The history of our school and its surrounding area
St. Mary's C.E Primary School
St Mary's was originally built in 1896 in Goldsel Road and was opened by The Rt. Hon. W. Hart Dyke.
The current St Mary's Primary School was built in 1968 and used both the current building and Swanley Youth Community Centre building. In 1993 the school was reformed into the current building and was opened by The Rt. Rev. Michael Turnbull (Bishop of Rochester). In the school car park there stands the original foundation stone Laid by The Rt. Hon. W. Hart Dyke back in 1896.
Swanley; A Brief History
In 1066 Swanley consisted of a few cattle farms surrounded by woodlands. The name Swanley originates from the Saxon term 'Swine-ley; 'Swine' meaning pigs and 'ley' meaning a clearing in the woods, so it has been suggested that Swanley used to be a Saxon pig farm or a stopping place for pig farmers on their way to markets in Kent.
Early Ordinance Survey maps show that Swanley used to be a crossroads: north from Dartford and Wilmington, and South to Crockenhill, Farningham, Eynsford and Darenth Valley. The east/west road was the London to Maidstone/Dover road. This area was known as Birchwood Street.
The first two recorded buildings in Birchwood Street were two inns; The Alma Tavern and The Bull.
Before the arrival of the railway in 1861, there were only three houses reported occupying Swanley. After the railways arrived in Swanley, the growing settlement was centred around the railway and was known as Swanley Junction, before being re-named as Swanley in the 1920's and the original Swanley becoming Swanley Village.
Modern History- Swanley used to have: a Cinema called The Corona and was colloquially known as The Flea Pit; a diner called The Sugar Loaf and, before Asda arrived in 1970, the London road used to run straight through the town centre (where it now detours around Asda).
History Of Swanley Railway
Swanley Junction- In July 1862 a new station was created (east of St Mary Cray) to avoid timetable congestion for trains going down to Sevenoaks. The station was originally called Sevenoaks Junction, due to it being placed where the lines down to Faversham split from the lines down to Sevenoaks. The name Sevenoaks Junction caused confusion to new passengers to the area who got off the train here and expected to be in Sevenoaks! Due to the growing area around 'Sevenoaks Junction', the station was eventually given a name to recognise the growing town, and Swanley Junction was born.
Swanley train crash- In 1937 the Swanley Junction Rail Disaster occurred when a fast train from Margate to Victoria (which never usually stopped at Swanley), was supposed to stop this time but went straight into the sidings and crashed into an empty train, pushing it into an electricity sub station killing four people and hospitalising 11.
Swanley-The train crash resulted in the station being rebuilt in 1939, 1/4 mile closer towards St. Mary Cray and the new station was called Swanley and is how it stands today.
The 'healthy air' of Swanley, as Swanley is far enough away from London to escape the smog and pollution but still close enough to access London via transport, lent itself to Swanley being an ideal location for Londoners escaping the polluted air of London, hence three hospitals/convalescent homes were built: White Oak; Kettlewell and Parkwood Hospital.
Parkwood Hospital- Built in 1893 the hospital's patients were people recovering from surgery, many railway workers who had suffered from accidents on the railway, or those involved in road traffic accidents. At the outbreak of WW1 the home closed until, in 1917, an ammunition factory blew up and Parkwood opened up for the children who were made homeless for five months. After this, the hospital opened up as a convalescent home for WW1 casualties recovering from facial injuries. During WW2, Parkwood became an auxiliary hospital and convalescent home for convalescent servicemen, especially from the army. After this, the hospital continued as various convalescent homes
Parkwood closed in the 1960s and re-opened in 1971 as Parkwood Hall school. The building still remains in its entirety.