Biggin Hill History – 1895
As can be seen from the Kelly’s directory, there are only 55 entries under the heading of ,Commercial. The majority of the occupations were those of farmers or fruit growers. There were other professions such as shoemaker, carpenter, wheelwright and blacksmith. The three inns: The Fox and hounds, The Old Jail Inn and the Blacksmith Arms are entered under their respective landlords.
The old Black Horse, although formerly a pair of cottages, has been a public house for many years. This was demolished in 1908, and the rubble was used to fill up an old pond on the Green. After the demolition of the old building, the new Black Horse was built, as shown here.
Mr. William Roberts had a post office which also sold groceries and drapery and Mrs. Swindel was also a grocer. Thomas martin was listed as a shopkeeper but as to the type of goods he sold it does not say, if anyone knows please E-mail us with details.
There was a coffee tavern at the top of Salt Box hill owned by Mr. Reuben Piggott. It changed ownership within ten years, as shown in the 1905 edition of Kelly’s directory. It was then owned by Mr William Nevard. The Salt box coffee tavern was the only place for refreshment at that time other than the Inns.
This is a new image provided by Craig Dennison. If anyone knows where this photograph was taken please email firstname.lastname@example.org
There is further evidence of the occupations of the inhabitants of Biggin Hill in the Census returns of 1891. Farm labourers and fruit growers are commonest and the majority of people were born locally although people did move to Biggin Hill from such places as London, Cornwall, Yorkshire and Lancashire. This may be to due to the opportunity for work for example John Hosell a farm labourer who was born in Truro, Cornwall.
There were some more wealthier families who employed domestic staff, for example housemaids, parlour maids, kitchen maids and cooks. One such family was Mr. William Freer who was the Vicar of Cudham and lived at the Vicarage.
Mrs. Katherine Vicar, a widow and her sister Elisabeth Perry moved from Southwark, London to Biggin Hill and are listed as “living on own means”. As Mrs. Vicar was a widow it may be that her late husband left her with enough money to afford to live in the countryside. The sisters also employed 2 servants, who may have been brother and sister. James Wood was employed as a groom and general servant. The sisters appear to have been wealthy enough to own a horse or horses.
It was in July 1895 that Frederick Henry Dougal bought Aperfield Manor and he then sold the land by splitting it into plots. This was the first significant change to the area now known as Biggin Hill.
As the plots could be paid for by instalments, Dougal found that he was able to sell the plots quite quickly.
The people that were attracted to buying the plots were those of the middle and upper classes who had leisure time at weekends and Bank Holidays. They used the land for picnics in the summer and buildings were erected to store deckchairs. They also gave protection when it rained. Some buildings were erected for permanent occupation but these were in the minority at this time. This situation was to changing the early part of the 20th century.