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Downe is located in Greater London
Downe shown within Greater London
OS grid referenceTQ435615
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtBR6
Dialling code01689
EU ParliamentLondon
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°20′09″N 0°03′13″E / 51.3359°N 0.0535°E / 51.3359; 0.0535Coordinates: 51°20′09″N 0°03′13″E / 51.3359°N 0.0535°E / 51.3359; 0.0535

Downe (/dn/) is a village in Greater London, England, located within the London Borough of Bromley and beyond London urban sprawl. Downe is 3.4 miles (5.5 km) south west of Orpington and 14.2 miles (22.9 km) south east of Charing Cross. Downe lies on a hill, and much of the centre of the village is unchanged; the former village school now acts as the village hall. The word Downe originates from the Anglosaxon word dūn, latterly down, hence the South and North Downs. The village was part of Kent until April 1965 when it (and the remaining part of Orpington Urban District Council) was subsumed into the new London Borough of Bromley.

When Charles Darwin moved there in 1842, the village was known as Down. Its name was changed later to Downe.[1]


Charles Darwin lived in Down House for 40 years, from 1842 until he died there in 1882. He became a close friend of Sir John Lubbock, 3rd Baronet, whose lived nearby at the Lubbock's High Elms estate on the other side of the village. A favourite place of Darwin's was Downe Bank, now a nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, and several members of his family are buried in the graveyard of St Mary's Church.

Down House and the surrounding area has been nominated by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to become a World Heritage Site.[2] However, this decision has been deferred.[3]

Local government elections[edit]

Darwin 2018 (1)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Richard Scoates * 1,201 72.8
Labour Frank Evans 185 11.2
Liberal Democrat Millicent Brooks 133 8.1
Green Jan Wilson 130 7.9
Majority 1,016 61.6
Turnout 1,649 40.1
Conservative hold Swing
Darwin 2014 (1)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Richard Scoates * 987 51.2
UKIP Eric Hayward 681 35.3
Labour John Evans 105 5.4
Green Eileen Galloway 89 4.6
Liberal Democrat William Ritchie 45 2.3
Majority 306 15.9
Turnout 1,927 38.7
Conservative hold Swing

Buckston Browne Farm[edit]

Buckston Browne Farm

Downe is the location of Buckston Browne Farm, built in 1931 as a surgical research centre by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS). In the 1980s, the farm caused controversy because of its use of vivisection techniques, and in August 1984 it was raided by anti-vivisection activists.

The farm has now been made into four houses.


There are two scout campsites in the Downe area:


Downe, being in county of Greater London, is still under Transport for London remit despite being outside the metropolis, is served by several London Buses bus services from London but overall has limited connections into London. There are no rail links to the village (nearest stations: Orpington, Bromley and Hayes), but it is served by two 1 hourly bus routes:

146 - Bromley North to Downe via Old Hayes and Keston;

R8 – Biggin Hill to Orpington via Downe and Green Street Green;

Notable people[edit]

Nearest places[edit]


  1. ^ "Letter 637 — Darwin, C. R. to Darwin, E. C., (24 July 1842)". Darwin Correspondence Project. Archived from the original on 2007-08-22.
  2. ^ "UK launches Darwin heritage bid". BBC News. 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
  3. ^ "Darwin's home and workplace World Heritage nomination deferred by UNESCO Committee". Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2010-08-01. Retrieved 2011-09-09.

External links[edit]