A brief exploration of Biggin Hill’s Past and more recent times by David R Haslam


An introduction to this Brief study of Biggin Hill Past and how it evolved to its Present
Form – (2014) – by David R Haslam
My Wife Bobby and I moved to Biggin Hill during the Winter of 1970/71 we had been married in the
September of 1968 and had spent the first two years living in a Flat at the top of Beulah Hill in Norwood.
Our first house in Biggin Hill was 46 St. Mary’s Green, just off Swieveland Road. In May 1978 I was
elected to serve as one of the two Councillors who represented the Biggin Hill Ward on the London
Borough of Bromley, a post that I was to hold for the next sixteen years.
Over the Ensuing period I was to undergo a fascinating journey as I sought to learn as much as I could
about the fascinating place that I was representing. I knew that RAF Biggin Hill was a famous Fighter
Station from World War II, having once as a teenager traveled out from Balham on a Green Rover Bus
ticket. However, I knew little of the remarkable story of how the Village of Biggin Hill had evolved from a small Hamlet with Farms and Farm land and the Manorial Estate of Aperfield Court.
From these early origins was to grow the Biggin Hill that we are all familiar with today. The story of
Biggin Hill’s evolution is all but unique, I have only heard of one other place in the UK that has a similar
start, however when overlaid with the story of RAF Biggin Hill’s role, in first the Great War and then
during World War II, it makes our Village/Town truly unique.
As a local Councillor, I found that many doors were open to me that would not have been to the
ordinary resident. During those 16 years, I was fortunate to meet many fascinating people who were
happy to pass on to me stories of Old Biggin Hill, these included Wing Commander Ivor (Ian) Cosby
who had been a Spitfire Pilot during the Battle of Britain, latter on in his RAF Career he was to be the
Station Commander at RAF Biggin Hill. John Nelson was another Biggin Hill resident who was to
produce a fascinating book called Grand Fathers Biggin Hill, a compilation of early photographs taken
by his Grand Father W.H. Nelson. This book also provided a written history of the area which was to
further add to my interest in Biggin Hill’s past.
Then again I was privileged to be invited to meet many of the old families who can trace their family
names back to the early days of Biggin Hill, amongst these were the Blundells whose family moved to
Grub Ground Farm in 1846. Another whose family can trace their move to Biggin Hill back to the early
days is the family of Alan Baker whose Great Grand father, George Longhurst purchased land from
The Aperfield Court Estate and built ‘Winguy’ situated in Highfield Road. All described a time that to all
intents and purposes must have been reminiscent of a Wild West frontier town. To all these friends
and acquaintances, sadly, some no longer with us, to them I owe a huge debt of gratitude for sharing
their stories with me over the years.