Art exhibition reveals Orpington’s long history

PUBLISHED: 16:30 08 May 2019

A painting of old Orpington High Street showing Mayfield Cottage. Picture: Andrew King

A painting of old Orpington High Street showing Mayfield Cottage. Picture: Andrew King


Anyone wondering what Orpington used to look like should visit an art exhibition concentrating on just that.

It has copies of paintings of Orpington, when it was just a village, produced by a local artist.

Included is a fascinating collection of 80 works showing Orpington from around 1900 and are available to buy.

They were painted by artist Richard Manser Rayner between 1887 and 1908 when he lived in Somerset Road, Orpington.

Even the venue is fitting. All Saints' Church was where the artist was in the church choir and is also buried in the churchyard.

The exhibition is an amazing collaboration between David Laker of the Orpington Video and Film Makers who was seeking permission to use a copy of a painting he had seen on the internet in a film he was making, and Andrew King, the great grandson of Richard Rayner.

Andrew was delighted that the OVFM was taking an interest in the picture and agreed that over 80 more of the images could be included in an exhibition.

They depict a young Orpington along with some neighbouring areas like Chelsfield.

Several of today's well-known roads are featured, including Bark Hart Road, Broomhill Road, Chislehurst Road, Church Hill, Forest Way, The High Street, Kent Road, Knoll Rise, Lockesley Drive, Moorfield Road, Mountview

Road, New Road, Poverest Road, Ramsden Road, Vinson Close and White Hart Road.

David's film, played at the show, compares the views from Rayner's day and those of today.

Mr Laker said: "Given that Richard Rayner lived a comfortable life on the income from the sale of his paintings there must be very many of these in houses around the country, probably with several still in the Orpington area.

"If you know anyone who has one of these paintings Andrew King would be very interested to hear from you so he can add these to his list of works by his great grandfather."

The free show it at All Saints' Church, Saturday, May 18 (10am to 5pm) and Sunday, May 19 (noon to 5pm). For more information, visit

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