Danson: A private development of the 1930s

Hospitals and Schools

There were no hospitals or clinics within the Welling area, but the expansion of suburbs such as Danson throughout Metropolitan Kent no doubt contributed to the decision to re-open the military hospital in Sidcup, Queen Mary’s, as a general hospital in 1930.

The children of the new estates needed to be educated, and this required an extensive building programme. Welling Elementary School was built in 1907 and had provided places for 360 children in 1918. By 1924 this figure had risen to 660.

So urgent was the need for school buildings that when the council obtained possession of Danson Mansion in 1924, it immediately offered the house to Kent Education Committee as additional classrooms. That same year Welling Central School was opened. Despite this expansion some children were forced to attend London County Council schools in neighbouring Woolwich.

In 1926 Kent Education Committee considered establishing a temporary school in Lodge Lane, East Wickham. Permanent sites were also being examined, including one on Alers Road. East Wickham Junior School opened in 1928 and the Infant School the following year. They provided teaching for an additional 300 pupils.

Danson Junior School in Dansington Road was established in 1933 with places for 250 children. Blackfen Central School opened the same year and its Infant Department in 1934. It was designed to take 1000 pupils. Westwood Central School was established in 1935 with 910 places. There were also two church schools. St Stephen’s Roman Catholic Primary School opened in Welling in 1933, and St Michael’s Church of England Primary School was established in East Wickham in 1938.

One serious anomaly, however, was the lack of any secondary schools in the whole urban district of Bexley. The situation was further complicated by Kent County Council’s insistence on maintaining separate Boys’ and Girls’ Schools. The Education Committee agreed in 1932 to build Blackfen School for Girls, and this establishment opened in 1938. But there would be no corresponding boys’ school until the building of Bexley Grammar School at the west end of Danson Park in 1955.