The Friends of Havelock Rec present: A Virtual and Audio Tour of Havelock Rec, featuring Memories and Local History.
Havelock Rec is in the London Borough of Bromley, United Kingdom.
Stop 1 – Of an extensive Brick-pit and when Bromley was in the Tropics
Narrator: This audio guide looks at some of the heritage and memories of this park, affectionately known as the “Brickie” or “Brickfield” to locals.
The trail takes you around the outside of the park in a clockwise direction from the here, the main entrance, off Havelock Road – so listen in, take your time and stroll around the park.
Phil: Look over the park in front of you. It’s hard to imagine, but this was a ramp into a huge pit, supposedly 60 feet deep. Then look at the edge to your left – in the summer this is greener than the rest of the park because, under the ground here is the London Clay – whilst the middle is all rubble infill.
Until the 1830s the whole park was on clay. The clay was laid down under the sea 70 million years ago, when England was close to the equator, where it was similar to present day Thailand and Malaysia (somewhat hard to imagine!) – and – we were just offshore from a mangrove forest!
If you go to the cliffs north of Minster, on the Isle of Sheppy, where there is also London Clay, you can find fossil seeds, fossil crabs, fossil sharks teeth and fossil stemless palm seeds on the beach. The stemless palm tree only grows in the tropics, so the discovery of these seeds gave the Victorians a headache – how could London have ever been in the tropics? Was there some kind of super-warm current coming up from the Tropics – even warmer than the Gulf stream? Or had stemless palm trees evolved and in the distant past they could grow where there are frosts? Nowadays we understand that it was Continental Drift and that the continents move slowly across the crust of the Earth.
Narrator: Go into the park and just past the container, go a short way down the path between two rows of trees, that we call Raglan Avenue.