NCRA NewsMail

12 October 2018


Our thanks to Sylvia Malt for passing to our Secretary two booklets that had been saved by the late Betty Rhodes, former committee member and local councillor: Annual Report on the Health of the Urban District 1959 and the UDC's Year Book 1961-1962. Jean writes:-

Then, North Cray was part of the Chislehurst & Sidcup Urban District Council (based at Sidcup Place) along with the parishes of Mottingham and Sidcup, and part of the parishes of Bromley, Chislehurst, Orpington, St Mary Cray and St Pauls Cray. North Cray had a ward of its own: the North Cray Ward. This had one Council Member: Alistair Huistean Macdonald, who lived in Oakdene Avenue, Chislehurst; and whose telephone No. was Mincing Lane 3020. 

The District's Byelaws included Accommodation of Persons engaged in Picking Hopes, Control of Bulls in Public Places, Improper Behaviour on School Premises, Sale and Delivery of Coal and Smoke Abatement-Tents, Vans and Sheds. Noise seemed to have been of particular concern: Noisy Animals and Hawking; Noisy Instruments from Public Vehicles and Nuisance from Wireless, Loudspeakers, Gramophones, Amplifiers etc. The council's General rate was 22s 0d in £, and for Sidcup and North Cray Early Closing day was Thursday. 

There were several Standing Committees: Public Health; Highways & Works; Parks & Cemeteries; Housing; Town Planning; Libraries; Finance, Rating & General Purposes; Allotments and Establishments. Our Betty Rhodes was a member of Housing, Town Planning and Allotments. Other Committees included Civil Defence (Betty again), Foots Cray Redevelopment and Road Safety. Council representatives served on Public Bodies such as the London and Home Counties Clean Air Advisory Council, National Society for Clean Air, Rodent Control Workable Area Committee, Standing Conference of Co-operating Bodies for the Investigation of Atmospheric Pollution. There was also one on North Cray Charities, one of its members was Lady Mary Harrington, the mother of our Association's President - John Harrington.

"Claimed" County Roads included our North Cray Road. Under Highways, it was reported that shopping centres were swept manually each day. Under Refuse Disposal, it was reported that this was by controlled tipping on 83 acres in St Pauls Cray Hill Park - the principle of this being that refuse was tipped and consolidated by mechanical means to a depth of not more that 6 ft, and then covered with 9 inches of earth, resulting in land reclamation.

The District then had only four operative Tree Preservation Orders. The number of permanent houses totalled 2,285, including the Bedens Field Estate, North Cray (485); Felton Cottages (4) and Victor Mills Cottages (6), Upper Ruxley; and Palm Avenue, Foots Cray (8). For our Parks and Open Spaces we had Chalk Wood/Mount Misery (69 acres) and what was then known as Riverside Open Space (123 acres) incorporating Stable Meadow, North Cray Open Space and Royal Park Children's Playground whose facilities included two football pitches, one cricket pitch and a children's playground - although it was reported that part was used for agricultural purposes. We also had four acres of Permanent Allotments in Stable Meadow.

The District operated several County Health Services, including a Child Welfare Clinic in Foots Cray's Memorial Hall. For Sidcup, there was also First Aid Post in Sherwood Park Avenue (with a variety of child and women's welfare clinics); a Domestic, Family Help and Old People's Service at No. 69 Sidcup Hill; a Home Teacher for the Blind available from the same address - which was also the location of the County Health Department. No. 71 Sidcup Hill was the Register Office for Births, Deaths & Marriages, and Speech Therapy was available there daily. 

This Year Book, with its 55 pages and a comprehensive Index, provided local people with information about everything they needed to know about their council services, including the names of who did what - and even in some cases their home address!

Part 2 to follow,