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History of Chislehurst

  • council: Bromley
  • phone code: 020
  • postcode area: BR7
  • county: Greater London

Chislehurst is a village in the London Borough of Bromley.

The name "Chislehurst" is derived from the Saxon words "cisel" which means gravel and "hyrst" which means wooded hill. Between 1934 and 1965 Chislehurst was part of Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban District.

Camden Place (now Chislehurst Golf Club) is where the French Emperor Napoleon III died in exile in 1873. His body, and that of the Prince Imperial were buried originally in St Mary's Church, before they were removed to Farnborough Abbey. There is a memorial to Napoléon Eugène in the woods, and the area's connections with the imperial family are found in many road names and the local telephone code, 467 in its earlier format, corresponded to the letters IMP (for imperial).

A local attraction is Chislehurst Caves. The caves are considered to be of very ancient origin. They were originally used to mine flint and chalk. During World War II, thousands of people used them nightly as an air raid shelter. There is even a chapel. One child was born in the caves during World War II, and her name was 'Cavina'. The caves have also been used as a venue for live music; Jimi Hendrix, The Who and The Rolling Stones have all played there. The caves are reputedly haunted, and Druids are said to have made grisly human sacrifices in their depths. A number of television programmes and films, including episodes of Doctor Who have been filmed there. Tours are available most days, and on Sundays there is an especially extended tour, lasting approximately one and a half hours.

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