From Academic Kids

This article is about the town of Orpington. Orpington is also the name of a chicken breed.
OS Grid Reference:Template:Gbmappingsmall
County:Greater London
Region:Greater London
Ceremonial County:Greater London
Traditional County:Kent
Post Office and Telephone
Dialling Code:01689

Orpington is a suburban commuter town in the London Borough of Bromley. It is near to the M25 motorway and is connected to central London by train from Orpington railway station. Orpington is 13.3 miles (21.4 km) south east of Charing Cross.



The remains of Crofton Roman Villa are open to the public, on the hillside above the railway station.

The Parish Church, "All Saints", stands upon pre-Norman foundations. It is Early English in style, but some Saxon work is visble. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book. It was endowed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1173. The tower and steeple were damaged by a storm in 1771. The rebuilt steeple was struck by lightning in 1809, and it was not replaced. The church was greatly enlarged in 1957.

Orpington Priory is a fine example of a medieval 'hall house'. In 1032, Eadsy, chaplain to King Cnut, gave his estate at Orpedingetune to Christ Church Priory, Canterbury. The first Rector of Orpington, Hugh de Mortimer, held court here in 1270. The house was rebuilt, this time of stone, in 1290, and added to in 1393 and 1471. In the 17th century the house ceased to be a rectory and passed into private ownership - a timber framed extension was added, which no longer exists. The house was acquired by Orpington Urban District Council in 1947, and now it houses a museum and a public library. The garden forms an attractive public park, and contains a pond which is the source of the River Cray.

Orpington is known for the "Buff", "Black" and "Speckled" chickens bred by William Cook in the 1890s.

The Orpington Car, built by Frank Smith & Jack Milroy at their works opposite the pond, was shown at the 1920 Motor Show. It was a two-seater convertible, with a dickey seat, and a 10 horsepower (7 kW) engine. Although briefly successful, Smith and Milroy could not compete with mass production, and the last car was built in 1925. Unfortunately, there are no surviving examples.

Until the 1870s, Orpington was a small country village, surrounded by soft fruit farms, hopfields and orchards. The railway arrived in 1868, linking Orpington to central London (and Sevenoaks). Housing development began on a small scale on the Knoll. From the turn of the century the speed of development accelerated, and hundreds of houses were built in the 1920s and 30s. Development was brought to an abrupt halt by the second world war. Since the war, Green Belt legislation has limited further expansion to the east and south. As a result, suburban semi-detached houses incongruously adjoin open fields.

In World War II the town suffered incendiary bomb damage and, later, V-1 and V-2 attacks because of its location on the flightpath to London and also its proximity to Biggin Hill aerodrome which was an important airbase for Spitfire and Hurricane fighters in the Battle of Britain. The last British civilian killed by German bombing was Mrs Ivy Millichamp, 34, who was killed in her home at 88 Kynaston Road, Orpington on 27 March 1945, by a V-2.

Historically, Orpington was part of Bromley Rural District of Kent. From 1934 to to 1965, the town had its own Urban District Council. Since 1965, it has been part of the largest London Borough, Bromley.

Politically, Orpington is famous for its 1962 by-election. A shock win by Eric Lubbock of the Liberal Party spelt the beginning of the end for the Conservative Macmillan government.

Present day

With frequent commuter rail services to Charing Cross, Cannon Street and Victoria, yet close to open countryside, Orpington is a popular place for central London workers to live. House prices are high, and infill houses are being squeezed in wherever possible. Orpington benefits from good bus services too, an advantage of being administratively part of London (rather than part of Kent). Orpington is in Travelcard Zone 6. About a dozen bus routes run along the High Street, linking the town to Sidcup, Chislehurst, Bromley town centre, the Tramlink at Addington, and the villages to the south; Chelsfield, Green Street Green, Cudham, Downe, Knockholt, and Biggin Hill.

The High Street and adjacent Walnuts Shopping Centre contain; Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer, W H Smith, Boots, Woolworths, Argos, Wilkinsons, and Robert Dyas, etc. There is a general market, three days a week.

Planning permission has been granted to demolish a multistorey car park at the south end of the High Street, and replace it with a large Tesco.

The Walnuts Leisure Centre, just east of the High Street, has a six lane, 33 metre indoor swimming pool, gym with sauna and steam room, and squash courts, as well as two sports halls used for activities such as badminton, basketball and fitness classes.

Set back from the High Street and near to the historic parish church, Orpington has a large and well-used public library, set in attractive grounds: Priory Gardens. The Priory itself contains Bromley Museum.

Council tax in Bromley is amongst the lowest in London, and local state schools are good.


  • Orpington College, a further education college, is the tallest building in the town, and attracts students from a wide area.

Nearest places

Nearest railway stations

External Links



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