Leaves Green, Bromley
A hamlet surrounded by farms and common land, situated between Keston and Biggin Hill
Leaves Green’s name is a corruption of Leigh’s Green, which derived from a family that owned land here in the mid-15th century.
On Milking Lane, Green Leaves Cottage and Old Farm Cottage are of 17th-century origin. The equally ancient Old Cottage is set well back from Leaves Green Crescent. However, that building has been refronted.
The weatherboarded Kings Arms pub dates from around 1700. The ground floor has extensions and a porch that were added in the 19th century. A Spitfire crash-landed here in 1949 and demolished part of the pub.
A terrace of flint-faced cottages (now called Jasmine Cottage, Ramblers Rest Cottage and Green View) began life as Cudham workhouse, which was erected in 1731 but never much used. Situated on the east side of the green, the cottages are grade II listed.
A cast iron coal post was erected on the green in 1861 to mark the point at which duty had to be paid on coal and wine being brought into the City of London. The post is now a grade II listed structure, as is the K6 telephone box outside the Kings Arms.
Apart from those mentioned above, the most historically significant buildings in Leaves Green are the grade II listed Elm Cottage, Little Stone House and Old House Farmhouse, and the locally listed Summer Hill and Farringdon Cottages (shown in the photo above*) and Crown Inn. Several other attractive old buildings survive in the village centre.
On the south side of the village the Leaves Green estate (450 acres of farmland) was sold in the early 1930s in anticipation of significant housebuilding here. However, little actually materialised because the war intervened, Biggin Hill aerodrome expanded, and then the green belt was created after the war.
Subsequently there was some unappealing post-war development along Leaves Green Road, some of it highly priced. The Greenacres riding school dominates the western side of the village. Biggin Hill airport’s runway protrudes into the farmland to the east.
Parts of Leaves Green Common, the expansive village green, have been allowed to grow more wildly in recent years to let natural flora regenerate.
Postcode area: Keston BR2
Further reading: Edward Williams, Keston Parish Album: a History in Photographs, self published, 1984