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Local History 861 AD − 1911

The Estate of Selsdon Park dominated the surrounding areas of Selsdon for very many centuries and it can be traced back to 861 when Duke Aelfrid bequeathed the "mansion on the hill" to his wife Werburg. In medieval times the estate was held by the Knights Templar, the celebrated crusaders who figure prominently in Scott′s "Ivanhoe", who received tithe from their overlord the Archbishop of Canterbury. Sir John Gresham, a relative of the Gresham who founded the Royal Exchange, owned the estate in 1347. After the dissolution of the monasteries there were many owners; and until 1642 was the home of the Ownstead family. From 1676 − 1711 Christopher Bowyer was in possession, who, it seems constructed the building that eventually became the Selsdon Park Hotel. Much of the surrounding areas of Selsdon Woods and Selsdon itself came about from the selling of various parts of the Selsdon Park Estate.

Nearby Addington Village features the beautiful small parish church of St. Mary′s, whose chancel and nave were built in about 1080, the south aisle dates from1210 with the current tower and north aisle being rebuilt in 1876. Addington Village until fairly recent times lay claim to being the smallest village in England. Addington Village also was crucial to the development of cricket. Its village cricket club is the second oldest in the world − hence the road called "The Wicket" and the village pub/restaurant called "The Cricketers". The building we know as Addington Palace, which is now a health and leisure club, dates from 1780 and was a former palace and residence of Archbishops of Canterbury. Six archbishops lived consecutively at Addington up to 1882. There are five archbishops buried in the churchyard of St. Mary′s and a distinctive memorial erected in 1911 commemorates the fact




Local History 1911 − 1975

The area we know, started with the first modern building being built and occupied in Selsdon in 1923. Following this there was a development of Selsdon as an outer London suburb with much development during the 1920s and 1930s. Originally marketed as Selsdon Garden Village, the building firm, Costains, had a major part in the development of Selsdon, with houses being sold at the time for £650. Selsdon Woods, formerly part of the Selsdon Park Estate, were bought as a result of much public fund raising. A major donor of funds was Sir Julian Huxley, brother of the novelist Aldous Huxley. The woods were opened to the public by the Lord Mayor of London in June 1936 as a nature reserve and bird sanctuary. The pub close to Selsdon Cross bears Sir Julian′s name.

The development of the area we know as New Addington started in 1935 under the name of Addington Garden Village Estate being built by the First National Housing Trust. By 1939 1000 houses had been built and the corporation had purchased a further 403 acres the previous year for building development.

The area we now know as Forestdale was open land which during 1920 and 1924, was acquired by the Surrey Garden Village Trust and divided into half acre plots to be used by as smallholdings by "ex servicemen and others" for the purposes of "food production" and "village industries". These uses never really fully materialised as most were acquired for residential reasons. The land was more a hobby and trade with the smallholders was limited to a small shed more like an allotment. A flint road was laid down by the Trust alongside some ancient yew trees, hence Yew Tree Way, and the track to Baker Boy Lane (now Courtwood Lane) was similarly made up. Addington Small Holders Ltd. needed a High Court Case in 1966 to obtain the right to sell the properties. Construction of the Forestdale Estate started in 1966/1967 by Wates, the builders, with the adjacent Selsdon Vale estate being built by Wimpeys and Ashen Vale by Aubrey Estates. By 1975 some 2051 properties had been built on the 174 Acres of land that is Forestdale today, with approximately 2550 having been completed by the time the last builder′s lorry left the site.






Picture of Forestdale