Petts Wood: The making of a 1920s garden suburb

by Peter Waymark

The Essential Railway

Scruby realised from the start that his garden suburb could not function without access to a railway. When he first came to the area the line was there but the nearest stations, at Chislehurst to the north and Orpington to the south, were too far from his proposed development. In February 1928 he reached an agreement with the Southern Railway for the building of a station to serve the estate. The railway company, sceptical about the need for a station, drove a hard bargain. Scruby not only provided the land for the station buildings and a goods yard, but agreed to put up £6,000 towards the cost of construction.

The station opened in July 1928, just as the first houses were going up, giving residents a direct link to the main southern termini of Victoria, Charing Cross, Holborn and Cannon Street. It also confirmed the suburb's name. With the area to the south known as Crofton one suggestion for the new station was Crofton Halt. But there was already a Crofton Park on the Southern Railway, so Petts Wood it became. Rail travel from the suburb grew rapidly and a survey in 1996 found that Petts Wood was the third busiest station of the 26 in the Borough of Bromley, after Bromley South and Orpington.