A short way down Raglan Avenue, by the twin-trunked Silver Birch tree.
Stop 2 – Of the Old Bay Tree, the Brick pit and Brick Making
Narrator: Look in front of you, on the left, for the large (evergreen) bay tree. One of the earliest records, in the 1850s is of a farm on Brick Kiln Lane (the old name for Homesdale Road) just north of where Havelock Road is now, with a large bay tree – which still resides in one of the back gardens of Havelock Road.
Phil: From the 1860’s to 1934, clay and gravel was excavated from the brick pit. The Brickworks and kilns were situated where Mornington Avenue and Waldo Road are now.
The brick-pit belonged to Mr Coles-Child, Lord of the Manor, a coal-merchant from Deptford, who had bought the Manor of Bromley from the Diocese of Rochester. He expanded the pit from the existing small one (about where the dip is now) on Brick Kiln lane, into a large area – not just did it cover the whole of the park, it stretched all the way up to the south side of Waldo Road. The Brickworks themselves are now the Waldo Road Waste Transfer Station.
Sandra: A condition of the railway passing through the Lord of Manor’s land, was it was to be on attractive brick arches, and using his bricks (this included the ill-fated ivy bridge, local historian Max Batten has described the Ivy Bridge disaster at Wendover Road on our website). These arches were buried by a cheaper embankment when the 2nd line went through (and Coles-Child was no longer on the company board).
Narrator: As Lord of the Manor, one of Coles-Child’s public-spirited projects, was to build a “new town hall” in Market Square. He funded it, so it was built from ‘his’ bricks, from our brick-pit. It contained the town’s first fire station, first police station, first library and an upstairs meeting room…. but it was never used by the body who ran the town, so was never actually the town hall. By the1930s the high street was so congested that both the town hall and the ‘island’ row of buildings on the east side, were demolished, and the current square laid out, in 1933.
Andrew, reading a memory from an Anonymous Gentleman: Before this [that it was a dump] my Grandad used to work in the Brick pit, building bricks, and this is why it was originally called Havelock Brickfields. It was a large hole until it was used as landfill of the wartime bombing rubbish.”
Narrator: Continue down the made path until you reach a young sweet chestnut tree on your left (the tree before the well grown young oak tree)