Biggin Hill History – Introduction
Biggin Hill has grown greatly over the past century, from a countryside area with a few farms and farmhouses to what could be called a small town now.
In this local study, we shall be focusing on the reasons behind such a vast change. We will look at the size and the population of Biggin hill through the last century and the types of shops and employment of the inhabitants. This tells us about the social classes of the people and how they have changed as the century progressed.
We will also look at the change and development of shopping trends and goods. This too shows the types of social classes of the people living in and around Biggin Hill and the national change in shopping trends.
We have used a variety of sources in this study such as maps, photographs and census returns. we have also been able to interview two of the present shop managers in Biggin Hill and other shop assistants have given us information but did not wish to be taped. We have decided to look at the commercial entries in Kellys directory in Kent at approximately ten year intervals from 1895 to 1938. We have chosen to do this as it gives a good idea of how the shops have changed or remained the same.
Kellys directory for 1938 was the last year that could be found, at the centre for Kentish Studies in Maidstone. We therefore have no written evidence for the 1940s and the 1950s.
It is interesting how a small place has changed so much. By looking at the types of shops and the people living in Biggin Hill, a picture of what Biggin Hill was like can be visualised.
This is Temple’s Stores in 1914, after further improvements had been made. The Temple family’s large house on the left and the shop were later destroyed after a disastrous fire. Although the shop was rebuilt in a similar style the house was replaced by a bungalow. Both bungalow and shop were demolished in the late 1960’s to make way for housing development.