The third aspect of the Penge Heritage Trail is the creation of pavement plaques celebrating various personages, places or artefacts connected with Penge in some significant way. There are twelve plaques in all and they are installed in and around the High Street.
The pavement plaques had to be made of a dignified longlasting material able to stand up to several thousand footfalls a day, every day for many years. The lettering has a raised edge suitable for ‘wax rubbings’. Similar heritage plaques can be seen throughout London and New York, match the heritage trail plaques in major British cities and relate to those nearer home in Beckenham and Bromley. Funding for these comes from the New Homes Bonus and was originally coordinated by Virgil Rappa, Town Centre Development Project Planner for the London Borough of Bromley. Sarah Keegan-Day took over the project after Vigil left. The other two aspects of the project are the Penge Heritage Trail website and the pamphlet guide.
Funding was directed via Spacehive, an online fundraising site for local heritage projects. The website and pamphlet guide were funded by public subscription. Several individuals organised specific fundraising activities and we are very grateful for the money raised. There were 90 backers in all. We reached our target within five months. A list of contributors is given at on this website under the heading ‘Thank You’. The project was coordinated by Chris O’Shaughnessy for the former Penge Town Centre Team.
Pavement plaques will celebrate a number of personages, artefacts and buildings such as: Royal Watermen’ s Almhouses, Crooked Billet, Dinosaurs, Walter de la Mare, Peggy Spencer M.B.E. Can you find the other seven? Your heritage pamphlet guide – available from the Library or outlets such as Designer Drapes, Property World, Solitaire, Alexandra Nurseries – will help you. They will link in with the heritage trail online map and function as stepping stones through much of it. Detailed information is given on this website for all of the named subjects on the plaques.
We are fortunate to have local experts to provide information on many of them: e.g. Dr Hazel Waters for Ira Aldridge , Dr Ellinor Michel for the Dinosaurs, biographer Neil Pettigrew for Lionel Atwill and Henry Daniell. All three have provided video interviews in the relevant sections. Mr Giles de la Mare has supported the Walter de la Mare celebrations in the Penge Festival for many years. Historians Martin Spence and the late David Johnson have given their much-appreciated approval for the project.
Guided walks take place throughout the year during the Penge Festival and on Penge Days. Details of these are published on the Penge Tourist Board Facebook page and website and on the Heritage Trail Facebook page and website. The entire project was launched officially in May 2018.
We understand from council sources and from the Bromley Town Regeneration Report of July 2nd, 2019, and from Sarah Keegan-Day, that the revised date for pavement plaques installations was scheduled for March 2020, not October as given below:
3.17 To support the Penge Heritage Trail, 13 Heritage plaques that provide further wayfinding with an emphasis on the town’s heritage assets will also be installed at strategic locations in Penge town centre in October this year.
That is, twelve pavement plaques were installed at various points in the town and one ceramic blue wall plaque was installed on the old Police Station building. The project was much-praised at a recent (November, 2020) Town Regeneration seminar at Oxford University.