diamond geezer

 Saturday, June 25, 2022

According to the Ordnance Survey, who ought to know, there are eight hamlets in Greater London.
These are they.

Eight places large enough to have a name but too small to be classified as villages.
Let's see what we know about them.

Newyears Green (Hillingdon)
Where is it? Strung out along a lane to the west of Ruislip.
How does Hidden London describe it? A scattered collection of small farms and civic amenities situated north of Ickenham and west of Ruislip, and surrounded on all sides by green-belt farmland.
What's here? A few cottages and caravans, a waste transfer station, a composting hub, an ex-farm behind security gates, a lane for flytipping.

Have I blogged about it? Yes, for a New Year post in 2017. I thought it was a miserable dump.
What did you write? This is horse country so the surrounding fields are mostly paddocky rather than intensively farmed. In one I spotted a lone Shetland pony munching what was left of the grass beside an abandoned pushchair. Elsewhere I found two car seats discarded on a woodchip verge, a scattering of drinks cartons and soggy cardboard boxes beside a large concrete block, and another footpath permanently blocked by some nailed-in corrugated steel. If you're familiar with The Archers, Newyears Green is a lot more Grundy than Aldridge.
Can you get here by bus? Not directly. The U9 stops at one end of the lane beside the dogs home.
Nearest station? West Ruislip/Ickenham (1½ mile walk). A Central line station at Harefield Road never materialised because of WW2/Green Belt legislation. HS2 is currently eating up much of the surrounding fields and woodland.
Verdict? Avoid.

Edgware Bury (Barnet)
Where is it? On a bend in a private road between Elstree and Edgware.
How does Hidden London describe it? Farming country straddling the M1 motorway and the Hertfordshire border north of Edgware.
Have I blogged about it? Yesterday. Pay attention.
Can you get here by bus? No. The nearest stop is ¾ miles away on route 288.
Nearest station? Edgware (1½ mile walk). A Northern line station at Brockley Hill never materialised because of WW2/Green Belt legislation.
Verdict? Private and equine.

Rowley Green (Barnet)
Where is it? East of Borehamwood, close to a junction on the A1. Used to be in Hertfordshire.
How does Hidden London describe it? The north-west corner of Arkley on the border with the Herts borough of Hertsmere. Most of Rowley Green’s properties date from the mid-20th century and are of little architectural merit. The most notable exception is Trinders Lodge, which was built around 1830 and is grade II listed.
What's here? Big houses behind high hedges, a boggy common, a golf course and an amazing concrete water tower.

Have I blogged about it? Tangentially while exploring London's borough summits, Barnet's being Arkley Hill at one end of the green.
What did you write? Blimey, what an architectural find, assuming you're the sort of person who likes concrete on stilts. Arkley Water Tower is an amazing snowflake-like structure constructed from six hexagonal chambers suspended above the ground on a series of tapering columns. It's like some alien craft landed here in the 1970s and is biding its time in obscurity before rising up and firing a death ray from the hilltop, or maybe that's just my imagination.
Can you get here by bus? Not directly. The 107 stops 500m away on Barnet Road.
Nearest station? Elstree & Borehamwood or High Barnet (both a 2 mile walk).
Verdict? Other than the tower, skippable.

That's it for north London.
All the other hamlets are in the London borough of Bromley.

Where is it? Just southwest of Keston in the nomansland east of New Addington.
How does Hidden London describe it? Nash is not in the gazetteer.
Can you get here by bus? No. The nearest stop is ¾ miles away in Keston.
Have I blogged about it? No, but it is on my 'Unvisited London' shortlist.
What's here? Let's wait and see...

Farthing Street
Where is it? A narrow country lane north of Downe.
How does Hidden London describe it? A hamlet since Norman times retaining several 19th-century properties including a pair of brick-and-flint houses.
What's here? Houses, fields, pylons.
Have I blogged about it? London Loop section 3 passes along a short uninhabited section of Farthing Street before turning off up Bogey Lane, and it's the only latter that got a mention in my write-up.
Can you get here by bus? Not directly, but the 146 stops hourly at one end of the lane.
Verdict? Dunno, I've not properly been.

Where is it? A lengthy country lane just beyond the Swanley bypass.
How does Hidden London describe it? A farming hamlet situated on the easternmost edge of Bromley, skirted by the A20.
What's here? Contains more houses than the aforementioned hamlets. Also oast house, training centre, nudist camp.

Have I blogged about it? A couple of months ago.
What did I write? The centre of the hamlet might be the triangular patch of grass where the postbox is or it might be a bit further round the corner past the cottages under renovation and the high hedges and the collapsed fence. This is where the big farm and the big house are, not the original manor but a listed weatherboarded 18th century farmhouse, again with twiddly gates and a warning about a dog. Part of the farm is now a Construction Academy where you can accredit digger-related skills and part still has the remains of an oast house and a row of hop-pickers' cabins. I think I met the owner because he asked if I was looking for something in that way you test out strangers, so I swiftly moved on.
Can you get here by bus? No. The 233 stops half a mile's walk away in Kent.
Nearest station? Swanley (1½ mile walk).
Verdict? Disparate and linear.

Where is it? A mile south of Hockenden on the Orpington/Crockenhill road.
How does Hidden London describe it? A rural hamlet with farms, nurseries and old cottages which lacks any amenities for residents or visitors.
What's here? Village sign, scrap of pavement, Georgian house used as wedding venue, low secure hospital.

Have I blogged about it? In the same post as Hockenden.
What did I write? The 'village pub' used to be the Kevington Arms, although it's now a private residence called Blueberry Farm and very much not a farm either. What we have here is a staggered crossroads with a few houses on three of the arms, again nominally cottages but these have a stronger architectural claim. Residents seem less likely to keep horses than those in Hockenden, more likely to lovingly tend their gardens and collectively proud enough to have erected a millennial sundial.
Can you get here by bus? The 477 stops here hourly, but you can't use your Oyster card because it's not a TfL service.
Verdict? Nicest of the eight.

Where is it? An outpost of Maypole, which is an outpost of Chelsfield, which is southeast of Orpington.
How does Hidden London describe it? Bopeep does not merit a separate entry, only Maypole.
What's here? Three sets of cottages and the Bo-Peep restaurant/public house, built in 1548.

Have I blogged about it? Yes, as part of a May Day post in 2017.
What did I write? The pub by the road junction spent four centuries as The White Hart until the landlord changed the name to The Bo-Peep in 1971. According to the sign by the postbox the building dates back to 'Circa 1500', not that you'd guess from the squat dining annexe bolted onto the back. But head round to the front and the former farmhouse looks far more appealing, with a knapped flint wall beneath the chimneystack. Real ale is served inside but the main focus is food, this being the kind of inglenook eatery that'll serve up Haddock, Salmon & Spinach Bake to villagers, or more likely Steak & Stilton Suet Pudding to drivers seeking respite from the M25.
Can you get here by bus? Yes. The R7 stops half-hourly outside the pub, making this the only London hamlet with a direct TfL bus service... but only until July 22nd, after which the Maypole loop is being withdrawn and pub patrons face a ¾ mile walk along entirely unsuitable lanes. Basically hamlets don't get bus services and it's time for Bopeep to join the club.
Nearest station: Knockholt (a highly unpleasant ¾ mile walk).
Verdict: More a name than a place.

For completeness sake, these are the 25 London villages recognised by the Ordnance Survey.
Bexley: Coldblow, North Cray
Bromley: Berry's Green, Chelsfield, Cudham, Downe, Hazelwood, Horns Green, Keston, Leaves Green, Luxted, Maypole, Pratt's Bottom, Ruxley, Single Street, South Street, Upper Ruxley
Enfield: Botany Bay, Crews Hill
Havering: North Ockendon, Wennington
Hillingdon: Harefield, Hill End, South Harefield
Kingston: Malden Rushett
But there are only eight hamlets.

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