Handling the Volume of Mail – 1914-1918

Handling the Volume of Mail – 1914-1918 Written by Pam Preedy. In the first half of the 20th century the Royal Mail and the Post Office counter service, which provided essential services such as dealing with stamps, and paying the old age pensions, were all incorporated and came under the title of the General Post Office. Even before the First World War, the Post Office employed over 250,000 people, handling 5.9 billion items of post. At that time there were up to four deliveries a day. A letter posted in…

Dunkirk: The RAF support the evacuation

Dunkirk: The RAF support the evacuation Written by Pam Preedy. By 26th May, 1940 Britain faced “a colossal military disaster . . . the whole root and core and brain of the British Army” (Churchill) had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) went to help defend France. For eight months while economic sanctions were imposed on Germany, little actual warfare occurred (the Phoney War). Then, on 10th May, 1940 Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Three panzer corps…

Bromley High Street

Bromley High Street Written by Pam Preedy. Bromley High Street has been constantly changing through time. Shops come; shops go, reflecting changing tastes, fashions and time. The market started life in 1205, granted by King John at the manor of Bromley and became a feature of Bromley life. I remember it; a busy market at Station Road car park by Bromley North Station. In 2012 it was relocated to the High Street. The Glades changed the landscape behind the High Street and opened on 22nd October, 1991. When it was…

Romans in Orpington: Crofton Roman Villa

Romans in Orpington: Crofton Roman Villa Written by Pam Preedy. Just next to Orpington Railway Station is a hidden gem, Crofton Roman Villa. We know that Britain was conquered by the Romans. Julius Caesar came twice; in 55BC when he stayed for three weeks and again a year later when he stayed for 12 weeks. The Romans did not return for nearly 100 years, but Britain was a prize beckoning them; they anticipated rich rewards. According to Julius Caesar, “The Britons have a huge number of cattle, they use gold…

From Mammoths Teeth to the Tudor: A History of Orpington

From Mammoth’s Teeth to the Tudor: A Romp Through the History of Orpington Written by Pam Preedy. On 15th December, 1922, the Bromley and District Times announced that a Mammoth’s tooth, about five feet long, had been discovered in a gravel pit at Green-Street-Green. It seems quite amazing that mammoths were roaming over our local landscape until the end of the Ice Age over 12,000 years ago.  Perhaps early people living in Orpington would go out to hunt one of these huge mammals, or an early species of rhinoceros and…

A Romp through the History of Bromley

A romp through the history of Bromley Written by Pam Preedy. On 15th December, 1922, the Bromley and District Times announced that a Mammoth’s tooth, about five feet long, had been discovered in a gravel pit at Green-Street-Green. It seems quite amazing that mammoths were roaming over our local landscape until the end of the Ice Age over 12,000 years ago.  Perhaps early people living in Bromley would go out to hunt one of these huge mammals, or an early species of rhinoceros and hippopotamus. Throughout human history people must…

Nash Paper Mill Strike

The Nash Paper Mill Strike Written by Pam Preedy. The decade leading up to the First World War was a time of labour unrest, often referred to as ‘The Great Unrest.’  1914 was a particular bad year with increasing industrial action and Orpington was not exempt from trouble.  In 1914, the workers of the Nash Paper Mill at At Paul’s Cray went on strike over pay and union membership. Pay in the Nash works was low for everyone: the highest paid was Robert Marsden, Head Papermaker and actual Manager of…

Exploring Canada Corner

Exploring Canada Corner Written by Pam Preedy. “If I should die, think only this of me That there’s some corner of a foreign field That is Forever England Rupert Brooke “The Soldier”, 1914 If you take a walk up Church Street to All Saints Church and its graveyard, you’ll find Canada Corner which adjoins the church and is also on the opposite side of the road. In 1912, the old graveyard was becoming too small and an extension was needed. A field, the last field suitable for such a purpose,…

A Look Back at Orpington Hospital

A Look Back at Orpington Hospital Written by Pam Preedy.The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 saw men from all over Britain and the Commonwealth rush to the fight; some ‘on reserve’ re-joined their old regiments and battalions, other joined queues to volunteer, anxious not to miss out as it would ‘be over by Christmas.’ They came from far and wide, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Many, having served their time in the regular army, had migrated to try their hand at farming – looking for new…