With 59 square miles within its boundaries, Bromley has the largest landmass of all the London boroughs. It is situated to the south east of London and was formed in 1965 from the former districts of Beckenham and Bromley, Orpington and Penge plus part of Chistlehurst and Sidcup. It stretches from Penge southwards to the ridge of the North Downs.
The areas that make up Bromley largely developed as Victorian railway suburbs. Until the 19th century the land was mostly open countryside, woods and hills. Much of the countryside in the South East of the Borough is still open land and more than 35 square miles is now protected as part of London's Green Belt. There are many 1920s and 1930s housing estates, including the large Mottingham estate, a London County Council 'out county' cottage estate.
Some of the more well known historic attractions in the Borough of Bromley are Down House, the former home of Charles Darwin, and Crystal Palace Park. Crystal Palace was the large glass structure built for the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was dismantled from its original site in Hyde Park and rebuilt in Penge as the centerpiece of a sort of theme park. The Palace and surrounding parkland attracted many visitors until it was destroyed by a large fire in 1936. Some remains can still be seen in the park, which is still open to the public today.
Crystal Palace park includes the National Sports Centre, built in the 1960s as Britain's flagship sports centre. By the end of the 20th century Bromley's sporting facilities included 2 dry ski slopes, 2 Olympic standard athletic tracks and an Olympic standard swimming pool. Other 20th century developments in Bromley include Biggin Hill aerodrome, built in the early 1930s and the main aerodrome for RAF fighter pilots during the Battle of Britain.
Places in Bromley
Local government wards:
Bickley, Biggin Hill, Bromley Common and Keston, Bromley Town, Chelsfield and Pratts Bottom, Chislehurst, Clock House, Copers Cope, Cray Valley East, Cray Valley West, Crystal Palace, Darwin, Farnborough and Crofton, Hayes and Coney Hall, Kelsey and Eden Park, Mottingham and Chislehurst North, Orpington, Penge and Cator, Petts Wood and Knoll, Plaistow and Sundridge, Shortlands and West Wickham.
Beckenham Junction, Bickley, Birkbeck, Bromley South, Bromley North, Chelsfield, Clock House, Crystal Palace, Eden Park, Elmers End, Grove Park, Hayes, Kent House Station, Knockholt, New Beckenham, Orpington, Penge East, Penge West, Petts Wood, Ravensbourne, St Mary Cray, Sanderstead and West Wickham.
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