Welling, Bexley

A ‘major district centre’, second only within the borough to Bexleyheath, which lies to its east

Public Library Welling

Welling was first men­tioned in 1362 as ‘Wellyn­gs’ and its name may have indi­cat­ed the pres­ence of a well or spring, or may derive from Ralph Will­ing, who held land in Bex­ley ear­li­er in the cen­tu­ry, but it is rarely clear in such cas­es whether the place name or the per­son­al name came first.

Welling evolved as a coach­ing halt on the route to Dover. Inns like the Nag’s Head and Guy, Earl of War­wick were lat­er joined by a rib­bon devel­op­ment of premis­es belong­ing to crafts­men and trades­men, behind which lay farms and mar­ket gar­dens.

From 1849 the North Kent Rail­way enabled farm­ers to deliv­er per­ish­able pro­duce quick­ly to the Lon­don mar­kets. How­ev­er, this was too ear­ly for the pres­ence of a sta­tion to stim­u­late sub­ur­ban house­build­ing and Welling remained pre­dom­i­nant­ly rur­al until the 1920s, with the excep­tion of some high-class hous­ing on the Belle Grove estate.

Between the wars a wel­ter of large and small devel­op­ers descend­ed on Welling and its out­ly­ing farms, build­ing low-cost hous­es for the low­er mid­dle class­es and skilled work­ing class­es, notably at Fal­con­wood. Welling sta­tion was rebuilt in enlarged form in 1931.

Welling’s shop­ping cen­tre stretch­es for almost a mile along Bel­le­grove Road and includes around 300 out­lets.

Hidden London: Welling cannon - and locals

Shown in the (old) pho­to­graph above, a Russ­ian can­non is on dis­play at Welling Cor­ner, in rec­ol­lec­tion of the accom­mo­da­tion for­mer­ly pro­vid­ed for Wool­wich Arse­nal work­ers at East Wick­ham, which Welling has now absorbed.

Found­ed in 1963, Welling Unit­ed foot­ball club plays at Park View Road on the edge of Dan­son Park. The club shares the ground with Erith & Belvedere FC.

Welling achieved notoriety in the early 1990s as the home of the British National Party, which was blamed for an increase in racialist violence in this overwhelmingly white area.

Postcode area: Welling DA16
Population: 10,800 (Falconwood and Welling ward, 2011 census)
Station: South Eastern Trains (zone 4)
Further reading: Peter Tester, East Wickham and Welling, Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre, 1991
* The picture of the Public Library, Welling, on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Paul Farmer, 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. (The photograph of Welling cannon is by the author.)