Hayes, Bromley

Hayes, Bromley

An elongated suburb extending almost a mile-and-a-half southwards from Bromley

Hayes Village Sign and Flower Bed

First men­tioned in 1177, the name prob­a­bly meant ‘rough ground cov­ered with brush­wood’. Hayes Place was in exis­tence by the 15th cen­tu­ry and was rebuilt in the 1750s. By the time the rail­way arrived in 1882, Hayes was a flour­ish­ing vil­lage of around 600, but prospec­tive com­muters were deterred until the line was elec­tri­fied in 1925, almost halv­ing the jour­ney time to Char­ing Cross.

Rib­bon devel­op­ment had already begun to creep along Hayes Road from Brom­ley when the banker Eric Ham­bro sold Hayes Place. Sheffield builder Hen­ry Boot demol­ished the house in 1933 and laid out the Hayes Place estate. Sev­er­al local firms put up more estates, includ­ing Hayes Hill, Pick­hurst Manor, and Hayes Gar­dens.

To cope with the increase in com­muter traf­fic the sta­tion was rebuilt in 1935, and Sta­tion Approach became the main shop­ping area. After the Sec­ond World War two major devel­op­ments filled in the land between Brom­ley and Hayes. Brom­ley coun­cil laid out its own Hayes Place estate in the 1950s, with local shops on Chil­ham Way.

Fur­ther north, the Build­ing Design Part­ner­ship com­plet­ed Hayesford Park in 1965, on the site of Hayes Food Farm. Influ­enced by the gar­den city move­ment, Hayesford Park mix­es detached hous­es, bun­ga­lows, ter­raced hous­es and long blocks of flats, arranged round cen­tral shops that have since suf­fered from their prox­im­i­ty to Brom­ley.

Hayes is blessed with two broad open spaces. On the south side, Hayes Com­mon is one of the largest areas of unim­proved acidic grass­land in Lon­don, dot­ted with impres­sive old­er hous­es. To the north-east, Nor­man Park has exten­sive sport­ing facil­i­ties, includ­ing Brom­ley foot­ball club’s ground and the home track of Black­heath and Brom­ley Har­ri­ers ath­let­ics club.

Like much of the bor­ough, Hayes is com­fort­able – but not fab­u­lous­ly wealthy – sub­ur­bia. Almost 60 per cent of adult res­i­dents are mar­ried, 90 per cent are own­er-occu­piers, and 92 per cent are white.

From 1754 until 1785, Hayes Place was a country seat of the Pitt family, leading figures of British imperial statesmanship. William Pitt the Younger, prime minister 1783–1801 and 1804–6, was born at the house in 1759. His father, William Pitt the Elder, the first Earl of Chatham and prime minister 1766–8, died here in 1778.

Postcode area: Bromley BR2
Population: 15,906 (Hayes and Coney Hall ward, 2011 census)
Station: Southeastern Trains (zone 5)
Further reading: M Scott, Bromley, Keston and Hayes, Sutton, 1993
and HP Thompson, A History of Hayes in the County of Kent, Jackdaw, 1978
* The picture of Hayes Village Sign and Flower Bed at the top of this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright David Anstiss, 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.