The kitchen shop which now occupies this Chislehurst crossroads is the inheritor of a traditional Victorian and Edwardian ironmongery business — later to be known as a “hardware shop” — which also offered services which were later to be known as “Mod. Cons”.
Harvey Jones Kitchens may be able to sell you a range, pipe in gas or plumb in water, but the business occupying this spot was also proud to advertise as stove and range manufacturers, with gas and hot water engineers.
At the time when the High Street area was still called Prickend (for Prickend Pond, next to the Queen’s Head), proprietor David Inns advertised himself as:
Plumber, painter, glazier
paper hanger, writer, grainer, zinc worker
bell hanger and gas fitter.
He traded here for many years before branching out with another shop in the district then known as Widmore (East Bromley). He ran the two shops for about five years, until 1883, when he left behind his Chislehurst premises to concentrate on Bromley, and the iconic “White and Bushell” ironmongers got their first local listing.
Advertising in Strong’s Directory of Bromley (1887) with 14 other advertisers in the Chislehurst pages, White & Bushell proclaimed themselves:
Shoeing and General Smiths,
General Furnishing Ironmongers,
Gas and Hot Water Engineers.
Stove & Range Manufacturers.
Locksmiths & Bell Hangers.
Toilet Ware, &c., &c., &c.
All kinds of Lawn Mowers Ground and Repaired.
Roy Francis Evans, author of In the Footsteps of Arthur Battle – 1898-1995, remembered getting a van-driving job at White & Bushell’s in 1959, where, he noted, “nothing had [apparently] changed since 1870].” Perhaps as a van-driver he was particularly fascinated by the unused yet preserved forge behind the ironmonger’s, with its anvil, bench and hundreds of horseshoes, for “at that time, the horse and the blacksmith were no longer required.”
However, Mr Evans wasn’t quite right about the lack of change, for it was as recently as 1908 that the ironmonger’s business built an extension enclosing the corner area of Park Road and the High Street.
Although the White & Bushell business eventually passed from the High Street — as many DIY businesses did, relocating out of town centres — Google StreetView of 2008 shows that The Orangery, interior decorators, carried on the furnishing and beautifying work for a time. That shop eventually moved across the High Street, and Harvey Jones Kitchens moved in to 30 High Street, in July 2013.