The Village High Street.

AUSTIN'S SHOP was below the Three Tuns, a small shop built in the 17th century as a gardener's cottage for The Cedars opposite. The lower part was of brick and stucco, and the upper part of green oak weatherboarding on timber framing.

Thomas Austin opened the shop in the early 1850s for making and selling port and beef sausages, and at the rear he kept cows, sheep and chickens. He had a son Charles W. Austin and two daughters who were all born there. Charlie Austin was quite a character of the Village days. For over 60 years he was a bellringer at the Parish Church, and for many years one of his sisters helped him in the shop and with the little farm.

The building was too badly riddled with woodworm to be retained as an historic building and was demolished in February 1959 for the erection of the Jade Room Restaurant.

THE THREE TUNS is one of the oldest licensed housed in the High Street, and with The George and The Jolly Woodman in Chancery Lane, we may well have three among the very oldest in the Country. In 1820 it had an Assembly Room when the landlord was John Scagell; later the landlord was Mr. Ruston followed by Mr. Ovenden who took over, and ran, the horse-bus previously owned by Mr. Legg.

Next came the Village POLICE STATION which in 1884 was moved to the new building on Church Hill where it still remains. The old site is now the entrance to the Three Tuns car park.

THE OLD FIRE STATION, a red brick building on the corner of Kelsey Square (at one time the main entrance to Kelsey Manor), had a variety of uses. It was the first meeting place of the Rural Sanitary Authority in 1872; then it was the Fire Station with the warning bell in the turret, which bell is now the 'closing time' bell in Kelsey Park; later it was occupied by the Y.M.C.A. and now the lower part is a greengrocer's shop while the rooms over are used as a surveyor's offices. On the corner of the building is one of the old Village Pumps.

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  • Ray Burden

    The licensee of The George was James Whelller and not Wheeler. I know because he was my great great grandad. His son took over after him.

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  • Mal Mitchell

    I've yet to rediscover the original map from 1723 that Borrowman drew from, but later maps and plans in the British Library illustrate changes in the High Street. Francis Motley Austin who it seems was a great uncle of Jane Austin, owned land to the rear of the George and perhaps the George itself in 1809 though he must have leased it. Beckenham Lodge appears on an 1809 map as 'The executors of Lawrence Banyer'. Property annotation seems to show that the Burrells were landlords of most of the south side of the high street. Though a Mr Jackson and Poole Esq. owned sites approximately where village way is today. In 1776 John Cator had acquired some sites on the north side of the high street and of course the long lost rectory opposite the church designed by Robert Adam was approximately behind Marks and Spencers.

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  • Mal Mitchell

    The 1825 Act of Parliament acquired by John Barwell Cator lists among the Cator properties The George Inn and the Crooked Billet in Penge. As it appears that Peter Burrell/Baron Gwydyr owned most of the south side of the high street up to his death in 1820 the full details of the disposal of his properties are little known? Baron Gwydyr's father, another Peter Burrell , son of Amy Burrell, exchanged Woolsey's Farm, Clay Hill for the Old Manor house in 1757 with Viscount Bolingbroke, but by 1809 it is shown on an estate map as belonging to Mr Hoare. I'm guessing that either or both Peter Burrells either lived at the old manor or Langley Place/Park as they styled themselves 'of Langley'. They also had the property in Whitehall still named Gwydyr House and as MP's for Haslemere would want to be near Westminster.
    The estate maps of the Cator estate for 1833 and later show them owning land to the north of the town extending to Penge and Sydenham and Southend, Others such as the Hoare family and Goodharts must have acquired most of the south side.

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