Sidcup: A historic and elegant London suburb

Sidcup: A historic and elegant London suburbNestled between Bromley and Greenwich, Sidcup is an area of London that feels surprisingly rural. In fact, it would be easy to forget that you’re in London at all. Despite this, it’s a quick train ride from the bustling heart of the capital, making it a desirable district for commuters who want a bit more space, especially young families.

Transport

While the London Underground is not an option for suburban Sidcup, which is close to the border with Kent, the area is served by Sidcup Station, where you can catch regular trains to Charing Cross and Cannon Street, as well as Lewisham, Woolwich and Gravesend.

There are also plenty of bus routes running through the area, providing easy access to Woolwich, Greenwich and New Cross.

For those in need of intensive retail therapy, there is also a direct bus to the renowned Bluewater shopping centre.

History

Sidcup began life as a tiny hamlet on the road between Maidstone and London, chiefly noted for its pub, the Black Horse. The first recorded mention of the area in the form of its modern name was in 1254, and it was said to be owned by a Thomas de Sedcopp in the 15th century.

Due to its rural location, it did not become much more than a row of houses until the coming of the railway in 1865. The greater accessibility meant that the population rose rapidly as the middle classes moved out of the overcrowded city to the more pleasant suburbs.

The Urban District of Sidcup was formed in 1901, although since it was part of the Sidcup and Chislehurst Civil Parish, it remained in the borough of Bromley until 1965, when both the parish and the urban district were abolished. It has been part of the borough of Bexley ever since.

In more recent times, Sidcup was the birthplace of “Wuthering Heights” singer Kate Bush. What’s more, Sidcup Station has recently been marked with a prestigious blue plaque, to commemorate a conversation between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger that took place on one of the platforms. Despite having known each other at school, it was this musical discussion that lead to the formation of the Rolling Stones, one of the UK’s most influential rock and roll bands.

Amenities

Station Road and the surrounding area offer a good range of shops, including the usual chains and some independent boutiques. A £1.8 million regeneration scheme has recently got underway to spruce up Sidcup’s shopping areas, so the situation is likely to improve further once initial disruptions have settled down.

There is also a good distribution of sports clubs, leisure centres and other health and fitness facilities. Seven Acre and Sidcup Football Club are a non-league side that play regular matches. There are also local rugby and cricket clubs, which meet at the Sidcup Sports Club on Sydney Road. For those more interested in petrol-based exertion, the area also boasts a long-running motorcycle group (founded in 1928).

There are some good schools in the area, including Christ The King Sixth Form College, which has been rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.  Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School also performs consistently well. Hurstmere School has previously been ranked among the most improved in the country, and now boasts an “outstanding” rating from Ofsted. When it comes to further education, the Rose Bruford College is of particular note, as it offers world-class drama training at university and professional levels.

Sidcup also has plenty of primary schools. Parents should pay attention to which secondary schools are partnered with their preferred primary, as children from partner schools are more likely to win a place when the time comes to move onto secondary education. Orchard School and Longlands Primary School have both recently received “good” ratings from Ofsted, and Merton Court Preparatory School is an option for parents who choose the independent route.

In terms of live music, local artists regularly play at the Charcoal Burner and the Iron Horse pub, and there is a larger venue at the Beaverwood Club in nearby Chislehurst.

Housing

Sidcup is notable for its relatively high number of stately homes, most of which have new functions suitable for the modern era (including care homes and educational establishments).

Among them is Frognal House, which was the childhood home of Thomas Townshend, first Viscount Sydney, after whom the Australian city was named. It was also the first location of the Queen Mary Hospital, which provided facial and plastic surgery for thousands of servicemen injured in World War One.

If your budget isn’t quite on mansion levels, the housing in the area is predominantly from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This means there are plenty of small, yet perfectly formed, Victorian and Edwardian terraces on offer, as well as larger properties from this period, which are in high demand. There is also a range of semi-detached properties from the 1920s and '30s.

If you don’t need as much space, there are a number of new, modern developments offering flats that are ideal for the young professional (whether single or coupled up), at competitive rents and prices.

Rents tend to be slightly lower than the London average, meaning that this is a great location for those on a budget, who still want the benefits of a comfortable neighbourhood.
Overall, Sidcup is an affordable, leafy suburb that is well worth a look for the capital’s house hunters.

Published 18th February, 2015

© 2015 Estates IT Limited

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With its connectivity, affordability and local beauty spots, Sidcup is an attractive option for commuters.

Sidcup: A historic and elegant London suburb

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