The Village High Street.

Further along, on the same side, almost opposite Woolworth's stood the PARISH CLERK'S HOUSE, which, at the time of demolition about 1927/28 for road widening, was The Hawthorn Laundry.

The exact age of THE GEORGE INN is unknown but there is a reference to Richard King, at the Sign of Ye George, paying Hearth Tax in 1662. In the 'Daily Courant' of May 1715 there appeared:- "A Stage Coach is set up from Beckenham which goes from 'The George' every Monday and Saturday morning, and returns from 'Star Inn', Fish Street, London, the same days, performed by John Jobbs, who lives at 'The George' ".

Thomas Cronk, at one time the Parish Beadle, was a landlord there; he died in 1831. The Petty Sessions were regularly held there until the end of the last century. In 1886 there was still in use a Drinking Pot bearing the stamp of William III: J.G. Wheeler then kept the Inn. He was a Member of the first Sanitary Authority in Beckenham and took an active part in introducing gas lighting in Beckenham.

On the other side of the road, where W.R. Smith's bookshop now stands, stood THE OLD WOOD HOUSE. It was a picturesque old building of the Village days and may well have been originally built as a Yeoman's Hall for, although three separate shops in latter years, when pulled down it was discovered that originally it had been one large hall with a central fireplace and only a hole in the roof to let out the smoke.

THE MANOR HOUSE, as it was called, was almost adjoining. This must not be confused with the Old Manor House in Bromley Road, for it never was the seat of the Lord of the Manor. It will be remembered by its fine glass covered-way leading from the street up to the house. The grounds at the back, with an ornamental lake off the Beck, adjoined those of Village Place.

At one time it was the residence of George Grote, father of the historian, after he left Shortlands House. Later it was occupied by Dr. P.J. Curtis and after the first World War was used by the British Legion before being demolished about 1932. Boots' Stores first occupied the old site, but when they moved, the shop was used by "The House of Bewley' and now is a fruiterers' shop.

THE GREYHOUND, at the foot of Church Hill, was originally a private residence, with the Beck flowing by as an open stream, and may have been once occupied by Peter Burrell. On the bottom of a Lease dated 30th September 1691 by Peter Burrell, of London, to Rowland King, of Beckenham, of certain lands in Beckenham, there is a note - "Mr. Burrell lives over against ye pump in Beckenham" - which was presumably this residence.
 


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  • Ray Burden

    The licensee of The George was James Whelller and not Wheeler. I know because he was my great great grandad. His son took over after him.

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  • Mal Mitchell

    I've yet to rediscover the original map from 1723 that Borrowman drew from, but later maps and plans in the British Library illustrate changes in the High Street. Francis Motley Austin who it seems was a great uncle of Jane Austin, owned land to the rear of the George and perhaps the George itself in 1809 though he must have leased it. Beckenham Lodge appears on an 1809 map as 'The executors of Lawrence Banyer'. Property annotation seems to show that the Burrells were landlords of most of the south side of the high street. Though a Mr Jackson and Poole Esq. owned sites approximately where village way is today. In 1776 John Cator had acquired some sites on the north side of the high street and of course the long lost rectory opposite the church designed by Robert Adam was approximately behind Marks and Spencers.

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  • Mal Mitchell

    The 1825 Act of Parliament acquired by John Barwell Cator lists among the Cator properties The George Inn and the Crooked Billet in Penge. As it appears that Peter Burrell/Baron Gwydyr owned most of the south side of the high street up to his death in 1820 the full details of the disposal of his properties are little known? Baron Gwydyr's father, another Peter Burrell , son of Amy Burrell, exchanged Woolsey's Farm, Clay Hill for the Old Manor house in 1757 with Viscount Bolingbroke, but by 1809 it is shown on an estate map as belonging to Mr Hoare. I'm guessing that either or both Peter Burrells either lived at the old manor or Langley Place/Park as they styled themselves 'of Langley'. They also had the property in Whitehall still named Gwydyr House and as MP's for Haslemere would want to be near Westminster.
    The estate maps of the Cator estate for 1833 and later show them owning land to the north of the town extending to Penge and Sydenham and Southend, Others such as the Hoare family and Goodharts must have acquired most of the south side.

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  • Mal Mitchell

    The George Inn was at some time between 1760 and 1806 one of the properties owned by John Cator. It may have remained part of Cator property until 1825 or so. John Cator also owned the Crooked Billet in Penge and the Green Man at Southend which he later exchanged with the Forsters for a mill and land in the 1790's.
    The Three Tuns was owned by the Burrell's up until Peter Burrell/Lord Gwydyr's Beckenham estates were sold after his death in 1820.
    This is extracted from map evidence found in the British Library. one landlord/tenant of the Three Tuns renamed it the London Coffee House during the 19th Century, I believe a photo exists somewhere.
    Some of the land behind the Greyhound was at one time owned by Francis Motley Austin of Sevenoaks. He is reputed to be a great uncle of Jane Austen. His land holdings also included some area near Churchfields Road and at Bellingham. (from map evidence on the Burrell estate maps in the British Library dated 1809.)

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  • malvin.mitchell

    The 1723 Burrell map which Borrowman copied has resurfaced thanks to the tireless research of Keith Baldwin of Shortlands. To be precise the 1723 is a bit worse for wear but is copied by pidduck in 1735. The maps are in the possession of the Burrell family. Keith and I have photos of the maps. Another map in Kent archive from 1736 of properties belonging to Thomas motley shows Thornton's corner as a property called The Mead with formal rectangular water features. These were later relandscaped into a more irregular lake as the Cedars. The village pond was moved and reshaped several times being approximately in front of the current closed public convenience (inconvenience). The series of maps now rediscovered show a pictorial chain of change of both structures and owners. The Burrell maps illustrate the change from ownership by the Tolsons and Tilly's of several sites to the Raymond family and the acquisitions of John Cator have been more comprehensively traced by Keith Baldwin .
    The various date related snapshots are perhaps best described by a timeline approach.
    Thomas Motleys property descended via his daughter to Frances Austin thence to Frances Motley Austin. These included Elmer's End farm and Thayer's farm.
    The maps also show several lesser landowners.

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