History of the Coney Hall estate

Morrells were the builders of the Coney Hall Estate. To view their original Brochure see below

Morrels Brochure Page 1

Morrells Brochure Page 2

Morrells Brochure Page 3

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Morrells Brochure Page 6

Birth of the CHVRA : Associations History

Coney Hall Farm was first mentioned in the 17th century when its lease stated that the tenant had the sole right to catch coneys (rabbits) on nearby Jackson’s Heath.

“Perhaps in time, there will arise a new hamlet under the name of Coney Hill’

Beckenham Journal 1929

Following the death of Lord of the manor Sir Henry Lennard in 1928, much of his Wickham Court estate was sold to Morrell’s builders, which were also building on the western side of Petts Wood. This enabled the southern part of Wickham to be developed

Construction work on the Coney Halls estate’s 1,000 homes began in 1933, however, there were no shops until 1936 when the Kingsway Parade was built on the south side of Croydon Road. Many of the houses were in a standard style, with polygonal bay windows and half-timbered gables, and were priced more affordably than elsewhere in West Wickham.

Morrells’ cheapest houses were priced at £479 and were obtained on payment of £1 deposit, whilst Wickham’s cheapest house required a £44 deposit. Interestingly in August 1937 a local paper the Beckenham Times carefully stated, “Coney Hall folk were different from Wickham folk.  Black–coated workers largely and on the other, more of the artisan class.

Unfortunately, as a result of Sir Henry’s former opposition to the construction of roads across his land, the estate was initially difficult to reach and London Transport refused to provide a bus service on the hilly and narrow lanes. Morrells responded by laying on a free coach connection with the nearest station at Hayes using the facility as a selling point but the service was withdrawn when the estate was completed.

The West Wickham Residents Association was started in 1929 with The Coney Hall and District Residents Association’s formation in 1934 any thought of amalgamation disappeared when the latter became involved in controversial matters!

In April 1938 it achieved national newspaper coverage when under the Chairmanship of Mr James Borders it organized a mortgage strike supported by nearly 400 residents on the estate. But the leading light behind the non-payments was to become his wife Mrs Elsy Borders, both lived at 81 Kingsway. A member of the Communist Party and secretary for a time to the CHDRA she was taken to court by the Bradford 3rd Equitable Building Society for three months arrears of mortgage repayment, they counter-claimed that the house was defected and not up to the standard claimed in the builder’s brochure (a copy of which is held in the WWSRA archives). Morrells had since gone into liquidation so there was no possibility of redress from them.

The Coney Hall and District Residents Association (CHDRA) set up a separate organization the Federation of Tenants and Residents Association in March 1938, it had a hand in various mortgage and rent strikes, which were going on all over the country.

It was a very unhappy episode causing much distress, confusion, and division among the residents with strikers arranging to picket the estate following attempted evictions.

After lengthy legal proceedings in February 1940 Mrs Borders won her case but after subsequent appealing to the House of Lords by the building society in May 1941 judgment was given in favour of them . The case influenced the framing of the Building Societies Act in 1939, which strengthened the rights of mortgagors.

It was during this time the first resident’s newsletter was issued going under the title CANDRA, the editor explained how the name was arrived at in Editorial comments “ the name CANDRA was eventually chosen as a cross between Candid and Candy, the first implying Bitter and the latter Sweet it also happens to be the initials of your Association”.

Of course, any apparent differences in the status of the residents of Coney Hall and those above the hill in the north of West Wickham are long gone! From 1956 Glebe Way linked Coney Hall with West Wickham’s High Street, at last overcoming the problems of access.

However, there is still a difference between the two in that Coney Hall is a distinctly separate part of West Wickham dictated by geographical factors and having its own shopping center. CHRA was renamed West Wickham South Residents Association in the late 70s and in 1984 celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2013 when Coney Hall was awarded Village Status.

John Stone Chairman 2013.


West Wickham Past and Present by Patrica Knowlden & Joyce Walker