Orpington History

Some of my correspondents have been kind enough to send me copies of older photographs and other documents of Orpington and the surrounding area.

Where possible, I’ve taken a more recent photograph of the same scene.

Orpington High Street 1967 [TW]

0208-007-orpington-1967-post-office-woolworths-tw
0208-007-orpington-2002-post-office-woolworths
Even the recent photo is out of date now that Woolworths are no more.

Orpington High Street 1971 [LF]

The shop fronts have changed and there are more cars, otherwise it all looks remarkably similar today.0207-909-orpington-1971-high-street-central-electric-lf0207-909-orpington-2002-high-street

The “Commodore” was the only cinema in Orpington at the time:0207-917-orpington-1971-high-street-the-commodore-lf 0207-917-orpington-2002-high-street

The distinctive diamond shaped jewellers clock outside “Bernhardts The Jewellers” has now gone:0207-908-orpington-1971-high-street-bernhardts-clock-lf 0207-908-orpington-2002-high-street

0207-915-orpington-1971-high-street-seeboard-lf0207-915-orpington-2008-high-street

These photos are looking along the bottom of Knoll Rise into the High Street:0207-922-orpington-1971-knoll-rise-lf 0207-922-orpington-2002-knoll-rise

A major change in 30 years – the entire row of shops on the right hand side of the street, including the “Coach and Horses” pub has all been replaced:0207-910-orpington-1971-high-street-coach-horses-lf 0207-910-orpington-2002-high-street

The shops may change, but this bit of the High Street is remarkably similar today. No satellite dishes in 1971 though:0207-912-orpington-1971-high-street-dolcishalfords-lf 0207-912-orpington-2002-high-street

0207-916-orpington-1971-high-street-sketchley-lf 0207-916-orpington-2002-high-street

0207-918-orpington-1971-high-street-woolworths-lf 0207-918-orpington-2002-high-street
(Though since the “recent” photo, Woolworths has since gone)

In some ways, the modern high street is improved by the various tree planting over the years:0207-911-orpington-1971-high-street-coop-lf 0207-911-orpington-2002-high-street

Orpington High Street [PC]

0504-903-high-street-west-towards-boots-_-po-pc 0504-903-high-street-west-towards-boots-_-po

0504-902-high-street-from-memorial-pc 0504-902-high-street-from-memorial

Chislehurst Road Junior and Infant Schools 1971 [LF]

The School itself moved to Perry Hall in the mid seventies; the Infant School was demolished, and most of the Junior school has been converted into housing.
These photos were taken in 1971 and 2002.

0207-903-orpington-1971-chislehurst-rd-infants-school-lf0207-903-orpington-2002-chislehurst-rd-infants-school

0207-904-orpington-1971-chislehurst-rd-junior-school-lf0207-904-orpington-2002-chislehurst-rd-junior-school

0207-905-orpington-1971-chislehurst-rd-junior-boys-lf 0207-905-orpington-2002-chislehurst-rd-junior-boys

0207-906-orpington-1971-chislehurst-rd-junior-girls-lf 0207-906-orpington-2002-chislehurst-rd-junior-girls

Charterhouse Road School 1971 [LF]

The School is long demolished.
0207-901-orpington-1971-charterhouse-road-school-1-lf
0207-902-orpington-1971-charterhouse-road-school-2-lf

Station Road [PC]

The “recent” photo was taken before the Tesco development; it all looks quite different now:
0504-901-station-road-towards-memorial-pc

0504-901-station-road-towards-memorial-b

Station Road Multistorey Car Park [RL]

A large Tesco now occupies this space.
station-road-multistorey-car-park-1-rl

station-road-multistorey-car-park-2-rl

Other Orpington 1971 [LF]

0207-914-orpington-1971-moorfield-road-lf 0207-914-orpington-2002-moorfield-road

0207-921-orpington-1971-chislehurst-road-lf 0207-921-orpington-2002-chislehurst-road

0207-919-orpington-1971-vinson-close-fr-station-rd-cp-lf 0207-919-orpington-1971-vinson-close-fr-station-rd-cp-small

0207-913-orpington-1971-station-rd-cp-looking-n-lf 0207-913-orpington-1971-station-rd-cp-looking-n-small

Eynsford 1959 [TH]

0105-902-eynsford-1959-2-th
0105-902-eynsford-2002-2

0105-903-eynsford-1959-3-th
0105-903-eynsford-2002-3

0105-901-eynsford-1959-1-th
0105-901-eynsford-2002-1

0207-920-eynsford-1993-4-th
0207-920-eynsford-2002-4

Hewitts Farm 1912 [AB]

0002-90-hewitts-farm-1912-ab

Midfield Primary School 1963 [TH]

0105-905-midfield-primary-school-1963-th

 Horwoods Gravel Pit, Green St Green [RA]

This is a photo of one set of Mammoth Bones found in Horwoods Gravel Pit, Green St Green about 1926. They are now in South Kensington Museum.
0101-94-horwoods-gravel-pit-gsg-mammoth-teeth-1926-ra

This photo shows the approximate location where they were found:
0101-95-horwoods-gravel-pit-gsg-mammoth-teeth-here-ra

Orpington Bypass Construction, 1926 [RA]

0101-91-orpington-by-pass-construction-c1926-1-ra
0101-92-orpington-by-pass-construction-c1926-2-ra
0101-90-orpington-by-pass-advert-and-map-ra

Five Bells, Chelsfield [RS]

0506-900-five-bells-rs

More Information

For more information about Orpington History, including more archive photos of the area, see orpington-history.org

There are a selection of DVD’s about the local area available. These are produced by Jim Howitt, a well known local historian:

  • A Look Back at Orpington
  • A Look Back at St Mary Cray
  • Petts Wood Past & Present
  • Bromley Common & Keston
  • The Millenium Dome
  • Twelve Ancient Villages around Orpington

They can be obtained from Derek Allen, phone 020 8462 1735. Jim also gives talks to schools and various organisations; contact Derek for more details.

Many thanks to the contributors to this page:

  • Allan Brooks
  • Tony Holmes
  • Roy Allchorne
  • Les Forrow
  • Ted Wheeler
  • Peter Coell
  • Richard Sinfield
  • Roger Lawson

Unfortunately, these are all the older photos of the area that we have.

Additional photos or information are always gratefully received. Use the Contact Form for further details.