||This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (November 2009)|
Orpington shown within Greater London
|Population||15,311 (Orpington ward 2011)|
|OS grid reference|
|- Charing Cross||13.4 mi (21.6 km) NW|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||BR5, BR6|
|London Assembly||Bexley and Bromley|
Orpington is a suburban town and electoral ward in South East London and is a part of the London Borough of Bromley. It forms the southeastern edge of London's urban sprawl and is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London. It was historically a parish in the county of Kent that was significantly expanded, becoming an urban district in 1934 and has formed part of Greater London since 1965.
- 1 History
- 2 Retail and commerce
- 3 Sport and leisure
- 4 Education
- 5 Transport
- 6 Places of interest
- 7 Fame
- 8 Geography
- 9 References
- 10 Sources
Stone Age tools have been found in several areas of Orpington, including Goddington Park, Priory Gardens, the Ramsden estate, and Poverest. Early Bronze Age pottery fragments have been found in the Park Avenue area. During the building of Ramsden Boys School in 1956, the remains of an Iron Age farmstead were excavated. The area was occupied in Roman times, as shown by Crofton Roman Villa, and the Roman bath-house at Fordcroft. During the Anglo-Saxon period, Fordcroft Anglo-Saxon cemetery was used in the area. The first record of the name Orpington occurs in 1038, when King Cnut's treasurer Eadsy gave land at "Orpedingetune" to the Monastery of Christ Church at Canterbury. The parish church also pre-dates the Domesday Book.
Until the railway came, the local commercial centre was nearby St Mary Cray, rather than Orpington. St Mary Cray had a regular market, and industry (paper mills and bell foundry), whereas Orpington was just a small country village surrounded by soft fruit farms, hopfields and orchards.
These crops attracted Romani people, working as itinerant pickers, to annual camps in local meadows and worked-out chalk pits. This work has largely ended, but the Borough still provides a permanent site at Star Lane, and the gatherings are commemorated in local street names, such as Romany Rise. In 1967, Eric Lubbock, then Liberal MP for Orpington promoted a private member's bill to provide permanent Gypsy sites; this resulted in the Caravan Sites Act 1968 that placed an obligation upon local authorities to provide sites for locally residing travellers. In 1971, an international meeting of Romany people was held at Orpington, this Orpington Congress marked the founding of the International Romani Union, a group seeking political representation for Romanis throughout Europe.
By-election of 1962
The Conservative member for the Orpington constituency, Donald Sumner, had resigned to become a county court judge, and a by-election was held on 15 March 1962, the symbolism of the date being noted as the Ides of March. Orpington was considered a safe Conservative seat, but Eric Lubbock, the Liberal candidate, beat the Conservative into second place, with a 22% swing away from the party. The result caused a sensation and was headline news across the nation. It is from this win that the revival of the Liberal Party is usually dated.
Retail and commerce
The High Street and adjacent Walnuts Shopping Centre contain a wide selection of high-street shops. There is a general market located in front of Orpington College, three days a week. Planning permission was granted in 2005 to demolish a multistorey car park at the south end of the High Street, and replace it with a large Tesco supermarket. Work started early February 2007 and the new Tesco opened on 18 May 2009. There are several restaurants in the town centre, including a Pizza Express.
Metered parking has been installed at various street locations around Orpington station to cope with the loss of the car park; this has resulted in the exit of some long-established local businesses as the office space they occupied will no longer be feasible without adequate parking. There are larger retail outlets in the industrial estate on Cray Avenue and Sevenoaks Way in St Mary Cray including the new Nugent Shopping Park. Following the relocation of Marks & Spencer from their previous town-centre store to the Nugent Shopping Park, their previous site was taken over by Sainsbury's, who moved from their previous site nearby in the Walnuts.
Sport and leisure
The Walnuts Leisure Centre, just east of the High Street, has a six-lane, 33.3 metre indoor swimming pool. Other facilities include squash courts and gym with sauna and steam room as well as a sports hall used for activities such as badminton, basketball, trampolining and fitness classes. The Sports hall is also used for Women's Artistic Gymnastics, being the training venue for Orpington Gymnastic Club.
The Walnuts has been home to the Orpington Ojays swimming club for nearly 40 years. The club caters for those learning to swim right through to elite swimmers who wish to swim competitively at a County and National level.
There are two other local leisure centres: one at the Priory School, which has a floodlit, synthetic pitch for hockey and football, three outdoor tennis courts, two netball courts, four outdoor cricket nets and a sports hall with gymnasium/fitness suite and dance studio. The other is LA Fitness members-only health club on Sandy Lane.Also there is a bodybuilding gym located near the war memorial called Ripped Muscle And Fitness
There are rugby, football and cricket pitches in Goddington Park. Westcombe Park RFC, Orpington Cricket Club and Orpington Football Club are based here. Westcombe Park RFC competes in National Division Two (only two leagues away from premiership rugby). 'Combe' moved from the Blackheath area to Orpington in 1936. Cray Wanderers F.C., established in 1860 no longer plays in Orpington, but now shares a ground with Bromley F.C. The Wands are hopeful of a return to St Paul's Cray by 2014 and currently have a planning application pending, lodged with Bromley Council, to build a 5,000 capacity stadium and complex in Sandy Lane.
Since 1985, members of Orpington Road Runners have met every Tuesday near The Buff Pub and on Sundays at High Elms Country Park. For over 10 years, the Club has organised a 10k race and series of 2k fun runs during the summer in conjunction with Darrick Wood School. Bromley Indoor Bowls Club is situated off Gillmans Road. Lawn bowls is played at the Excelsior Club in Poverest Recreation Ground. Knoll Lawn Tennis Club has (despite its name) five tarmac courts tucked away among the houses of Mayfield Avenue. Bromley Tennis Centre (six indoor courts and four floodlit outdoor courts) is in the grounds of Newstead Wood School.
Currently, a cinema is being built next to the market square to be opened in 2014. Orpington has been without a cinema since 1982, when the old Commodore cinema closed. 
Education in Orpington is managed by the London Borough of Bromley which is the Local Education Authority. The town contains a full range of primary and secondary schools. The state secondary schools include St. Olave's Grammar School and Newstead Wood School, which both select students on the basis of their performance in a highly-competitive entrance examination.
The Orpington campus of Bromley College, Bromley is a further education college. It is affiliated with the University of Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church University. The Orpington campus of Bromley College is the tallest building in Orpington, and was built in 1972.
The town is served by many Transport For London Buses as well as an Arriva Kent Bus. Many buses serve Orpington bus station, which is normally just referred to Orpington Station as it says on the buses.
- 51 - Woolwich and Orpington Station (Stagecoach London)
- 61 - Bromley North and Chislehurst (Stagecoach London)
- 208 - Lewisham Station and Orpington Perry Hall Road (Stagecoach London)
- 353 - Orpington Ramsden Estate and Addington Village (Metrobus)
- 358 - Crystal Palace and Orpington Station (Metrobus)
- 477 - Bluewater and Orpington Station (Non TFL Kent Route) (Arriva Kent Thameside)
- B14 - Bexleyheath Shopping Centre and Orpington Station (Metrobus)
- R1 - St Paul's Cray and Green Street Green (Metrobus)
- R2 - Petts Wood and Biggin Hill Valley (Metrobus)
- R3 - Locksbottom and Chelsfield (Metrobus)
- R4 - Paul's Cray Hill and Locksbottom (Metrobus)
- R5 - Orpington Station (Loop Via Halstead and Cudham) (Metrobus, Stagecoach as of 07/12/13)
- R6 - St Mary Cray Station and Orpington Station (Metrobus)
- R7 - Bickley Aquila and Orpington Gravel Pit Way (Metrobus, Stagecoach as of 07/12/13)
- R8 - Orpington Station and Biggin Hill (Metrobus)
- R9 - Orpington Station (Loop Via Orpington Ramsden Estate) (Metrobus)
- R10 - Orpington Station (Loop Via Cudham and Halstead), (Metrobus, Stagecoach as of 07/12/13)
- R11 - Sidcup Queen Mary's Hospital and Green Street Green (Metrobus)
- 654 - Orpington Priory School and Addington Village (School Route) (Metrobus)
- N47 - Trafalgar Square and St Mary Cray Station (Night Bus) (Stagecoach London)
Additionally the A21 passes along the town's southern border.
- Orpington railway station is a transport hub served by Southeastern with trains Into Central London to Charing Cross and Cannon Street via Grove Park, as well as London Victoria via Bromley South and Herne Hill. Additionally services call at Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells and Hastings.
Nearest Railway Stations
- Orpington - Southeastern Mainline
- Petts Wood - Southeastern Mainline
- St Mary Cray - Chatham Mainline
- Chelsfield - Southeastern Mainline
- Chislehurst - Southeastern Mainline
Places of interest
The Parish Church
The Parish Church, "All Saints", stands upon pre-Norman foundations. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, it is Early English in style, but some Saxon work is visible. It was endowed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1173. The tower and steeple were damaged by a storm in 1771. The rebuilt steeple was struck by lightning in 1809, and it was not replaced. The church was greatly enlarged in 1957. The present Vicar is the Reverend Alan Mustoe.
The Priory is a fine example of a medieval hall house. In 1032, Eadsy, chaplain to King Cnut, gave his estate at Orpedingetune to Christ Church Priory, Canterbury. The first Rector of Orpington, Hugh de Mortimer, held court here in 1270. The house was rebuilt, this time of stone, in 1290, and added to in 1393 and 1471. In the 17th century the house ceased to be a rectory and passed into private ownership - a timber-framed extension was added, which no longer exists. The house was acquired by Orpington Urban District Council in 1947, and now it houses a museum. The garden forms an attractive public park, and contains a natural pond which is the source of the River Cray. Each year the Orpington May Queen is crowned in the gardens.
During the First World War a large military hospital, the "16th Canadian General", was built south-east of the station, funded by the government of Ontario, Canada. It originally accommodated 1,050 patients; an extra wing was added in 1917. By January 1919, more than 15,000 wounded soldiers had been treated here. Many of the 182 who died are buried in "Canadian Corner" of All Saints' churchyard. Most of the original pre-fabricated buildings remained in use for more than 80 years before a major renovation around the turn of the century. Today Orpington Hospital provides rehabilitation and therapy services, outpatient and diagnostic services (including dermatology and diabetes), but it no longer has an Accident and Emergency Unit. The nearest A&E is Queen Mary's, Sidcup, or Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough.
Orpington chicken and duck
Orpington is known for the "Buff", "Black" and "Speckled" chickens bred locally by William Cook in the 1890s. The Buff Orpington were able to be seen at Tripes Farm, Chelsfield Lane however, in the late 90s, the chicken coop was removed from the farm. Buff Orpington Ducks were also developed by Cook.
The Orpington Car, designed by Frank Smith and built by Smith & Milroy Ltd at their works in Wellington Road, was shown at the 1920 Motor Show. It was a two-seater convertible, with a dickey seat, and a 10 horsepower (7 kW) engine. Although briefly successful, Smith and Milroy could not compete with mass production, and the last car was commonly believed to have been built in 1925. The only known survivor at the time reportedly once appeared in the 1970s television series Crossroads, but this has not been substantiated. There are now no known surviving examples in existence.
Journalists in the 1960s used "Orpington man" to designate a typical member of the lower middle class, for example as the target audience of an electoral or advertising appeal.
Notable births and residents
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2009)|
- Tim Archer, politician
- Jeremy Beadle, TV presenter, writer and producer
- Steve Bennett, football referee
- Kevin Bishop, actor, comedian
- Charles Darwin, naturalist
- Leslie Grantham, actor
- Ben Greenhalgh, winner of 'Football's Next Star', Inter Milan U-20 Player
- Pamela Harrison, pianist and composer, born 1915
- Emma Johnson, clarinettist, BBC Young Musician of the Year in 1984
- Nic Jones, folk singer
- Frank H. H. King, Economic Historian of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
- Barry Knight, football referee
- Josie Long, comedienne
- Eric Lubbock, politician
- Sir John Lubbock, banker and politician
- Kim Medcalf, actor
- Scott Minto, former footballer, presenter
- Dean Mumford, musician
- David Nobbs, comedy writer
- Tim Page, photographer
- Deena Payne, actress
- Frank Pullen property developer, racehorse owner
- Dizzee Rascal, musician
- Gary Rhodes, chef
- Max Splodge, singer in Splodgenessabounds
- David G Walker, musician
- Gianfranco Zola, ex-footballer and former manager
- Shubham Gupta, student
- Orpington High Street and the Walnuts Shopping Centre appear in a number of scenes in the Channel 4 documentary Virgin School, first aired in May 2007.
- It also featured in an episode of "The Bill".
- Orpington High Street and surrounding areas were shown in a television advert for Honda
- The Simpsons live action intro sequence was filmed off Mada Road, Orpington.
- The Save the Children shop in Orpington High Street was the subject of "Mary Queen of Charity Shops", where Mary Portas set out to improve the takings and image of the charity shop. Aired June 2009 on BBC2.
"Who Believes In Orpington". Series about the role of the church in contemporary suburban life. Aired 29/2/88-14/3/88 by Thames Television, ITV (www.ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/series/17589)
- Areas of Orpington and Crescent Way (Familiarly known as 'The Crescent') were filmed for an ITV daytime cookery show 'Britain's Best Bakery'. In which Rolands Bakery of Crescent Way took part.
||Petts Wood||St Mary Cray||Crockenhill|
|Farnborough||Green Street Green||Chelsfield|
Other Nearby Areas
- Census Information Scheme (2012). "2011 Census Ward Population Estimates". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)". Greater London Authority.
- http://www.bromley.gov.uk/leisure/museums/Poverest+Road+Bath+House+and+Anglo-Saxon+Cemetery.htm bromley.gov.uk
- Stopping Places: A Gypsy History Of South London and Kent Simon Evans (Univ of Hertfordshire Press 2004) ISBN 1-902806-30-1
- The Roma (Czech Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, October 2002) accessed 3 December 2007
- BBC News "On This Day", Entry for 15 March. "1962 Liberals Seize Orpington". BBC: 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
- http://www.bromleymytime.org.uk/walnuts-leisure-centre.html bromleymytime.org.uk
- http://www.orpington-gymnastic-club.org.uk orpington-gymnastic-club.org.uk
- http://www.bromleymytime.org.uk/priory-sports-centre.html bromleymytime.org.uk
- http://www.lafitness.co.uk/membership/find_your_club_info.aspx?club_name=Orpington lafitness.co.uk
- http://www.keddlesgym.co.uk/main/index.php?tabSection=keddles+gym§ion=the+gym&sub=home+page keddlesgym.co.uk
- http://www.self-defence.org/ self-defence.org
- http://www.westcombeparkrugby.co.uk westcombeparkrugby.co.uk
- http://www.orprunners.com/orpington10k orprunners.com
- http://knoll.totaltennis.net/home/aboutUs.asp knoll.totaltennis.net
- http://www.bromley.gov.uk/leisure/museums/BromMuseum/ bromley.gov.uk
- David Childs, Britain since 1945 (3rd ed. 1992) pp 140, 146
- http://www.channel4.com/programmes/virgin-school 4oD
"Rediscovering... The Orpington Car" by Trevor Mulligan. A 100+ page A5 definitive guide, published 2012.
- Trevor Mulligan (2012). Rediscovering... The Orpington Car. Timeline Books. ISBN 978-0-9573129-0-6.
- Dorothy Cox (1983). The Book of Orpington. Barracuda Books. ISBN 0-86023-164-X.
- John Edwards (1991). A Look Back at Orpington. Bromley Leisure Services. ISBN 0-901002-13-5.
Media related to Orpington, London at Wikimedia Commons
- 2001 Census information for the Orpington ward at Bromley.org
- Bromley London Borough Council - Orpington town centre Accessed on 1 February 2006
- Orpington Cricket Club
- Website set up by volunteers using historic evidence and copyright free images and pictures