Post War Hayes
In the immediate aftermath of the war, the main task was to remember the fallen, rebuild damaged houses and energise the community.
Remembering the dead
The task of organising the inscription of the names of the Hayes civilian and service casualties on the War Memorial was begun and completed in 1950. It was another ten years before there were sufficient funds to build an extension to the Village Hall which was also planned as a Memorial to those who had given their lives in the Second World War.
Damaged houses needed to be repaired and new houses built for those whose homes had been totally destroyed, There was a shortage of raw material, strict restrictions on the size of properties and also limited licences for basic supplies such as bricks.
To meet the immediate problem of the shortage of homes:
- Prefab houses were built in Meadway in 1946 and were not replaced by townhouses until about 1967.
- The Army Camp on Hayes Common was converted into temporary housing in 1948 and was occupied until 1955.
Bromley Council took over the remainder of the Hayes Place Estate and planned to build 337 houses, 12 old people’s dwellings and six shops with maisonettes. The development took place between 1950-1955. In 1961 a Public House, The Beacon, opened on a vacant green space and survived until 2010 when it became part of a private redevelopment of the old people’s flats and the surrounding area.
In 1950 the construction of 66 flats in Kemsing and Larkfield Closes was finished.
Change in use of major houses
Hayes Court in 1946 was bought by the Electrical Trades Union. It ceased to be used as a Trades Union Headquarters in about 2010 and in 2012/13 was sold for development. Houses were built in the grounds and the first was occupied in 2015. The house was converted into flats and first occupied in 2017.
Hayes Grove was purchased in 1951 by the King Edward VI Hospital Fund and became a home for retired nurses until 1980. Three years later it became Hayes Grove Priory Hospital.
Hast Hill became used as offices by Patullo Higgs from 1957 until 1996 when it was bought by Honeygrove Development and converted into luxury apartments. The lodge and two cottages were also refurbished.
Street House was converted into flats in the 1970s and part was also used as consulting rooms, now a dental surgery
Baston Manor was made into flats in 1952 and the outbuildings became cottages.
The Oast House in the 1950s was divided into two properties and later, in 1968, the outbuildings were converted into Webb’s Cottage.
Ivy Cottage remained as a private dwelling but in 1954 some of its grounds were used to build six distinctive properties in Warren Road.
Grandfield’s Nursery damaged by the V2 in February 1945 was not rebuilt but the site was acquired to build a Roman Catholic Church. The Village Store and the houses on the opposite side of the road could not be repaired. Eventually, approval was given for neo-Georgian houses, Nos 7 -11 West Common Road.
Longcroft was already partly demolished at the outbreak of World War II. Pickhurst Primary School was opened on its grounds in the 1950s.
Demolition and new housing
Prickley Wood was pulled down and replaced with a close of 12 houses in 1955. The coach house was demolished in the 1970s and replaced with maisonettes.
Hawthorndene was sold In 1962 by Basil Binyon. It was pulled down and houses were built in Hawthorndene Road and Hawthorndene Close, Holland Close and Holland Road.
Glebe House was replaced in 1963 by Isard House, an Old People’s Home, which survived until 2016. Isard House then became part of a housing development and was also demolished.
Barnhill ceased to be a school and was sold to A J Wait & Co in 1964. The main house was pulled down and private housing was built on the grounds.
In Bourne Way two Victorian detached houses were replaced by blocks of flats, Meycroft in 1969/70 and later 12 flats were built at Woodgrange Court in place of Woodgrange.
Forge House was built for Dr Jack Hopton at 3 Pickhurst Lane in 1934. Thirty years later a group of houses were built on the grounds creating Forge Close. In 1985 Forge House was replaced by a new doctor’s surgery and sheltered accommodation called Hopton Court.
The greatest change in the original village of Hayes perhaps occurred in George Lane with both the demolition of older properties and the creation of new homes. Georgian Close was created in the 1960s. The Rookery Estates, which owned the majority of the land, built four estate houses, Nos. 33-40 George Lane, in the 1950s They were sold in 1990 and an additional house was built behind them. Some of the very old cottages, such as Nos. 13-15, were replaced in the 1970s by detached properties. The neighbouring cottages (9-11) survived and in 1997 were sold and made into one property.
Five of the 1920s’ Utility bungalows were replaced by a terrace of 16 houses between 1966 and 1971. Permission for the demolition of the last utility bungalow and the building of a pair of semi-detached houses and a detached house was given in 2011. A bungalow at 87 George Lane was demolished and replaced with two semi-detached houses. Earlier the land of Street House was sold to open up the access from Hayes Wood Avenue to George Lane and two Georgian houses were built in the 1970s. Permission for two detached houses on the site of ‘Fort George’ – the headquarters of the Amy Cadets – was given on appeal in 2003.
There have been numerous small developments e.g. eight houses in Kechill Gardens, Burton Pynsent apartments in West Common Road and flats at Oakdene, Bourne Way. Approval has also been given for the development of the area in Bourne Way that was formerly the headquarters of the Blackheath Harriers, who are moving to a building in Norman Park.
Infilling continues today but the major change since the Second World War is in the northern part of the original parish. Donald Howard in 1959 purchased 71 acres of the land of Hayesford Farm to the west of Hayes Lane. He aimed to achieve a development, Hayesford Park, similar to those of his grandfather, the creator of Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City. Between 1961 and 1968 700 houses and 210 flats were built and a shopping precinct at Letchworth Drive.
A smaller development took place when the old Station Goods yard was sold and 50 one or two-bedroom houses were arranged in two crescents in 1988/89.
In the last few years, a number of bungalows have been converted into houses and some of the detached 1930s houses have been replaced with flats. It is a changing situation. In 2021 planning permission was also granted for two Care Homes in West Common Road, one on the site of a former bowling green, the other in the grounds of Stevenson’s Heating, formerly part of the Hayes Place farm building. The former farmyard of Hayes Street Farm has also seen the removal of the farm buildings in preparation for further housing.
In the immediate aftermath of the war, there was the need to rebuild the damaged shops and to cater for an increasing population. In Hayes Street new shops were built about 1955/56 to complete the Parade.
Hayes Station and its shops were not completed until 1957. Two new shopping precincts opened in Chilham Way and Letchworth Drive. Shoppers were well served in the 1950s and 60s but the development of supermarkets and the increase in car usage caused a change in shopping habits. It has been estimated that by the end of the 20th century the number of food shops in Hayes had declined by over two thirds. The Chamber of Commerce, formed in 1936, worked hard to deal with the situation but vacant premises tended to be filled by non-retail operations such as estate agents, charity shops and restaurants. Hayes no longer has any banks and the cinema at the northern end of Station Approach closed in 1956. The travel agents have gone and also J & R Killick who were builders and undertakers.
Hayes Primary School at the end of George Lane has greatly expanded. The overcrowding in the 1950s was relieved by the building of Pickhurst Infants School in 1953 and Pickhurst Junior School in 1956.
Gadsden became a secondary school when the older primary school pupils were able to return from Gadsden to the George Lane school in 1956. Hayes County Secondary School for Boys opened that year with 77 pupils. Today, it is a Mixed School of about 1800 pupils of whom about 500 are in the Sixth Form.
None of the immediate post-war private schools Barnhill, Baston School, Brewood and Chatley House survive today. Baston was the last to close in 2009 and the building was purchased and opened in 2010 as Baston House School, a Specialist Autism School.
- The Parish Church, St Mary the Virgin, remains in the centre of the old village. There have been a number of extensions over the years including a new porch, priest and choir vestries and a meetings room.
- Hayes Free (United Reform) Church was able to move from Pickhurst Manor Lodge with the building of a new hall in 1955 and later a church was built and dedicated on 13 April 1957.
- The former site of Grandfield’s Nursery was acquired by the Roman Catholics who in 1954 opened the Rosary Hall. In the early 1960s, it was decided to use the building solely as a Church which happened in 1966.
- The Hayes Brethren, now known as the Church of God, continued to meet in their hall in Georgian Close. It was extended in the 1950s and also in 1961 to provide ‘The Needed Truth Publishing Office’. This later became the Hayes Press which no longer operates from the building where regular services are still held.
- In 1993 a Baptist Church, the Hayesford Park Baptist Church, started in Hayes, originally in the Village Hall. It moved to the Community Centre in Letchworth Drive in 2000 for four years but then returned to the Village Hall and is now called The Deep Water Baptist Church.
- Christopher Greener, actor, basketball player, the tallest man in Britain from 1967 to 2007.
- Percy Jones served the Hayes Community in many roles from 1921 to 1971 including as a Hayes Common Conservator, Manager of the Hayes Village Hall, President of the Hayes Horticultural Society and Victory Social Club.
- Laurie Mack, played a major part in Hayes from 1967, on the HVA Committee, editor of the Quarterly Review from 1972 to 1986, manager of the Village Hall.
- Alison Prince, author, works included ‘The House on the Common’.
- Joy Wimble, headmistress Baston School 1951-1982, Principal of Baston School 1983 – 2005.
Major sources are the records of local Hayes organisations, school log books and church records. Newspapers, directories, planning information and photographs can be found in Bromley Historic Collections.
In addition to the publications mentioned in previous articles, the following are useful:
- Alice Coward, Hayes Village on the Heath, 1973
- Tudor Davies, Keston’s WW2 air defences and their legacy, Bromleag Vol 2: issue 55, September 2020
- Miss K Gay, Memories of Pickhurst, Pickhurst Infant Academy
- Cathy Horne, Pickhurst Juniors; Past & Present, Pickhurst Life, Issue Seven 2016
- London Borough of Bromley, Hayes Appraisal Area Report, 1980