Chislehurst Monuments

War MemorialThere are a number of fine monuments in Chislehurst. There are more inside St Nicholas Church, and It can also be rewarding to spend time in the churchyards of St Nicholas, the Annunciation Church and St Mary’s, where there are a number of interesting tombstones.

The War Memorial at the crossroads by Royal Parade was unveiled on Sunday 17th October 1920 by Lt Colonel F Edlmann, D.S.O. and the dedication was by the Rector of Chislehurst Rev. Canon Dawson. The memorial was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, R.A. and is about 8 metres tall and is similar to the traditional Imperial (later Commonwealth) War Graves Commission Cross and Sword of Sacrifice, seen in their cemeteries in many parts of the world. The Cross was made at the Torquay works of Messrs H.T. Jenkins & Son and the sword described as a `Crusader’s Sword` was made by Mr Bainbridge Reynolds. The whole memorial was erected by a local firm Messrs T. Rider & Son. The memorial has the names inscribed of the 186 local men who died in the Great War, and a further 65 who died in the Second World War. The inscription reads: “IN PROUD AND GRATEFUL MEMORY OF THE MEN OF CHISLEHURST WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1919. THEY GAVE US PEACE BY THEIR WARFARE AND LIFE BY THEIR DEATH”.

The Water Tower stood at the top of Summer Hill for more than a hundred years. George Wythes had it built in 1860 as a gateway to his new Bickley Park Estate, and above the pedestrian archway, on each face of the Tower, was his coat of arms, carved in stone. The Water Tower was demolished in 1963 when Chislehurst and Sidcup UDC decided, in the face of much local opposition that it needed to make way for easier traffic flow. The coats of arms were saved after the demolition, and one was incorporated in the Memorial that was eventually built, in 1975, at the top of Summer Hill, where the Tower once stood. Efforts are being made to restore or replace the crumbling monument. You can view images of the old Water Tower here.

The Willett Memorial in Willett Wood was erected by public subscription to honour the work of William Willett in introducing daylight saving legislation.  He lived the last part of his life in Chislehurst and was keenly aware of the wasted early daytime on summer mornings. He decided to campaign to change the clocks so that people rose earlier in the summer. He published a pamphlet “The Waste of Daylight” and by 1908 managed to gain the support of more than one MP. It was not until the outbreak of the First World War that many took it seriously, and eventually, on May 21 1916, the clocks of the nation were advanced by one hour. William died in 1915 and did not live to see his idea come to fruition.

The Prince Imperial Monument at the western end of Prince Imperial Road was erected in 1881 after the death of Louis, the only son of Napoleon III, in Zululand in 1879. The Prince had attended the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich and pressed for a commission to enable him to accompany his colleagues when they went to Zululand. His mother would not hear of it, but undeterred, he went out as an observer, wearing a British officer’s uniform. He was killed in an ambush on 1 June 1879. Click here for more information.

The Edlmann Stone sits besides one of the main paths in Petts Wood. It commemorates the saving of the woodland in 1927 by Colonel Francis Edlmann, whose family had lived in Hawkwood, and its final gift to the National Trust by Francesca and Robert Hall in 1957. The Stone was erected in 1958. In 2008, on the 50th anniversary of the Stone’s dedication, it was rededicated at a ceremony attended by The Mayor of Bromley, representatives of the National Trust, and local residents.WaterTower

Chislehurst’s own traffic calming scheme – The Water Tower.