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Bromley - Up, Down And Going Nowhere!

Page 14

These pictures were taken, mostly in 2006, to illustrate some on-going changes, planned and otherwise, in Bromley. I cannot pretend I am always on the spot when things happen so the pictures tend to be a bit after the event. However, they do illustrate why and how changes occur almost without you noticing!

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

14.1 Early one morning in April 2006, some residents were disturbed by strange creaking noises which turned out to be their house descending into the ground! Over the next few days more bits disappeard. Hasty evacuation of the area took place and the railway line at the rear was closed.14.2 In due course, once the cause had been established (a fissure in the chalk 25 feet below), heavy machinery was called in and four unsafe houses were demolished and the site on the flood plain of the River Ravensbourne levelled.14.3 A large number of residents had their lives disrupted (apart from those directly involved) since most of the service pipes had to be relaid around the affected area and paths and roads were blocked for a considerable period. The train behind shows how close the railway is and why it (including Eurostar services) was closed for 24 hours.
14.4 Despite regular visits to the High Street, I was taken aback when a group of shops and the last remaining evidence of a church was suddenly demolished to make way for an extension to the Glades shopping centre. Aberdeen Buildings on the left and the Virgin store on the right remain.14.5 Further down the High Street (the entrance to the Glades can be glimpsed on the left), another block including part of Bromley's first "mall" was demolished earlier in the year and the main structure of the new bulding is now just visible behind the screens. The road cone is presumably a memorial to the once attractive flower beds which marked out the Broadway for 60 years!14.6 It has been said that the property market is overheating, and clearly it is true if this estate agent's office at the junction of East and West Streets is any guide! Actually, it was the offices above that caught fire at the start of December. I am told an errant photocopier was to blame.
14.7 Distant hammering noises disturbed my summer months but it was only in the autumn that I finally made my way over to this corner of what was once the Bromley Grammar School for Girls playing fields. Apparently work was being done to build a new storm drain to reduce the risk of flooding.14.8 Trying to make a large, deep hole interesting is not easy but it clearly goes down some way as the top of a digger can just be glimpsed in the middle. Initially, the pile driving caused serious consternation to the householders behind whose houses did not take well to the vibrations!14.9 A more visible building project nearing completion at the top of Mason's Hill. The former garage has shrunk down to a smaller site on the left, overseen by what looks like a silver gun emplacement. Seen here in the afternoon sun of New Years Day, 2007!
14.10 This could be anywhere in Bromley (but most likely Beckenham Lane [Swan Hill] which has been dug up more times than an allottment in 2006 and they're at it again as the new year starts). However this is a typical day on Kentish Way looking north with the offices in Elmfield Road on the left. On this occasion the cause was....14.11 ...the exciting, important and very prolonged job of replacing the wires connecting the lights at the junction with Stockwell Close (on the right). Yes, the second white van had gone through the red light following his mate no doubt (and consequently spoiling my picture).14.12 As part of a trend to pretend everywhere in England is like Central Park in New York, small skating rinks are now appearing on a greensward near you. This rather twee rink was erected in Queens Gardens for the Christmas holidays. It was quiet on this occasion but has been quite popular.
14.13 The next two pictures were actually taken on 20th September 2004 but I hadn't previously found a "home" for them. An early morning journey for this van ended abruptly at the junction of St. Blaise Avenue and Widmore Road which led to the road being closed for all the emgency services and rubber-neckers like myself to attend. Indeed it was the volume of diverted traffic and wailing sirens that first alerted me to the incident.14.14 It became more exciting when the air ambulance was called in but it was a long wait as one occupant was trapped in the van which had to be virtually cut apart to get him out. It was more than two hours before the casualty was transferred to the helicopter clearly in a serious, but I believe, not fatal condition.14.15 Once again the peace was disturbed as the emergency helicopter descended on Bromley Cricket Club in order to attend a domestic emergency in nearby Freelands Road on 18th May 2007. The subsequent leisurely stroll of the doctor and his bag carrying assistants to the scene seemed a little anti-climatic!

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