Coordinates: 51°23′19″N 0°04′34″E / 51.3885°N 0.0760°E
Petts Wood is a suburb of London in the London Borough of Bromley.
The name appeared first in 1577 as "the wood of the Pett family", who were shipbuilders and leased the wood as a source of timbers. William Willett, a campaigner for daylight saving time, lived in nearby Chislehurst for most of his life, and is commemorated by a memorial sundial in the wood. The Daylight Inn in the suburb of Petts Wood is named in his honour. Petts Wood has a second pub (The Sovereign of the Seas) and a railway station. It is situated between Orpington and Bickley. The Jubilee Country Park is located to the northwest of the main shopping area and is home to several rare species of animal life.
Most of Petts Wood was built in the early 20th Century by the developer Basil Scruby together with Master builder, Noel Rees, as a high quality estate in a rural setting only a short train journey from the city, with the east side being built first: it is often quoted in sociological textboooks as a classic piece of 1920s town planning, as the first building in place was the station, and the rest of the town developed from there.
The generally higher quality of large homes built to the east of the railway line, as compared to smaller and more dense to the west, gave rise to the local references of "Half Crown" or "sixpenny" sides.
Noel Rees's name is still used as a selling point by estate agents, his houses can be found in Great Thrift, The Covert, Prince's Avenue, Wood Ride, Kingsway, Chislehurst Road, The Chenies and many other roads in Petts Wood.
The area between Petts Wood and Bickley sustained heavy bombing during World War II because of its proximity to an important railway junction. Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French and future President of France, lived in Petts Wood, at 41 Birchwood Road, for part of the Second World War. Another prominent resident of Birchwood Road was the Welsh Baritone Sir Geraint Evans, and the toastmaster Ivor Spencer also lived nearby. One of the most renowned residents, Alex Mcculloch, played a prominent role in its establishment. Many residents of Petts Wood worked in Fleet Street, as it was the most affordable area with the latest last train for them to catch home after putting the morning's papers to bed.
Full article ▸