Template:For Template:Infobox UK place Swanley is a town and civil parish in the Sevenoaks District of Kent, England. It is located approximately Template:Convert southeast of central London, adjacent to the Greater London boundary and within the M25 motorway. The population at the 2011 census was 16,226. The local council is Swanley Town Council.
In 1066, Swanley only consisted of a few cattle farms, surrounded in oak, sycamore and ash (Fraxinus) woodland. Because Swanley only consisted of a few homesteads, it was not mentioned in the Domesday Book.<ref name=history>Template:Cite web</ref>
There is a theory that the placename Swanley developed from the Saxon term 'Swine-ley', "Ley" meaning a clearing in the woods and "swine" meaning pigs. So it has been suggested that it was originally a Saxon pig farm. This later developed into what we now know as Swanley.Template:Citation needed
In the 6th and 7th Centuries, there were probably two homesteads. After the Norman Conquest, these portions of land were turned into manors, which were then often divided among the monks at Ghent Abbey and Bermondsey.<ref name=sevenoakshistory>Template:Cite web</ref> The original settlement of the town of Swanley (as opposed to modern-day Swanley Village) was based around Birchwood which does get mention in later medieval and early modern documents.
The town developed from a crossroads with very few buildings to a town with a population of 16,588 (in 2001) in one and a half centuries.<ref name=town>Template:Dead link</ref> It had only three houses before the advent of the railway in 1861. The newer settlement grew up around the railway junction and was originally named Swanley Junction, it became Swanley, and the original Swanley became Swanley Village, in the 1920s.
The arrival of the railway changed life in Swanley. The town became the location of Swanley Horticultural College which opened in 1887 and led to horticulture becoming the predominant industry. The college originally only catered for male students. Then in the early 1890s the first female students were admitted. Local Nurseries and florists’ outlets blossomed, while casual farm labouring job opportunities on farms became in short supply.<ref name=history /> Some properties in Swanley still have apple and pear trees in their gardens from the original orchards. The college amalgamated with Wye College near Canterbury.
Contrary to popular myth, Swanley was never a major flower growing or orchard area (at least not more so than any other part of North Kent) however its location became attractive for London doctors seeking a cure for sick Londoners, escaping the smog of London.
Three hospitals were established, the Kettlewell (or Alexandra) Hospital in 1885, Parkwood Hospital in 1893 and White Oak Hospital in 1897.<ref name=town /> The Kettlewell stood on the site of Asda's car park and was for poor patients from London who needed to recuperate after major surgery. The Parkwood hospital was similarly used and White Oak was originally for children with eye diseases. During both World war I and II, Kettlewell and Parkwood were used as military hospitals, Parkwood become part of the Sidcup Hospital for facial injuries. After 1948, and the creations of the National Health Service, meant these old London Hospitals became redundant - Kettlewell and White Oak closed in 1959 and Parkwood ceased being a hospital in the early 1960s. Currently, the gates of White Oak can still be seen opposite Swanley Police Station in London Road, the Roman Catholic Church in Bartholomew Way is on the site of Kettlewell's chapel and Parkwood still exists in its entirety in Beechenlea Lane as Parkwood Hall School (a residential and day school).<ref name=town />
The civil parish of Swanley was created in 1955 from neighbouring parishes of Farningham and Sutton at Hone reflecting the developments of the town and increase in population. In 1974 the parish council became a Town Council and included the settlements of Hextable, Swanley Village and the main town of Swanley. In 1988, Hextable was formed into a separate parish council.
Up until 1974 it was a part of the Dartford Rural District.
Within Kent, Swanley is adjacent to the parishes of Wilmington and Hextable to the north, Sutton-at-Hone and Hawley and Farningham to the east, and Eynsford and Crockenhill to the south. To the west there is a boundary with St Mary Cray in the London Borough of Bromley and Ruxley in the London Borough of Bexley in Greater London.
The Swanley post town in the BR postcode area includes parts of the London Borough of Bromley.
Today, Swanley is essentially a commuter and distribution centre, home to a mainly lower-middle and working class population. It relies on trading via its rail links to Central London and its proximity to the M25 motorway. Being on the outskirts of south east London, it is a convenient commuter town for people who work in the city, as they can still be paid the London living wage. It still keeps some traditional links with Sevenoaks and Kent but it is heavily associated with South East London due to the expansion of that area close to Swanley's borders. The majority of housing development took place from the post-war peroid to late 1980s. A new fire station was opened in 1962, and new post office two years later. Victorian houses and shops were demolished to create a new town centre.<ref name=history /> Its 1970s shopping centre was then re-modelled in the 1990s when the Asda supermarket was extended and is one of the larger Asda stores.
Swanley has easy access to the M25, M20, A20, being on the M25 Junction 3 interchange. The A2 is close-by and it is a 15 minute drive to the Bluewater Shopping Centre.
Swanley station serves the area with services to London Victoria via Bromley South, Kentish Town via Catford, Sevenoaks, Gillingham and Ashford International via Maidstone East.
Swanley is served by Transport for London service 233 to Eltham via Sidcup, Arriva Kent routes 421 to Sevenoaks via Eynsford and Shoreham, 477 to Bluewater via Dartford and to Orpington, 478 to West Kingsdown via Eynsford, as well as Go Coach route 429 to Dartford via Joydens Wood.
Between 1974 and 1999 Swanley Town Council was Independent controlled, from 1999 the Town Council was Labour controlled with Conservative/Independent minority but in May 2011 the Conservatives took control with 10 councillors to the 6 held by Labour. At County Council both ward councillors representing Swanley and area are Conservative and at Sevenoaks District Council the Town is represented by three Labour councillors and three Conservative [one gained from Labour in 2011].
Local business sponsor the floral displays, while the Town Council maintains the grass verges and open spaces. The residential is a mix of private housing with social housing on two main estates at St Mary's and White Oak largely provided by West Kent Housing Association based in Swanley Centre.
Swanley Park (which covers 60 acres of countryside) was previously known as New Barn park as it was previously New Barn Farm until various fields and orchards were bought by the Town Council to protect the green belt between Hextable and Swanley.<ref name=history /> There remains acknowledgement of the former use (as a farm) with an avenue of fruit trees remaining and new avenues of trees linking the car parks to the central area of play areas, cafe and paddling pool and water play and boating lake. The Town Council has maintained old hedgerows and trees around the outside of the park and has created allotments and an environment area that is now managed by local volunteers. The park is home to Swanley Athletics club and hosts a number of county cross country races and other events each year. Around one of the large fields is Swanley New Barn Model railway (running on 800 metres of track) operated by a group of volunteers throughout the summer. A classical music and firework event - called the '1812 Night' - is held on the Friday before the August bank holiday.<ref name=history />
At the Western boundary of Swanley was the 'Bull Hotel' which had a long history at the site serving the passing trade, during the 1980s to 2000 this changed to Hickorys Nightclub (1st Leisure Group) and then was renamed 'Deja Vu Nightclub' after a refurbishment in the mid 1990s, and in 2011 was rebuilt to create a hotel and restaurant operated by Premier Inns. Due to the recession of 2009-2010, the 'Birchwood Pub' (previously called 'The Alma' after which the Alma Swanley FC was named) closed leaving only 'The Lullingstone' in Swanley Centre, 'The Lamb' and 'Red Lion' in Swanley Village and 'The Olympic' in Beechenlea Lane, the latter operated by the Council and providing a bowls green, a snooker hall and a golf driving range.
- In Swanley Park (New Barn Park) is the Swanley New Barn Railway and boating lake.
- Swanley Indoor Bowling Club
- White Oak Sports Centre - With flumes and large swimming pool, gym, squash courts.
- Several Schools - 6 Primary and 1 College (Orchards Academy).
- The Woodlands Conference and Wedding Centre
- The Alexandra Suite and Clocktower Conference and Wedding centre
- The Swanley Recreation ground - otherwise known as the Rec which has a skate park, football pitches and tennis courts.
- As well as the large Asda supermarket there are also several other shops including Superdrug, Pie & Mash shop, Boots, Aldi, Wilkinsons, Iceland, Holland & Barrett, Subway, beauty salons, a couple of bakers and several Estate Agents, betting Shops and nail bars (2013). Banks include a Barclays and a NatWest. There is also a Post Office/Sorting Office.
- Dispensing Chemists x 3 in the town centre + another in Azalea Drive near the railway station
- Fire station
- Police station
- Birchwood Golf Club
- The Olympic Golf Range Conference Centre
- Swanley Outdoor Bowls Club (Olympic)
- Tourist Information Centre/Cafe
- Dominos Pizza
- Parkview Vets
- 5 Indian Takeaways
- 3 Kebab/Fish & Chip shops
- 3 Petrol Garages
- Two Health Centres (The Cedars and The Oaks)
- And a Specialist BMX Shop
Moose International meets as the Swanley Invicta Lodge and Circle at the St. Mary's Church Hall, while other several other organisations such as the Royal British Legion and the Swanley Light Opera Group meet at the Five Wents Memorial Hall. There are many clubs for elderly at the Alexandra suite and other centres and the Town Council offers trips and entertainment for over 60s who are residents of the Swanley Parish.
Places of worship
The Victorian St Mary the Virgin's Church is the Anglican parish church of Swanley.<ref name="Homan93">Template:Cite book</ref> The Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Apostles was registered for worship in 1965, superseding a church hall used since 1931.<ref name="LG-43556-839">Template:London Gazette</ref> Christ Church, originally Congregational and registered in 1904, is now part of the United Reformed Church.<ref name="LG-27675-3025">Template:London Gazette</ref><ref name="WR-39640">Template:WorshipReg</ref> Also in the town are the Swanley Full Gospel Church (Assemblies of God),<ref name="WR-77062">Template:WorshipReg</ref> Elim Christian Centre (Elim Pentecostal),<ref name="WR-77271">Template:WorshipReg</ref> a Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall<ref name="WR-76684">Template:WorshipReg</ref> and a Brethren meeting room.<ref name="WR-77723">Template:WorshipReg</ref>
Orchards Academy is the local secondary school which also operates a vocational sixth form. Other nearby schools include Oasis Academy Hextable and Kemnal Technology College.
Alma Swanley F.C. was a popular local side but went bankrupt. Swanley Furness F.C. is the town's new team, though many support nearby Crockenhill F.C. as it is more successful. Springfield F.C is a popular local youth football club, which was formerly run from and trained in Swanley, but now are based in Hextable, training on the grounds of Hextable School. Hexley Rangers F.C. is a FA Charter Standard (Hextable/Swanley) community-based junior football club that play at Downsview Primary School. Petham Park Panthers (www.ppp.com) is another FA Charter club.
Cricket is also a very popular sport, with many playing it on the village green in summer.
Athletics is also very popular. The Swanley and District Athletic Club, founded in 1988, meets at New Barn Park. http://www.swanleyanddistrictac.org/ the club organises and helps run a number of annual running and cross-country events. The club is strong in promoting athltics for youngsters and has a good coaching section.
Swimming is also popular at White Oak leisure centre where White Oak Swimming Club train. Swanley Sub Aqua Club meet at the pool on Monday nights. SSAC is an independent club that has been training people to dive safely since 1967. Since 2009 it has been offering free PADI training for club members.
Sidcup and District Motor Cycle Club owns the Canada Heights international motocross circuit at Button Street, Swanley. The venue was first used in 1948 and was purchased by the club in the 1980s; an adjacent 17.5 acre grass field was purchased in 2008. The club became a limited company in 2007, but all directors are unpaid and all profits go to improving facilities at Canada Heights. A round of the ACU British Motocross Championship is run each year as well as open Motocross, Enduro and Trials events for all types of motorcycles.
The motor racing circuit Brands Hatch is situated five miles from Swanley.
The population of the civil parish at the 2011 census was 16,226.
- Janice Hadlow, controller BBC 2, went to school in Swanley.
- Alan Knott, Kent and England cricketer, spent his childhood in Swanley.
- Crispian St. Peters, singer and guitarist, born Robin Peter Smith in Swanley.
- Mark Steel, columnist and comedian, born and grew up in Swanley. Went to Downsview Junior and Swanley Comprehensive Schools whilst living in Beechenlea Lane
- Mike Stock, songwriter and record producer, came from Swanley.
- James Dickson Innes (painter) died of Tuberculosis in 1914, aged 27 in nursing home in Swanley.
- Template:Flagicon Verrières-le-Buisson in France
- List of places of worship in Sevenoaks (district)