Welcome to the Penge Heritage Trail

We hope you discover a great deal more about Penge SE20 than perhaps you possibly knew, especially if you live here, and that you enjoy following the trail. You may follow the trail digitally as on this website, but you may also want to get a copy of the illustrated map/guide and follow aspects of it in Penge itself and in your own time. Be advised that the map/guide pamphlet is a simplified version of what is on the website and is available from Penge Library and other high street outlets or downloadable from here.

The project was made possible by generous responses from the public to an online Spacehive appeal. There are three strands to the project: this website, the map/guide pamphlet and heritage plaques in and around the high street.

The Spacehive appeal raised enough money to fund the website and the pamphlet. Bromley Council pledged funding from the New Homes Bonus for the plaques. The Penge Town Centre Team encouraged and supported the project from the outset. A Thank You list of sponsors and a list of Credits form end-notes.

There are free guided Heritage Walks which you may like to join during the Penge Festival or on Penge Days. Penge Heritage Walk 1 took place on Saturday June 16, 2018, as part of the Penge Festival, and Penge Heritage Walk 2 took place on Saturday August 25, as part of Penge Day. We believe there is much to celebrate and value in this fascinating area of South London. Responses to the website so far have been: ‘Terrific’, ‘Brilliant, ‘A useful asset to Penge’ and ‘I really like it!’ Meanwhile, enjoy your visit to the Penge Heritage Trail website!

Penge Heritage Trail Leaflet

1930's Map of Penge

Explore the Penge Heritage Trail on our Heritage Map
Click the numbered buttons on the map below

The Alexandra Estate was built in 1866/68 by the Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrial Classes. Most cottages are semi-detached with front and back gardens. The Estate House where rents were paid is now the site of Alexandra Nurseries.

The Old Drill Hall, in Parish Lane, was opened in 1914 as the Penge headquarters of the Territorial Army. It closed in 1961 and became a Youth Centre, The Drum, until 2011. The Drill Hall is a locally-listed building.

Holy Trinity Church was designed by architects H.Daukes and E.F.C Clarke in Gothic style on land provide by Albemarle Cator. The building was financed by Francis Peek (of Peek Frean biscuits) and built from Kentish ragstone in 1878.  Destroyed by arson in 1993, it has been imaginatively restored.

Alexandra Recreation Ground, one of the Penge Parks, was opened in 1891 with great fanfare in the same week as Croydon Recreation Ground. There are two sections of the park, one a designated football area, the other containing a children’s play area.

Penge East Railway Station was built in 1861/63 on the Chatham mainline and paid for by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway. It is now a Grade ll listed building.

Tomei & Sons Ltd are distinguished manufacturers of ornamental plasterwork.  Established in Penge since 1875, their clients are world-wide and include Aspreys, the UK Supreme Court, the Tower of London and Harrods.

The Royal Naval Asylum in St John’s Road was a philanthropic gesture in 1848 by Queen Adelaide, widow of King William IV, for the widows of naval officers. Designed in Tudor  Gothic style by distinguished architect Philip Hardwick.

Queen Adelaide Court is a Festival of Britain, award-winning, post-war development of flats designed by Edward Armstrong in fifties brutalist style. The three-sided arrangement of the two blocks with their central gardens reflects the design of the nearby Royal Naval Asylum.

St John the Evangelist Church was designed by Edwin Nash and J. N. Round and was built in 1849/50 to serve the needs of Penge Anglicans.  It is a Grade II listed building with beautiful stained glass from the William Morris studio.

Penge War Memorials: there are five of them in Penge and two are Grade II nationally-listed buildings. The high street memorial was built in 1925 and commemorates the fallen of both world wars, soldiers and civilians.

Penge Recreation Ground (aka Penge Green) is one of the Penge parks and was opened with great fanfare in 1888, one of the earliest Victorian public parks in Penge. A last vestige of Penge Common, it has an active Friends group.

Mrs Maples’ Fountain is a red granite Victorian drinking fountain is situated in the centre of Penge Recreation Ground. It was a gift to Penge in 1899 from Mrs Emily Blundell Maple, wife of Sir John Blundell Maple, Ist Baronet, of Maple furniture stores fame.

The Royal Watermen’s Almshouses were designed by George Porter in Tudor revival style on land given by John Dudin Brown. They were built in 1840 for aged watermen and lightermen who used to work on the Thames. They are Grade II listed buildings.

The Crooked Billet is a post-war reconstructed public house, reflecting the brutalist style of 1959, on or near possibly the oldest site in Penge. Various forms of coaching inns/hostelries stood on the site since 1601, facing Pensgreene.

St John’s Cottages, in Maple Road, were designed by Edwin Nash in 1863/4, the architect of St John the Evangelist Church on the high street. Simple in design, with a central garden, they were originally built as almshouses and are now privately-owned.

Maple Road is a residential and commercial road famous for its market but now a kind of artists colony with many examples of street art. Art exhibitions take place in its studios and cafes as well as music and poetry evenings.

The Salvation Army Citadel in Maple Road has had a Christian mission in Penge since 1894.  Its notable brass band is a familiar sight at many Penge-based celebrations and the building has an original and rare scroll-based First World war memorial.

Empire Square is named after the famous Empire Theatre which stood on the corner where Boots is now. Opened by music hall star Marie Lloyd in 1915, many great stars of stage and screen appeared there. It became the Essoldo cinema for a while in the fifties but was demolished in 1961.

The Old Police Station was built in 1872 on the advice of the Penge Vestry which was concerned with rising crime in Penge.  An imposing building in mid-Victorian style with a characteristic blue lamp, the station was believed to be the oldest working police station in London until it closed in 2010.

Penge Congregational Church is a grade II nationally-listed building, designed by P. Morley Horder and built in 1912. Cruciform in design, with a barrel-vaulted oak ceiling and a high chancel, it is home to the celebrated Lewis organ. Many organ recitals of an international standard are held there throughout the year.

The Kentwood Centre occupies the former site of the prestigious Beckenham and Penge Grammar School. Former Rolling Stone guitarist Bill Wyman is one of the former pupils. Now home to the Royston Primary School; Men in Sheds; and the Kentwood Adult Education Centre.

Winsford Gardens is an award-winning Penge Park and home of the Penge Green Gym. It is overseen by a lively Friends Group and was formerly the extensive garden of Winsford House, built in 1936 by wealthy property-developer Stephen Gee.

St Anthony of Padua Church was built in Genoa Road in 1927 in English Gothic style for the Catholic community. It was designed by architect Frederic Walters, who had designed Buckfast Abbey in Devon and who just happened to be the father of its first priest, Fr James Walters.

Anerley Methodist Church has had a presence in the Oakfield Road area since 1879. Surviving destruction during the blitz of 1940, an arson attack in 1979, the present small church has a lively outward-looking community with keep-fit, dance and drama classes.

Thornsett Road is one of the oldest residential roads in Anerley. Noted for its beautiful mid-Victorian architecture, the road has three houses with blue plaques. These are the former homes of Thomas Crapper, sanitary ware specialist; George Daniels, watchmaker; and Walter de la Mare, poet and novelist.

Betts Park: Frederic Betts, a Penge property developer, donated the land which became a park in 1928 named after his mother, Sarah Betts. The park has a notable heritage site: one of the last remaining segments of the old Croydon-to-London canal.

Anerley Town Hall was originally Anerley Vestry Hall, built in 1878 for the conduct of public business. In 1900 it became Anerley Town Hall by which time its board of guardians had gained in reputation and Penge had its own Urban District Council. This lasted until 1965 when Penge became part of the London Borough of Bromley.

The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs  were designed by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and built in situ in 1854 to enhance the transfer of the Crystal Palace to the grounds of Penge Place. Over thirty statues cover three prehistoric periods and are now Grade 1 listed National Heritage structures.

Crystal Palace Park is the remains of the grounds housing the Crystal Palace which had been transferred from Hyde Park in 1854. It has a maze, a concert bowl, a skate board area, a sports centre, boating lake and famous dinosaur sculptures.

The White House, built in 1840, is one of the oldest buildings in Penge and nationally-listed at Grade II. The two-storeyed stuccoed building was built when the area was still a small rural community and has a slate roof with lions heads at intervals on the guttering, hiding the joins.