Pratts Bottom – A Journey Through Life

Sue with her magnum opus

That’s the title of a well-illustrated book by Sue Short, containing vast amounts of Pratts Bottom’s history, much of it from memories of local people and not found anywhere else. If you contributed, and many of us have, you’ll be fascinated to see the results of four years’ hard work by Sue.

The first edition sold out quickly, so if you want a copy of the reprint, contact her via this website (email webmaster@prattsbottom.co.uk).

Two years after publication of her book on Pratts Bottom, Sue Short continues her “Journey Through Life.” With fascinating photos and other glimpses into the past, here are the instalments so far:

  1. Continuing the journey (updated Nov 2013)
  2. Bicycles and Cars in Pratts Bottom
  3. The South African Connection
  4. The Architect of the Village School
  5. The Osgood Girls
  6. The Beast at the Clock Garage
  7. When the Parade Passes By
  8. The May Queen and her Entourage
  9. Photos of 1973 Village Fete
  10. Gertrude Banks Part 1: Gertrude Banks of Tancred
  11. Gertrude Banks Part 2: Aunty Gert, Part 3: Gert and Arthur, Part 4: Memories of Mrs Banks
  12. Gwen Coppin
  13. Geology
  14. Marion Clapson

If you have any old photos of Pratts Bottom, or any other information of local historical interest, please send them to Sue. Watch this space for more updates!

To read the articles you need the free Adobe Reader.

11 thoughts on “History

  1. Hi, I’m writing a book called HAUNTED BROMLEY coverin g the entire borough and wondered if anyone knew of any ghostly tales – old, new, vague, or detailed they’d like to contribute ? They will of course be given a mention in the book should they wish.

  2. I live in the U.S.A. and am trying to find stories about my ancestors from that area. How far back does your book go? James Jackson left Pratts sometime after 1826. I would like to find out what he and his family did there, as well as what their life was like.

    Thank you for your time in putting this great site together.

  3. Lovely place, urm unusual name. Pleasure to have come across this village.
    JACKSON Family History: families were still in Pratts Bottom 1840’s. Bricklayer and Agricultural Labourer.
    YOUNG Family History:
    William YOUNG lived and worked a 14 acre farm in Pratts Bottom 1830’s and his children beyond living in-between two JACKSON families. No old photo’s on internet or history books to read up about life in Pratts Bottom early 1800’s that I can find. Can anyone correct me please ?
    Thank you for posting this.

    • You can read about the JACKSON family in Geoffrey Copus’s book Chelsfield Chronicles.

      William Young (b1773 – d1846) of Halstead bought the freehold of my house from the Daltons in 1809 and lived at the
      property. From the parish records we know that his wife Hannah bore him 11 children, at least three of whom died in infancy, between 1810 and 1825. Hannah died in 1843 aged 60 and William in 1846, aged 73. They were buried in helsfield churchyard though I have been unable to trace their graves.
      From the Tithe Map of 1838 and the censuses of 1841 and 1851 we know quite a lot about the Youngs and their neighbours. In 1841 the house contained William (60) “farmer”, Hannah (55), John (30), William (30), Joanna (20) , James (20) and Hanna Arrow, of independent means and possibly the mother-in-law. (Eliza the widow of Henry Webb married John Arrow and died in 1848. Henry Webb was one of the co-owners of the land called Goss bordering the Grange to the south. In Ernie Bowen’s recollections, he recalls Mr Arrow the wheelwright and teachers at the school by that name.)
      In 1838 William Young farmed not only the 14 acre holding behind the house, but two plots at the top end of the village. One was “The Slips”, a small strip parallel to the road on its east side where the distinctive weatherboarded Holmwood cottages are now. The other was Parish Field, a 5-acre field where the playground is now, as its name suggests rented from the parish.
      By the time of the 1851 census both parents had died and John, William and James shared the house with 5-year-old Henry Young, their “sister’s son” (rather curious), plus William Whitehead the gardener, his wife and baby. John and William are described as “farmers of 14 acres” and James as a “wood dealer”.
      We also know that in 1841 a separate cottage, possibly the one-roomed outbuilding at the back of the house, with a small plot shown on the 1838 tithe map, was occupied by a Thomas Firmager, his wife Sarah, a child aged 7 and three farm labourers. Ten years later the couple were still there with a different lodger and a family of four living in an “apartment of the house.” Was this the cellar or was there a cottage, no longer in existence, so close to the house that it does not show up separately on the Tithe Map? Maybe it was this property that was
      later sold off to John Downes.
      The Youngs were the last family to farm here. It seems that farming was not profitable because Young mortgaged the farm in 1835 for £400 to John Newbald of the Old Kent Road,
      The Story of Chelsfield Grange
      © Tony Lavelle 19 June 2009

  4. I remember That car it was Purple first saw it at the Regent (bidewells) on the roundabout in the sixties green street green it was beyond belief I new john the owner I didn’t like its new look the cream old fart look when he first rolled it out Purple king of the A21 shame it was in a fire ……….Biggest car engine I ever saw 27litres and I live in Nevada USA every thing is extreme John Dodd was nuts he still is beating the rest

  5. I go to a friends house who hears this little girl cry something, we usally hear daddy, mummy, hello or plain crying. It usally sound like a toddler. This is by chelsfield hospital. This cry is usally in the morning or late at night. Can we have some answers? Any history of chelsfield?

  6. My parents, John Edward Baldock & Audrey Annette Baldock managed the newsagents situated on the A21 close to Pratts Bottom and I understand they lived “over the shop” around the time of my birth in November 1948. I was born in Farnborough hospital. The shop was in a row of shops opposite the Clock Garage. My parents became firm friends with the Purnell family who lived in New Orchard House because their son Christopher was born around the same time as me.

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