Welcome to the Chislehurst Society's site
Until the arrival of the railways in 1865 Chislehurst was very much a rural community, with a few large houses such as Kemnal, Frognal, Scadbury and Camden surrounding the Chislehurst commons. Two events in quick succession changed that forever. First the arrival of the railway in 1865 enabled merchants and professionals from the City of London to commute easily up to town, and the arrival, in 1871, of the exiled Emperor Napoleon III of France put Chislehurst on the map: it became a fashionable place to live.
The building boom that followed over the next fifty years changed Chislehurst beyond recognition. Much of the building was of large, high quality, Victorian mansions, and later, of smaller houses in the Arts and Crafts style, designed by some of the best architects at work at that time, some of whom came to live here themselves. We are fortunate that much of this building remains intact today.
The boom almost led to the disappearance of the commons themselves, but action by local residents resulted in an Act of Parliament preventing the Lord of the Manor from selling or developing the commons, thus preserving these open spaces for us all to enjoy. Later action by local residents have preserved Petts Woods and Scadbury Park for this and later generations’ benefit.
Between the wars many more people came to live here, leading to another building boom, this time of smaller, more modern, houses. The Chislehurst Society started in 1934 as a residents’ association to ensure that the new residents were able to obtain the transport and support infrastructure they and their families needed.
About the Chislehurst Society
Maintaining the balance between preserving our heritage and supporting residents’ needs remains at the heart of what the Chislehurst Society stands for.
Planning. We look at all planning applications affecting Chislehurst and raise objections or observations where we have concerns.
Amenities. The Society liaises closely with representatives of the London Borough of Bromley, and we are respected for our views on local matters including planning, road safety, traffic, public transport, public safety, amenities, litter, trees, and open spaces.
Education. We work with the schools in and around Chislehurst. The Chislehurst Schools Forum meets three times a year, and enables us to work together for the benefit of schools, students and residents. The annual Environmental Awards demonstrate how we work with our students in an exciting way. We work with other local organisations to keep people aware of our present and past environment.
Local studies. The Society supports research and publication on historical or other matters of interest in Chislehurst, and arranges regular talks and study sessions. Our new History Group, an active research group, meets monthly.
Our environment. We play a leading part in the Chislehurst Business Group (formerly Town Centre Managemet Group) and the newly-created Chislehurst Town Team. We have a strong voice in protecting and improving local amenities and conserving the Green Belt and National Trust land. We work with other organisations, especially the Trustees of the Commons, to preserve our built and open environment and other features of Chislehurst, to ensure that we all benefit from our unique environment.
Grants. We are fortunate to be able to offer grants to local organisations whose activities meet our charitable objects.
With 4,000 members, we are one of the largest civic societies in the UK. Membership is open to anyone regardless of where they live.