Kidbrooke Park Close, SE3

Place Name

Takes its name from a local stream – still called the Kid Brook – where kites were seen. John Field in Place Names of Greater London writes: “The earliest form showing the characteristic Kentish form cëta, for the West Saxon cÿta.” It was written as Chirebroc sometime around the turn of the 11thCentury, as Ketebroc in 1202, and as Ketebrok in 1240. The area has three streams and heavy, wet clay, so would have been unsuitable for Saxon development. By the late 11th or 12th century, however, Kidbrooke had a church and presumably a small population – although it didn’t last. By 1428 the church had no priest, and by 1494 it was derelict. It remained rural until Kidbrooke Station opened in 1895, but farming dominated the area up to the 1930s. After then, development was rapid, especially after the Rochester Way was built. Caroline Taggart in The Book London Place Names gives a little more detail: “The place has an odd history: a nineteenth century gazette tells us that it ‘lost its church and parsonage through neglect’, which sounds like an extraordinary piece of carelessness on the part of the parishioners. It seems to have happened some time in the fourteenth or fifteenth century and no one is sure why; but the parish and therefore the village didn’t come back to life until a new church was built in 1867.”

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