Sort file:- Bromley, June, 2022.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 22 June, 2022.


29 May 1930

Downham Tavern

Open 2018+

419 Downham Way


Downham Tavern 2013

Above photo, 2013.

Downham Tavern sign 1991Downham Tavern sign 2000

Above sign left June 1991, sigh right 2000.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


Until the 1920's, there were no houses in Downham. The area was farmland, much of it belonging to Holloway and Shroffolds Farms. In the 1890s there was a rifle range near Rangefield Road.

In 1920-1923 the London County Council bought the farmland in order to build a new housing estate there. It was named Downham after the Chairman of the London County Council, Lord Downham – the name was very appropriate because Downham means ‘the village on the hill.

Many of the people who moved into the new estate were from the East End of London where the slums were being cleared away.

The pub was opened on 29th May 1930, and is now (2016) the only pub on an estate with a population of around 29,000 - apparently this was deliberate as LBC (London Borough Council) didn't want the predominantly semi skilled workers from spending too much time in a pub!!

It was, however, the world’s largest pub at that time – the "Downham Tavern" boasted a dance hall, beer garden, two saloon bars, a public lounge and ‘lunchroom’. The two Bars each 45ft in length able to accept 1000 customers at one time!!!

It is rumoured that it had to be camouflaged during WW2 to stop the Luftwaffe using it as a landmark and also is the pub were Glenda Jackson's son was attacked and lost his eye.

The brewers were Barclay Perkins and co. Its bar has been quoted in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest bar - before the pub was renovated and the Co-op built a store on half the grounds with a car park and a much smaller pub was created.

According to the Guinness Book of Records The Downham Tavern, which stood on Downham Way, was the largest public house in England. The Tavern was built in 1920 and was licensed for 1200 people. Above the public house were 34 bedrooms. There was also a huge hall adjacent to the pub. Lewisham Council owned the building.

Throughout the 1990’s the Tavern suffered lack of investment and was in need of refurbishment. Lewisham Council sold the site to the Courage Brewery and they sold the site to the CO-OP organisation. The CO-OP demolished the Tavern and in its place built a CO-OP supermarket together with a relatively small public house in front of the CO-OP. The new pub is licensed for 280 people.

The new Tavern opened for business on 1st September 1997.


From the 21 July 2010.

Man killed during stab attack outside pub.

Tributes have been paid to a 54-year-old man who was stabbed to death after a pub fight that left another fighting for his life in hospital.

Friends at the scene say that "protective" Lenny Kempley was killed outside the "Downham Tavern," in Downham Way, on Saturday night.

Police were called at about 11:50pm and Mr Kempley was rushed to hospital in south London but was declared dead just under an hour later.

Police formally named Lenny Kempley yesterday afternoon. A post-mortem carried out at Greenwich Mortuary declared he had died from a stab wound to the heart.

A 22-year old man, known locally as Ross, was in a serious but stable condition in a different South London hospital after being stabbed in the same incident.

A friend of Mr Kempley, who did not want to be named, said: "He was my best pal and he was very well known around here.

"He would have helped anyone who was in trouble."

Friends and family have left floral tributes at the scene. One tribute read: "My heart is broken. My life will never be the same without you. Wait for me and I will be with you soon. Love you always from your loving wife."

Yas Gumuso, who works in Milano Kebab said he saw a disturbance outside the restaurant window.

"I saw a guy fall down with blood on his face. One of our customers went out to help him but I didn't know it was serious until the police arrived.

"At first I thought he had been beaten up, then I saw the blood all over his face."

In a statement from the Metropolitan police, DCI Damian Allain appealed to anyone who saw the fight to come forward, saying: "I believe the murder is linked to an altercation at the "Downham Tavern" pub in Downham earlier on Saturday night.

"I need to hear from anyone who witnessed the altercation at the pub or the subsequent stabbings in Downham Way."

Others at the scene on Monday said violent clashes had become more and more frequent in the area in recent years.

One neighbour, who did not want to be named said: "We have seen more and more problems."

Another, who lived opposite the "Downham Tavern" said: "Five years ago we had no problems around here, but the neighbourhood has got worse and worse."

One man was arrested yesterday in connection with the stabbings and was still in custody at a South London police station as the Times went to press.

Two other men and a woman were arrested in connection with the incident and have been bailed to return in August.

Anyone with information that could help police should call the incident room on 020 8721 4805 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


From the 6 December 2010.

Man jailed for killing ex-robber who had stabbed him.

A 27-year-old man has been jailed after admitting killing a former armed robber who had attacked him with a knife.

Ross Flynn, of Bromley, south-east London, got into a row with Lenny Kempley - once jailed for shooting at police - at the "Downham Tavern" in July.

The Old Bailey heard Kempley collected two knives before stabbing Flynn twice.

Flynn then stabbed Kempley 12 times. He was jailed for seven years for manslaughter on grounds of provocation and excessive force in self defence.

Kempley, 54, feared losing face after getting into an argument with Flynn and a group of his friends, the court heard.

Kempley, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 1995 for shooting at police after a supermarket robbery, drove his girlfriend home and armed himself before returning to the pub.

Flynn had left, but Kempley told the landlord he was going to kill the men, their families and their children.

He then drove after Flynn, caught up with him and stabbed him.

Kebab shop visit.

But the younger man, who has previous violence convictions, then overpowered his attacker, leaving him bleeding profusely.

Kempley's next move was to drive to a kebab shop, where he collapsed and died soon afterwards.

Judge Christopher Moss told Flynn: "You accept that you lost your self control."

Kempley had a string of previous convictions dating back to 1973.

The Metropolitan Police has not released a picture of Flynn.


The pub closed in March 2013 following to a police raid and arrests of 20 people for drug related charges. However, I am informed that it opened again in January 2016.


From the by Joshua Barrie, 30 May 2014.

Downham Estate pub closed for 18 months set to reopen in time for World Cup.

A Bromley estate’s only pub that has been closed for 18 months is set to reopen in time for the World Cup.

The "Downham Tavern" shut down last year following police raids in which 20 people were arrested for offences involving drugs and firearm possession.

Now new manager Julia Edwards, 50, is moving in after local lads Tommy Noone, 66, and his sons bought the lease on a non-tied tenancy.

Ms Edwards said she and the team want to give something back to Downham and hopes to dispel the pub’s bad public image.

She explained: "We want people to know that it’s going to be a nice community pub, somewhere where people can come in and have a drink and some food.

"It’s going to be a totally rebranded - we want to take it forward.

"It’s going to be really nice and I can’t wait until we’re up and running. We hope to be open in time for the World Cup, but it’s dependant on a few things."

The establishment, owned by Enterprise Inns, had its licence suspended and previous landlord removed in March 2013, with police at the time describing an unacceptable level of criminality.

But Ms Edwards stressed "big changes" were coming into force, mentioning that the newly refurbished premises will be no place for "naughtiness".

She also noted The "Downham Tavern" is the only pub in an estate with a population of nearly 30,000.

Having worked in the industry since 17 the new landlady has high hopes for the enterprise and added: "We’re having major work - everything’s being done.

"We’re having it painted, outdoor paving is being put in, and there’s a florist doing outdoor plants.

"It was a really rough old place. We’re going to be doing things differently - that’s what we’re trying to portray. We’re not going to accept any bad behaviour.

"There are 29,000 people on this estate and they’ve got nowhere to drink."

A 'soft opening' is planned for the "Downham Tavern" on Saturday June 7.



COX Edward pre 1960s

EDWARDS Julia June 2014+


If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-