southlondon the definitive guide to South East & South West London
A Timeline history of Bexley

SLG Home
A timeline history of Bexley with prints, photographs and maps. Click on images to enlarge. Advertise

Saxon Bexley

Bexley was a settlement in Kent by the River Cray. 
Bexley probably meant Owood or grove of box trees. 

Reference to Bixle.

Reference to Byxlea. It was a manor of the Archbishop of Canterbury until C16.

Medieval Bexley

1086 Domesday Book listed three mills (one probably being current Old Mill) and a Saxon church in Bixle (St Mary the Virgin) where it is said that St Paulinus (died 644) came to preach.

St Mary the Virgin rebuilt.

Tudor Bexley

1536 Manor of Bexley sold to Oxford University *previously owned  by Archbishop of Canterbury). 

Hall Place built in stone for Sir John Chapneys (1495–1556), a former Lord Mayor (1534). Stone may have been salvaged from Lesnes Abbey , one of first to be disbanded by Henry VIII in 1534.

Stuart Bexley

1649 Robert Austin (1587–1666) extended Hall Place with a second wing built of red bricks, doubling the size of the house.

John Styleman (1652-1734) of the East India Company lived at Danson Estate.
Georgian Bexley

1753 Sir John Boyd, 1st Baronet Boyd (1718-1800) bought Danson Estate.

Almshouses in High Street built. Money bequeathed by John Styleman.

Near Bexley the F
oots Cray Place mansion built by Isaac Ware (1704-1766). Only stables and walled garden remain.

1762 High Street House built. Antiquarian John Thorpe (1715–1792) lived there.

New Danson House built for Sir John Boyd. House designed by Sir Robert Taylor (1714–1788) in the Palladian style. Park landscaped by Capability Brown.

The interiors of new Danson House by Sir William Chambers (1723 -1796), a friend of Sir John Boyd.

1787 Bexley Poor House built at Nos. 34-36 High Street. 

Hall Place leased as a school for young gentlemen 

Regency Bexley

1814 Bexley heath land enclosed.

Bexley National Schools built on Bourne Road.

Early Victorian Bexley

1846 Print of St Mary the Virgin, Manor Road.

1859 Red House designed in Gothic style by Philip Webb (1831-1915) for William Morris (1834-1896) amongst what was then Kent orchards. Morris lived there for five years. 

Mid Victorian Bexley

1866 Bexley Station opened. 

Christ Church, Bexley New Town finished. Designed by William Knight (1840-1923).

Late Victorian Bexley

Parkhurst-Knoll Road estate built west of the village for London commuters with detached and semi-detached two-storey houses in grey brick.

St John the Evangelist built on Parkhill Road. Designed in French Gothic style by T George Low.

 Mary the Virgin restored by Basil Champneys (1842-1935).

1894 The Local Government Act created an Urban District Council for Bexley, replacing the Local Board and Parish Vestry.
Bexley New Town renamed Bexleyheath.
Victorian Freemantle Hall built at 51-75 Bexley High Street, as a community centre and focal point within the village.

1895 Bexleyheath railway line opened.

Bexley (Asylum) Hospital, Old Bexley Lane, opened. Principal Architect: George Thomas Hine (1842–1916). Closed in 2001.

Edwardian Bexley

c. 1900 Photos of Bexley High Street 

Inter War Bexley

1920 Bexley War Memorial on Hurst Road and Parkhill Road completed. 

Danson House & Park (200 acres) acquired by Bexley Council.

Railway electrified.

1930 Bexley was still a village surrounded by countryside.

1932 Bexleyheath station, Avenue Road, rebuilt.

Regal Cinema opened at 162 Broadway, Bexleyheath. Designed by Robert Cromie (1887-19??). Later an ABC (1962) and a Canon (1982). Closed in 1987.

1937 Royal charter granted to Bexley, Kent, making it a Borough with its own Mayor (2:41 Pathe News film)

Bexley in WW2

Bexley suffered numerous bombings during the Second World War 

Hall Place, Bourne Road, used by US Army’s Signals Corps as an intercept station.

Post War Bexley

Hall Place used as an annex to the local technical school for girls.

1950 Foots Cray Place demolished after a fire in 1949.

Hall Place gardens (65 hectares), Bourne Road, opened to the public. 

Borough of Bexley incorporated into Greater London

Old Mill burned down and then rebuilt.

Hall Place used as the headquarters of Bexley's Libraries and Museums service

Old Bexley Conservation Area designated.

Bexleyheath Shopping Centre built by Fitzroy Robinson & Partners.

Danson House acquired by English Heritage. 

London Outer Orbital Path (LOOP) opened. 

C21 Bexley

2005 Bexley Heritage Trust received a £2 million grant from the Lottery to develop Hall Place & Gardens for visitors. Riverside Cafe added alongside the River Cray, a new visitor centre and an education suite. A 17th-century stable block was converted into an art gallery. The house is used as an exhibition space.

Hall Place acquired by Bexley Council from Bexley Heritage Trust.

Book List:

Discover Bexley and Sidcup - Darrell Spurgeon (1993)
Bexley and Bexleyheath: A Pictorial History -John Mercer (Phillimore 1995)
A Century of Bexley - Malcolm Barr-Hamilton (Sutton 1999)
Danson House, the anatomy of a Georgian Villa -  Richard Lea et al (English Heritage 2011) 
Bexleyheath A History - John Mercer (Amberley 2012)

Advertise With Us

The Bexley Guide

Back to top



The Bexley Guide

Bexley Property Guide

The South London Guide



(c) South London Guide 2023