Old Images of Chislehurst, London

Camden House Chislehurst 1881

Enjoy a glimpse of history through old images of Chislehurst, in Greater London, England, UK.

Chislehurst Caves 1931

Even back in 1931, the 22 miles of caves and tunnels left behind by the mining of flint and lime-burning chalk between the 13th and 19th centuries, were a source of curiosity.

The Lair Of The Cave Folk (1931) – British Pathé on YouTube

Chislehurst in 1940

It’s only a few seconds long, but this footage from 1940, when Chislehurst was still part of Kent, shows the church with its wooden spire, its common with firs and heather, and the pond. Then it’s on to nearby Petts Wood.

Kentish Villages Issue Title Is Pets And Pots (1940) – British Pathé on YouTube

Art Class in 1953

Margaret Green and her classmates are filmed creating mosaic art out of squares of paper. It had taken three years and 8,000 squares of paper to create the religious picture on the wall.

Their art teacher was Earnest Greenwood, although he does not appear.

Paper Mosaic (1953)- British Pathé on YouTube

Chalk Cave Event in 1954

On 30 September 1954, a newsreel showed a cavemen reconstruction event by the Speleological Society in Chislehurst’s chalk caves.

CAVEMEN DINE IN CAVES- British Movietone on YouTube

Tomb Raiders in 1956

Sir Thomas Walsingham’s tomb in the church of St. Nicholas was broken open in 1956.

Calvin Hoffman and his wife were hoping to find manuscripts in the tomb, proving that it was Walsingham, and not Shakespeare, who had written the famous Elizabethan plays and poems.

Spolier alert: no such manuscripts were found. They didn’t even find Walsingham’s body!

Hoffman’s Shakespeare Theory Tested (1956) – British Pathé on YouTube

St. Nicholas Church in 1956

English cricketer Colin Cowdrey (1932-2000) married Penny Chiesman at the church of St. Nicholas in 1956.

Penny’s father was Stuart Chiesman, who ran a small chain of department stores in Kent.

After marriage, they lived at Petts Wood and had four children. Two sons -Chris and Graham Cowdrey – were to become Kent cricketers.

Colin and Penny separated in 1978, when he left to live with Lady Anne Fitzalan-Howard. Penny died in 1985. Colin and Lady Anne married the same year.

Colin Cowdry suffered a stroke in the year 2000, and died in December, aged 67. It was three years after he became a life peer as Baron Cowdrey of Tonbridge in the 1997 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Colin Cowdrey Weds (1956)- British Pathé on YouTube

Secure Van in 1961

Van robberies were on the increase in 1961. So a van was adapted to release a strong smoke bomb.

When the van is first loaded outside the bank, there are some nice street shots in the background.

It’s the intersection between Willow Grove and the High Street. The bank’s premises later became home to the Abbey National building society.

Raiders’ Nightmare (1961) – British Pathé on YouTube

Belmont Lane in 1984

In 1984, the residents of Belmont Lane were upset at the double decker bus parked on the drive outside number 81.

Stephen Smith and his friends, all undertakers by trade, bought the six year old bus from London Transport. They paid ‘next to nothing’ for it, insured it for £60 a year, and the annual road tax bill was £85.

One of the neighbours expressed concern that they’d already had a hearse with coffins parked in the road, and now a double decker bus had appeared.

The neighbour makes reference to paying “rates”. This was the local authority charge system used before the Community Charge, and then the Council Tax, were introduced.

The archive title is ‘Nightmare neighbours’.

Nightmare neighbours | Double Decker but prompts neighbours complaints | TN-84-036-013 – Thames News

Blitz Refuge Reunion in 1988

On 9th June 1988, a reunion event was held for people who had hidden in Chiselhurst’s chalk caves during the World War II blitz.

The Blitz | World War 2 | Chislehurst Caves | Blitz Refuge | TN-88-052-036 – Thames News on YouTube

More Pictures of Old Chislehurst

Old Chislehurst in London, England, enjoyed through historic photos, vintage pictures & archive film. Browse history in these fascinating old images of a bygone era on my Pinterest Board.


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