London Borough of Bexley

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London Borough of Bexley
London borough
Coat of arms of London Borough of Bexley
Coat of arms
Official logo of London Borough of Bexley
Council logo
Motto: Boldly and Rightly
Bexley shown within Greater London
Bexley shown within Greater London
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region London
Ceremonial county Greater London
Status London borough
Admin HQ Broadway, Bexleyheath
Incorporated 1 April 1965
Government
 • Type London borough council
 • Body Bexley London Borough Council
 • Leadership Leader & Cabinet (Conservative)
 • Mayor Cllr Sharon Massey
 • MPs Teresa Pearce
James Brokenshire
David Evennett
 • London Assembly James Cleverly AM for Bexley and Bromley
 • EU Parliament London
Area
 • Total 23.38 sq mi (60.56 km2)
Area rank 261st (of 326)
Population (2011 est.)
 • Total 232,800
 • Rank 66th (of 326)
 • Density 10,000/sq mi (3,800/km2)
 • Ethnicity[1]

77.3% White British
1.1% White Irish
0.3% White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
3.2% Other White
0.7% White & Black Caribbean
0.4% White & Black African
0.6% White & Asian
0.6% Other Mixed
3% Indian
0.3% Pakistani
0.3% Bangladeshi
1.1% Chinese
1.8% Other Asian
6.9% Black African
1% Black Caribbean
0.6% Other Black
0.1% Arab

0.6% Other
Time zone GMT (UTC0)
 • Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
Postcodes DA, SE
Area code(s) 020, 01322
Police force Metropolitan Police
Website www.bexley.gov.uk

The London Borough of Bexley Listeni/ˈbɛksli/ is an Outer London borough in south-east London, England. It has common borders with the London Borough of Bromley to the south, the Royal Borough of Greenwich to the west, across the River Thames to the north it borders the London Borough of Havering, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and a small boundary with the unitary authority Thurrock in Essex to the north east, to the east it borders the Dartford borough in Kent and to the south east a boundary with the Sevenoaks district of Kent. The borough is within the Thames Gateway, an area designated as a national priority for urban regeneration. The local authority is Bexley London Borough Council.

History[edit]

Prior to the 19th century the area now forming the Borough was practically unoccupied: very few of the present settlements were mentioned in the Domesday Book, although the village of Bexley has a charter dated 814CE.[2] Erith was a port on the River Thames until the 17th century; the opening of the sewage works at nearby Crossness in the late 19th century turned it into an industrial town.

Today's settlement pattern is the result of the gradual extension of the London influence. Until the 19th century it was an area with a few isolated buildings: examples being the Georgian Danson House and the Red House on Bexley Heath built for William Morris in 1859. With the coming of the railways building began apace, although the area is still composed of many disconnected settlements, interspersed with area of open ground and parks.

The London Borough of Bexley was formed in 1965, under the London Government Act 1963 from the Municipal Boroughs of Bexley and Erith; Crayford Urban District: and part of Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban District.[3]

The Council now styles itself the "London Borough of Bexley" in common with its formal name, although it previously styled itself "Bexley London Borough" until 1999 (possibly to maintain the link with its predecessor, Bexley Municipal Borough), and "Bexley Council" from 1999 to October 2007, when it reverted to its full formal name in conjunction with the adoption of a new Council logo bearing this name alongside the 1965 Coat of Arms.[4]

The town of Bexley, Ohio, a suburb of the city of Columbus, was named at the suggestion of an early resident, Mr. Kilbourne, in honour of his family's roots in Bexley, England. In addition, a suburb of Sydney, Australia bears the name of Bexley, New South Wales. Also, a suburb of Christchurch, New Zealand is named Bexley.

Coat of arms[edit]

Main article: Coat of arms of the London Borough of Bexley

The coat of arms of the borough includes symbols for the main rivers in the area, the industry and the border to Kent.

Governance[edit]

The 21 wards of the London Borough of Bexley (green) and surrounding London boroughs (light grey) and other districts (dark grey)

The administrative centre of the Borough is in Bexleyheath.

There are 21 wards represented on Bexley Council; each ward elects three councillors, 63 in all.[5] The wards are shown on the accompanying map.

All seats were up for re-election during the election on 4 May 2006. Until that date, Labour held control of the council by a margin of one (32 Labour to 31 Conservative councillors). In the election, the Conservatives took 23 seats from Labour, giving them the majority.

Insofar as central government is concerned, the borough is divided among the constituencies of Old Bexley and Sidcup; Erith and Thamesmead (shared with the Royal Borough of Greenwich); and Bexleyheath and Crayford.

After the 2005 General Election, Erith and Thamesmead is represented by a Labour Party MP while the remaining two seats were held by the Conservative Party; although on 29 January 2008 the Conservative Party whip was withdrawn from Old Bexley and Sidcup's MP Derek Conway following alleged misuse of funds, leaving him as an Independent MP.

2010 election the result was 52 for conservatives and 11 for Labour, meaning the former held the council

Geography[edit]

Further information: List of districts in Bexley

Bexley, lying as it does on the outer fringe of London, has many relatively large areas of open space. The ridge of higher ground in South London crosses the Borough from its high point of Shooters Hill, on the boundary with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, to end above the River Thames at Belvedere, where the land drops down to the old port of Erith. This high land, whose geology is the sand and pebbles of the Blackheath beds,[6] and which results in heathland, provided the line on the old Roman road (Watling Street) ran between Crayford and Welling. The land falls away to the north of the high ground, across the Erith Marshes to the River Thames, which here makes a loop to the north at Crossness. There is further ridge of less higher ground from the west terminating at Sidcup.[2]

Apart from the River Thames the other rivers within the Borough are the River Darent, which, with its tributary the River Cray and the smaller Stanham River, all form part of its north-eastern boundary; and the River Shuttle, a tributary of the Cray.

The major centres of settlement can be considered in two parts: the older established erstwhile villages; and the infill areas of suburban houses and centres.[7] Among the former are Erith, in the 17th century a port on the Thames, and an industrial town in the later 19th century; Bexleyheath, created at the same time on the London to Dover road. By the earlier 20th century, both were created Urban District Councils (UDC), as was Foots Cray (an ancient village site). Thamesmead, the "new town" built on what was the Erith Marshes, extends into the Borough: both Thamesmead North and South are located here. Crayford was mentioned in the Domesday Book, and its parish later included the hamlets of North End and Slade Green.

Smaller settlements include Welling, like Bexleyheath a staging post on the Dover Road, which was at one time of less importance than the nearby East Wickham (also an ancient village), was absorbed in Bexley UDC. Barnes Cray and North Cray were two hamlets in the Cray Valley; and Belvedere was the location of a medieval monastery.

The map of Bexley[8] shows that a large proportion of its area comprises suburbia. Some named places, like Albany Park and Barnehurst, are names given to developments engendered by the building of the railways. Some came into being when large estates and farmland were broken up for the sole purpose of suburban building: these include Blackfen, Lamorbey and part of Falconwood. Others simply reflect the nature of area: Lessness Heath; Longlands (part of Sidcup); Northumberland Heath and West Heath.

Open Spaces[edit]

Despite the suburbia mentioned above, there are still open spaces among the borough's streets and avenues. The Borough owns and maintains over one hundred parks and open spaces, large and small; and there is still a part of the Erith Marshes bordering the River Thames. The Crayford Marshes lie to the east of that river, as do Foots Cray Meadows further south.

The largest of the open spaces are Lesnes Abbey Woods, Danson Park and Hall Place Gardens. There are also many golf courses and sports fields, particularly to the west of Crayford.

Hall Place[edit]

Hall Place, showing 16th and 17th Century wings.

Hall Place is a former stately home, today a Grade I listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument, beside the River Cray on the outskirts of Crayford, south-east of Bexleyheath and north-east of Old Bexley. It is situated just off the A223, Bourne Road, south of Watling Street (A207) and north of the Black Prince interchange of the A2 Rochester Way with the A220.

The house dates back to around 1540 when wealthy merchant Sir John Champneys, Lord Mayor of London in 1534, built himself a country house. In 1649, the house was sold to another wealthy City merchant, Sir Robert Austen (1587–1666), who added a second wing built of red bricks, doubling the size of the house.

Currently, the building houses a museum of local artefacts, and a history and tourist information centre. In the gardens there is a topiary lawn, herb garden, tropical garden and long herbaceous cottage garden-styled borders. The former walled gardens include a tropical house housing plants and a large vegetable garden. Model gardens have been created to show visitors how to make use of space in small urban gardens. Hall Place also has three galleries inside the house, presenting art exhibitions and museum displays.

Demographics[edit]

Population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1801 4,165 —    
1811 5,164 +24.0%
1821 6,279 +21.6%
1831 7,725 +23.0%
1841 9,616 +24.5%
1851 10,963 +14.0%
1861 16,477 +50.3%
1871 21,991 +33.5%
1881 27,505 +25.1%
1891 35,728 +29.9%
1901 46,904 +31.3%
1911 61,582 +31.3%
1921 77,747 +26.2%
1931 98,160 +26.3%
1941 139,861 +42.5%
1951 199,297 +42.5%
1961 208,138 +4.4%
1971 217,375 +4.4%
1981 214,352 −1.4%
1991 219,422 +2.4%
2001 218,307 −0.5%
2011 232,000 +6.3%
Source: A Vision of Britain through time

In 1801, the civil parishes that form the modern borough had a total population of 4,165. This rose slowly throughout the 19th century, as the district became built up; reaching 10,963 in the middle of the century. When the railways arrived the rate of population growth increased. The population peaked in the 1970s, when industry began to relocate from London.

In the 2001 Census, the borough has a population of 218,307 – of whom 105,148 were male, and 113,159 female. Of the population, 44.3% were in full-time employment and 11.6% in part-time employment – compared to a London average of 42.6% and 8.6%, respectively. Residents were predominantly owner-occupiers, with 31.7% owning their house outright, and a further 46.5% owning with a mortgage. Only 2.2% were in local authority housing, with a further 11.5% renting from a housing association, or other registered social landlord.[9]

The distinctive spire of St Mary the Virgin Church in Bexley

The greater part of the population are nominal Anglicans, but a number of Roman Catholic churches and non-conformist congregations exist. In the 2001 Census, 22.7% of the area's population described themselves as non-religious or chose not to state their faith.[10]

Baptists, Plymouth Brethren, Methodist are among the other congregations. In 2008 the former Crayford Methodist Church was purchased by the North West Kent Muslim Association to become a mosque serving Bexley and Dartford boroughs. There are no Jewish congregations.

In 2011, 58.1% of Bexley's population proportion was between 20 and 64 years old, the lowest in London. 16% of the population is over 65, the third highest behind Bromley and Havering. The average household size is 2.49, up from 2.43 in 2001. The number of househols increased by 3.52% to 92,600 between 2001 and 2011, one of the lowest increases in the capital.[11]

In 2011, 62.5% of the borough's population identifid themselves as Christian, with 24.1% having no religion. Both figures are above London's average.[12]

Transport[edit]

Roads and paths[edit]

The principal roads through the Borough include the A2 trunk road; the A20 (Sidcup By-Pass) which generally marks its southern boundary; the A207, which is the route of the erstwhile Watling Street; the A206 which takes traffic from Woolwich and Dartford; and the latter's newer counterpart, the A2016 through Thamesmead.

There are also some Long-distance footpaths in the Borough: among them the Thames Path and the London Outer Orbital Path. Bexley Borough has joined with three other adjoining boroughs to for the South East London Green Chain linking green spaces.

Rail[edit]

There are three suburban railway lines crossing the Borough, all destined to come together at Dartford. The most northerly is the North Kent Line, then the Bexleyheath Line which runs through the centre of the borough and then finally the Dartford Loop Line which runs furthest south. In common with many other boroughs south of the Thames, Bexley has no London Underground lines or any other London based transport methods like London Tramlink, the Docklands Light Railway or London Overground. However the upcoming Crossrail services may serve the borough on the North Kent Line, if a planned extension will take place from Abbey Wood. This plan is still in the proposal stage as of 2010.

The stations are:

Bus routes[edit]

London Buses routes: 51, 89, 96, 99, 132, 160, 177, 180, 229, 233, 244, 269, 286, 321, 401, 422, 428, 469, 472, 486, 492, B11, B12, B13, B14, B15, B16, R11, Night Routes N1, N21 and N89.

Travel to work[edit]

In March 2011, the main forms of transport that residents used to travel to work were: driving a car or van, 31.4% of all residents aged 16-74; train, 5.9%; bus, minibus or coach, 5.9%; on foot, 3.7%; work mainly at or from home, 2.4%; passenger in a car or van, 2.0%; underground, metro, light rail, tram, 1.7%.[13]

Education[edit]

Local politics[edit]

The Conservatives held 52 council seats, down 2 and Labour held 11 council seats, up 2. The Lib Dems saw their percentage of the vote go up by 2% in 2010, but still failed to get any councillors elected in 2006 and 2010.[14][15]

Religion: Historic churches[edit]

Buildings with Grade II listings (buildings of special interest warranting preservation) are marked with an asterisk *

  • All Saints Church – near Foots Cray Meadows, building dates from c. 1330 *[16]
  • Bethany Hall – Chapel Road, Bexleyheath, now a meeting house of the Plymouth Brethren though originally a Methodist chapel
  • Christ Church – in Erith, built in the 19th Century, has a distinctive tower built by James Piers St Aubyn *(interior)[17]
  • The Greek Orthodox Church of Christ the Saviour – from the 12th or 13th Century, in Welling *[18]
  • St James Church – in North Cray, in a conservation area near Foots Cray Meadows, has origins in the 12th Century[19]
  • St John the Baptist Church – nearly a thousand years old, in Erith[20]
  • St Mary the Virgin Church (also called Old Bexley Church) – in Bexley, dates back to the Domesday Survey *[21][22]
  • St. Paulinus Church – built in the 12th Century on old foundations, in Crayford[23]

Public services[edit]

The London Borough of Bexley has three fire stations controlled by the London Fire Brigade within its boundary; those at Erith, Sidcup and Bexley. Bexley fire station's station ground is the largest of the three; covering 23.7 kmsq.[24] One pumping appliance, a fire rescue unit and an incident response unit reside there. Although it does not have the largest station ground, Erith was the busiest station in 2006/2007, responding to 1,314 incidents - two pumping appliances are based there. The third station, Sidcup, attended the least incidents in the same time period - 785. One pumping appliance is situated there. The three fire stations attended 3,095 incidents in the 2006/2007 period. It is the only London borough with a 'below average' crime rate.

Sport and leisure[edit]

The Borough has several Non-League football clubs:

Twinning[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2011 Census: Ethnic group, local authorities in England and Wales, Office for National Statistics (2012). See Classification of ethnicity in the United Kingdom for the full descriptions used in the 2011 Census.
  2. ^ a b A brief history of Bexley
  3. ^ The other part of that Urban District becoming part of the London Borough of Bromley
  4. ^ http://reports.bexley.gov.uk/TROVEPROGS/TROVEIIS.DLL?/IS=1061165973/LI=07_Decisions/ID=40/OS=2+12/DS=838/LO=1/XD=838/RW=1600/RH=1200/VD=07Decisi/WV=7/FR=1/ST=ac/AC=CA/FI=10/HU=EmptyURL reports.bexley.gov.uk
  5. ^ Details of all councillors by ward
  6. ^ The Rural Landscape of Kent, SG McRae and CP Burnham, Wye College, 1973
  7. ^ Ideal Homes: Suburbia in Focus
  8. ^ Map of Bexley
  9. ^ Key Figures for 2001 Census: Census Area Statistics: Bexley accessed 25 February 2009
  10. ^ http://www.bexley.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4528
  11. ^ http://data.london.gov.uk/datastorefiles/documents/2011-census-first-results.pdf
  12. ^ http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=7&b=6275019&c=Bexley&d=13&e=62&g=6319542&i=1001x1003x1032x1004&m=0&r=1&s=1392853272210&enc=1&dsFamilyId=2479
  13. ^ "2011 Census: QS701EW Method of travel to work, local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 November 2013.  Percentages are of all residents aged 16-74 including those not in employment. Respondents could only pick one mode, specified as the journey’s longest part by distance.
  14. ^ http://democracy.bexley.gov.uk/mgElectionResults.aspx?ID=1&RPID=1321054
  15. ^ http://democracy.bexley.gov.uk/mgElectionResults.aspx?ID=3&RPID=1321059
  16. ^ Borough of Bexley, Churches of Interest: All Saints
  17. ^ Borough of Bexley, Churches of Interest: Christ Church
  18. ^ Borough of Bexley Churches of Interest: Greek Orthodox, Christ the Saviour
  19. ^ Borough of Bexley Churches of Interest: St James Church
  20. ^ Borough of Bexley Churches of Interest: St John the Baptist
  21. ^ Borough of Bexley, Churches of Interest: St Mary the Virgin
  22. ^ St. Mary the Virgin Church, Manor Road
  23. ^ Borough of Bexley Churches of Interest: St. Paulinus
  24. ^ London Fire Brigade, Bexley Profile

Coordinates: 51°25′N 0°08′E / 51.417°N 0.133°E / 51.417; 0.133