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High Elms

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The prominent signposting suggests a major settlement, but High Elms is not so much a village as a collection of rural amenities set in almost a thousand acres of parks, woods and agricultural land, south of Farnborough. High Elms mansion burned down in 1967, but much of the estate is a nature reserve open to the public and managed by Bromley council. Golf has replaced horse racing as the favoured sport here and there is a nature centre (with limited opening times), an old ice well and an Eton fives court. Although Dutch elm disease and the great storm of 1987 have taken their toll, the park is rich in a variety of trees planted both by the Forestry Commission and the former owners, the Lubbock family. Sir John William Lubbock was a mathematician and astronomer who developed a method for calculating the orbits of comets and planets. His son, Sir John Lubbock, who was made the first Baron Avebury in 1900, was also a scientist – but perhaps his greatest accomplishment was to introduce bank holidays when he was a reforming member of Parliament. A bank holiday was once dubbed ‘St Lubbock’s Day’.

A new environmental education centre opened at High Elms in 2008.

High Elms
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The parkland of High Elms is a glorious, yet underused possession of the borough of Bromley

Postcode area: Orpington, BR6

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

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