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Royal Parade and Chislehurst village sign - - 1715929.jpg
Chislehurst village sign
Chislehurst is located in Greater London
Population 14,831 (ward, 2011)
OS grid reference TQ445705
• Charing Cross 10 mi (16 km) NW
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Chislehurst
Postcode district BR7
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament
  • Bromley & Chislehurst
London Assembly
  • Bexley and Bromley
List of places
51°24′43″N 0°04′30″E / 51.412°N 0.075°E / 51.412; 0.075Coordinates: 51°24′43″N 0°04′30″E / 51.412°N 0.075°E / 51.412; 0.075
Royal Parade - - 1530906
Royal Parade

Chislehurst is a suburban district in south-east London, England, within the London Borough of Bromley. It lies east of Bromley, south-west of Sidcup and north-west of Orpington, and c. 10 miles (16 km) south-east of Charing Cross, the traditional centre of London. Prior to the creation of Greater London in 1965, Chislehurst was in the administrative county of Kent.


The name "Chislehurst" is derived from the Saxon words cisel 'gravel', and hyrst 'wooded hill'.


Camden Place, Chislehurst Geograph-2518030-by-Ian-Capper
Camden Place in 2011

Camden Place (now Chislehurst Golf Club, 51° 24′ 40.05″N 0° 3′ 55.69″E ) takes its name from the antiquary William Camden, who lived in the former house on the site from c.1609 until his death in 1623. The present house was built shortly before 1717, and was given a number of additions in the late 18th and very early 19th centuries by the architect George Dance the younger. In about 1760, the house and estate were bought by Charles Pratt, the Attorney General, and later Lord Chancellor. Pratt was ennobled in 1765, taking the title Baron Camden, of Camden Place: in 1786 he was created Earl Camden. A later occupant of the house, from 1871 until his death there in 1873, was the exiled French Emperor, Napoleon III. His body and that of the Prince Imperial were originally buried in St Mary's Church, before being removed to St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough. The Emperor's widow, the Empress Eugénie, remained at Camden Place until 1885. There is a memorial to Napoléon Eugène on Chislehurst Common, and the area's connections with the imperial family are found in many road names and in the local telephone code, 467, which in its earlier format corresponded to the letters IMP (for imperial).

Chislehurst Common (and nearby St Paul's Cray Common) were saved from development in 1888 following campaigns by local residents. They were a popular destination for bank holiday trips in the early 20th century, and now provide a valuable green space. Nearby Petts Wood, Hawkwood and Scadbury have also been preserved as open spaces following local campaigns.

The Chislehurst civil parish formed an urban district of Kent from 1894 to 1934. In 1934 it became part of the Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban District, which was split in 1965 between the London boroughs of Bromley and Bexley.

Chislehurst is home to the Derwent House, designed by William Willett.

The Walsingham family, including Christopher Marlowe's patron, Sir Thomas Walsingham and Queen Elizabeth I's spymaster, Francis Walsingham, had a home in Scadbury Park, now a nature reserve in which the ruins of the house can still be seen.

A water tower used to straddle the road from Chislehurst to Bromley until it was demolished in 1963 as one of the last acts of the Chislehurst and Sidcup UDC. It marked the entrance to the Wythes Estate in Bickley, but its narrow archway meant that double-decker buses were not able to be used on the route.


Royal Parade - - 1530906
Royal Parade
St Nicholas' Church and the Charles A Janson Memorial Drinking Fountain - - 1716004
St Nicholas' Church and Charles A Janson Memorial Drinking Fountain
Chislehurst Caves entrance

Chislehurst is regarded as an affluent area and one of the most expensive places to live in South East London. Chislehurst West may be found by going towards Mottingham and this area includes the biggest of the ponds and the High Street which has many pubs and restaurants. Chislehurst West was previously known as "Pricking" and "Prickend".

A local attraction is Chislehurst Caves. The caves are considered to be of very ancient origin. They were originally used to mine flint and chalk. During World War II, thousands of people used them nightly as an air raid shelter. There is even a chapel. One child was born in the caves during World War II, and was given a middle name of 'Cavena'. The caves have also been used as a venue for live music; Jimi Hendrix, the Who and the Rolling Stones have all played there. The caves are reputedly haunted, and Druids are said to have made grisly human sacrifices in their depths. A number of television programmes and films, including episodes of Doctor Who, have been filmed there. Tours are available most days, and on Sundays there used to be an extended tour, lasting approximately one and a half hours, although this no longer takes place. Tours are normally on the hour. There is a licensed bar and café at the caves.

Chislehurst is one of the starting points for the Green Chain Walk, linking to places such as Crystal Palace, Erith, the Thames Barrier and Thamesmead.

Places of worship

  • Chislehurst Baptist Church
  • St Patrick's Catholic Church
  • Christ Church Chislehurst
  • Elmstead Baptist Church
  • Chislehurst Methodist Church
  • The Annuncation
  • St. Nicholas
  • Darul Uloom Mosque and School
  • Ichthus Christian Fellowship
  • St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, original burial place of Napoleon III and his son the Prince Imperial (killed when acting as an observer in the Boer War)



Chislehurst station links the area with National Rail services to London Charing Cross and to Sevenoaks via Orpington.


  • 61 to Bromley North via Orpington
  • 160 to Catford via Eltham and to Sidcup
  • 161 to North Greenwich via Eltham and Woolwich
  • 162 to Eltham Station via Avery Hill, New Eltham and Edgebury Estate and to Beckenham jct via Bickley and Bromley Town.
  • 269 to Bexleyheath via Sidcup and to Bromley North
  • 273 to Lewisham via Grove Park and to Petts Wood


  • Bullers Wood School
  • Chislehurst School for Girls
  • Coopers School
  • Saint Nicholas Church of England Primary School
  • Babington House School
  • Farringtons School
  • Chislehurst C of E Primary School
  • Edgebury Primary School
  • Red Hill Primary School
  • Mead Road Infant School
  • Marjorie McClure Special School

Notable people

Napoleon III and the imperial family in exile
Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte with his wife Eugénie de Montijo and their son in exile in Chislehurst, 1872.
  • Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, President of France and Emperor of the French, lived in exile (1871-1873) in Camden Place.
  • William Camden (1551–1623), Clarenceux King of Arms, lived in the house later known as Camden Place from c.1609 until 1623
  • Malcolm Campbell, former land and water speed record holder, was born in Chislehurst and is buried in St. Nicholas Parish Church
  • George Somers Leigh Clarke (1822–1882), architect who lived at Walpole, Manor Park and is buried in the St Nicholas' churchyard.
  • Richmal Crompton, author of the Just William series of books.
  • Craig Fairbrass, actor
  • Tilly Keeper, who plays Louise Mitchell in BBC One soap opera EastEnders.
  • E. J. May (1853–1941), architect, lived locally and designed a number of local buildings.
  • Eugénie de Montijo, Countess of Teba and Empress of France.
  • Jozef Michal Poniatowski, Polish nobleman, composer.
  • Charles Pratt (1714–1794), Earl Camden, a British politician, who lived at Camden Place
  • Peter Redpath, Canadian businessman.
  • Siouxsie Sioux, singer, best known for being in the band Siouxsie and the Banshees
  • Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney; the city of Sydney, Australia is named after him.
  • Francis Walsingham, spymaster to Elizabeth I.
  • Alan Watts, philosopher, born and raised in Chislehurst, moved to the United States in 1938.
  • William Willett, a campaigner for daylight saving time, lived most of his adult life in Chislehurst.
  • Ted Willis, creator of Dixon of Dock Green.
  • William Hyde Wollaston, chemist and physicist who discovered rhodium and palladium.
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