16 amazing and totally true* facts about life in Petts Wood

News Shopper: Unless you refer to it as The Sov you're not a proper Petts Woodian Unless you refer to it as The Sov you're not a proper Petts Woodian

TO outsiders Petts Wood probably seems like just another boring suburban area on the outskirts of London.

But anyone who lives or works here knows that life in the town is more exciting and interesting than it might appear.

Here we lift the lid to reveal 16 of Petts Wood’s secrets:

1. It’s not The Sovereign of the Seas, it’s just The Sov. It’s the cheapest pub for miles around although not the liveliest, with the average age of its clientele being 85.

2. The British Legion is the town’s main entertainment venue, where you can catch such rockin’ acts as State of Quo and the Bromley Bastards.

3. Everyone in the town knows exactly where you’re talking about when you mention ‘the bakery’. They do exceptionally good cakes there. Bakery staff vie with Petts Wood Kebab House workers for the title of ‘nicest people in the world’.

4. Petts Wood has the highest concentration of hair and beauty salons and nail bars in the world. Or at least Europe. Renowned stylists come from far and wide to set up shop in the town and be part of ‘the scene’, which has led to the area being dubbed the Flair Mile. 

News Shopper:

Red dots on the map indicate the locations of hair and beauty places found in the very centre of town alone. Anywhere without a red dot is probably a charity shop or coffee house.

5. It may be a small place but Petts Wood is actually a major transport hub. You can literally get anywhere in the country from the train station. You just have to change three times to get wherever you’re going.

News Shopper:

Travel possibilities from Petts Wood are endless. Almost. Pic by aplumb, Flickr

6. News Shopper is the main employer in the town, with a staff of 700. The building where the newspaper is based used to be called Mediocre House but News Shopper’s arrival in 1990 meant the name had to be changed to Mega House.

News Shopper: News Shopper towers in the sun today.

7. The most commonly spotted forms of wildlife in the area are streetwise urban foxes along with loose Morrisons’ trolleys.

8. Famous people with links to Petts Wood include comedian Jack Dee, French president Charles de Gaulle and a bloke who once went on TV to have his cherry professionally popped by a sex coach.

9. When walking down Petts Wood’s bustling high street known as Queensway, named after the Bohemian Rhapsody group, you may be slightly mystified and terrified by an undertaker marketing itself as a ‘family funeral director’. You’ll likely wonder how many families must perish at the same time to sustain a business specialising in family funerals before holding your loved ones a little tighter as you walk by.

10. The most sure-fire way to wind a Petts Woodian up is by sending them a letter with their address written as Orpington rather than Petts Wood.

11. People in Petts Wood all live on one or other side of the railway station. Each side has its own name so you are either Morrisons or Iceland, Sov or Daylight, left or right off the train platform. One side has traditionally been considered the rich side and the other one the common side. The two sides have actually been embroiled in a Cold War for decades which has only been stopped from spilling over into open combat by the fact nobody can remember what started it.

News Shopper:

The side of the station you're from is directly linked to your social standing within Petts Woood. Pic by Kake Pugh, Flickr

12. Petts Wood was built on the land of shipbuilder John Pett. He was the first ever person to get into trouble for being overly affectionate in a swimming pool, which is where ‘no Petting’ signs originally came from.

13. The town itself was actually developed by a man called Basil Scruby. He originally wanted it named Scruby-Doo after himself.

14. William Willett was the man who devised daylight saving after riding his horse in Petts Wood one summer morning and noticing how many blinds were still down. After years of campaigning, the government adopted the system in 1916, a year after Mr Willett's death. He is now commemorated in Petts Wood by a memorial sundial, while The Daylight Inn is named in his honour. He’s also remembered today with Willetts, the chain of camping and outdoor clothing stores which bear his name.

News Shopper:

The road named after William Willett, inventor of daylight saving. Pic by diamond geezer, Flickr

15. The latest visitor attraction in Petts Wood is a new water feature appropriately by the junction of Lakeswood Road and Queensway. Boating passes are available from the nearby petrol station.

16. One of the town's claims to fame is the last ever bag of Woolworths' pic 'n' mix sweets sold came from the Petts Wood store. It was auctioned off for £14,500.

News Shopper: Petts Wood: Woolworths' iconic treats up for sale

*OK, so if we’re splitting hairs and being really pedantic, not all of these things are entirely true

If you know any more key facts about Petts Wood add your comments below. Also if you want to produce a serious and informative list about where you live, or if you want to do something completely different to us and be a bit silly, you can email your ideas.

Comments (5)

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11:59am Wed 12 Feb 14

Gypo.Joe says...

Fond memories of the back row in the Embassy. Dunstonian the old Rootes car dealership and Mr Kemsley Snr.

Enough already of memory lane.
Fond memories of the back row in the Embassy. Dunstonian the old Rootes car dealership and Mr Kemsley Snr. Enough already of memory lane. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: -14

5:56pm Wed 12 Feb 14

madras says...

It's another little known fact that the Newsshopper exists primarily or the amusement of its online readers. Its stories are in fact picked-up from alien radio waves and fed through the inter-web thus ensuring a steady diet of 'news' . The subliminal messages attract travelling aliens who post cleverly-coded message that often appear to humans as inane drivel and rants.

But we know different!!!
It's another little known fact that the Newsshopper exists primarily or the amusement of its online readers. Its stories are in fact picked-up from alien radio waves and fed through the inter-web thus ensuring a steady diet of 'news' . The subliminal messages attract travelling aliens who post cleverly-coded message that often appear to humans as inane drivel and rants. But we know different!!! madras
  • Score: 10

2:14am Fri 14 Feb 14

ISaidThis says...

Wow! I did not know that about William Willett.
Wow! I did not know that about William Willett. ISaidThis
  • Score: 0

9:30pm Mon 17 Feb 14

goldenbroomboy says...

When I was a kid Petts Wood was known as the "Half Crown" town. Half a Crown was a coin worth two shillings & sixpence, the florin coin (two shillings) was four times larger than the sixpenny piece, a reference to the fact that houses on one side of the town were very much larger than those on the other side.

When I was a teenager Petts Wood Residents Association successfully ran three candidates against the Tories in the Borough Elections. As a result, the place had for a short time the rather more exciting nickname "Peoples Republic of Petts Wood".
When I was a kid Petts Wood was known as the "Half Crown" town. Half a Crown was a coin worth two shillings & sixpence, the florin coin (two shillings) was four times larger than the sixpenny piece, a reference to the fact that houses on one side of the town were very much larger than those on the other side. When I was a teenager Petts Wood Residents Association successfully ran three candidates against the Tories in the Borough Elections. As a result, the place had for a short time the rather more exciting nickname "Peoples Republic of Petts Wood". goldenbroomboy
  • Score: 1

2:02pm Wed 19 Feb 14

Burntout says...

Brilliant!
Brilliant! Burntout
  • Score: 0

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