Pratts Bottom

Pratts Bottom, Bromley

An expanded village situated on the London/Kent border just beyond the southern tip of Chelsfield

Pratts Bottom - Rushmore Hill cottages at Foxwood Grove

The vil­lage’s 14th-cen­tu­ry name derives from the fam­i­ly of Stephen Prat and from the low-lying loca­tion of the set­tle­ment, nestling in a val­ley at the foot of Rush­more Hill.

Chels­field Grange, now known local­ly as the Grange, may have been built in the late 15th cen­tu­ry but has since been remod­elled and enlarged.

The Bull’s Head pub­lic house was in exis­tence by the ear­ly 17th cen­tu­ry, when poor­hous­es for the parish of Chels­field were built on the com­mon land.

A toll gate was erect­ed on the Lon­don to Rye road in 1748. The Por­cu­pine inn stood at the top of Rush­more Hill by 1791, when its sale par­tic­u­lars referred to the vil­lage as ‘Spratts Bot­tom’.

The Bull's Head
The Bul­l’s Head*

The armed hold-up of a mail coach at Pratts Bot­tom in 1798 prompt­ed the offer of a £240 reward but the high­way­man was nev­er caught.

In the ear­ly 19th cen­tu­ry the vil­lage gained a rep­u­ta­tion as fer­tile ter­ri­to­ry for recruit­ment to the Mor­mon faith as a result of its remote­ness from the parish church at Chels­field. The quaint, sim­ple lit­tle All Souls church was built in response to the rapid growth of Pratts Bot­tom lat­er in the cen­tu­ry, when the Grange served as a gram­mar school.

The turn­pike cot­tages were demol­ished when the road was widened in the late 1920s. Grange Dri­ve and Orchard Road were laid out in the 1930s and 1950s on the for­mer grounds of the Grange.

With its ter­races of weath­er­board­ed and flint cot­tages and its ancient inn, Pratts Bot­tom has been called “almost the arche­type of Eng­lish vil­lages” – but unsym­pa­thet­ic late-20th-cen­tu­ry house­build­ing has under­mined its for­mer charm.

Res­i­dents of the Chels­field and Pratts Bot­tom ward tend to be white, mid­dle-aged, mar­ried home­own­ers with at least one car.

Postcode area: Orpington BR6
Population: 14,507 (Chelsfield and Pratts Bottom ward, 2011 census)
Further reading: Judith Hook, Pratts Bottom: An English Village, Norman-Stahli Publishing, 1972
Website: The Pratts Bottom Web Site (community site)
* The picture of the Bull’s Head on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Oast House Archive, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.