History of Bostall

This area takes its name from Bostall Heath. Early forms of the word were spelt Borstalle or Burstalle and derive from the Old English burh (‘fortified place’) or borg (‘surety’) together with stealle (‘site’ or ‘place’).

The manor of Bostall was owned by several noble families – for example, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk in the reign of Henry VIII (1509 – 47).

Bostall Heath was later placed under the control of the Metropolitan Board of Works and designated an open space to save the 155 acres from being developed for housing. As a result the heath remains today as an important open space. The whole area remained primarily rural until the 1930s with only a few houses standing alongside Woolwich Road and West Heath Road.

But the 1930s saw a boom in development and new estates and roads were built in Bostall. The first of the roads to be laid out was Abbotts Walk. A large number of bungalows were built by the firm FR Absalom on the St Hilary estate in the Abbotts Walk/King Harolds Way area and these are unique to the area.

The original inhabitants of Bostall were almost pioneers, as the new houses preceded any amenities such as shops or schools and in most cases preceded the roads themselves. The railway supplied the building material for these projects.

During the Second World War, Erith, including Bostall, suffered greatly from the German bombing. The most destructive incident of the Blitz in Erith occurred on the night of 16/17 April 1941, when a single parachute mine in King Harold’s Way damaged 1072 properties.

All the churches in Bostall are modern. The most prominent is St Andrew’s, which began as a wooden building in 1935 and was replaced by the present church on the same site in 1957. In 1984, St Andrew’s became the parish church of the newly created parish of Bostall Heath.

In 1939 a permanent library service was provided in Bostall after six years of service from the mobile library.

See historic maps of Bostall