Notes based on manorial surveys, Bexley Rate books and other papers at Hall Place provide an insight into the origins of Hurst Community Centre.
The name ‘Walter atte Herst’ occurs in a subsidy role of 1348, but this is not evidence for the existence of any particular house at the time.
The manorial survey of 1608 mentions 40 acres of arable and woodland at Herst, also a Herst Field, Herst Spring, Great Hurst and Little Hurst, but there is no suggestion of a house such as Hurst Place.
The survey of 1681 states that one Elizabeth Cooper, widow, owned a house and other property at Hurst. It stood on the south side of the highway from Bexley to Halfway Street; there was a barn on the opposite side of the road. This was opposite the Oast Houses, which were on the other side of Penfold Lane adjacent to Hurst Place.
The name ‘Hurst Place’ does not occur in any records before about 1860, but one can trace back from the first occurrence of names with some confidence. By this means we learn the following: Owners: -
There were 12 different occupiers during the above period including:
The rate books at Hall Place do not continue after 1931.
Hurst Place was used as a convalescent home in the 1914 - 1918 war. In the 1939 - 1945 was its cellars were used as Air Raid Precaution (A.R.P) headquarters and bomb shelter. The Council bought it in 19 46 and housed a bombed out families in it. It has been used as a Community Centre since.
This is an extract from ‘The Times’ newspaper dated 1907:
‘On the High Road between Eltham and Bexley, 11 miles from London and Westminster bridges comprises a commodious family residence with study, dining room, two spacious drawing rooms, seven best bedrooms, two kitchens, dairy, extensive offices, conservatory, flower and kitchen garden and four acres of rich pasture land, to be let unfurnished for £70 per annum to an unexceptionable tenant only’
A copy of the original newspaper can be found in the entrance hall at the Centre.
This is the earliest map we have of Hurst Farm, dated 1854
The Oast Houses were demolished in the late 1950’s, the central hop store having housed the local cobbler and finally being home to the Hurst Horticultural Society.
1925 Aerial view looking from the rear of the building towards Hurst Road
We believe this photo to be dated from the early 1950’s
From the tape on the windows we think this photo was taken during the war
We believe this photo to be dated from the 1990’s
Hurst Community Centre
Hurst Place Hurst Road Bexley DA5 3LH 020 8300 2076
Managed by Youth Action Diversity Trust