Stop 19: Royal Parade

Bulls Head Hotel
The Bulls Head Hotel in 1910
Instantly recognisable today...

Royal Parade acquired its name in 1876 in honour of the French Royal Family's residence in Chislehurst; originally this was called the village street. Many buildings date from the mid 19th century, but some such as Walton Lodge are older, and Abury is much older - indeed Abury (see picture below) may be the oldest extant building in Chislehurst. It was the village bakery, where Arthur Battle was raised and worked. His book, Edwardian Chislehurst, is a fascinating account of Chislehurst life a century ago. The Parade is unusual in that part of Chislehurst Commons lies between the footpath and the road, as it does between The Shaw and The Parade.

There has been much rebuilding, not all of it sympathetic, on the east side, but the western side is largely as it was in the 19th Century when the parade of shops was built.

The main road to Bromley crossed Royal Parade by the Bulls Head Hotel, which was a busy coaching inn at this important crossroads.

The village sign commemorates the knighting of Thomas Walsingham, lord of the manor, in 1597, when Queen Elizabeth I visited Scadbury. First erected in 1953, the current sign is a replica. The bricks at the base come from Scadbury.

Time for a break, perhaps, at the Bulls Head Hotel?

The village stocks were located on the rectangular piece of common land by Bromley Lane
Go to the crossroads where Royal Parade crosses Bromley Lane

Abury

If you have time, take a few steps down St Pauls Cray Road, to see some fascinating buildings, The Old Rectory, Chesil House, and a series of three tall houses with their backs to the main road, Crayfield, Cleeveland and Warren House.

St Pauls Cray Common starts here on the east side, and extends further south eventually on both sides of the main road. Saxby's, an old house sits to the west of the road. Dabner's Cottage, an old house on the Common, has long disappeared.