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History of Crayford

  • council: Bexley
  • phone code: 01322
  • postcode area: DA1
  • county: Greater London

Crayford lies on the original Roman Road between the A2016/A206 (M25 Junction 1A) and the modern A2 and is an industrial and retail centre with a long and successful manufacturing history.

A water-powered iron mill was noted here in the Sixteenth Century. By the late Eighteenth Century this had become a saw mill and calico printing had become established nearby. The Maxim gun, Gunbus fighter and Vimy bomber were all famous military products of Crayford factories before 1919. Weapons were also produced during World War II and for use in the Korean War of 1950. Many of the semi-detached houses to the northeast of the town centre were originally built for Vickersí workforce.

The town centre has never been large, but it accommodates an array of different trades, the Methodist church, several social clubs and a busy pub where live music can still be enjoyed. On a ridge above the town centre, the tower of the well-proportioned Twelfth Century stone church of St. Paulinus was one of several floodlit to mark the beginning of the new Millennium. In the valley floor, one of Londonís more attractive retail parks can be found, near a drive-thruí restaurant, traditional library and main-line station. Direct trains to Greenwich, Lewisham, Gravesend and Charing Cross may be caught here, run by South Eastern Trains.

Several bus routes link the town to Dartford and Bluewater beyond the Greater London boundary until late in the evening. For evening entertainment the Orchard Theatre, the Geoffrey Whitworth Theatre, Gala Bingo Club and the Mick Jagger Centre are all a short bus or car ride away. To see stars of a different sort, go to the amateur observatory built by astronomers next to Crayford Manor House. A greyhound racing track and indoor sports centre are situated next to the modern and easily-accessible foodstore just south of the town centre.

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