Petts Wood

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Petts Wood
Petts Wood.jpg
Petts Wood is located in Greater London
Petts Wood
Petts Wood
Location within Greater London
Population13,651 (2011 Census. Petts Wood and Knoll Ward)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ445675
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtBR5
Dialling code01689
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°23′19″N 0°04′34″E / 51.3885°N 0.0760°E / 51.3885; 0.0760Coordinates: 51°23′19″N 0°04′34″E / 51.3885°N 0.0760°E / 51.3885; 0.0760

Petts Wood is a suburb of south-east London, United Kingdom, within the London Borough of Bromley and previously the historic county of Kent. It lies north-west of Orpington and south-east of Bromley.


The name appeared first in 1577 as "the wood of the Pett family", who were shipbuilders and leased the wood as a source of timber (a pub, The Sovereign of the Seas, is named after a ship built at Woolwich to a design by Phineas Pett).

William Willett, a campaigner for daylight saving time, lived in nearby Chislehurst for most of his life, and is commemorated by a memorial sundial in the wood; another pub, The Daylight Inn, is named in his honour.

Most of Petts Wood was built in the early 20th century by the developer Basil Scruby together with architect Leonard Culliford who designed the layout of the roads. A number of individual builders developed individual plots, amongst others the master builder, Noel Rees. The intention was to create a high quality estate in a rural setting only a short train journey from the city, with the east side being built first: the first building in place was the railway station (situated between Orpington and Bickley), and the rest of the town developed from there.[citation needed] Noel Rees's name is still used as a selling point by estate agents; his houses can be found in Great Thrift, The Covert, Prince's Avenue, Wood Ride, Kingsway, Chislehurst Road, The Chenies and many other roads in Petts Wood.

The generally higher quality of large homes built to the east of the railway line, as compared to smaller and more dense to the west, gave rise to the local references of "Half Crown" or "Five Bob" sides.

The area between Petts Wood and Bickley sustained heavy bombing during Second World War because of its proximity to an important railway junction.[2]

The Jubilee Country Park is to the northwest of the main shopping area. Before this park was created, the area was known as 'The Gun Sites', as it had been the location for anti-aircraft guns in Second World War, and was the home of the 1st Petts Wood scout group.

According to Keith Waterhouse in his book "Streets Ahead" Petts Wood was popular with Fleet Street newspaper staff in the 1950s: "… this Kent suburb, recommended in Fleet Street for the all-night train service it afforded sub-editors and reporters coming off late duty, thus giving them a round-the-clock, heaven-sent excuse for one more for the road."[3]

In 2009, the local Woolworths store had the privilege of writing the last word in the history of that chain in the UK, when its manager, realising his was the last one to close, gathered the remains of the Pick 'n' Mix sweet section and auctioned the bagful of sweets, which would normally have retailed for a couple of pounds, for £14,500 ($20,000).[4]

The woods[edit]

The wood itself survives and is managed by the National Trust. Originally just 88 acres (36 hectares) were bought by public subscription and donated to the Trust in 1927. This asset expanded when the neighbouring Hawkwood Estate and Edlmann Wood, comprising a further 250 acres (100 hectares), were donated to the Trust by landowners Robert and Francesca Hall in 1957. The woodland features oak, birch, rowan, alder, ash, hornbeam and sweet chestnut.



Petts Wood station provides the area with National Rail services to London Victoria via Bromley South and Herne Hill, Kentish Town via Bromley South and Catford, London Charing Cross via Grove Park, London Cannon Street via Grove Park and Lewisham, Orpington and Sevenoaks.


Petts Wood is served by London Buses routes 208, 273, N199, R3 and R7. These connect it with areas including Bromley, Catford, Chislehurst, Grove Park, Lewisham and Orpington.

Notable people[edit]

The William Willett memorial sundial

Nearby areas[edit]

Petts Wood borders Chislehurst to the north, St Paul's Cray to the north east, St Mary Cray to the east, Orpington to the south east, Locksbottom to the south, Bromley Common to the south west, Southborough to the west and Bickley to the north west.

Sports facilities[edit]

  • Petts Wood Recreation Ground
  • Willett Recreation Ground
  • Petts Wood Runners, inclusive running club that meets in Willett Recreation Ground every Tuesday at 8.00pm. Kent Fitness League champions 2018–19.
  • Petts Wood Bowling Club. Petts Wood Bowling Club is an inclusive, friendly and successful club that provides sporting and social activities for a cross-section of people from their teens to their 90s. The club provides support and friendship and actively encourages both people new to the sport as well as experienced bowlers.
  • Petts Wood Snooker Club (above Morrisons)
  • Orpington Ojays Swimming Club
  • Oakley Fitness (Above Oakley Coffee)

Blue Plaques[edit]


  1. ^ "Bromley Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  2. ^ Only three bombs landed on the town centre itself, and those by accident as a German aircraft returning from bombing the docklands unloaded them on the end of Fairway, beside the former Embassy Cinema building since re-developed as a supermarket, and on the site now occupied by the Library. The sites were derelict until the early 60s, which is why these buildings are much more recent. Prior to that, the library was located in a shop on Queensway, near the junction with Lakeswood Road
  3. ^ Waterhouse, Keith (1995). Streets ahead : life after City lights. London: Hodder & Stoughton. p. 69. ISBN 0-340-63267-4. OCLC 35911768.
  4. ^ "Rich pickings: last bag of Woolworths pic 'n' mix fetches £14,500 on eBay". The Guardian. Press Association. 21 February 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Petts Wood & District Residents' Association – About Petts Wood". Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  6. ^ "De Gaulle Dead (main story) The year of exile in Salop [i.e.Shropshire] (sub-story)". Shropshire Star. 10 November 1970. p. 1.
  7. ^ "Major's million pound promise". News Shopper. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  8. ^ Giving, Just. "Page 'philsmillion' has been cancelled". Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Welcome to the official Phil Packer website". Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  10. ^

External links[edit]