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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°24′25″N 0°01′16″E / 51.4070°N 0.0210°E / 51.4070; 0.0210

Bromley is located in Greater London

 Bromley shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ405695
    - Charing Cross 9.3 mi (15.0 km)  NW
London borough Bromley
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BROMLEY
Postcode district BR1
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Bromley and Chislehurst
London Assembly Bexley and Bromley
List of places: UK • England • London

Bromley is a large suburban town in south east London,[1] England and the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Bromley. It is located 9.3 miles (15 km) south east of Charing Cross and is one of the major metropolitan centres identified in the London Plan.[2] It was historically a market town, and prior to 1965 was in the county of Kent and formed the administrative centre of the Borough of Bromley. Its location on a coaching route and the opening of a railway station in 1858 were key to its development and the economic history of Bromley is underpinned by a shift from an agrarian village to commercial and retail hub. As part of the suburban growth of London in the 20th century, Bromley significantly increased in population and has formed part of Greater London since 1965. It has developed into one of a handful of regionally significant commercial and retail districts outside central London.[2]





Bromley is first recorded in a charter of 862 as Bromleag and means 'woodland clearing where broom grows'.[3] It shares this Old English etymology with Great Bromley in Essex, but not with the Bromley in Tower Hamlets.[3]

Economic development

The history of Bromley is closely connected with the See of Rochester. In AD 862 Ethelbert, the King of Kent, granted land to form the Manor of Bromley. It was held by the Bishops of Rochester until 1845, where Coles Child, a wealthy local merchant and philanthropist, purchased Bromley Palace (now the hub of the Bromley Civic Centre) and became lord of the manor. The town was an important coaching stop on the way to Hastings from London, and the now defunct Royal Bell Hotel (just off Market Square) is referred to in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It was a quiet rural village until the arrival of the railway in 1858 in Shortlands, which led to rapid growth, and outlying suburban districts such as Bickley (which later overflowed into Bromley Common) were developed to accommodate those wishing to live so conveniently close to London.[4]

Local government

Bromley, also known as Bromley St Peter and St Paul, formed an ancient parish in the Bromley and Beckenham hundred and the Sutton at Hone lathe of Kent.[5] In 1840 it became part of the expanded Metropolitan Police District. The parish adopted the Local Government Act 1858 and a local board was formed in 1867. The board was reconstituted as Bromley Urban District Council in 1894 and the parish became Bromley Urban District. It formed part of the London Traffic Area from 1924 and the London Passenger Transport Area from 1933.[6] In 1934, as part of a county review order, the borough was expanded by taking in 1,894 acres (7.66 km2) from the disbanded Bromley Rural District; an area including parts of the parishes of Farnborough, Hayes, Keston and West Wickham. Bromley became part of the newly-created Greater London in 1965, in the new London Borough of Bromley.


Bromley forms part of the Bromley and Chislehurst Parliament constituency and the London European Parliament constituency. The current MP is Bob Neill. James Cleverly is the London Assembly member for the Bexley and Bromley constituency, in which the town is located.


The historic heart of the town is Market Square, which sits at the junction of the High Street and Church Road.


The town has a large shopping and retail area, including a pedestrianised High Street and The Glades shopping centre. Bromley is one of the major metropolitan centres identified in the London Plan.[7] Bromley's main retail rival is Croydon, to the west.

Bromley high street over the years has had many national retailers:


Bromley is served by two railway stations. Bromley South, the larger and more frequently served of the two, which is on the Chatham mainline. Long distance trains from Victoria to Medway, Thanet and south east Kent have their first stop at Bromley, providing a fast and frequent non-stop service to central London. Bromley South is also a stop on the southeast London suburban rail network, with local services for Orpington and Sevenoaks from Victoria and the central London Thameslink stations calling at the station. Bromley North station is served by a shuttle service to Grove Park, where there are onward connections to other central London stations.


Empire Cinemas own a 4-screen site in Bromley, with screen 1 being its biggest with a capacity of 392. Screens 2 and 3 have disabled access. Bromley has a number of theatres, the most notable being the Churchill Theatre in the town centre and the Bromley Little Theatre close to Bromley North railway station. The town's football club Bromley F.C. is in the Conference South, which is the highest level of regionalised football in England, two divisions below the Football League.


Bromley has numerous schools, and is home to Bromley College of Further & Higher Education. There are two selective schools in nearby Orpington (within the London Borough of Bromley) with an 11+ exam. They are Newstead Woods School for Girls and St Olave's and St Saviour's Grammar School. There are two specialist Media Arts Schools, Hayes School and The Ravensbourne School. It also has the Ravens Wood School, which has been recognised by OFSTED for excellence, being awarded almost top marks in a annual inspection in 2008.


The parish church of St Peter and St Paul stands on Church Road. It was largely destroyed by enemy action on 16 April 1941 and rebuilt in the 1950s incorporating the medieval tower and reusing much of the flint and fragments of the original stone building.[8] The most noteworthy historic building is Bromley College, London Road. The mature and very well maintained central public open spaces are noteworthy: Queen's Gardens, Martin's Hill, Church House Gardens, Library Gardens and College Green.

Notable residents

H. G. Wells, most famous for his novel, The War of the Worlds, was born in Bromley in 1866.[9] In August 2005, the wall honouring H.G. Wells in Market Square was repainted. The current wall painting features a rich green background with the same H.G. Wells reference and the evolution sequence of Homo sapiens featured in Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, a former resident of nearby Downe Village.[10]

Other famous people who lived in Bromley include Charles Darwin, David Bowie, Pixie Lott, Christopher Tennant, Peter Frampton, Aleister Crowley, Siouxsie Sioux, cricketer Jill Cruwys,[11] the anarchist Peter Kropotkin,[12] the former Clash drummer Topper Headon, Formula 1 test driver Gary Paffett, actor Michael York who attended Bromley Grammar School for Boys,[13] clarinetist Chris Craker, Don Perrin, Canadian author who attended Burnt Ash School in Bromley, and Sir Thomas James Harper, an officer decorated in the Crimean war. In the 20th century, the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul produced, in quick succession, three Church Of England Bishops: Henry David HalseyBishop of Carlisle, Philip GoodrichBishop of Worcester, and David Bartleet – Bishop of Tonbridge.

In the TV Series Bottom, in the episode Hole, Richie reveals that he used to live in Bromley. (However whever this is true or not is unknown since Bottom very often disputes its own continuity.)


  1. ^ Mayor of London (February 2008). "South East London sub region". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  2. ^ a b Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  3. ^ a b Mills, A.D. (2001). Dictionary of London Place Names. Oxford. 
  4. ^ "Bromley". Mick Scott, Nonsuch Publishing. 2005. 
  5. ^ Vision of Britain - Bromley parish. Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
  6. ^ Robson, William (1939). The Government and Mis-government of London. London: Allen & Unwin. 
  7. ^ Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)". Greater London Authority. 
  8. ^ "St Peter and St Paul website". 
  9. ^ HG Wells. 
  10. ^ Darwin. 
  11. ^ "Jill Cruwys". Cricinfo. 
  12. ^ "Peter Kropotkin". Bromley Council. 
  13. ^ "Micahel York". When We Were Kids. 

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary





  1. A borough of London.

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