 1792 and 1795. Two wings, one can be seen on the right, were added by John Nash for the owner, Sir Claude Scott. The building has a fine staircase and an unusual triangular floor-plan.12.4 Sundridge Park Gatehouse at the start of the long drive, on the left, to the mansion undergoing repainting and repair in November 2005. An uncluttered picture can be seen here.
12.5 Wickham Court was built by Sir Heny Heydon in the late 15th century as a square, semi-fortified building although the site seems to have occupied since the 11th Century. The windows were inserted in place of arrow slits in the following century and the porch during the reign of Charles I. There have been subsequent extensions and the original internal courtyard covered over. It is now a school.12.6 The Walled Garden at Wickham Court, now part of the adjacent nursing home. The shrine on the right looks fairly modern and the garden is a mixture of formal and open wood intercepted by winding paths seen here in the low January sun.12.7 Having last worked in 1878 and despite losing its sweeps and fantail in a storm, Keston Post Mill still has its internal machinery in fairly good, although far from working condition . The wooden upper structure was built in 1716, with the brick base added later, and is the only remaining windmill in the Borough.12.8 Down House (the nearby village of Downe acquired an "e" at some point) is significant for its historical rather than its architectural interest being the home of Charles Darwin from 1842 until his death in April 1882. Originally built in the early 1800s, the west wing, nearest the camera, was added by Darwin.The house and much surrounding land is the subject of a World Heritage Site bid. Picture taken in April 2005.
12.9 Holwood House, built in 1825 by Decimus Burton, was the site of an earlier building used by William Pitt who was born in Hayes in 1759. The estate is also home to Roman and Bronze Age remains, much of which were destroyed when Pitt built his house. The house seen here on 11 Jan 2006 is now privately owned.12.10 There are a number of Listed items within the Holwood estate. Situated directly opposite the car park for Keston Ponds, I believe this to be Beckford Lodge which was built around 1830, when a new drive to Holwood was constructed. It looks a bit sad at the moment but it was hard work finding it so I have included it here!12.11 The Wilberforce Seat, also in the grounds of Holwood, was erected in 1862 and enscribed with an extract from William Wilberforce's diary of 1787 reporting his meeting with Pitt under an oak tree and their decision to abolish slavery in the British Empire. Pictured in January 2006, it has been moved a few yards from its original location behind protective railings.12.12 A recent addition to Grade 1 listing are the 29 "dinosaurs" in Crystal Palace Park created in 1852 by Richard Owen and built by Waterhouse Hoskins (!), a selection of which are visible in this picture taken in February 2008. Made of cast iron over brick covered in stucco, they have recently been restored to near their original appearance.

Note: I previously included "Sitka" in South Hill Road but it is in fact Grade II - the misprint in the Library's list has now been corrected!

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