Etymology[change | change source]
The name "Chislehurst" is derived from the Saxon words "cisel" meaning gravel and "hyrst" meaning wooded hill.
History[change | change source]
Camden Place (now Chislehurst Golf Club) is where the French Emperor Napoleon III died in exile in 1873. His body and that of the Prince Imperial were originally buried in St Mary's Church, before being moved to Farnborough Abbey. There is a monument to Napoléon Eugène in the woods, and the area's connections to the imperial family are found in many road names and in the local telephone code, 467, which in its earlier format corresponded to the letters IMP (imperial).
A local attraction is Chislehurst Caves. The caves are considered to be of very ancient origin. Originally they were used to extract flint and chalk. During World War II, thousands of people used them every night as a bomb shelter. There is even a chapel. A girl was born in the caves during World War II, and her name was "Cavina". The caves have also been used as a stage for live music; Jimi Hendrix, The Who and The Rolling Stones have played there. The caves are said to be haunted, and Druids are said to have made grisly human sacrifices in their depths. Several TV programmes and movies have been filmed there, including episodes of Doctor Who. Tours are available most days, and on Sundays there is an particularly long tour, lasting about an hour and a half.
The civil parish of Chislehurst formed an urban district of Kent from 1894 to 1934. In 1934 it became part of the Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban District, which was divided in 1965 between the London boroughs of Bromley and Bexley.