Inventory Site Record

Cator Park (Bromley)

Brief Description

Cator Park was once part of the extensive Cator Estate, owned by the Cator family from the late C18th. The area that became the public park was laid out as private pleasure grounds principally for the private use of residents on the Cator estate who paid an annual subscription fee. For this reason it was already well matured as a park when the local council purchased the land in 1931.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Cator Estate; Kent House Pleasure Gardens
Site location:
Kings Hall Road/Aldersmead Road,/Lennard Road, Beckenham
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Children’s playground, sports fields
Public transport:
Rail: Kent House; New Beckenham. Bus: 194, 227, 351, 358
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.bromley.gov.uk; www.friendsofcatorandalexandra.com

Full Site Description

The Cator family were major landowners in Beckenham and also Blackheath from the late C18th. John Cator (1723-1806), a wealthy timber merchant, had become Lord of Beckenham Manor in 1773, where he built Beckenham Place (q.v.). In 1783 he purchased Blackheath Park and began speculative development of the land with smart villas aimed at the wealthy and professional classes, some of which survive set in their large gardens. Wide tree lined avenues were characteristic of Cator's road layout of 1806, and the development of the Cator Estate continued gradually until the 1930s. On payment of an annual subscription, residents on the estate were provided with private recreational facilities at Kent House Pleasure Gardens, which were laid out between 1885 and 1889 with facilities for football, tennis and bowling. In 1931 the local council purchased the pleasure gardens and Cator Park was formally opened to the public in April 1932 by Lawrence Chubb.

Cator Park today consists of a large area of mown grass relieved by shrub beds, clumps of Corsican pine, and park trees. Other park trees are planted singly with recent new plantings to the north. Curving tarmac paths cross the site and lead to the grassed children’s play area on the west side of the park. The River Pool, canalised in concrete, runs north/south through the centre of the park, bounded by iron railings. Cycle route 21 runs through the site as does the Green Chain walk. The park, with two football pitches, was once an important venue as the home ground for local football teams including Beckenham United, which formed in 1974 and was once successful in the Metropolitan Sunday League. The nursery later occupied the former football changing rooms. The Friends of Cator Park and Alexandra Recreation Ground were established in 2008 to encourage better care of both parks, and organise a variety of activities.

Cator Park is now managed by idverde UK, which in June 2015 was contracted by Bromley Council for the management of the borough's parks, green spaces and countryside service, a relationship that was extended in April 2019 for a further 16 years. 

Sources consulted:

Andrew Crowe, 'The Parks and Woodlands of London' (Fourth Estate, 1987) p294; An A to Z of Bromley's Parks, Local Open Space & Woodland, LB Bromley, 2007?

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ363700 (536392,170168)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Bromley
Site management:
idverde; Friends of Cator Park and Alexandra Recreation Ground. River Pool is the responsibility of the Environment Agency.
C18th; 1930s
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
(part of park in extension to Aldermead Road CA)
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Local Open Space, Neighbourhood Playground

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.