The 2020 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2021 programme mid August 2021
The Old Palace, Bromley Civic Centre
The Royal Bell Hotel
Bromley Parish Church
Bromley Picture House
Bromley Little Theatre
Itinerary created by Open House Volunteer, Ulla Kite
The Old Palace, Bromley Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, BR1 3UH
Old Palace was the official residence of the Bishops of Rochester. Present building dates from 1775, although there have been manor houses on the site since 10C. The manor consisted of an extensive estate, including farms, orchards and woodland. In 1845 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners sold the whole estate to Coles Child, a wealthy businessman. He modernised the farm and improved and extended the main house. When Coles Child dies in 1870, his son, named after him, inherited the estate. He sold some of the land to builders. The area’s origins are perpetuated today in local street names like Rochester Avenue and Palace Road.
Walk west towards Stockwell Cl > Turn left onto Stockwell Cl > Turn right onto Kentish Way > Sharp left > Turn left towards High St > Turn right onto High St > Turn left, destination will be on the right
Churchill Theatre, Bromley High Street, BR 1HA
This reinforced concrete building was designed by Bromley council architect Ken Wilson as part of the 1970s redevelopment of part of the town centre. It was opened by the Prince of Wales on September 19th 1977 and is designed as a repertory theatre in the style of medium sized European opera houses. Its interior is unusual in having continuous rows with no central aisles.
The opening production was Mr Polly written by Lord Ted Willis and the theatre is used today mainly for touring productions of musicals and contemporary plays. It has been managed for the past 20 years by the Ambassadors Theatre group and has particularly close links with the local community with workshops and classes for all ages.
Walk north-east towards High St > Turn left onto High St > Turn right towards Market Square > Turn left onto Market Square
The Glades, Bromley High Street, BR1 1DN
The Glades is a shopping centre in Bromley, south-east London, England. It has a total of 135 stores trading from a combined floor space of 464,000 sq ft (43,100 m2). Opened as The Glades on Tuesday 22 October 1991. The name "The Glades" was chosen following a competition in which Bromley residents were asked for suggestions. "The Glades" was chosen reflecting the history of Bromley as a wooded area.
Walk south-west on Market Square towards High St > Turn left onto High St, destination will be on the left
The Royal Bell Hotel, 157 High Street, BR1 1NN
The Royal Bell is a Grade II listed hotel that has lain empty for over ten years. Designed by Ernest Newton in 1898, it was one of three coaching inns in Bromley and an important centre of Victorian and Edwardian culture.
The Royal Bell is in a domestic style, a granite faced ground floor with a fine red brick elevation above, surmounted by a wooden cornice in the manner of a “Queen Anne” townhouse. The prominent three sided bay windows are a typical Newton feature, marking the most important rooms, and are embellished with pargeted motifs. Above the cornice a row of long dormer windows pierce a brick parapet – these rooms were clearly upgraded during the design process, probably because they were to be additional guest rooms.
The windows on the street elevation are small Georgian panes, while those at the rear are Victorian plate glass. The glory of the Royal Bell is its enormous Ballroom, with decorative stained glass, on the first floor at the rear, and also its ornate function rooms overlooking the street; a grand staircase endorsed the new hotel’s high class status. Meanwhile his plans allowed for a reincarnation of the “Bell Tap” at the far right ground floor, with a separate entrance.
Walk north-west on High St towards Market Square > Turn left onto High St > Turn left onto Church Rd > Turn left > Turn right, destination will be on the left
Bromley Parish Church, BR2 OEG
J.Harold Gibbons designed the new church in 1948 to blend with the 14C tower which was heavily damaged during the war. New community rooms were added in 1982 and solar panels for energy efficiency have also been installed.
Walk east > Turn left towards Church Rd > Turn right onto Church Rd > Turn left onto High Street, destination will be on the left
Bromley Picture House, 242 Bromley High Street, BR1 1PG
Originally the Odeon, this cinema was designed by the well-known cinema architect George Cole in the Art Deco or Moderne style with characteristic design features from the 1930s. it is centrally located in the town centre in the High Street but gradually became run down until it was taken over by the Picture House group recently. Major refurbishment involving restoration of missing architectural features, exterior and interior, was completed in 2019 and the cinema now has 6 well equipped screens. The architect for the recent restoration were Earle Architects and their redesign has emphasised the cavernous nature of the interior and the vast foyer, quite a surprise after its narrow High Street frontage.
Walk north-west on High St/A222 towards College Slip > Turn right onto College Slip > Turn right towards North St > Slight left onto North St > Turn right onto Compass Ln
Bromley Little Theatre North Street, BR1 1SB
Bromley Little Theatre (BLT) has been an integral part of Bromley’s cultural life for over 80 years. Run entirely by volunteers and receiving no public subsidy, it attracts audiences of circa 12,000 people per year to its 113-seat main auditorium. BLT is housed in two linked buildings which were originally a Victorian bakery and stables built in 1888. Harold Wilson Pook started the Bromley Little Theatre Movement in 1934 and took a lease on the vacant bakery the following year. The raked auditorium was built and seating was installed having been obtained from the Alhambra Theatre in London. The theatre opened with its first production in December 1937 and, apart from a break during WW2, has been showing performances ever since.
A bridge between the two buildings was installed later so that a bar and storage for props and costumes could be created. This layout of the theatre has remained intact with the original truss beams in the bar still retained.