Slade Green shown within Greater London
|OS grid reference|
|– Charing Cross||14 mi (23 km) WNW|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Bexleyheath and Crayford|
|London Assembly||Bexley and Bromley|
Slade Green is a district of outer south-east London in the London Borough of Bexley, 14 miles (23 km) east-southeast of Charing Cross. Lying south of the River Thames, and slightly to the west of the River Darenth and River Cray, it is northeast of Bexleyheath and northwest of Dartford.
History and development
There is some evidence of human occupation of the area in prehistoric times – work at the site of the Hollywood Way estate by the Museum of London Archaeological service revealed the presence of a prehistoric cookery pit.
What is now Slade Green consisted of two isolated agricultural communities of Slade Green (formerly Slades Green or Slads Green) and Northend, with most land belonging to either the Howbury Manor or Newbery Manor, and was referred to locally as 'Cabbage Island' because of the market gardens that lay between the part of Whitehall Lane that is now Moat Lane and Slade Green Lane (now Slade Green Road).
In 1848 Samuel Lewis's 'A Topographical Dictionary of England' stated that Slade Green was a hamlet with 66 people and Northend a hamlet with 191 people. Northend hamlet lay alongside Northend Road and around Colyers Lane and towards the boundary with Erith at Boundary Street, and Slads Green hamlet lay alongside Slade Green Road (Slade Green Lane) near Hazel Road and down to Wallhouse Lane. Development came with the railways and the area's use as a rail depot (originally designed to service 100 steam locomotives) and Slades Green station was opened to serve the depot and community on 1 July 1900 (the name was changed to Slade Green station in 1953), and by 1910 the complete 'railway village' of 158 houses had been built. At around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, land near the railway station was used to produce hand-made bricks.
Originally marshland used for agriculture, the isolated Crayford Marshes that lie between Slade Green and the Rivers Thames and Darenth were an ideal location for a large ammunition works which survived until the 1960s. In 1924 this was the scene of a tragedy, as an explosion at the W.B. Gilbert premises on 19 February caused the death of 13 people. During the Second World War the marshes were used for anti-aircraft batteries. This land has since developed into the Darenth Industrial Estate.
During the Second World War the area was subject to a series of air raids, notably the night of 16 April 1941 when incendiary raids caused many fires and massive explosions were only avoided by the extreme bravery of local people resulting in the award of three British Empire Medals and a George Medal. During the war the community was served by a British Restaurant operated from St. Augustine's Church Hall, which supplied up to 250 lunches six days a week and also provided lunches for school children and local factories.
Between Slade Green and Crayford Marshes lies a Scheduled Ancient Monument (English Heritage), Howbury Moat, dating from c.900, and a Grade II Listed Tithe Barn (c.1600s). The moat originally surrounded the Howbury Manor house, and holders of the Manor of Howbury included Bishop Odo, Roger Apylton (aka Appleton) and Sir Cloudesley Shovell. After Apylton had May Place built in Crayford, occupants of the property were tenant farmers, and, after the building of a new house (Howbury Grange) for the tenant farmer in 1882, by farm labourers, until the building was condemned in 1934. In 2006 the moat site was the subject of an English Heritage sponsored research project by the University of Oxford's Geography Department into techniques of Soft Wall Capping for preservation purposes.
The area around Oak Road and Moat Lane near the station lies within a conservation area, including the locally listed Railway Tavern (1a Moat Lane). These houses and the Tavern, recently converted to flats, were built by Smith & Sons of South Norwood around the year 1899, and were notable for being illuminated by electricity.
St. Augustine's Church was built in 1899 and extended in 1911. Substantial rebuilding work was required following a direct hit during an air raid during the Second World War in 1944, and following a fire in 1991 which destroyed the roof and much of the internal fabric.
Present and future
The area is now mainly residential with a mixture of social housing and cheaper privately owned properties, with some industry confined to the site of the old works and the area adjacent to the railway which has a large carriage depot for rolling stock on the line. There are two churches (Christian Fellowship – part of the Baptist Union – and St Augustine's Anglican parish church; a third church – Pentecostal – meets in the Anglican Church's hall), three pubs (a fourth pub, the Railway Tavern, was converted to create ten flats in 2005–6), a community centre, two social clubs and an amateur football team, Slade Green FC, which plays in the Kent League. The Howbury Centre contains the local library, toddler group, pre-school and Bexley Council Social Services, as well as hosting various social activities. Bexley Council is currently considering plans to redevelop the Howbury Centre site for housing. A Children's Centre in Lincoln Close is managed by Sure Start. Erith Yacht Club is at a site on the edge of Crayford Marshes between Slade Green and Erith.
Some nearby Green belt land directly next to local marshland is planned to become a large road/rail freight depot, promoted by ProLogis. It was the subject of a Public Inquiry, which started at the end of April 2007. The Inquiry essentially finished at the end of June 2007, but was adjourned rather than closed to allow minor changes to be made to the Environmental Statement, finally closing in September 2007. The result of the Public Inquiry was announced in December 2007 – ProLogis's appeal was upheld, allowing them to proceed with their plans, although they have not done so as at July 2009 (ProLogis have five years from the approval date in which to commence the work).
Slade Green is within the historic boundaries of Kent. In 1894 Slade Green was part of Dartford Rural District, as created by the Local Government Act 1894. In 1920 the area became part of the Crayford Urban District of Kent. In 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, the Crayford Urban District was abolished and its area transferred to Greater London to form part of the present-day London Borough of Bexley.
Slade Green is part of North End in Bexley Borough, which also includes the eastern part of Erith.
There is an Infant School, a Junior School plus a smaller Primary School. Bexley Council's Secondary Pupil Referral Unit is on the Howbury Centre site.
- For education in Slade Green see the main London Borough of Bexley article
Transport and locale
Places of worship
- St Augustines (Anglican)
- Slade Green Christian Fellowship (Baptist)
The nearest railway stations in the area are Slade Green railway station. Trains from this station runs to London Charing Cross and London Cannon Street via Woolwich and Greenwich to the west. To the east the trains go to Dartford and a limited service (excludes Sundays and late evening) runs to Central London via Crayford and along the Sidcup line. Some weekend services go to Gravesend and Gillingham.
- Museum of London summary of archaeological work carried out in 1997 accessed 6 April 2008
- Kent Rail website page on Slade Green station accessed 6 March 2008
- Maps, particularly OS Series 1, compared to modern map of the area (Collins) accessed 6 March 2008
- Review of book 'An Illustrated History of Slade Green Depot accessed 27 June 2007
- commentary by person with family from the area at genealogy.com accessed 27 June 2007
- [Oak Road Conservation Area Consultation Draft, Bexley Council February 2008] pdf version accessed 6 March 2008 at http://www.bexley.gov.uk/service/consultations/conservationareas_phase2/pdfs/oak_road_conservation_area.pdf
- British History Online record of 'A Topographical Dictionary of England', Slackstead - Slawston accessed 5 November 2007
- British History Online record of 'A Topographical Dictionary of England', Normicott - North Holme accessed 5 November 2007
- Bexley Local Studies Note 38 'Brick Making in Bexley' accessed 27 June 2007
- A Tragedy That Rocked The Nation on 'Whitstable Scene' accessed 1 October 2007
- Managing the Marshes Summary of Baseline data (page 7) (Bexley November 2004) accessed 27 June 2007
- Thomas, E.O.Slade Green and the Crayford Marshes, Bexley Education and Leisure Services Directorate, 2001, ISBN 0-902541-55-2
- University of Oxford web page on Soft Wall capping research accessed 6 April 2008
- Newsshopper article on plans for the Howbury Centre site accessed 6 March 2008
- 'This Is Local London' article by Linda Piper accessed 27 June 2007
- Slade Green Community Forum copy of Department for Communities & Local Government decision letter dated 20 December 2007 and accompanying report sent to ProLogis's solicitors
- Mark Plummer on behalf of the Secretary of State (20 December 2007), "TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990 (SECTION 78) APPEALS BY PROLOGIS DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED APPLICATION REFS: DA/04/00803/OUT AND 04/04384/OUTEA LAND ADJACENT TO SOUTH EASTERN TRAINS DEPOT, SLADE GREEN, BEXLEY" (PDF), www.freightonrail.org.uk (Department for Communities and Local Government)
- [Slade Green Forum 'Around the Green' Newsletter]
- Vision of Britain 'Unit History of Dartford' accessed 1 October 2007
- Vision of Britain 'Map of Dartford Rural District' accessed 1 October 2007
- Vision of Britain 'Unit History of Crayford' accessed 1 October 2007
- Vision of Britain 'Map of Crayford Urban District' accessed 1 October 2007
- Vision of Britain 'Unit History of Bexley' accessed 1 October 2007
- Slade Green Community Forum
- Erith Yacht Club
- Erith & Crayford District Scouts
- Bird spotting guide to Crayford Marshes