This church built in 1870/71 for the growing number of parishioners was designed by James Fowler at a cost
of £3,500 to seat 200 people and was constructed of Kentish ragstone with an attractive red and black
brick interior, intersperced with white stone. In 1904 the tower had three bells and a belfry clock installed
for the magnificent sum of £88. At the same time the organ was replaced with the current one.
Sequestered in 1917 from farmland, including a golf course, this natural plateau was very suitable for
warplanes during World War Two where it played a vital role in the Battle of Britain alongside its more
illustrious neighbour, Biggin Hill. Today it is the home of a gliding club. The Kenley Tribute Memorial is
well worth a visit commemorating all the RAF squadrons that flew from there. The nearby Wattenden Arms was
frequented by the aircrews and has much memorabilia on display.
Kenley of the past had mostly large houses with acres of ground. Gradually these large gardens have been
divided into smaller plots for new houses. During the 1930's there was much development of more moderate
housing throughout the whole area. This has continued with more infilling as there are few tracts of land left
The building of the hall was inspired by those who lost sons in the First World War. The foundation stone
was laid on December 3 1921 after generous donations from the people of Kenley. Rededicated by Group Captain
Douglas Bader in 1975, today it serves the community for local events, meetings and sporting activities.
Walkers who enjoy green fields and woodlands will certainly like Riddlesdown, Kenley Common, Dollypers Hill
and Foxley Wood. The first two are owned and managed by the City of London. The London Borough of Croydon
owns Dollypers Hill and Foxley Wood; the former is managed by the Surrey Wildlife Trust and Foxley Wood by
the friends of Foxley. Visit
www.friendsoffoxley.co.uk for more information. Schoolchildren will love the nature trail at Foxley
Wood that takes about 90 minutes to amble through and is well signposted. A nature trail guide is available.
Chalk downland is something of a rarity in England but in the Kenley district we have much to sustain the
many unusual flowers that grow here. See if you can find the yellow rattle that flowers from June to late
These have existed for a long time and mushrooms have been grown there. During the Second World War they
were used as air-raid shelters. A firm of optical instrument makers presently uses them as the stable air
temperature is ideal for the precise engineering required in the manufacture of the instruments.
The chalky pathway across Riddlesdown remains as the only evidence in Kenley that the Romans marched their
columns this way en route to Londinium. The path also features in a book in 1880 telling cyclists how to get
from London to Brighton via Lewes. The advent of the A22 provided a much easier route.
For more information on Kenley and other surrounding areas, contact the Bourne Society website at
Kenley is not a village. There is no village green or village pond surrounded by cottages. It is a small
sprawling rural area on the hillside to the west of the A22. Those with houses on this hillside have glorious
views of Riddlesdown particularly in the autumn when the trees display their russet colours.
The inn built c 1723 was originally named "The Rose". Its first use was to serve horse-drawn
coaches coming down the old Lewes Road over Riddlesdown. It is known that a weekly carrier used this road as
early as 1681. Some of the original Residents' Association meetings were held there. Unfortunately this inn
has followed many others in Croydon and in 2007 was demolished to make room for a block of 37 flats.
Kenley has some very old trees and the two by the Little Roke railway footbridge, by the Oaklands development
site, have been assessed at 394 and 880 years. The oldest tree aged 970 years is at Kenley House in Kenley
Lane. Nearby is a sequoia, which is a tree native to California!
The local 500-foot borehole supplies all Kenley's needs with good clear water. The river Bourne flows mostly
underground along the Godstone Road, the A22.