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Monks Orchard: How landowner's legacy was lost under Bethlem Hospital

PUBLISHED: 12:20 10 October 2012

Monks Orchard

Monks Orchard

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Inducing images of robed men silently and slowly pottering around a medieval monastary, Monks Orchard lies on the border of the borough.

Monks OrchardMonks Orchard

Far from a religious origin, the name marks the Monk family of Addington, in Kent, who at one point owned the land.

In 1854 Lewis Lloyd bought the land and built his new home, adopting the moniker of the local wood that would last until the present day.

His estate was vast, touching West Wickham on one side and Elmers End on the other. It included several farms, other large homes and numerous inns, as well as Beckenham golf course.

Perfect for wealthy developers, the land at Monks Orchard was prime for large houses – the park-like quality provided few limitations for plans of new homes just outside London.

But the estate as it was then came to an end in 1920 when the land began to be sold off, and in 1924 the Corporation of London purchased the land for Bethlem Hospital.

Having outgrown its former home in Lambeth, the hospital’s new site started to take shape in 1928 – pulling down Lloyd’s old mansion in the process.

By the late 1930s most of the roads recognisable today were in place after excess land was sold off for housing developments.

Though the embers of the Monk family name live on, sadly the legacy of Lloyd and his estate has long been extinguished.

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