Cray Tributary to Darent, itself a Thames Tributary
The Cray continues to flow north east. Under the Rochester Way it is joined by the river Shuttle.
Central Crayford with industrial sites along the Cray and the amazing Hall Place
Post to the west Bexley
Post to the east Crayford
Post to the south Coldblow
Bourne Road Garage. Decorative cast iron lamp posts are from a cinema previous on the site. They date from 1919 and were made by workers at Barrow. Both lamps are missing, and one has the upper part of the post missing Toilets. The earth collapsed under them and they have been filled with concrete
Edward VII wall letter-box
Red brick wall, partly 18th, from Bexley House, an 18th mansion demolished c1980.
Crest House on the site of Bexley House. Pastiche c1982 of a Georgian mansion, though not a replica of its predecessor. Facade to the industrial building behind. Bexley House, demolished
Bourne Industrial Park
Calico Textile bleaching and printing in England first started in the London area from 1670. This was mainly in respect of calico and silk, and a location by a clear river like the Cray was important. The industry here was founded in the 17th by a lord of the manor, who also had extensive works done to the River and its tributaries to make them suitable. In the 18th fabric printing was introduced and there was a steady growth from then on, Textile printing factories were established here in the 18th. In 1775 a calico printer leased 100 acres here and built a factory. Work here was done by Charles Collins in 1807 for printing textiles and paper. It was later taken over by Augustus Applegath, was then Messrs. David Evans & Co.
Augustus Applegarth acquired the works in 1826. He concentrated on silk and pioneered new techniques in paper as well as in textile printing. His works both sides of Bourne Road. He also used fields nearby and at Barnes Cray for bleaching, and had a warehouse and finishing shop at The Saw Mills. His warehouse and finishing shop at the sawmills to export via Crayford Creek.
David Evans works. Evans was one the leading silk printers in Europe and the sole survivor of the old London textile industry. The works was originally at the junction of Bourne Road and London Road beside the river. In 1843 the business was acquired by David Evans, a City merchant and in 1936 the firm moved their buildings to an area nearer the Cray. The old site is now covered by the Bourne Industrial Park and by Beech Haven Court. The firm eventually became David Evans, Vanners & Co Ltd, a leading quality silk printers Europe, with over half its production being exported to North America. They were closed and gone in 2001.
Long shed. Fronts London Road. Relic of 18th silk factory... Once 18th farm buildings but then an integral part of the David Evans factory. Pantiled roof
Madder Shop, probably c1840, with a pantiled roof. This was part of the old works plus an old piece of machinery, which was a Gum Mixer.
Engines - 2 beam engines there. The Applegarth Beam engines went to the Dartford Museum, the other one to Crossness.
River Cray. There is a pleasant, ornamental, stretch of water at the entrance to the site; this is part of a channel of the river, and was formerly lined by washing machines used for washing silk after dyeing.
Steel houses 1948
Steel houses 1948
Hall Place Estate. Bexley Urban District Council and the GLC bought the Hall Place Estate as part of the Green Belt, 62 acres were cost £25,000 in 1935 and in 1938, 40 acres of the neighbouring Halcot Estate tor £20,410.
Hall Place. The northern half of the house, was built around 1540 by Sir John Champneis, former Lord Mayor of London; the south side of red brick, was added approximately a century later by the Austen family. The house was later then owned by the Dashwood family, of the infamous Hell Fire Club, and it was let to a boys' school. From 1917 until 1935 it was the residence of the Countess of Limerick. Once purchased by Bexley Council, it was converted into a public park and used as the headquarters of the Libraries and Museums Department, and the home of the Local Studies Centre. It is marked as Hall Place on maps since the 18th the present mansion replaced an earlier 'hall house', once the home of a family called ‘ate halle’. The house is chequered grey and white in front, plus a red brick 16th house and additions of 1534. The colours establish the two periods of construction. Demure Tudor gables. It is said that stone from Lesnes Abbey was used to build it and medieval carved fragments are incorporated in the walls suggest that additions by Champneys using this. On the south side of the 16th house is a back court which was built in the middle of the 17th. In 1556, the front was adapted to make it as nearly symmetrical as possible. So from the road the hall, with long wings comes forward on either side.
Gardens. Well of 1649... Topiary garden ‘like an exhibition of modern sculpture gone vegetable’. - Abstract cones and concentric discs near the house, and a regiment of the Queen's Beasts, planted to commemorate the coronation in 1953, marches across the lawn.
80 acres of parkland replanted in Tudor topiary, yew walks. Early 18th wrought-iron gates. There is an emphasis on spring and summer bedding, and a variety of smaller themed gardens. There is Elizabethan-style rose garden and double herbaceous borders. There is a herb garden with labels in Braille, rock and heather gardens a wildlife sanctuary and \ working nursery.
Jacobean BarnStable BlockGranaryThe Cray enters the edge of the Gardens with nest sites on ledges and old walls.
Water Mill site. Built on the Cray 1779. Demolished 1922. The site is marked by a sluice and weir in the gardens. In 1803 a Crayford calico printers, Thomas Gilling, expanded his production capacity by adapting the old corn-mill at Hall Place in Bexley for printing textiles. Weather boarded building. Run as a corn mill by the Cannon family and then it was used for flags and silk production. When it was pulled down some beams were sent to America.
Modern road 1840, Roman road joins it
Crayford Gas Works. Opened in 1852, and acquired by the West Kent Gas Company in 1865, becoming known as the Nettlebed Bottom Works. The production works closed in 1912, and the site became a holder station. The brown column guided holder is 1932, and the green spirally guided holder is 1955. West Kent Gas Company established c1862, with gas works at West Street, Erith. The Crystal Palace & District Gas Company was formed in 1853, and became the South Suburban Gas Company in 1904; it took over the West Kent Company in 1912, and closed the Erith works c1914.
Lord Nelson. Over each of two doors sunk into brickwork - coloured are Toby 10" plaques. Converted to a restaurant
Dene Hole near Elm Loop
Shenstone Park. Area of undulating parkland, with fine views to south. It was formerly the grounds of the house called Shenstone built c1828 for Augustus Applegarth, and occupied and enlarged by David Evans in the 1840s, remaining in the family ownership at least until 1935. It was demolished c1974, and Shenstone School is now on the site.
Martins Wood. Between Dover Road and Old Road – the site of Munns calico grounds
Bigs Hill Wood continues the pattern of Shenstone Park.
Gibbet Wood. where highwaymen were hanged
South View – works of A.Richardson, stained glass
Ribbon growth along the arterial road
Stoneyhurst where Maxim lived
Siddley Autocars. 1907 1910
Talbot Estates –took over Parish’s loam pit
St.John the Baptist. Door and hinges, sundial, stained glass and plate, monuments.
SourcesArchaeology Data Services. Web site
Arthur Pewty’s Maggot Sandwich. Web site.
Baldwin. The River and the Downs
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Grace’s Guide. Web site
Kent Rail. Web site
London Borough of Bexley. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry. South London
Pevsner. West Kent
Pritchard. History of Erith
Reilly Country to suburb
South East London Industrial Archaeology
Spurgeon. Discover Erith and Crayford
St. John the Baptist. Web site