Article 2 - Arterial Roads, Industry and Commerce After   the   demise   of   the   market   garden   town   and   the   soft   fruit   production,   a   serious   opportunity   to   put   Orpington   on   the   map   as   an   up- to-speed leading edge area of light industrial production was proposed. Similar   to   the   arrival   of   the   railway   (as   mentioned   in   my   previous   issue)   the   advent   of   the   motor   car   and   a   general   attitude   to   expand the   boundaries   of   London   preceded   the   inevitable   creation   of   a   well   planned   road   network.   Driven   by   central   government   there   wasn’t much   choice   for   the   ‘Village’.   Change   came   and   now   few   would   look   back   and   complain.   The   companies   that   dominated   Sevenoaks Way   from   the   1930s   up   to   the   1980s   employed   thousands   of   people   from   the   nearby   housing   estates   and   Orpington   in   general.   Some of   the   commerce   is   still   present   but   not   as   dominant   as   it   was   when   house   hold   brand   names   were   being   manufactured   in   the   Cray Valley. In   the   1920’s   Orpington   was   expanding. The   whole   of   London   was   expanding. The   suburbs   were   increasing   and   a   strategy   for   a   road network   to   cope   with   the   technological   advances   in   auto-mobiles   was   top   of   the   development   and   planning   agenda.   As   part   of   this strategy   a   main   arterial   road   was   planned   to   run   from   Foots   Cray   through   the   Cray   Valley   and   past   Orpington   to   Pole   Hill   to   connect up   with   the   A21   road   and   on   to   Sevenoaks.   In   1924   work   started   on   what   we   call   the   Orpington   Bypass.   Remember   Orpington   was relatively   undeveloped   and   all   the   housing   either   side   off   the   road   from   Goddington   Park   to   Crittall’s   Corner   is   all   post   1926.   The   men building the road would have literally been in the middle of nowhere! Light   commerce   and   housing   appeared   all   along   the   road   but   in   1938   the   Barlow   Commission   was   set   up   to   site   manufacturing industries along arterial roads in Greater London. This was the first significant step in 'Cray Avenue's commercial development. Here is a very high level account of the most significant companies to be present in the Cray Valley. Joynson’s   Mill    –   Would   have   been   visible   from   miles   around.   A   huge   chimney   would   be   seen   from   the   northern   end   of   Orpington High   St.   The   mill   was   first   recorded   in   1817   it   was   a   well   established   printing   mill   printing   stamps   and   banknotes   for   the   government. In 1967 it closed and made way for further industrial estate development along Sevenoaks Way. Coates    -   Still   present   today   as   part   of   the   Sun   Chemical   Corporation,   Coates   Inks   are   a   printing   manufacturer   that   has   had   a   site   on Sevenoaks   Way   since   the   1930’s.   The   current   ‘campus’   is   one   of   the   biggest   in   the   Cray   Valley.   Coates   boasts   a   truly   world   wide presence.   They   are   experts   in   ink   colours,   commercial   ink   production,   screen   printing   and   as   a   supplier   to   a   number   of   household name printer manufacturers. Tip   Top    –   Allied   Bakeries   needed   a   new   location   for   a   huge   bread   manufacturing   plant.   As   part   of   the   drive   to   establish   large organisations   along   Sevenoaks   Way,   they   built   a   huge   ‘Art   Deco’   building. The Tip Top   bakery   was   one   of   the   UK’s   biggest   producers of   bread.   It   still   is   today.   Sunblest   sliced   bread   was   first   produced   in   Orpington.   “The   best   thing   since   sliced   bread”   came   from Orpington!   Today Allied   Bakeries   is   a   huge   company   and   Tip   Top   still   produces   the   majority   of   bread   for   the   supermarkets   and   shops of Southern England! Pinnacle   Records    –   Had   a   huge   production   factory   on   Sevenoaks   Way   where   the   current   JD   Sports   is.   In   the   1960’s   and   1970’s they   were   a   massive   producer   of   vinyl   for   a   number   of   the   biggest   music   distributors.   It   became   a   record   label   in   its   own   right   but could not sustain output and in the late 1980’sized down and relocated to Swanley. Oertling   Ltd    –   In   1956   Oertling   established   a   huge   operation   on   Sevenoaks   Way   alongside   the   railway.   Oertling   were   considered   to provide   the   most   accurate   measuring   apparatus   in   the   world.   The   company   was   purchased   by   Avery   in   1925   but   kept   the   Oertling brand.   They   subsequently   became   Avery   Berkel   which   established   the   standard   weighing   apparatus   in   the   vast   majority   of   UK   retail shops. Unfortunately they closed down the operations in the mid 1990s and relocated to the midlands. Morphy   Richards    The   most   famous.   Mr   Morphy   and   Mr   Richards   started   manufacturing   gramophone   stylus’s   and   electric   bar   fires in   1936;   they   soon   started   mass   production   of   a   number   of   household   electrical   appliances,   most   famously   electrical   irons   and   bed blankets.   They   built   a   huge   factory   where   the   Nugent   Shopping   Centre   is   currently.   They   employed   1000s   of   people   from   the   local area.   By   1964   they   were   producing   1000   electric   irons   in   an   hour!   In   the   same   year   they   had   produced   their   20   millionth!   Expansion was   needed   and   for   a   while   production   of   small   electric   appliances   was   carried   out   in   St   Mary   Cray   and   larger   appliances   like   fridges and   washing   machines   were   carried   out   at   Dundee. A   new   plant   was   created   in   Swinton   as   by   the   late   1960s   export   to   the   world   was at   an   all   time   high.   In   1970   the   St   Mary   Cray   plant   was   closed   for   good   and   was   demolished   to   make   way   for   a   commercial   trading estate.
Figure   1.   The   men   and   machines   creating   the   A224   Orpington ‘bypass’.
Figure 2. The Joynson Mill.
Figure   3 An   advertisement   showing   the   works   carried   out   as   part of the Orpington By Pass.
Figure   4 A   hair   dryer   from   1953,   Iron   and   shaver   from   the   same period. Both manufactured at St Mary Cray in their 1000’s!