Hayes (Kent) History

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Hayes (Kent) History

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Abt 1882 – 26 July 1952
Accountant, specialising in local government

Shortly after he was 40 years old Arthur Collins resigned his post as treasurer of Birmingham City Council and set up a private practice in Westminster acting as a financial adviser to local authorities.  By 1924 he had moved to Greenways, a house built just before the First World War, situated on the edge of Hayes Common.  He soon became very involved with the affairs of Hayes.  With Edwin Preston, he purchased some of the land adjacent to Hayes Church to provide a site for the building of a Village Hill which was opened in 1927. When the Parish Council ceased to exist in 1934 he became Chairman of the Hayes Common Conservators and had a significant effect in advising Bromley Council on the legal and financial issues involved.  Prior to the demise of the Parish Council, the maintenance of the Common had been paid for out of a separate Common Rate which continued to operate while new arrangements were made. When the Second World War broke out and the War Office wished to requisition part of Hayes Common for an anti-aircraft gun site and other military requirements the negotiations by the Conservators with the Lands Branch helped to ensure that after the war had ended the land was restored to the community. 

 In 1934 he moved to Baston Manor. He was a very keen tennis player and his son was twice a Junior Kent Champion and in 1931 reached the semi-final of the Junior Lawn Tennis Championship at Wimbledon.  He arranged for exhibition matches to be held on his two tennis courts in 1935 to raise funds for Hayes Tennis Club of which he was president.  In March 1939 he became President of the Hayes Cricket Club remarking on the club’s high reputation and stating ‘Cricket is a glorious game and we who live in Hayes have a glorious place to play it in.’   After the war, his loan to the Hayes Cricket and Sports Club enabled them to buy their ground in Barnet Wood Road.

 He was also generous in opening his house for use for fetes and other charitable occasions such as entertaining groups of women,  who had come from Miss Knowles’ Mission Church in the East End, to tea in his garden. His wife was also involved in many of these activities.

 In 1941 he was co-opted on the Bromley Council as a representative of the Sundridge Ward.  He became Mayor of Bromley 1944-45, then chairman of Bromley Housing Committee but in 1947 decided not to stand for re-election.  In 1948 he became an Alderman and the following year was granted the Freedom of the Borough for his immense contribution. 

He died in 1952 leaving a wife Mary and three grown-up children.