Old Images of Beckenham, London

Categorised as Greater London
Beckenham Place 1700s
Beckenham Place, etching by J. Bayly, published by E. Hasted 1778-1799, Topographical Collection of George III now in the archives of the British Library

Glimpse history through old images of Beckenham, a town in Greater London, within the London Borough of Bromley.

Guy Fawkes 1927

This Beckenham Guy Fawkes for Bonfire Night in 1927 was so large, the head was reached at the top of a long ladder.

Apart from the curiosity of it, we also glimpse nearby houses, a passing train, and several local people.

I think it must be an early electric train, because there’s no steam locomotive at either end. The last steam passenger service in Britain was on 11 August 1968, more than forty years later.

QUIRKY/UNITED KINGDOM: World’s largest guy at Beckenham (1927) – British Pathé on YouTube

Pretty Petrol Station 1929

The next short film shows a new petrol station near Beckenham, with attendants to fill your tank next to an attractive building and a lovely Japanese-style garden to wander around.

One of the titles states “There’d be a lot less talk about offending every taste if the petrol stations were made like this unique model”. That suggests a lot of grumbling about the new petrol stations as they appeared in towns and villages for the very first time, accompanying the sharp rise in motor vehicles.

P.P.P. – A Study Near Beckenham (1929) – British Pathé on YouTube

Beckenham in 1961

This news item was recorded in 1961 to talk about the new, secure vans for transporting cash to businesses for weekly wage packets.

The commentary tells us that these robberies were commonplace, and the reconstruction shows us how easy they were to achieve. With the new vans being bulletproof and resistant to oxy-aceylate attacks, it hints at the violence these robberies inflicted.

The new vans were capable of transporting up to £2 million, although even a large business was unlikely to need that much.

What is also interesting in this item is the glimpses we see of the Midland Bak in Beckenham, and other nearby businesses and homes.

Car Foils Wage Grabs (1961) – British Pathé on YouTube

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