Beckenham History

Eden Park.

Eden Park was part of Langley. There were three farms close together, which are easy to confuse. Eden farm was the name given to the land leased by the Eden family where Crease Park is today. Eden Park Farm was where Stanhope Grove joins Upper Elmers End Rd.

Formerly called Elmers End farm, it was part of Eden farm, all owned in 1838 by John Woolley. Close by, opposite number 415 Upper Elmers Rd, was the north lodge of Park Farm built in the 1840s when it was the property of Samuel Jones Loyd. It was later called Monks Orchard lodge when Samuel’s cousin, Lewis Loyd built his mansion where the Bethlem site is today. Finally, to confuse us further, the mansion built on Eden farm became Eden Park, the eventual name for the whole area.

The bailiff’s house across the road from Eden Park farm was known from 1881 as Holly Lodge. At about this time, the frontage of Holly Lodge was built out to form the building seen in the 1920 sales brochure for the Monks Orchard estate. It became Eden Park School, formerly Holly Lodge School and was demolished in 2003 in spite of its history to make way for Asprey Mews.

You can still see the south lodge of Park farm as you approach West Wickham from Shirley, a small white building with columns, on the left-hand side of the road. The north lodge was taken down in 1933 when Lodge Gardens, Holly Crescent and Eden Way were built.

The name Eden comes from Sir Robert Eden created baronet in 1672. He was the ancestor of the much-respected politician, Sir Anthony Eden (1897-1877), foreign secretary and Prime Minister 1955-57 who became Lord Avon. Thus we have Eden Park Avenue, South Eden Park Rd, Eden Way, Eden Rd and Stanhope Grove from a family who married into the Edens. There were also also Eden Cottage and Eden Lodge off South Eden Park Rd but neither survives today.

It was William Eden, 1744-1814, who leased land in Beckenham from Peter Burrell in about 1782.

William’s brother, Robert, Governor of Maryland, was the great, great grandfather of Sir Anthony Eden. Letters written by William to Robert showed that the brothers did not agree politically and that Robert’s sympathies lay with the colonists. When Robert died in 1784, he was buried in Annapolis, Maryland.

Of the fourteen children of our William and his wife Eleanor Elliott, whom he married in 1776, only George and Frances appear in the local baptisms.  George was baptised at St George’s church in 1786 and Frances in 1800.  Several of the other children were born away from England because Eleanor accompanied her husband as his work demanded.  There were six boys and eight girls but of the boys only George and Robert John lived to a reasonably old age.  The parish church of St George’s burial records record the early deaths of Henry aged 7 and Charles aged 9.  In the churchyard beneath a yew tree is the box shaped pink marble vault of Mary Dulcibella, sixth daughter of William, First Lord of Auckland.  It bears the following inscription:

ROBERT DRUMMOND / died April 29 1881 / aged 58 / “I will lift up mine eyes unto / the hills from whence cometh my help.  ” Psalm CXXI verse 1
South face: CHARLES DRUMMOND Esq.  / of Stratton St London died 23 August 1858 aged 67 / “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trusted in Thee” Isaiah XXVI.  / Also the Hon.  MARY DULCIBELLA his widow/ 6th daughter of WILLIAM 1st Lord AUCKLAND died 20 March 1862 aged 68/ “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth yea saith the spirit/ that they may rest from their labours and their works do follow them”/    Revelation(s) Chapt.  XIV Verse 13.
North face: Also MARY DULCIBELLA / 3rd daughter of the late CHARLES & MARY DULCIBELLA DRUMMOND / and widow of RICHARD WELLESLEY Esq.  / born August 16th 1827 died August 5th 1874.

Another grave is that of her sister the Hon Emily who died in Eden Lodge, Kensington in 1869.  This has been wrongly thought in the past to be Eden Lodge in Beckenham but the family left for London in 1818.

When William died, George, his second son, became the Second Lord Auckland.  A marble memorial in St George’s church shows how enormously successful and well liked George was.  The eldest son, Frederick William Elliot, had drowned in the Thames in 1810.

It is not known when the elegant mansion, later called Eden Park, was built but in 1820 it was surrounded by parkland with many large trees.  If you look at Crease Park today, the mansion was on the flat ground at the top, the rest sweeping down to Wellhouse Rd below.  This is named after the housing of the well and Crease Park gained its name in memory of Alderman James Crease, freeman of Beckenham.

Fields of Eden farm were used for Groveland Rd   (Greater and Little Groveland Mead) and Broomfield Rd when the area was developed in 1932 by the firm of Clout and Tysoe.  Names of their sons were used for Derrick Rd, Gordon Rd, Ronald Close and Ernest Grove and tree planting named Birchwood Avenue and Cherry Tree Walk.  To see the pink cherry blossom against a blue sky in the spring is unforgettable.  Glanfield Rd was taken from Messrs Riley and Glanfield of the Eden Park Estate Co.

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8 Responses

  1. Recently (2023) Keith Baldwin found a print of Eden Farm dated 1812 in a British Library archive, showing a building with two wings. Further research found a painting by Peter la Cave 1789 showing the same building which resembles the Bune Gate house annotated as Peter Burrell on the 1769 Andrews Drury and Herbert map of Kent. This confirms that other images of a building were of the later 1820 rebuild for John Woolley. These findings were enabled by internet content so earlier writers can be excused for not finding these needles in several haystacks!

  2. In the light of some other information, Eden Park appears to have been in the Kelseys land purchased by Peter Burrell in 1688 although some parts were then owned by the St.Johns and may have passed through the ownership of John Cator. I cannot find a record for a lease of 1782 but Bromley Historic Collections have the 1794 record and a subsequent surrender of the lease in 1825. Eden Park was purchased by John Woolley and is leased to Edward Lawford in the 1838 Tithe. If the 1782 lease is accurate then 1782 – Eden Park; William Eden, 1744-1814, leased land in Beckenham from Peter Burrell in about 1782. source: Copeland and Beckenham History. The lease was extended in 1794 and 1824 but surrendered soon after. Eden Park house was situated where Crease Park is today. The land on which Eden Park was established has been said to have been part of Langley but comparing the old maps we have access to puts in Kelsey estate land and even then some parts were earlier part of St. John property associated with Beckenham Manor and may have passed through the ownership of John Cator. The confusion lies in the merging ownership of Kelsey with Langley under the Burrells. The National Library of Scotland OS maps collection Kent sheet xv can be shown overlaid on a modern satellite image putting the house in Crease Park. This is on the west side of Village Way and Kelsey Lane in land that was mostly acquired by Peter Burrell in 1688 and illustrated in the Burrell maps of 1723 and 1735.

    Abstract of two leases granted by Sir Peter Burrell and the trustees of his will to the Right Honourable Earl of Auckland of a farm in Beckenham, Kent. The first is dated 16 August 1794 and is for 60 years and the other is dated the 30 January 1824 and is for 32 years. Also includes an abstract of the surrender of the property dated 25 January 1825. ( Ref 841/3/1/10 Source: BHC)

  3. Excellent site. Minuscule point: Anthony Eden died in 1977 not 1877. I believe his wife is either still alive or has only recently died. David

  4. Julia, You now have found her though clever searching. I wanted to discover how much and what comes up when I google Christine’s name plus the word Beckenham.

  5. Would love to locate a pen pal with whom I shared a correspondence in the 1950’s. Her name and mailing address in those years –
    Christine Stenning – 41 South Eden Park Road – Beckenham Kent, England. Another source gave a possible marriage name as Dolman. I have retained all of her letters from that time indicating she was attending art school to become an art teacher. I would enjoy contacting if she continues to live in the area. Thanks if anyone knows a source to contact.

  6. An 1809 map of the Burrell estate in the British Library including Langley Park, Kelsey etc. shows Eden Farm as a large footprint building with two wings, with outbuildings and landscaped grounds, kitchen garden etc. equidistant between Elmers End and Langley Farm. As stated just about where Crease Park is today. I hope this allows some narrowing down of the building of the elegant mansion.

  7. I never realised what an amazing history this area has! I went to Langley park Grammar School for girls in the 1970s when Wellcome laboratories was still there. Can anyone tell me anything at all about the very large Victorian house set back from South Eden Park Road?? It’s on the left hand side as you come from Eden Park going towards the Chinese garage. Is it one of the 5 big houses built there in the late 1800s?? Maybe the last one left? Thanks.

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