Coldblow, Bexley

A semi-rural neighbourhood linking Old Bexley with the settlement of Joydens Wood via Baldwyn’s Park and Tile Kiln Lane

Hill Crescent

The fur­nace that gave its name to Tile Kiln Lane was owned by Lesnes Abbey pri­or to that insti­tu­tion’s dis­so­lu­tion in 1525. The pro­duc­tion of clay roof tiles con­tin­ued here until around 1700.

In the ear­ly 1880s Bexley’s growth as a pros­per­ous sub­urb prompt­ed the con­struc­tion of a dozen or so sub­stan­tial hous­es on Dart­ford Road and Wan­sunt Road.

Cold­blow’s name did not make its first appear­ance on a map until 1905 and doubt­less referred to the local­i­ty’s exposed sit­u­a­tion on the west­ern edge of Dart­ford Heath.

This picture was taken by the author's father in 1971, three years before the house burned down. It has since been replaced by a group of flats and townhouses.
The home of the singer Dorothy Squires on Wan­sunt Road, seen three years before it burned down

This enclave was much rebuilt and extend­ed in the years before and after the Sec­ond World War and only two of the orig­i­nal prop­er­ties sur­vive. Some of the 20th-cen­tu­ry hous­es are well-appoint­ed and Wan­sunt Road is now the sec­ond most expen­sive street in the bor­ough. Shown in the pho­to­graph at the top of the page,* Hill Cres­cent has sev­er­al mod­ernist hous­es of the 1930s, of which the most dis­tinc­tive are num­bers sev­en and nine.

Cold­blow is shield­ed from the A2 to the north by Church­field Wood, a detached por­tion of Joy­den’s Wood. A small area of the wood is dom­i­nat­ed by field maple, a char­ac­ter­is­tic indi­ca­tor of ancient wood­land. The wood is pri­vate­ly owned but a pub­lic foot­path runs along its length.

There are dene­holes south of Dart­ford Road. These medieval shafts, unique to north Kent and south Essex, were prob­a­bly dug to extract good qual­i­ty chalk to use as fer­tilis­er, although some have argued that they were hid­ing places.

Just across the present borough border, the inventor and engineer Hiram Maxim worked on the construction of biplanes in Baldwyn’s Park in the late 1880s and the 1890s. In an 1894 test flight he lifted that century’s largest flying machine off the ground, albeit briefly. Maxim lived at Baldwyn’s, a mansion situated in what became the grounds of Bexley Hospital.

Postcode area: Bexley DA5


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* The picture of Hill Crescent at the top of this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Chris Whippet, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.