Foots Cray

Foots Cray, Bexley

A commercial and residential area located beside the River Cray in south-east Sidcup

geograph-4935307-by-Christine-Matthews - Five Arches Bridge - Foots Cray Meadows

Archae­ol­o­gists have found evi­dence of the delib­er­ate burn­ing of the wood­land here dur­ing the mesolith­ic peri­od to pro­mote the growth of hazel, and of increased agri­cul­tur­al activ­i­ty in Roman times.

Domes­day Book record­ed the landown­er as God­win Fot, who pos­sessed a farm, four cot­tages and a mill – and gave his name to the manor. Con­ve­nient­ly locat­ed where the Maid­stone Road crossed the Riv­er Cray, the vil­lage (which was also spelt Footscray, and some­times still is) grew steadi­ly over the fol­low­ing cen­turies.

Around 1754 Bouch­i­er Cleeve com­mis­sioned the build­ing of Foots Cray Place, a Pal­la­di­an man­sion where he cre­at­ed a note­wor­thy col­lec­tion of art. In 1822 the house was acquired by chan­cel­lor of the exche­quer Sir Nicholas Van­sit­tart, lat­er Lord Bex­ley. The Van­sit­tart fam­i­ly retained a sub­stan­tial land­hold­ing in the area for the next cen­tu­ry.

Waring Road
War­ing Road*

The arrival of the Sid­cup by-pass brought busi­ness­es here from the 1930s. Cen­tral Foots Cray is nowa­days dom­i­nat­ed by the indus­tri­al and com­mer­cial premis­es of the LEFA and Five Arch­es busi­ness parks and the Coca-Cola and Schweppes bot­tling plant, the source of the Dasani ‘pure water’ fias­co in 2004.

Rec­to­ry Lane has All Saints church and a ter­race of Geor­gian hous­es, but the major­i­ty of res­i­dents live in mod­ern hous­ing on or off Sid­cup Hill and Cray Road.

Foots Cray Mead­ows lie to the north of the built-up area and con­tain the remains of Foots Cray Place, which burned down in 1949. King­fish­ers and ring-necked para­keets are among the park’s plen­ti­ful wildlife.

Postcode area: Sidcup, DA14
Population: 11,207 (Cray Meadows ward, 2011 census)
Further reading: John Mercer, Sidcup & Foots Cray: A History, Amberley, 2013
Website: History of Foots Cray
See also: North Cray
* The picture of Five Arches Bridge at the top of this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Christine Matthews, and the picture of Waring Road is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Des Blenkinsopp, both 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.