Hayes (Kent) History

Hayes (Kent) History

The inter-war years were a period that witnessed the increase in the population of Hayes to around 6,500 in 1939. It was the result of an almost tenfold increase in the number of houses from 222 in 1921 to approximately 2,150 in 1939. These changes were caused by the decision of many property owners to agree to sell their homes to building developers. Of the large houses only the Oast House, Baston Manor, Hast Hill and Hayes Grove remained in private ownership, although a small piece of the garden of Hayes Grove was sold to the builders Tyson & Harris Ltd to build Grove Close.

A number of the major houses were used for a different purpose:

Schools were set up at

  • Hayes Court 1919 by Miss Katherine Cox
  • Barnhill 1932 by Robert Hilary Smith
  • Baston House 1933 by Marian & Margaret Stafford Smith

The Metropolitan Police Sports Club’s official opening took place at the Warren in 1935.

Coney Hill became a Home for Disabled Young People run by the Shaftesbury Society in 1935.

Housing Development

The Howard family who owned Pickhurst Manor were the first to sell pieces of land for development and within ten years the manor was demolished.
1926 – part of the land was sold to Sidney Gilchrist Thompson for the building of the Hayes Hill Estate.
1931 – George Spencer purchased the house and the rest of the land.
1936 – Pickhurst Manor was demolished and by 1939 new houses had been built in Pickhurst Lane (Nos. 31-99 & 92-126) and in Hilldown Road, Courtlands Avenue, Hayes Hill (even Nos.), Hurstdene Avenue, Briar Gardens, Dene Close, Hurst Close.

Over 20 houses were also built in the 1920s at the northern end of Hayes Lane within the parish boundary.

The death of Sir Everard Hambro in 1925 led to the sale of Hayes Place and its land to William E Agg-Large in 1930.
1931 – part of the estate was sold to Henry Boot & Sons Ltd of Sheffield with plans for 901 houses and included a parade of shops, Premier Parade, opposite the church.
1933 – The mansion was demolished.

1934 – development of the area to the south of Hayes Place was almost complete. It covered the Knoll, Ridgeway and Hayes Garden and four builders were involved: Bleach and Skipper, J C Derby, Keen & Sons and W.A.Jones.

1936 – Boot sold to Williams & Phillips Ltd and T & H Estates Ltd the part intended as Stage 2 of the development. It became Bourne Vale (47-99), Trevor Close, Chatham Avenue, Constance Crescent and part of Mounthurst Road.
1938 – W.I. Cook & Co of Beckenham bought land on the northern border of the estate and started to build houses in Mead Way, Hazelmere Way and Heath Rise but this was interrupted by the war.
1939 – By this date ‘Boot’ houses were completed in Alexander Close, Everard Avenue, Cecil Way, Cherry Walk, Dartmouth Road, East Way, Hambro Avenue, Husseywell Crescent, Montcalm Close, Northbourne, Oakmead Avenue, Pittsmead Avenue, Sackville Avenue, South Way, Stanhope Avenue, Stuart Avenue, The Green, Wolfe Close and parts of Bourne Vale, Chatham Avenue, Hayes Lane, Hayes Street, Kechill Gardens, Mead Way, Pickhurst Lane and Southborne .

Pickhurst Mead was included in the Hayes Place Estate sale in 1931.
1934 – The mansion was demolished in March.
1933/34 – Bleach & Skipper built the Pickhurst Green houses and by 1936 had built houses in Pickhurst Lane.
1937/39 – the houses in Pickhurst Mead were built.

Warren Wood was sold for development in 1934/5 to Durable Buildings Ltd who built 1-25 and 2-26 Holland Way, Abbotsbury Road, Sandiland Crescent and Westland Drive by 1939. The house was probably demolished by 1936.

In 1930 James Frost, the owner of Glebe House, died and the house and land were put up for sale. In 1932 the land was sold separately to Morrell (Builders) Ltd. The house remained unoccupied. The following year Burwood Avenue, Glebe House Drive and Hayes Wood Avenue to its northern boundary with the grounds of Street House were developed.

Sir Henry Payne lived in the Nest, which he renamed Redgates, from 1921 until his death in 1931. In 1936 it was bought by W W Courtenay Ltd, the house was demolished and Redgate Drive constructed. Five houses were built before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Longcroft had been bought by John Thomas Hedley in 1892 but he did not live there after Phyllis Broughton, a Gaiety Girl, rejected his offer of marriage. After he died the house was sold. The demolition of the house started in 1938 but was not finished when war broke out. Twelve semi-detached houses fronting the east side of Pickhurst Lane were built by 1939.

Other new housing appeared in George Lane including six bungalows built under the Hayes Public Utility Society in 1925 and 12 houses known as Hookfield Cottages in 1927. Bromley Council bought land from the Norman family to build Nos 37-51 George Lane in 1936 and the following year Nos 53-83.

Land in Baston Road saw development on the west side where houses were built by L T Pryor in 1933/34 and the following year land, originally part of the gardens of Glebe House, was developed by Bleach & Skipper. In 1938 S G Gee built the houses adjacent to the Rectory Grounds.


Hayes Street 1930s – Premier Parade of shops was built by Henry Boot & Sons Ltd (Nos.18-38)

Station Approach 1930s – Both the east and west side of Station Approach were developed by different builders and also the area around the railway station which extended into Bourne Way. By 1939 there was plenty of choice with larger stores such as the South Suburban Cooperative Society, Home & Colonial, David Grieg Ltd, and MacFisheries. There were two chemists, butchers, greengrocers, drapers and three banks.


The Rex Cinema opened at the north end of Station Approach in 1936.


In 1931 the Forge was demolished in Hayes Street and replaced by Hayes (Kent) Garage Ltd.

In 1932 Surridge’s Garage was built at the north end of Station Approach. A year later it became Campbell’s Garage.


Hayes Street Farm, renowned for its milk from its Guernsey cows, and Hayesford Farm continued to operate.

Fixted Farm was sold for development about 1934 and became a building site, although most of the land was not built on until after the Second World War.
Hayes Place Farm lost much of its land to developers but James Grandfield set up a nursery called ‘Hayes Gardens’ when he acquired the old farmhouse and greenhouses after Sir Everard Hambro’s death.
Warren Nurseries also continued under the ownership of Arthur and Oscar Gilbey.
The farmhouse and land of Pickhurst Green Farm were sold to Messrs Crescent Estate Ltd. Pickhurst Green Hotel opened on the site in 1937.


The New Inn was owned by Sir Everard Hambro and was bought prior to the 1931 auction by Midland Brewers, Messrs John Davenport & Sons of Birmingham. The existing New Inn was pulled down and replaced with a magnificent ‘baronial’ New Inn which opened on 1st December 1934.

The George Inn was managed by Maurice Lloyd with his sons until 1926 when Joshua John Fifield took over the licence. Watney Combe Reid Ltd bought the inn from the Hambro Estate and Mr Fifield remained as publican until he retired in 1939.


As the population increased the existing village school was unable to support the growing number of pupils. Finally in 1937 it was agreed that the current head Miss Dorothea Page, her staff and pupils would all transfer to the new Council School built at the end of George Lane.

Private Schools

One effect of the change in population was the setting up of a number of private schools.

1919 – Hayes Court School was founded by Miss Katherine Cox. It was an exclusive boarding school for girls but was unable to survive the outbreak of war and parents’ unwillingness to allow their daughters to stay so close to London.

1932 – Chatley House School opened at 1 New Road [Pickhurst Lane] for girls aged 5 to 12 and boys 5 to 8. The first Principal was Mrs Timewell and then Miss Jolly in 1933.
1932 – Barnhill School was started as a Boys’ Preparatory School by Robert Hilary Smith. When he could not continue to finance it C E Colbourne became headmaster. The school continued to expand and by 1939 there were 112 pupils.
1933 – Baston School for ‘girls and little boys’ opened in September 1933 with 11 pupils. Its founder and head was Miss Marian Langley Stafford Smith who was assisted by her sister Margaret. By 1939 there were over 100 pupils.


The Parish Church, St Mary the Virgin, continued to be at the centre of the religious worship in Hayes. Revd E McClintock became the rector after the retirement at the age of 75 of Canon Henry Percy Thompson in 1933. Four years later the existing Rectory was sold to Bromley Council to become a library and a new rectory was built on the adjacent land. Both rectors offered support to the new people who moved into Hayes and also recognised that some wished to worship in a different manner.

The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) at first met in the Parish Room in Baston Road and then in the Garden Room at 7 Pickhurst Lane, the home of Dr Colville Barrington. Like their Correspondent, Christina Yates, he had received his education at Sidcot, a Quaker school in Somerset.

The Congregational Church (Hayes Free Church) originally met in the Rectory Hut in the garden of the Rectory. Stanley Sheppard, a student minister was involved in setting up the new church and 35 people attended the first-morning service in January 1935. In June 1937 the congregation moved into the empty Pickhurst Manor Lodge. It was soon full to capacity and a larger building was planned once the funds were raised but before it could happen war was declared.

Hayes Brethren moved into the Rectory Hut in 1937 but were keen to have their own Gospel Hall which was opened in March 1939 on a piece of land in George Lane.

Parish Council

The Local Government Act of 1929 resulted in the demise of the Hayes Parish Council and its records were transferred to Bromley Borough Council in April 1934. The first of many changes occurred to the parish boundary and part of Hayes in the north (145.9 acres) came under the control of Beckenham.

Separate arrangements were made for the continuation of the Hayes Common Conservators and the protection of the Common.

Hayes Village Association

In anticipation of the loss in 1934 of a Parish Council to put forward the needs of Hayes, it was decided, in 1933, to set up a Village Association. It was a non-political body to ensure that the views of the residents were heard and action taken to deal with neighbourhood problems and encourage social activities.

Village Hall

A Hayes Community Council was set up in 1925 to organise the building and subsequently the management of a Village Hall. The site finally chosen was in Hayes Street and it was opened in November 1927. There was a recognition of the need to strengthen community activities.

Leisure Pastimes

Sport such as cricket, football, and tennis continued. A badminton club was started in 1930 and also table tennis. The Blackheath Harriers moved to Hayes in 1926 and made its headquarters in the old buildings in Bourne Way at the rear of the houses near the railway station.

Meetings of the Village Men’s Club, Mothers’ Union, Women’s Fellowship, Women’s Institute and Hayes Social Club continued. The Hayes Village Industrial Association changed its name to the Hayes (Kent) and District Horticultural Society and in the 1930s held increasingly popular shows.

Hayes Toc H was set up in 1932, the Hayes and District branch of the British Legion and Hayes Players in 1933.

Uniformed organisations for the young began after the First World War.
1919 – brownies and guides were started 
1920s – cubs and scouts started.
1930s – a ranger group for the over 16s.

Notable People
  • Basil Binyon, electrical engineer, director BBC 1922-1926
  • Arthur Collins, accountant specialising in local government
  • Katherine Cox, founder of Hayes Court school
  • Heather Seymour Guinness, Women’s British Fencing Champion 1932
  • Donald Haldeman, magistrate, successful farmer & breeder of cattle
  • Charles Eric Hambro, 2nd Chairman Hambros Bank
  • Margaret Harris and her sister Sophie, founders of the Motley Company
  • Norman Hope-Bell, youngest film producer in 1936 at age of 22
  • Edward Thomas John, prominent in Welsh Politics
  • Geoffrey Legge, captain Kent cricket team 1928-30, toured with MCC
  • Thomas Morley, landscape artist
  • Ernest Page, fastest UK sprinter 1931
  • Sir Henry Arthur Payne, Joint Permanent Secretary to the Board of Trade 1931
  • Edwin Preston, business man and local politician
  • Marion Richardson developed a child-centred method for the teaching of art
  • Margaret Stafford Smith, first woman Mayor of Bromley
  • Marian Langley Stafford Smith, founded Baston School
  • Canon Henry Percy Thompson, Rector of Hayes 1919 -1933 and author of A History of Hayes
  • Mrs Lilian Thompson, one of the first women parish councillors in Hayes
  • Sydney Wooderson, represented Great Britain in 1936 Berlin Olympics in 1500m race

Major sources are the records of the Hayes Parish Council, Hayes Village Association, Hayes Community Council and Hayes Church, school log books, sales brochures and catalogues. In addition records of the Hayes Common Conservators, rating books, planning records, directories, maps and local newspapers can be accessed in Bromley Historic Collections.


  • Rona Goyder, Hayeseed to Harvest,1984 [Hayes Court School]
  • G D Green, The Story of the Hayes Free Church 1937-1997
  • Elinor Harrold, Hayes Remembered,1982
  • L Mack, Hayes (Kent) Village Association Golden Jubilee Souvenir Guide,1983
  • L.Mack, Hayes Place Estate, typescript 2000
  • M Mullin, Design by Motley, University of Delaware Press,1996
  • J M Wilson & T C Woodman, Hayes Church School 1791 -1991, 1991
  • J.M.Wilson, The History of Baston, 1983
  • J.M.Wilson, The Village School Hayes 1791-1987, 1987
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