Municipal Borough of Beckenham

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 • 1881 3,881 acres (15.71 km2)
 • 1901 3,881 acres (15.71 km2)[1]
 • 1931 3,889 acres (15.74 km2)
 • 1961 5,935 acres (24.02 km2)
 • 1881 13,045
 • 1901 26,331
 • 1931 43,832
 • 1961 77,290
 • Created 1878
 • Abolished 1965
 • Succeeded by London Borough of Bromley
Status Local board (1878 - 1894)
Urban district (1894 - 1935)
Municipal borough (after 1935)
 • Motto Non Nobis Solum (Not for ourselves alone)
Coat of arms of Beckenham Borough Council

Beckenham was a local government district in north west Kent from 1878 to 1965 around the town of Beckenham. The area was suburban to London, formed part of the Metropolitan Police District and from 1933 was included in the area of the London Passenger Transport Board.


In 1878 the parish of Beckenham adopted the Local Government Act 1858 and formed a local board of 15 members to govern the area. The Local Government Act 1894 reconstituted the local board's area as an urban district. The urban district was divided into seven wards of Coper's Cope, Eden Park, Kent House, Langley Park, Laurie Park, Manor House and Shortlands. Each ward returned three councillors to Beckenham Urban District Council.[2]

The urban district was extended by a county review order in 1934, taking in parts of Hayes and West Wickham from the abolished Bromley Rural District.[3] In 1935 the urban district council successfully petitioned for a charter of incorporation, and became a municipal borough.

In 1965 the municipal borough was abolished by the London Government Act 1963 and its former area transferred to Greater London from Kent. Its former area was combined with that of other districts to form the present-day London Borough of Bromley.

Coat of arms

The borough was granted a coat of arms on incorporation. The shield was green, recalling that for most its history Beckenham had been a rural community. Across the centre were two silver waves, for the River Beck. At the top of the shield were two flowering chestnut trees. These represented the trees and flowers of the town's open spaces and parks. At the base of the shield was the white horse of Kent. The crest above the shield was a gold lion from the heraldry of the Cator family. John Cator was lord of the manor from 1773 and developed Beckenham from a village into a town. The lion supported a mitre and pastoral staff. These stood for Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, who received the manor of Beckenham at the time of the Norman Conquest. The supporters were described as gentleman and lady "in the costume of the early sixteenth century".[4]


  1. The Survey Gazetteer of the British Isles, Topgraphical, Statistical and Commercial. Compiled from the 1901 Census and the Latest Official Returns. London: George Newnes Ltd. 1904. p. 59.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Kelly's Directory of Kent 1903, p.48 (Historical Directories), accessed January 31, 2008
  3. Relationships / unit history of Beckenham (Vision of Britain), accessed January 31, 2008
  4. C W Scott-Giles, Civic Heraldry of England and Wales, 2nd edition, London, 1953
  • Local Government Act 1888
  • Local Government Act 1894
  • London Government Act 1963

External links

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