London Borough of Bexley
Overview
 
The London Borough of Bexley lies in south east Greater London
Greater London
Greater London is the top-level administrative division of England covering London. It was created in 1965 and spans the City of London, including Middle Temple and Inner Temple, and the 32 London boroughs. This territory is coterminate with the London Government Office Region and the London...

, and is a borough referred to as part of Outer London
Outer London
Outer London is the name for the group of London Boroughs that form a ring around Inner London.These were areas that were not part of the County of London and became formally part of Greater London in 1965...

. It has common borders with the London Borough of Bromley
London Borough of Bromley
The London Borough of Bromley is a London borough of south east London, England and forms part of Outer London. The principal town in the borough is Bromley.-Geography:...

 to the south, the London Borough of Greenwich
London Borough of Greenwich
The London Borough of Greenwich is an Inner London borough in south-east London, England. Taking its name from the historic town of Greenwich, the present borough was formed in 1965 by the amalgamation of the former area of the Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich with part of the Metropolitan...

 to the west, across the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

 to the north it borders the London Borough of Havering
London Borough of Havering
The London Borough of Havering is a London borough in North East London, England and forms part of Outer London. The principal town in Havering is Romford and the other main communities are Hornchurch, Upminster and Rainham. The borough is mainly characterised by suburban development with large...

, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
In 1801, the civil parishes that form the modern borough had a total population of 1,937; and the area was characterised by farming, woodland and the fishing fleet at Barking. This last industry employed 1,370 men and boys by 1850, but by the end of the century had ceased to exist; replaced by...

 and a small boundary with the unitary authority Thurrock
Thurrock
Thurrock is a unitary authority with borough status in the English ceremonial county of Essex. It is part of the London commuter belt and an area of regeneration within the Thames Gateway redevelopment zone. The local authority is Thurrock Council....

 to the north east, to the east it borders the Dartford borough
Dartford (borough)
Dartford is the name given to a local government district and borough in north west Kent, England, which takes its name from its administrative capital. It borders Thurrock, to the north across the River Thames; to the west lies the London Borough of Bexley; to the south Sevenoaks district; and the...

 in Kent and to the south east a tiny boundary with the Sevenoaks district
Sevenoaks (district)
Sevenoaks is a local government district covering the western most part of Kent in England. Its council is based in the town of Sevenoaks. It was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, by a merger of the Sevenoaks Urban District, Sevenoaks Rural District and part of Dartford...

 of Kent.

The borough is within the Thames Gateway
Thames Gateway
The Thames Gateway is an area of land stretching east from inner east London on both sides of the River Thames and the Thames Estuary. The area, which includes much brownfield land, has been designated a national priority for urban regeneration, taking advantage of the development opportunities...

, an area designated as a national priority for urban regeneration.
Prior to the 19th century the area now forming the Borough was practically unoccupied: very few of the present settlements were mentioned in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

, although the village of Bexley has a charter dated 814CE.
Encyclopedia
The London Borough of Bexley lies in south east Greater London
Greater London
Greater London is the top-level administrative division of England covering London. It was created in 1965 and spans the City of London, including Middle Temple and Inner Temple, and the 32 London boroughs. This territory is coterminate with the London Government Office Region and the London...

, and is a borough referred to as part of Outer London
Outer London
Outer London is the name for the group of London Boroughs that form a ring around Inner London.These were areas that were not part of the County of London and became formally part of Greater London in 1965...

. It has common borders with the London Borough of Bromley
London Borough of Bromley
The London Borough of Bromley is a London borough of south east London, England and forms part of Outer London. The principal town in the borough is Bromley.-Geography:...

 to the south, the London Borough of Greenwich
London Borough of Greenwich
The London Borough of Greenwich is an Inner London borough in south-east London, England. Taking its name from the historic town of Greenwich, the present borough was formed in 1965 by the amalgamation of the former area of the Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich with part of the Metropolitan...

 to the west, across the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

 to the north it borders the London Borough of Havering
London Borough of Havering
The London Borough of Havering is a London borough in North East London, England and forms part of Outer London. The principal town in Havering is Romford and the other main communities are Hornchurch, Upminster and Rainham. The borough is mainly characterised by suburban development with large...

, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
In 1801, the civil parishes that form the modern borough had a total population of 1,937; and the area was characterised by farming, woodland and the fishing fleet at Barking. This last industry employed 1,370 men and boys by 1850, but by the end of the century had ceased to exist; replaced by...

 and a small boundary with the unitary authority Thurrock
Thurrock
Thurrock is a unitary authority with borough status in the English ceremonial county of Essex. It is part of the London commuter belt and an area of regeneration within the Thames Gateway redevelopment zone. The local authority is Thurrock Council....

 to the north east, to the east it borders the Dartford borough
Dartford (borough)
Dartford is the name given to a local government district and borough in north west Kent, England, which takes its name from its administrative capital. It borders Thurrock, to the north across the River Thames; to the west lies the London Borough of Bexley; to the south Sevenoaks district; and the...

 in Kent and to the south east a tiny boundary with the Sevenoaks district
Sevenoaks (district)
Sevenoaks is a local government district covering the western most part of Kent in England. Its council is based in the town of Sevenoaks. It was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, by a merger of the Sevenoaks Urban District, Sevenoaks Rural District and part of Dartford...

 of Kent.

The borough is within the Thames Gateway
Thames Gateway
The Thames Gateway is an area of land stretching east from inner east London on both sides of the River Thames and the Thames Estuary. The area, which includes much brownfield land, has been designated a national priority for urban regeneration, taking advantage of the development opportunities...

, an area designated as a national priority for urban regeneration.

History

Prior to the 19th century the area now forming the Borough was practically unoccupied: very few of the present settlements were mentioned in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

, although the village of Bexley has a charter dated 814CE. Erith
Erith
Erith is a district of southeast London on the River Thames. Erith's town centre has undergone a series of modernisations since 1961.-Pre-medieval:...

 was a port on the River Thames until the 17th century; the opening of the sewage works at nearby Crossness
Crossness
Crossness is a place in south-east London. It is situated in the London Borough of Bexley, close to the southern bank of the River Thames, to the east of Thamesmead, west of Belvedere and north-west of Erith. The place takes its name from Cross Ness, a specific promontory on the southern bank of...

 in the late 19th century turned it into an industrial town.

Today's settlement pattern is the result of the gradual extension of the London influence. Until the 19th century it was an area with few isolated buildings: examples being the Georgian
Georgian architecture
Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1720 and 1840. It is eponymous for the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover—George I of Great Britain, George II of Great Britain, George III of the United...

 Danson House
Danson House
Danson House is a Georgian mansion at the centre of Danson Park, to the west of Bexleyheath in the London Borough of Bexley, south-east London.-18th Century:...

 and the Red House
Red House (London)
Red House in Bexleyheath in southeast London, England, is a major building of the history of the Arts and Crafts style and of 19th century British architecture. It was designed during 1859 by its owner, William Morris, and the architect Philip Webb, with wall paintings and stained glass by Edward...

 on Bexley Heath built for William Morris in 1859. With the coming of the railways building began apace, although the area is still composed of many disconnected settlements, interspersed with area of open ground and parks.

The London Borough of Bexley was formed in 1965, under the London Government Act 1963
London Government Act 1963
The London Government Act 1963 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which recognised officially the conurbation known as Greater London and created a new local government structure for the capital. The Act significantly reduced the number of local government districts in the area,...

 from the Municipal Boroughs of Bexley
Municipal Borough of Bexley
Bexley was a local government district in north west Kent from 1879 to 1965 around the town of Old Bexley.-History:The parish of Bexley adopted the Local Government Act 1858 in 1879, and a local board of 15 members was formed to govern the area...

 and Erith
Municipal Borough of Erith
Erith was a local government district in north west Kent from 1894 to 1965 around the town of Erith. It also included the generally suburban areas of Northumberland Heath, Belvedere, and parts of Barnehurst, BexleyheathCrayford and the SE2 London Postal District of Abbey Wood.It was created an...

; Crayford Urban District
Crayford Urban District
Crayford was a local government district in north west Kent from 1920 to 1965 around the town of Crayford. As well as Crayford, it included Barnehurst, Barnes Cray and Slade Green.It was created an urban district in 1920 from part of Dartford Rural District....

: and part of Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban District
Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban District
Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban District was a local government district and civil parish in north west Kent, England from 1934 to 1965.It was formed in 1934 from the former area of Chislehurst Urban District, Sidcup Urban District and part of Bromley Rural District.In 1965 the parish and urban...

.

The Council now styles itself the "London Borough of Bexley" in common with its formal name, although it previously styled itself "Bexley London Borough" until 1999 (possibly to maintain the link with its predecessor, Bexley Municipal Borough), and "Bexley Council" from 1999 to October 2007, when it reverted to its full formal name in conjunction with the adoption of a new Council logo bearing this name alongside the 1965 Coat of Arms.

The town of Bexley, Ohio
Bexley, Ohio
Bexley is an affluent suburban city in Franklin County, Ohio. Founded as a village over a hundred years ago, the City of Bexley is an old, tree-lined suburb of Columbus, the state capital of Ohio, situated on the banks of Alum Creek next to Driving Park and Wolfe Park, just east of the Franklin...

, a suburb of the city of Columbus
Columbus, Ohio
Columbus is the capital of and the largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio. The broader metropolitan area encompasses several counties and is the third largest in Ohio behind those of Cleveland and Cincinnati. Columbus is the third largest city in the American Midwest, and the fifteenth largest city...

, was named at the suggestion of an early resident, Mr. Kilbourne, in honour of his family's roots in Bexley, England. In addition, a suburb of Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 bears the name of Bexley, New South Wales
Bexley, New South Wales
Bexley is a suburb in southern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Bexley is located 14 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Rockdale and is part of the St George area.-History:...

.

Governance

The administrative centre of the Borough is in Bexleyheath
Bexleyheath
Bexleyheath is a main suburban district of Southeast London, England, in the London Borough of Bexley with a small percentage of the district itself being in the London Borough of Greenwich. Bexleyheath is located on the border of Inner London and Outer London. It is east south-east of Charing Cross...

.

There are 21 wards
Wards of the United Kingdom
A ward in the United Kingdom is an electoral district at sub-national level represented by one or more councillors. It is the primary unit of British administrative and electoral geography .-England:...

 represented on Bexley Council; each ward elects three councillors, 63 in all. The wards are shown on the accompanying map.

All seats were up for re-election during the election
London local elections 2006
Local government elections took place in London, and some other parts of the United Kingdom on Thursday 4 May 2006. Polling stations were open between 7am and 10pm....

 on May 4, 2006. Until that date, Labour held control of the council by a margin of one (32 Labour to 31 Conservative councillors). In the election, the Conservatives took 23 seats from Labour, giving them the majority.

Insofar as central government is concerned, the borough is divided among the constituencies of Old Bexley and Sidcup; Erith and Thamesmead (shared with the London Borough of Greenwich
London Borough of Greenwich
The London Borough of Greenwich is an Inner London borough in south-east London, England. Taking its name from the historic town of Greenwich, the present borough was formed in 1965 by the amalgamation of the former area of the Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich with part of the Metropolitan...

); and Bexleyheath and Crayford
Bexleyheath and Crayford (UK Parliament constituency)
-Elections in the 2000s:-Elections in the 1990s:-See also:*List of Parliamentary constituencies in Greater London*David Evennett Wikipedia page**Howard Dawber Wikipedia page**-References:...

.

After the 2005 General Election, Erith and Thamesmead is represented by a Labour Party MP while the remaining two seats were held by the Conservative Party; although on 29 January 2008 the Conservative Party whip was withdrawn from Old Bexley and Sidcup's MP Derek Conway
Derek Conway
Derek Leslie Conway TD is an English politician and television presenter. A member of the centre-right Conservative Party, Conway served as a Member of Parliament for the constituency of Old Bexley and Sidcup from 2001 to 2010....

 following alleged misuse of funds, leaving him as an Independent MP.

Geography

Bexley, lying as it does on the outer fringe of London, has many relatively large areas of open space. The ridge of higher ground in South London crosses the Borough from its high point of Shooters Hill, on the boundary with the London Borough of Greenwich, to end above the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

 at Belvedere
Belvedere, London
Belvedere is a suburban and largely working class area and electoral ward in the London Borough of Bexley in Southeast London.-History:The area which is today known as Belvedere was originally part of Lesness Heath, which originally stretched from the area of Lesnes Abbey to Erith and constituted...

, where the land drops down to the old port of Erith
Erith
Erith is a district of southeast London on the River Thames. Erith's town centre has undergone a series of modernisations since 1961.-Pre-medieval:...

. This high land, whose geology is the sand and pebbles of the Blackheath beds, and which results in heathland, provided the line on the old Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 road (Watling Street
Watling Street
Watling Street is the name given to an ancient trackway in England and Wales that was first used by the Britons mainly between the modern cities of Canterbury and St Albans. The Romans later paved the route, part of which is identified on the Antonine Itinerary as Iter III: "Item a Londinio ad...

) ran between Crayford
Crayford
Crayford is a town and electoral ward in the London Borough of Bexley that was an important bridging point in Roman times across the River Cray, a tributary of the River Darent, which is itself a tributary of the River Thames.-History:...

 and Welling
Welling
Welling is a district in the London Borough of Bexley, South East London. It is a suburban development situated between Shooter's Hill and Bexleyheath north of the A2 road and 10.5 miles east south-east of Charing Cross.-History:...

. The land falls away to the north of the high ground, across the Erith Marshes to the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

, which here makes a loop to the north at Crossness
Crossness
Crossness is a place in south-east London. It is situated in the London Borough of Bexley, close to the southern bank of the River Thames, to the east of Thamesmead, west of Belvedere and north-west of Erith. The place takes its name from Cross Ness, a specific promontory on the southern bank of...

. There is further ridge of less higher ground from the west terminating at Sidcup
Sidcup
Sidcup is a district in South East London in the London Borough of Bexley and small parts of the district in the London Borough of Greenwich.Located south east of Charing Cross, Sidcup is bordered by the London Boroughs of Greenwich and Bromley and Kent County Council, and whilst now part of...

.

Apart from the River Thames the other rivers within the Borough are the River Darent
River Darent
The River Darent or River Darenth is a Kentish tributary of the River Thames in England. Its name is believed to be from a Celtic word meaning 'river where oak-trees grow'...

, which, with its tributary the River Cray
River Cray
The River Cray is a tributary of the River Darent in southern England. It rises in Priory Gardens in Orpington in the London Borough of Bromley, where rainwater permeates the chalk bedrock and forms a pond at the boundary between the chalk and impermeable clay...

 and the smaller Stanham River, all form part of its north-eastern boundary; and the River Shuttle
River Shuttle
The River Shuttle is a small tributary of the River Cray in London, United Kingdom.The river rises at two or more springs between Avery Hill and Eltham in the London Borough of Greenwich at the junction of the permeable Blackheath Beds and the denser Woolwich Beds...

, a tributary of the Cray.

The major centres of settlement can be considered in two parts: the older established erstwhile villages; and the infill areas of suburban houses and centres. Among the former are Erith
Erith
Erith is a district of southeast London on the River Thames. Erith's town centre has undergone a series of modernisations since 1961.-Pre-medieval:...

, in the 17th century a port on the Thames, and an industrial town in the later 19th century; Bexleyheath
Bexleyheath
Bexleyheath is a main suburban district of Southeast London, England, in the London Borough of Bexley with a small percentage of the district itself being in the London Borough of Greenwich. Bexleyheath is located on the border of Inner London and Outer London. It is east south-east of Charing Cross...

, created at the same time on the London to Dover
Dover
Dover is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury; east of Kent's administrative capital Maidstone; and north-east along the coastline from Dungeness and Hastings...

 road. By the earlier 20th century, both were created Urban District Councils (UDC), as was Foots Cray
Foots Cray
Foots Cray is a place in the London Borough of Bexley, near the town of Sidcup, in southeast London, England, United Kingdom.It took its name from Godwin Fot, a local Saxon landowner recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, and from the River Cray that passes through the village. It lay on the old...

 (an ancient village site). Thamesmead
Thamesmead
Thamesmead is a district of south-east London, England, located in the London Boroughs of Greenwich and Bexley. It is situated east of Charing Cross....

, the "new town" built on what was the Erith Marshes, extends into the Borough: both Thamesmead North and South are located here. Crayford
Crayford
Crayford is a town and electoral ward in the London Borough of Bexley that was an important bridging point in Roman times across the River Cray, a tributary of the River Darent, which is itself a tributary of the River Thames.-History:...

 was mentioned in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

, and its parish later included the hamlets of North End and Slade Green
Slade Green
Slade Green is a place in south- east London closer to the edge of London located in the London Borough of Bexley. It is a suburban development situated east-southeast of Charing Cross and lying south of the River Thames slightly to the west of the River Darenth and River Cray.-History and...

.

Smaller settlements include Welling
Welling
Welling is a district in the London Borough of Bexley, South East London. It is a suburban development situated between Shooter's Hill and Bexleyheath north of the A2 road and 10.5 miles east south-east of Charing Cross.-History:...

, like Bexleyheath a staging post on the Dover Road, which was at one time of less importance than the nearby East Wickham
East Wickham
East Wickham is a place and electoral ward in the London Borough of Bexley. It is a part of the Welling post town.-History:Welling originally formed part of the ancient manor of East Wickham, which was centred on St Michael’s Church, Upper Wickham Lane, built in the 13th century...

 (also an ancient village), was absorbed in Bexley UDC. Barnes Cray
Barnes Cray
Barnes Cray is a place in the London Borough of Bexley. Its name derives from the prominent local Barne family.Up until the Victorian era it was a hamlet a kilometre downstream of Crayford where no more than sixteen homes were clustered...

 and North Cray
North Cray
North Cray is a place in the London Borough of Bexley, southeast London, England, east southeast of Charing Cross. It lies on the River Cray and is in the Cray Meadows electoral ward which also includes Foots Cray...

 were two hamlets in the Cray Valley; and Belvedere
Belvedere, London
Belvedere is a suburban and largely working class area and electoral ward in the London Borough of Bexley in Southeast London.-History:The area which is today known as Belvedere was originally part of Lesness Heath, which originally stretched from the area of Lesnes Abbey to Erith and constituted...

 was the location of a medieval monastery.

The map of Bexley shows that a large proportion of its area comprises suburb
Suburb
The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

ia. Some named places, like Albany Park and Barnehurst
Barnehurst
Barnehurst is a town and electoral ward in the London Borough of Bexley, England. It is a suburban development in Southeast London located 12.5 miles east south-east of Charing Cross.-History:...

, are names given to developments engendered by the building of the railways. Some came into being when large estates and farmland were broken up for the sole purpose of suburban building: these include Blackfen
Blackfen
Blackfen is a largely residential area of Sidcup in the London Borough of Bexley, South East London; and makes part of the electoral ward of Blackfen and Lamorbey Ward along with Lamorbey. It is situated 10.2 miles east south-east of Charing Cross. The word "Blackfen" means a black, marshy area...

, Lamorbey
Lamorbey
Lamorbey is a small district of Sidcup, in the London Borough of Bexley. The area is north of Sidcup station. Perhaps the most significant buildings are Holy Trinity Church, Lamorbey House and some of the original surviving buildings of The Hollies children's home...

 and part of Falconwood
Falconwood
-Southeastern Train Services:Nearest Train Stations* Falconwood railway station, Lingfield Crescent, Eltham, London, SE9 2RN.* Eltham railway station, Well Hall Road, Eltham, London, SE9 6SL....

. Others simply reflect the nature of area: Lessness Heath
Lessness Heath
Lessness Heath is a district in the London Borough of Bexley.-EducationNearest places:*Abbey Wood*Belvedere*Bexleyheath*West Heath...

; Longlands
Longlands
Longlands is a place and suburb in southeast London, England, that straddles the boundaries of three London Boroughs, Bromley, Greenwich, and Bexley. In the London Borough of Bexley, Longlands is the name of the electoral ward that covers the southwest corner of that borough. Longlands has three...

 (part of Sidcup); Northumberland Heath
Northumberland Heath
Northumberland Heath is a neighbourhood and electoral ward within the London Borough of Bexley, south east London, England. Northumberland Heath is often referred to locally as "North' Heath" and is often considered to be part of upper Erith.-History:...

 and West Heath
West Heath
West Heath may refer to various places in England:*The New School at West Heath, in Sevenoaks, Kent*West Heath, Cheshire, in Congleton*West Heath, Hampshire*West Heath, London, in Bexley, London*West Heath, West Midlands, in Birmingham...

.
There are still open spaces, however, among the suburban streets and avenues. the Borough owns and maintains over one hundred parks and open spaces, large and small; and there is still a part of the Erith Marshes
Erith Marshes
Erith Marshes is an area of grazing marsh beside the south bank of River Thames in London, England.It is located next to the Crossness Sewage Treatment Works and is owned by Thames Water. It is a site of metropolitan importance and situated at grid reference TQ483801, in the London Borough of Bexley...

 bordering the River Thames. The Crayford Marshes lie to the east of that river, as do Foots Cray Meadows further south.

The largest of the open spaces are Lesnes Abbey Woods
Lesnes Abbey
Lesnes Abbey is a former abbey, now ruined, in Abbey Wood, in the London Borough of Bexley. It is a scheduled ancient monument and the adjacent park and heath are a Site of Special Scientific Interest...

, Danson Park
Danson Park
Danson Park is the name of a park located between Welling and Bexleyheath in the London Borough of Bexley, and the name of the electoral ward that covers the park and the surrounding area....

 and Hall Place
Hall Place
Hall Place is a former stately home, today a Grade I listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument, beside the River Cray on the outskirts of Crayford, west of Bexleyheath and north-east of Old Bexley...

 Gardens. There are also many golf courses and sports fields, particularly to the west of Crayford.

Demographics

In 1801, the civil parishes that form the modern borough had a total population of 4,165. This rose slowly throughout the 19th century, as the district became built up; reaching 10,963 in the middle of the century. When the railways arrived the rate of population growth
Population growth
Population growth is the change in a population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals of any species in a population using "per unit time" for measurement....

 increased. The population peaked in the 1970s, when industry began to relocate from London.

In the 2001 Census
United Kingdom Census 2001
A nationwide census, known as Census 2001, was conducted in the United Kingdom on Sunday, 29 April 2001. This was the 20th UK Census and recorded a resident population of 58,789,194....

, the borough has a population of 218,307 – of whom 105,148 were male, and 113,159 female. Of the population, 44.25% were in full-time employment and 11.63% in part-time employment – compared to a London average of 42.64% and 8.62%, respectively. Residents were predominantly owner-occupiers, with 31.71% owning their house outright, and a further 46.53% owning with a mortgage. Only 2.18% were in local authority housing
Public housing
Public housing is a form of housing tenure in which the property is owned by a government authority, which may be central or local. Social housing is an umbrella term referring to rental housing which may be owned and managed by the state, by non-profit organizations, or by a combination of the...

, with a further 11.45% renting from a housing association
Housing association
Housing associations in the United Kingdom are independent not-for-profit bodies that provide low-cost "social housing" for people in housing need. Any trading surplus is used to maintain existing homes and to help finance new ones...

, or other registered social landlord.

Transport

There are three suburban railway lines crossing the Borough, all destined to come together at Dartford
Dartford railway station
Dartford railway station serves the town of Dartford in Kent, England. All train services from the station are operated by Southeastern, which also manages the station...

. The most northerly is the North Kent Line
North Kent Line
The North Kent Line is a railway line which connects central and south east London with Dartford and Medway.-Construction:The North Kent Line was the means by which the South Eastern Railway were able to connect its system to London at London Bridge...

: stations from west to east within the Borough are at Belvedere
Belvedere railway station
Belvedere railway station is a railway station in South East London between Abbey Wood and Erith. It is served by Southeastern. A level crossing beyond the platforms' western limits was closed prior to the westerly extension of platforms circa 1994 and the ticket office and passenger shelters were...

, Erith
Erith railway station
Erith station serves Erith in the London Borough of Bexley, southeast London.The station stands between Belvedere and Slade Green on the North Kent line...

 and Slade Green
Slade Green railway station
Slade Green railway station is in the London Borough of Bexley, southeast London, on the North Kent Line. The station, and all trains serving it, is operated by Southeastern.- Services :The typical off-peak service from the station is:...

. The Bexleyheath Line
Bexleyheath Line
The Bexleyheath Line runs for 8 miles from Blackheath to Dartford in Kent operating between the North Kent Line just to the east of Blackheath station and to the same line south of Slade Green in Dartford.-History:...

 has stations at Falconwood
Falconwood railway station
Falconwood railway station is situated in the suburb of Falconwood, London Borough of Bexley, and is served by the Bexleyheath Line: it is about 10 miles from Central London. The station was opened much later than the remainder of the line, on 1 January 1936, to serve a growing area...

, (of which is the nearest to central London
Central London
Central London is the innermost part of London, England. There is no official or commonly accepted definition of its area, but its characteristics are understood to include a high density built environment, high land values, an elevated daytime population and a concentration of regionally,...

) Welling
Welling railway station
Welling railway station is situated in Welling, part of the London Borough of Bexley, and is served by the Bexleyheath Line, 11.4 miles from Central London....

, Bexleyheath
Bexleyheath railway station
Bexleyheath railway station is in the London Borough of Bexley in south east London, and is in Travelcard Zone 5. The station, and all trains serving it, is operated by Southeastern...

 and Barnehurst
Barnehurst railway station
Barnehurst railway station serves Barnehurst, London Borough of Bexley: it is 13.9 miles from Central London on the Bexleyheath Line...

; whilst the most southerly of the three lines, the Dartford Loop Line
Dartford Loop Line
The Dartford Loop Line is one of three lines linking London with Dartford in Kent, England. It lies to the south of the other two: the North Kent Line and the Bexleyheath Line.-Construction:...

, serves Sidcup
Sidcup railway station
Sidcup railway station is a railway station located in Sidcup in the London Borough of Bexley in south-east London. It is in Travelcard Zone 5.-Services:These are operated by Southeastern, who also manage the station.* 2tph to * 2tph to...

, Albany Park
Albany Park railway station
Albany Park railway station is in the London Borough of Bexley in south-east London . The station and all trains serving it are operated by Southeastern....

, Bexley
Bexley railway station
Bexley railway station is in the London Borough of Bexley in south-east London, in Travelcard Zone 6. The station, and all trains serving it, is operated by Southeastern....

 and Crayford
Crayford railway station
Crayford railway station is in the London Borough of Bexley in south-east London, in Travelcard Zone 6. The station and all trains serving it are operated by Southeastern....

. In common with many other boroughs south of the Thames, Bexley has no London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

 lines or any other London based transport methods like London Tramlink
London Tramlink
London Tramlink is an arm of Transport for London, which manages the second generation of tram services within London, UK. Current and planned tram systems are:*Tramlink operates a three-route system in the area of South London around Croydon...

, the Docklands Light Railway
Docklands Light Railway
The Docklands Light Railway is an automated light metro or light rail system opened on 31 August 1987 to serve the redeveloped Docklands area of London...

 or London Overground
London Overground
London Overground is a suburban rail network in London and Hertfordshire. It has been operated by London Overground Rail Operations since 2007 as part of the National Rail network, under the franchise control and branding of Transport for London...

. However the upcoming Crossrail
Crossrail
Crossrail is a project to build a major new railway link under central London. The name refers to the first of two routes which are the responsibility of Crossrail Ltd. It is based on an entirely new east-west tunnel with a central section from to Liverpool Street station...

 services may serve the borough on the North Kent Line, if a planned extension will take place from Abbey Wood
Abbey Wood railway station
Abbey Wood railway station serves the suburb of Abbey Wood in South East London. It is served by Southeastern, and is between and stations on the North Kent Line....

. This plan is still in the proposal stage as of 2010.

The principal roads through the Borough include the A2 trunk road
A2 road (Great Britain)
The A2 is a major road in southern England, connecting London with the English Channel port of Dover in Kent. This route has always been of importance as a connection between the British capital of London and sea trade routes to Continental Europe...

; the A20 (Sidcup By-Pass) which generally marks its southern boundary; the A207, which is the route of the erstwhile Watling Street
Watling Street
Watling Street is the name given to an ancient trackway in England and Wales that was first used by the Britons mainly between the modern cities of Canterbury and St Albans. The Romans later paved the route, part of which is identified on the Antonine Itinerary as Iter III: "Item a Londinio ad...

; the A206
A206 road
The A206 road links Greenwich with Greenhithe following the line of the River Thames. Today it is approximately 15 miles in length, although the final section is a relatively new road. Its primary purpose is to link into the London Orbital motorway at the Dartford Crossing and is heavily used by...

 which takes traffic from Woolwich
Woolwich
Woolwich is a district in south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.Woolwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created...

 and Dartford; and the latter's newer counterpart, the A2016 through Thamesmead
Thamesmead
Thamesmead is a district of south-east London, England, located in the London Boroughs of Greenwich and Bexley. It is situated east of Charing Cross....

.

There are also some Long-distance footpaths in the Borough: among them the Thames Path
Thames Path
The Thames Path is a National Trail, opened in 1996, following the length of the River Thames from its source near Kemble in Gloucestershire to the Thames Barrier at Charlton. It is about long....

 and the London Outer Orbital Path
London Outer Orbital Path
The London Outer Orbital Path — more usually the "London LOOP" — is a signed walk along public footpaths, and through parks, woods and fields around the edge of Outer London, England, described as "the M25 for walkers"...

. Bexley Borough has joined with three other adjoining boroughs to for the South East London Green Chain
South East London Green Chain
The South East London Green Chain, also known as the Green Chain Walk is a linked system of open spaces between the River Thames and Crystal Palace Park in London, England. In 1977 four London Boroughs and the Greater London Council created this Green Chain of 300 open spaces to protect them from...

 linking green spaces.

Local politics

The Conservatives held 52 council seats, down 2 and Labour held 11 council seats, up 2. The Lib’ Dem’s saw their percentage of the vote go up by 2% in 2010, but still failed to get any councillors elected in 2006 and 2010.

Religion

The greater part of the population are nominal Anglicans, but a number of Roman Catholic churches and non-conformist congregations exist. In the 2001 Census, 22.7% of the area's population described themselves as non-religious
Irreligion
Irreligion is defined as an absence of religion or an indifference towards religion. Sometimes it may also be defined more narrowly as hostility towards religion. When characterized as hostility to religion, it includes antitheism, anticlericalism and antireligion. When characterized as...

 or chose not to state their faith.

Baptists, Plymouth Brethren
Plymouth Brethren
The Plymouth Brethren is a conservative, Evangelical Christian movement, whose history can be traced to Dublin, Ireland, in the late 1820s. Although the group is notable for not taking any official "church name" to itself, and not having an official clergy or liturgy, the title "The Brethren," is...

, Methodist. In 2008 the former Crayford Methodist Church was purchased by the North West Kent Muslim Association to become a mosque serving Bexley and Dartford boroughs. There are no Jewish congregations.

A small selection of churches is given here:
  • St. Paulinus, Crayford. Parts of this church date back to the 12th century with additions made in the later medieval period.
  • St. John the Baptist, Erith. A Norman church dating from the 12th century. The Wheatley Chapel was the burial place of successive Lords of the Manor.
  • St. Mary the Virgin, Bexley. The building dates from the 12th century, but much was restored in the 19th century.
  • All Saints, Foots Cray. An ancient church, heavily restored
    Victorian restoration
    Victorian restoration is the term commonly used to refer to the widespread and extensive refurbishment and rebuilding of Church of England churches and cathedrals that took place in England and Wales during the 19th-century reign of Queen Victoria...

     in the 1860s.
  • St. James, North Cray. An old church but rebuilt in the 19th century.
  • Greek Orthodox Church, Welling. Probably of 13th century origin (formerly the parish church of St Michael).
  • Christ Church, Erith. 19th century building. Grade II listed interior.
  • Bethany Hall, Chapel Road, Bexleyheath, now a meeting house of the Plymouth Brethren
    Plymouth Brethren
    The Plymouth Brethren is a conservative, Evangelical Christian movement, whose history can be traced to Dublin, Ireland, in the late 1820s. Although the group is notable for not taking any official "church name" to itself, and not having an official clergy or liturgy, the title "The Brethren," is...

     though originally a Methodist chapel.

Public services

The London Borough of Bexley has three fire stations controlled by the London Fire Brigade
London Fire Brigade
The London Fire Brigade is the statutory fire and rescue service for London.Founded in 1865, it is the largest of the fire services in the United Kingdom and the fourth-largest in the world with nearly 7,000 staff, including 5,800 operational firefighters based in 112 fire...

within its boundary; those at Erith, Sidcup and Bexley. Bexley fire station's station ground is the largest of the three; covering 23.7 kmsq. One pumping appliance, a fire rescue unit and an incident response unit reside there. Although it does not have the largest station ground, Erith was the busiest station in 2006/2007, responding to 1,314 incidents - two pumping appliances are based there. The third station, Sidcup, attended the least incidents in the same time period - 785. One pumping appliance is situated there. The three fire stations attended 3,095 incidents in the 2006/2007 period.
It is the only London borough with a 'below average' crime rate.
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