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The medieval Church of Saint Nicholas, the oldest standing building in Chislehurst
Chislehurst is located in Greater London
Location within Greater London
Population15,600 (2021 census)
OS grid referenceTQ445705
• Charing Cross10 mi (16 km) NW
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townChislehurst
Postcode districtBR7
Dialling code020
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°24′43″N 0°04′30″E / 51.412°N 0.075°E / 51.412; 0.075
Royal Parade

Chislehurst (/ˈɪzəlˌhɜːrst/) is a suburban district of south-east London, England, in the London Borough of Bromley. It lies east of Bromley, south-west of Sidcup and north-west of Orpington, 10 miles (16 km) south-east of Charing Cross. Before the creation of Greater London in 1965, it was in Kent. According to the 2021 census, Chislehurst has a population of 15,600 (rounded to the nearest 100).[1]


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

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.[2]

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.


The Chislehurst civil parish formed an urban district of Kent from 1894 to 1934.[3] In 1934 it became part of the Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban District,[4] which was split in 1965 between the London boroughs of Bromley and Bexley. Chislehurst Ward has three councillors on Bromley Council: the first non-Conservative party candidates returned for the ward were Chislehurst Matters members elected in 2022. [5]


As of 2021, Chislehurst is recorded as having a population of roughly 15,600. 35.3% of people in Chislehurst were recorded as being between the ages of 35 and 59, below the borough average of 36.4%. The largest religious group is Christian at 51.5%, above the borough average of 48.3%, with the second largest group being No religion at 33.8%, below the borough average of 37.3%. The largest ethnic group in Chislehurst is White, comprising 81.4% of the population, above the borough average of 76.5%, with the second largest being Asian/Asian British who make up 7.9% of the population, below the borough average of 8.3%.[1]


Chislehurst is largely a residential area.[6] Chislehurst West, previously known as "Pricking" or "Prickend", includes the biggest of the ponds and the High Street.

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.

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.

Chislehurst Conservation Area

Further information: List of conservation areas in England

A 2017 list shows there have been 596.4 hectares (1,474 acres) in Chislehurst designated as conservation areas since 1971.[7] The designation of conservation areas is one of the many planning tactics used in the United Kingdom that includes local planning authorities (LPA's), with plans working in conjunction such as the listing of buildings and scheduled monuments, metropolitan Green Belts, National Trusts, and "Tree Preservation Orders". These give stringent policies against development with statues and non-statutory orders. The destruction of many trees and Victorian style buildings caused by bombing during WWII, as well as the ensuing building boom, made protection even more critical. The end result is the protection of areas by preventing arbitrary destruction from large as well as small-scale development that can cause a creeping effect into side spaces and back gardens.[8]

Nearby areas

Chislehurst borders New Eltham to the north, Sidcup to the north east and east, St Paul's Cray to the south east, Petts Wood to the south, Bickley to the south west, Elmstead to the west and Mottingham to the north west.


Chislehurst Caves

Chislehurst Caves entrance

A local attraction is Chislehurst Caves. They were originally used to mine flint and chalk. During World War II, they were used nightly as an air-raid shelter. There is a chapel inside. A child was born in the caves during World War II and was given a middle name of 'Cavena'.[9] The caves have also been used as a venue for live music; Jimi Hendrix, the Who, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin have all played there.

Camden Place

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 it was given a number of additions in the late 18th and very early 19th centuries by the architect George Dance the younger.[10]

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. The house is a Grade II* listed building.[11]

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 his son, the Prince Imperial, were originally buried in St Mary's Church, before being removed to St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough.[12] The Emperor's widow, the Empress Eugénie, remained at Camden Place until 1885.

There is a memorial to the Prince Imperial 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 station provides National Rail services to London Charing Cross, London Cannon Street via Lewisham, Orpington and Sevenoaks.


Chislehurst is served by London Buses routes 61, 160, 161, 162, 269, 273, 638, R7, SL3 and N136. These connect it with areas including Beckenham, Bexleyheath, Bromley, Catford, Eltham, Grove Park, Lewisham, North Greenwich, Orpington, Sidcup & Woolwich.


Religious sites

St Nicholas' Church and the Charles A Janson Memorial Drinking Fountain

Notable people

Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte with his wife Eugénie de Montijo and their son in exile in Chislehurst, 1872.


  1. ^ a b "Build a custom area profile - Census 2021, ONS". Retrieved 20 March 2024.
  2. ^ Friends of Scadbury Park
  3. ^ Vision of Britain - Chilsehurst UD (historic map)
  4. ^ Vision of Britain - Chislehurst and Sidcup UD (historic map Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine)
  5. ^ "London Borough of Bromley online information Council and democracy". 5 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Name: History of London Borough of Bromley". Ideal Homes. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  7. ^ Hall, Leo. "A New Inventory of English Conservation Areas (2017)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  8. ^ Holt, Laurie (February 2008). "Chislehurst Conservation Area" (PDF). Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  9. ^ The baby was christened Rose Cavena Wakeman according to the official guides. Birth records show that a baby called Rose L.C. Wakeman was born in Chislehurst in 1946, which is consistent with the story.
  10. ^ Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, London 2: South, Buildings of England (Harmondsworth, 1983), p. 180.
  11. ^ "Name: CAMDEN PLACE List entry Number: 1064325". English Heritage. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  12. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Chislehurst" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 247.
  13. ^ "Guardian interview with Craig Fairbrass". 27 November 2020.