Eden Park.

Until the Edens came to Beckenham in about 1782, the area was called Bure Gates. Old maps show a cluster of buildings situated just below Beckenham's highest point of 175 ft, now the Crossways and Village Way traffic lights.

When Peter Burrell died in 1820 there were 34 years of the lease remaining. It is likely that the lease had been taken out for some 72 years from 1782. William and Eleanor Elliott had married in 1776 and by 1782 they had four daughters and a baby son born earlier in the year. Their 4th daughter Caroline had been born in Ireland in 1781 when William was the Chief Secretary. He resigned that appointment in 1782. Time was ripe for the increasing family to have a home of their own and letters written by William in the summer of 1782 show that this was to be in Beckenham. Then in August 1784, their second son George was born at Eden farm and baptised at the parish church of St George’s in Beckenham.

William was spending his time haymaking and working in the fields with his hired day labourers It was a particularly bad season and William wrote to Lord Loughborough in a letter from Beckenham on 8th August 1782 as follows: “My pastures are wet and poked full of holes by the horses, our Guinea chickens are dying of ague, pears and apples are dropping in cartloads, and the melons are rotten instead of ripe. I am wet up to the knees six times a day and cannot get the 6th part of the day’s work out of my day labourers. ”

Exactly where they lived at this time is not clear. It is generally thought to be at the farm buildings shown in the 1838 tithe map close to the mansion site. Certainly by 1790 William was paying window tax for 74 windows. The mansion shown in subsequent pictures of the Eden farm must have been in existence by 1790. William was also paying hair powder duty at Eden farm in 1795 on behalf of the American nurse Hannah De Grave and the housekeeper Mrs Gibson.

The name Eden Farm was regularly used from 18th September 1794, because " we were obliged to give a name to our place to avoid a new penny post, which goes to the Beckenham village."

William had continued to accept appointments in Europe and his wife and family always accompanied him. Henry was born in Paris in 1786 when his father was envoy to the court at Versailles. Mary Louisa was their “nice little senorita” born in 1788 when William was Ambassador to Spain. Charles arrived in The Hague in 1791 when William, now Lord Auckland, was appointed Ambassador to Holland.

William Eden as First Lord Auckland had no more overseas appointments from 1793 but became the confidential adviser of Mr. William Pitt the Younger for seven years. He was appointed the Postmaster-General in 1798 the year in which he lost a second son, Charles, buried at St George’s age seven, Henry having died of a fever in 1794. By 1800, William and Eleanor had produced 14 children, six sons and eight daughters although only four of their boys were alive with worse to follow. After a year as President of the Board of Trade, William retired in 1807.


0 # yana 2017-04-11 17:04
I loved reading this
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0 # Marion 2017-05-14 19:32
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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0 # Mal Mitchell 2017-11-08 18:19
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.
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0 # Julia (McLendon) Hodgson 2018-02-07 22:58
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.
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0 # Richard Dolman 2018-02-27 16:49
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.
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0 # David Robertson 2018-10-19 09:19
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
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0 # Mal Mitchell 2020-02-12 15:49
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)
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