History of Kidbrooke

The name Kidbrooke is of Anglo Saxon origin and means "the brook where the kites were seen". The name suggests an area that had not yet been settled. This may have been because it is the soil is heavy clay and three streams run through it. The heavy wet soil would have been unsuitable for the early Saxon settlers.

However, by the late 11th or early 12th century Kidbrooke had a chapel and thus presumably a small population. By 1428 the chapel had no priest and in 1494 it was derelict. Presumably there were too few people in the hamlet to care for it or justify a priest.

Kidbrooke remained a predominantly farming community until the 1930s although there was Victorian development to the north and west, and Kidbrooke Station had opened in 1895.

The building of the Shooters Hill by-pass (Rochester Way) precipitated suburban development. The growth of housing was then very rapid covering the extensive farmland until only sports fields and the ancient village green remained. Sadly, much of the village green, or ‘Donkey Field’ as it was locally known, itself was lost when the Rochester Way Relief Road was built in 1988.

From afar Kidbrooke’s skyline is broken by the dominating blocks of the huge Ferrier Estate which was built by the Greater London Council in 1974. A very radical remodelling of this estate is now proposed. Another impressive modern building in Kidbrooke is Kidbrooke School. Built by the London County Council in 1954 it was London’s first purpose-built comprehensive school.

See historic maps of Kidbrooke