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Beckenham’s Kelsey Park prepares to mark 100 years of opening to the public

09:47 29 May 2013

Kelsey Park will celebrate the centenary of its opening on May 31.

Kelsey Park will celebrate the centenary of its opening on May 31.

Archant

The Kelsey Park Estate has a long history dating back to at least the early 15th century when William Kelsiulle, a citizen and fishmonger from London, had a house and farm on the site.

Throughout the late medieval, Tudor and Stuart periods the estate was owned by the Brosgrove family who started out as drapers and merchants in the City of London and gradually became lawyers and barristers.

The house and estate increased in size and importance during their tenure to become the seat of the Lords of the Manor of Beckenham.

The Brosgrove family fortunes later took a downward turn and in 1690 the Kelsey Estate became the property of Peter Burrell, a prosperous merchant who enlarged the estate.

The Burrell family acquired the title of Lord Gwydir and owned the manor until they sold in 1820.

The wealthy banking family of Hoare took over the estate at that time, but their occupancy lasted less than a hundred years.

C.A.R Hoare, a notable Kent cricketer, leased the Kelsey Manor house first as a convent and then as a school before his death in 1908.

In 1911, after a campaign by Mr T.W. Thornton, the proprietor of The Beckenham Journal, Beckenham Urban District Council purchased the grounds of Kelsey Park for £5,000.

The grounds described at the time as beautiful, with ornamental woodland and water features, were opened to the public on the May 31, 1913 by the Rt Hon John Burns MP, and have since been enjoyed by generations of Beckenham residents.

By Bromley Local Studies and Archives

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