Old Images of Westerham, Kent

Old photo postcard of Market Square Westerham Kent c1926

Glimpse history through old images of Westerham, Kent, England.

Old Postcards

The ancient buildings in Westerham’s pretty streets have, not suprisingly, attracted photographers for well over a century. Some of these old photos were used as nice images for photos.

Pitts Cottage was given a Grade II listing in 1954. It is named after William Pitt, who live there while his home at Keston was being repaired. The painted brick elevations mask a framed structure built in the 16th century, or possibly even earlier.

Westerham in 1939

Westerham’s ancient cottages, antique shop, market square, General James Wolfe’s childhood home, and Quebec Square all feature in this newsreel from 1939, when Britain’s peace was being lost to war.

Village Aka Westerham Issue Title Is Peace And War (1939) – British Pathé on YouTube

Christening 1948

Three years after the end of World War II, Winston Churchill arrived at Westerham’s church to attend the Christening of his baby grandson, born to his daughter Mary Soames.

The guests contributed to the Christening cake, since the county was still rationing food at the time.

Westerham (1948) – British Pathé on YouTube

Railway Line 1963

A comedy piece about cars travelling along derelict railway lines (so women drivers can chat and knit without giving anyone heart failure, apparently) happens to capture lots of local buildings in the background.

Anyone recognise the houses under construction in this footage?

How To Run A Railway (1963) – British Pathé on YouTube

Traffic Problems 1987

A news item broadcast on 28th October 1987 records how the M25 had temporarily improved the level of traffic travelling through Westerham’s main streets, but that the traffic levels were again increasing.

In addition, imporved access to modern shopping centres meant the local retailers were suffering, with the exception of the antique shops.

And house prices were rapidly increasing, meaning outsiders with money were moving in. A very small 1 bedroom end of terrace house was on the market for £59,950, out of the reach of the local first time buyers it had been built for.

The Kings Arms Hotel was happy though, as the traffic coming into town was arriving for a purpose rather than just passing through, and it was now easier to park.

Lots of nice shots of the town centre as it was on a sunny day in 1987.

WESTERHAM , KENT – Thames News on YouTube

Historic Book

Extract from “A Handbook for Travellers in Kent and Sussex – With Map

Published in 1858

Page 113

1 1/4 m . further brings us to Westerham ( Pop . of the parish , 3000 ) , a small town stretching along the foot of the chalk hills , and very pleasantly situated . The Church is almost throughout late Perp .
Brasses : William Stace , 2 wives and 15 children , 1566 ; John Christe , 1567

At the vicarage are preserved some other brasses , removed during repairs effected some years since ; more , however , are to be desired , since above the present ceiling an open carved roof is said to exist . In the ch . , over the S. entrance , is a memorial for General Wolfe , the conqueror of Quebec , born in Westerham , Jan. 2 , 1727 .

” Whilst George in sorrow bows his laurell’d head , ” runs the inscription , the men of
Westerham ” With humble grief inscribe one artless stone , And from thy matchless honours date our own.”

Other celebrities of Westerham are Hoadly , Bp . of Winchester , born here in 1676 ; whose famous controversy with William Law is better remembered than the long drawn sentences in which he supported it ” Swift for closer style , But Hoadly for a period of a mile ; ” and Fryth , the companion and fellow labourer of Tyndale , born at Westerham in 1503. His father was afterwards an innkeeper at Sevenoaks . Fryth’s writings are said to have been instrumental in the conversion of Cranmer , who had previously condemned him .

The view from the E. side of the churchyard , where a seat has been fixed , should not be missed . It embraces much of the road by which the tourist will have come from Sevenoaks , besides a wide extent of rich and most picturesquely varied country .

At Charts Edge , on the range of sandstone hills S.E. of the town , some quarries of Kentish rag have lately been opened , a visit to which will prove interesting to the geologist .

The modern Gothic house on the top of the hill , and commanding fine views , is the residence of the Rev. Thomas Streatfeild .

The walk may be continued from here to Crockham Hill , about 1 m . W. and close above the road from the Edenbridge Station to Westerham . The view over the 3 counties , Kent , Surrey , and Sussex , ranks deservedly high among the many wide panoramas obtained in this neighbourhood .

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