A brief explanation of Biggin Hill….part five

32. SCHOOL PROVISION: Originally the primary school for the area was the Cudham School in Jail Lane, this appeared to have served the needs of the area until about 1926 when a new school was built on the site now occupied by the Safeway/Waitrose Superstore. Safeways paid for the building of the new Biggin Hill Infants School in Old Tye Avenue. Thus the Biggin Hill of today is served by Oaklands
Primary school, serving the Valley area whilst Biggin Hill Primary School, now (2014) part of the Charles
Darwin Academy Trust, serves the Top’ community.
Cudham Church of England, Primary School, the original Primary School from the early years still
provides education for a small number of children. Secondary education is provided by Charles Darwin School in Jail Lane, which has been, variously, Grant Maintained until there was a change of Central Government when it became a Foundation School, currently (2014) following another change of Central Government, it is a Multi School Academy, directly funded by Central Government and run by a Board of Governors.
33. LEISURE FACILITIES: Biggin Hill is an area recognised as being deficient in terms of both Open Parks and Sports facilities. The Biggin Hill Recreation Ground, situated off Church Road, provides two full size football pitches and one junior pitch in the winter. The cricket square has not been used in recent years and is not now being provided during the summer months.
There are two small children’s playgrounds in the Valley, one being about half an acre situated off King’s Road, whilst the other is a dual use arranged with Oaklands Primary school whereby children can use the school’s playing field during the period when it is not used by the school.
During the early 2000’s the local authority began a program of working with local volunteers to maintain and indeed manage the Local Parks These teams of Volunteers were called ‘The Friends of The Parks’ and Biggin Hill has it’s own local team who do great works. One of their recent schemes was the
provision of a Sensory Garden in the Recreation Ground.
Another addition to the Recreation Ground was the provision of a Skate Bowl, largely achieved by the
hard work and dedication of the Local Youth Council who raised the money for the project by their own campaigning, obtaining grants from Bromley Council and the Greater London Assembly.
34. DUAL-USE FACILITY AT CHARLES DARWIN SCHOOL: In the 1990’s the local Authority agreed to provide a Dual-Use Sports Facility at Charles Darwin School in Jail Lane. Because at that time the school was a GMS School, this was to be in the form of a partnership between the School Governors and the Local Authority, and would see the provision of facilities such as an All Weather Pitch complete with flood-lighting, Tennis Courts, improved Sports Halls, Changing Rooms and a Health and Fitness Suite. All these facilities are available to the wider community outside school hours. In later years the Council’s direct partnership role was passed to ‘My Time’, and this arrangement proved to be problematical, with My Time eventually withdrawing from the partnership. The Dual use facilities are now run by Charles Darwin School Academy Trust.
35. BIGGIN HILL MEMORIAL LIBRARY & POOL: In 1981 my colleague CIIr Hanscomb and I were asked if we would be interested in having the Garage for the Mobile Library Service built in Biggin Hill, on the site on the corner of Main Road and Church Road, facing St. Mark’s Church.
The land had previously contained a Village Memorial Hall, this had been a timber frame structure and had been erected on land that had been donated by a local resident whilst the building had been paid for by local donations to provide a lasting memorial to the dead of the 1st World Wars. The Memorial Hall had been lost in a fire and the land lay unused.
In latter years the site of the Memorial Hall had been used for the parking of the Mobile Library when it visited Biggin Hill Top. The Mobile Library also visited the Valley, parking near to the shops at Rosehill
When we were asked whether the site of the Memorial Hall could be used for the Mobile Library’s Garage, we pointed out that the land in question was held in Trust on behalf of the Community for the provision of a Community Hall not a Library Garage.
We managed to persuade the the Council to add a Local Branch Library to the Garage, the Library was
to be capable of use for Public Meetings etc and the origins of the Land was to be recognised by calling the Library The Biggin Hill Memorial Library’. This original Library building was eventually opened by the Mayor of Bromley circ. 1982 and went on to break all records for book withdrawals for any Branch Library in the London Borough of Bromley (excluding The Central Library in Bromley).
In the early 2000’s the then Councillors for Biggin Hill, Cllrs Benington & Norrie, balloted the local community, including the surrounding villages etc, to find out which sports facilities they would like. A swimming pool was top of the list, so the decision was taken to demolish the original Library and build a new library complete with a swimming pool.