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Bexleyheath’s War Memorial has been moved several times. Its original position from 1921 to 1953 was at the corner of Oaklands Road/Broadway. It lists the names of servicemen killed in both wars.

Bexleyheath Armistice Memorial Service 1937

George Arthur Overton lived at Hillcrest, 317 Broadway with his parents. The family had come to live in Bexleyheath from Great Yarmouth shortly after 1911. He enlisted in the Army and rose to Corporal of 1st/1st Norfolk Yeomanry. He was killed in Gallipoli on 5 December 1915, aged 22. [From Kate Holloway, relative of Mr Overton]

Walter William Printer was born in Dartford in 1896. By 1911 he was living in Smiths Cottages, Graham Road, Bexleyheath and working as a telegraph boy at the Post Office. He joined the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards on 26 November 1914. In November 1915 he was awarded the DCM for conspicuous gallantry in rescuing a wounded man while under fire from the Germans. The local newspaper reported that, while recovering in hospital from his wounds, “he has received a telegram from the Postmaster and staff of Bexley Heath congratulating him on the honour conferred upon him and expressing their admiration of his noble and plucky conduct”. Walter survived the war. He married and had children, and died in 1956. [From research by Trevor Tamsett, volunteer on Changing Times project]

 

 

This and more can be seen in the Exhibition pamphlet, which can be downloaded from this site or is available in a printed version.

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One hundred years ago, the Clock Tower was nearing completion, in time for its unveiling on 17 July 1912.

Bexleyheath’s Clock Tower nearing completion in 1912. In front is the Pincott Memorial

By the time of King George V’s coronation in 1911 there was need for a clock at the tram terminus which was situated at Market Place. At the same time, plans for some kind of memorial to the coronation were underway. An executive committee of local councillors (including the Chairman, Mr G. Sheldon) and prominent Bexleyheath businessmen (including Messrs Hide, Whomes and Jenkins) was formed to discuss these plans, along with general improvements of the Market Place area. Local architect Walter Maxted Epps’ winning design featured a tower, a clock with four faces, and an electric substation and shelter at the base. The money to build it was to be raised by public subscription.

The foundation stone for the Clock Tower was laid on 8 January 1912. A jar was placed under the foundation stone to explain to any future explorer ‘when Bexleyheath was in ruins’ what had been done in Bexleyheath to celebrate the coronation of King George V. Built by local firm Messrs Friday and Ling for £454, the finished tower stood at 46 ft with a 13ft base.

A memorial to the first vicar of Christ Church, the Rev. W. H. Pincott, had been erected in Market Place in 1879. Originally consisting of a drinking fountain in the form of an obelisk and a cattle trough, the Pincott Memorial was moved to its position outside Christ Church not long after the Clock Tower was built.

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At 10pm on 4 June 2012, following Jubilee celebrations in the Broadway, Bexleyheath, residents of the borough of Bexley were invited to take part in a ceremony at Golden Acre, next to St John’s Church, Bexley village. Following speeches by the Mayor of Bexley, the Deputy Lieutenant of Bexley and the Bishop of Rochester, a Jubilee Beacon was lit, one of over 4000 beacons lit across Britain and the Commonwealth.

Bexley’s Jubilee Beacon at Golden Acre, next to St John’s Church, Bexley village.

Just a simple flame, but there were plenty of fire engines nearby, in case of any emergency! But how did we do Jubilee Beacons in the past? In 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, a beacon was lit in Oaklands Road.

Beacon created in Oaklands Road for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897

That’s what you call a proper beacon! Bexley Heath did already have its own fire brigade by this time, so perhaps they were standing by then too. I wonder how long it took to build this beacon!

There were beacons to celebrate King George V’s coronation in 1911 too. This one looks particularly neat and organised. A work of art!

Beacon created to celebrate the coronation of King George V in 1911

A small exhibition of ‘Royal Broadway’ is on display Christ Church, Bexleyheath from 1 June 2012.

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At midday on 4 June 2012, the Mayor of Bexley, Cllr Alan Downing, unveiled a commemorative plaque at the Clock Tower in Broadway, Bexleyheath. The plaque marks the centenary of the Clock Tower, which was built to commemorate the coronation of King George V.

The plaque, and the interpretation panel in front of the Clock Tower, were designed and installed thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund grant awarded to the Bexley Historical Society for the ‘Changing Times’ project.

The Mayor of Bexley, Cllr Alan Downing, and Penny Duggan

The day started at 9.15 at the Civic Offices, from where the Civic Parade marched down the Broadway towards Christ Church. As the Boys Brigade band and other groups started off the parade, I was proud to be part of such a historic occasion. Not only was I part of an annual civic event, but this was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee as well!

Christ Church was packed with people, and a service of hymns, speeches and readings (not forgetting a card trick by the Archdeacon of Bexley and Bromley) was finished with the national anthem. The church was decorated with flags and flowers of the Commonwealth.

The components of the civic parade regrouped and marched back up the Broadway to the Clock Tower. Hundreds of people had turned out to line the street, moving up towards Market Place for the ceremony. I was honoured to be present on the dais with the Mayor and the Deputy Lieutenant and to give a speech about the ‘Changing Times’ project. The Mayor then pulled a Union Jack which was covering the plaque. How incredible to be part of such a historic occasion.

The commemorative plaque is revealed!

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