Old Bexley

Old Bexley, Bexley

Also known as Bexley Village, this is the historic heart of Bexley, situated at the south-eastern corner of the modern suburb

Freemantle Hall exterior on a sunny day
Freemantle Hall

The ‘Old’ prefix made its appearance in the second half of the 19th century and helped distin­guish the village from Bexley New Town, as Bexleyheath was called at that time.

A number of 18th-century buildings on the south side of the High Street were lost during redevel­opment in 1966.

The Old Mill burned down in the same year but it has since been rebuilt in replica form and is home to a restaurant and pub.

The remainder of the village has been preserved following its desig­nation as a conser­vation area in 1972.

Among the surviving older properties are the King’s Head public house, the former parish workhouse, Styleman’s almshouses, High Street House and Cray House. St Mary’s Church stands near the eastern end of the High Street, on Manor Road.

Old Bexley cannot compete with Bexleyheath as a retail centre, so shops and other commercial premises have been converted to cafés, bars and restaurants in recent years. The late-Victorian Freemantle Hall serves as a community centre and hosts events such as local art exhib­i­tions, exercise classes, craft and gift fairs and even ‘Ladies’ and Little Missy pamper days’.

Postcode area: Bexley DA5
Further reading: Peter Tester, Bexley Village, Bexley Libraries, 1987