Ernest Newton, Berner & son, 1898
Primark , 162 High St, Bromley , BR1 1HE
A walk around the streets that the young Herbert George Wells knew when he was growing up and wrote about in his autobiography. You will get a flavour of Bromley in its Victorian heyday - all in the words of the author of the 'Time Machine'
Bromley North, Bromley South
119, 208, 358, 227, 320, 354, 269, 162
Nearby car parking at the Bromley Town Centre Hill Car Park 9 Beckenham Ln, Bromley BR2 0DA
HG Wells, or Bertie, as he was known, was born on 21st September 1866 at No 47 High Street Bromley – now Primark. It was called Atlas House – “one of a row of badly built houses ...” with a shop on the ground floor selling china crockery and a special line of cricket goods. He says “We lived mostly downstairs and underground, more particularly in the winter”. He spent the first 13 years of his life there and the house is described in vivid detail in his Autobiography. Many of the buildings he would have known are still standing – including several in the 'Arts and Crafts' style popular in the Victorian era.
Bertie's first school was Mrs Knott's 'Dame School' at No 8 East Street. Still standing today relatively unaltered, it was where he first learnt to read and do 'summing'.
At the age of 7, Bertie was sent to Morley's Academy, (230 High Street, now 'Mixta') where he received a private education up until the age of 13. His mother, Sarah, had chosen it as an alternative to the National School that had just become established in Bromley.
Young Bertie was free to roam out on to Martin’s Hill where he imagined soldiers charging across the slopes sending a defeated army off towards Croydon! Martin’s Hill was also the scene of real battles between the boys of Morley’s Academy (Morley's Bull Dogs) which Bertie attended and the boys of the National School (Bromley Water Rats).
The tour will finish in Queen's Gardens where Bertie's father played professional cricket. Bertie himself broke his leg here in a bit of horseplay with the son of the landlord of The Bell, an event that Bertie says 'saved him from a life of drudgery...' because whilst bedridden he was provided with a lot of books which inspired him to become a writer rather than just a shop assistant. Later, his father also broke his leg cultivating a vine in their back yard. The income from cricket dried up and Bertie had to leave Bromley aged 13 in 1879.
art in the public realm
A new installation of Bromley’s Battle of Britain lace panel is now on display in the Central library and forms part of Bromley Historic Collections. Join us for a talk on the restoration process and specialist textile conservation.
Take a tour around Bromley Archives. The archive store itself is normally closed to the public and visitors will be allowed access within this space and a look at some of the items that we have in our collection.
Aneurin John/Ken Wilson, 1977
housing, online, retail, restaurant/bar, walk/tour
Starting at the Exhibition 'Historic Bromley Town' taking place on the Lower Mall of The Glades, the tour tells the story of Bromley's phenomenal growth in the late 19thC showing how the town progressed from a rural market town to suburb in about 20 yrs.
Founded to house the widows of clergymen, the original building consisted of 20 houses built around a classically-styled quadrangle. Captain Richard Ryder – one of Sir Christopher Wren's surveyors – was in charge of design and construction.
Captain Richard Ryder, 1666
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