The Clockhouse.

Strangers to Beckenham, arriving at Clock House Station, invariably ask "Where is the Clock?" The origin of the name appears to have come from a large turret clock which used to be on the stables of a Mansion standing on the site of the present Spa and The Studio.

The house was probably built between 1703 and 1723, although there was a reference to a building there on a map dated 1623. It was a substantial, red brick mansion, a familiar landmark on the main road from Beckenham to Penge, and at one time a fine magnolia tree covered the front wall.

Sir Piercey Brett, "Admiral of the Blue", who died in 1761, once lived there and in the early part of the 19th century it was the seat of John's brother, Joseph Cator. After his death the occupiers included John Goddard, afterwards of Elmer Lodge; E. Richard Adams, also of Elmers End and for many years Churchwarden of the Parish Church; Sir Francis Tress Barry, who inaugurated the Volunteer Fire Brigade, the last tenant being John Wallace.

The gardens were well wooded and in the lake there stood a two-tier fountain which, on demolition, was placed in the ornamental water in the Croydon Road Recreation Ground.

It was natural that a new station on the Mid-Kent line in 1890 should be called 'Clock House', but six years later the house and most of the stables were pulled down, the clock being moved by the Cator family in 1896 to the stable buildings at Beckenham Place where it is still a familiar sight to visitors to the Golf Course.

For a time the stable remains were occupied by a livery stable keeper and later as part of Horsman's Nursery until finally pulled down in 1926.

Robert Borrowman wrote "we are told on good authority that there existed in the grounds a spring containing excellent medicinal properties, and we recall the fact that when the well was sunk for the present Baths, the water obtained was pronounced by experts to be of exceptionally good quality".

On the corner of Churchfields Road stood the public house "The Prince Arthur" which was destroyed by a flying bomb in August 1944. After the war the rebuilt public house was renamed "The Clock House" with a colourful sign, by a local resident, depicting the original residence of that name.

In April 2007 “The Clock House Public House ” was demolished as part of local redevelopment.


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  • Eyre Shaw

    My name is Eyre Shaw and I live in Johannesburg. I am distantly related to the London Fire Chief, Sir Eyre Massey Shaw, 1828-1908. I have written information from a primary source that a baby boy, Frederick Massey Shaw, 1883-1963, supposedly a grandson of the fire chief lived at the Beckenham Clockhouse with his mother (name not known as birth believed to be illegitimate) shortly after his birth in Montreal, Canada, after which his mother returned to England. I am desperate to verify this information and if possible to find out more about this mother/son combination ---- local churches for baptisimal records, schools, etc. I would therefore be extremely grateful if anyone could assist me in this matter of to refer me to a genealogist or archivist with local knowledge. Sincerely, Eyre George Shaw

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  • Admin

    A member of the Historical group will contact you regarding this.

    from Beckenham, Greater London, UK
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  • William Rickarby

    My name is William Rickarby. My mother Colleen Joan Massey-Shaw was the eldest surviving daughter of Frederick Massey-Shaw. She died in 1998. She was the sixth child of the family. She had 4 older brothers and 2 younger sisters. An older sister died before she was born. Her youngest sister Margaret is still alive. Margaret lives in Hampshire. She is in her 80s. It may be that she and I can help you with some information . There is one surviving male Massey-Shaw - my first cousin Kevin who lives in Virginia USA . He was the second child and only son of my uncle Frederick Verdun Massey-Shaw, who was born in 1916 (hence his middle name). If I can help further please email me.

    from Eastnor, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8, UK
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  • Eyre George Shaw

    Dear William, What a lovely and welcomed surprise to hear from you. I have been researching my wider Shaw family for more than 40 years now and have acquired a wealth of information including your whole lineage. I contacted your grandfather in September 2000 and he was extremely helpful and went out of his way to assist me with information. In a detailed letter he informed me that his father, Fred, 1883-1963, was the son of Eyre Massey Shaw, (in turn the son of the fire chief) and a domestic maid and that together they eloped to Montreal where Fred Sr. was born. I have a serious problem with this account as I know Eyre Massey Shaw Jr. was on the Congo river working for the enterprise of Henry Morton Stanley at the same time he was supposed to be in Montreal. The following year, 1884, mother and child returned to London where they lived at the Clock House in Beckenham. My No. 1 priority is to try and verify this story. I was in touch with Kevin a year or two ago but our e-mail contact petered out from his side. I was hoping he would have been able to shed light on this whole issue having presumably inherited his father's papers. There is so much more info I could share with you but will leave it there for now. There is a note above which states that e-mail addresses will not be displayed. Although this website is specifically "Beckenham" that is a fairly trivial aspect of this whole Massey Shaw saga so I am hoping the webmaster will allow me to mention my e-mail address so that we can pursue a wider correspondence that has nothing to do with Beckenham. The address is Thanks a lot. Eyre Shaw. Outside my immediate family I am known as George.


    from Sandton, 2196, South Africa
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  • Joseph Cator occupied Clockhouse from 1782 until his death in 1818. An estate plan in Bromley Local Studies shows the date, area of fields etc. I guess the plan went with property deeds? we have a copy of the plan from the library.

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  • I stumbled upon Sir Piercey Brett entry which has his death recorded as 1781 (the year before Joseph Cator acquired the estate). Is there a typo on your page?


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  • malvin.mitchell

    A map from 1736 showing Thayer's farm owned by Thomas motley also shows part of clockhouse grounds as the gardens of William Lethieullier

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