Maypole, Bromley

A forgotten name for the south-eastern end of Chelsfield Village, close to the Kent countryside

The Bo-Peep, Maypole

May­pole was “marked thus on the Ord­nance Sur­vey map of 1871, no doubt allud­ing to a site where May fes­tiv­i­ties took place in ear­li­er times,” says AD Mills in his Dic­tio­nary of Lon­don Place Names.

The 1871 map shows a hand­ful of cot­tages on either side of Jubilee Road, but noth­ing east of Holly­bush Lane, where the ter­raced hous­es of Kil­n­fields were com­plet­ed in the late 1950s. Sev­er­al of the ham­let’s oth­er prop­er­ties also date from post-war era, and are most­ly unpre­pos­sess­ing.

Inter­spersed among these are a hand­ful of old­er and love­li­er dwellings, includ­ing Osbornes (1705), Mount Hall (late 18th cen­tu­ry) and May­pole Cot­tages (late 18th to ear­ly 19th cen­tu­ry). All these are grade II list­ed, as is Fork­ways, a prob­a­ble tim­ber-framed house refaced in the 19th cen­tu­ry, locat­ed at the far east­ern end of the ham­let, just inside the London/Kent bor­der.

South of May­pole, on Hewitts Road, there’s a sep­a­rate group of build­ings col­lec­tive­ly named as Bopeep on some maps. The group con­sists of Hewitts Farm Cot­tages, Bo-peep Cot­tages, Keep­ers Cot­tage and the Bo-Peep restau­rant and pub­lic house.

For­mer­ly called the White Hart, the pub dates from 1548 and is said to have served as a base for wool smug­glers. The old­est part of the build­ing is faced in knapped flint, with a tiled upper floor. It seems to have been extend­ed on at least two occa­sions – some­what unsym­pa­thet­i­cal­ly at the front. The Good Pub Guide describes the Bo-Peep as a “use­ful M25 coun­try pub, [with] old low beams and enor­mous inglenook in car­pet­ed bar” – per­haps implic­it­ly ques­tion­ing the mer­its of car­pets in bars.

May­pole should not be con­fused with anoth­er vil­lage of the same name, north of Joyden’s Wood, which lies just out­side Greater Lon­don in the bor­ough of Dart­ford.

Postcode area: Orpington BR6


* The picture of the Bo-peep, Maypole, 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.