Bexley Historical Society has received funding for a year-long project about the Broadway and is encouraging people to take part.

Reporter KELLY SMALE looks into the history of the Bexleyheath Clock Tower.

AFTER nearly a year of planning the foundation stone for the Clock Tower, in Market Place, was laid on January 8 1911.

It was officially unveiled on July 17 1912 to commemorate the Coronation of King George V the previous year.

Businesses and shops decorated their premises with bunting and ‘God Save the King’ banners were hung outside buildings.

News Shopper: Clock Tower in 1912 The ceremony began at 12.30pm when members of the council, religious bodies and the Fire Brigade met at the council offices and marched to the Clock Tower.

They were met by Boy Scouts, Boy’s Brigade, school children and the wives of the councillors and other guests.

The Clock Tower was designed by architect Walter Epps, costing around £590, and was intended to stand "as a memorial to the enterprise and loyalty of the inhabitants of Bexleyheath" and it was thought the landmark "would be the beginnings of better things to come in Bexleyheath".

At the opening ceremony a bust of King George V was unveiled in the west alcove.

Mr Epps ended his speech with: "I hope to see all the niches filled with busts of members of the Royal Family".

During the 1930s the bust of King George disintegrated and then completely fell apart during cleaning after World War Two.

It was recast by Bexleyheath resident, John Ravera, and a President of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, and re-installed in its niche.

On January 18 1997 a bust of William Morris, who lived at Red House, was unveiled in the east alcove to commemorate the centenary of his death in 1896.

A bell was installed on June 17 1913 but in August 1914 the Defence of the Realm Act banned the ringing of bells for fear they might be used by German spies to convey secret messages. It did not ring again until the year 2000.

A jar was also placed under the foundation stone to explain to any future explorer how Bexleyheath celebrated the coronation of King George V.

Pincott Memorial

News Shopper: Pincott Memorial In 1866 the Bexley Parish was divided and the Parish of Bexleyheath was created.

In the same year Reverend William Henry Pincott came from Dartford Parish Church to Bexleyheath as Perpetual Curate.

In February 1878 Mr Pincott died and in April the following year the Pincott Memorial was put up in Market Place, Broadway.

It consisted of a drinking fountain in the form of an obelisk and a cattle trough.

The Clock Tower stood alongside the Pincott Memorial for two years until it was moved to outside Christ Church, in Broadway, in order to widen the road.

It was also seen as a hazard to children who had to cross the road to drink from the fountain.

Bexley Historical Society

News Shopper: Penny Duggan Bexley Historical Society has received £31,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a joint project working with Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre.

The Changing Times project will look at 100 years of the Broadway from 1912 to 2012.

People are being encouraged to get involved by sending in their pictures, memories and carrying out their own historical research of the area.

Ms Duggan said: "The Broadway has changed quite considerably over the last few years so it's something everyone can get involved in, young and old."

She added: "With the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June 2012, it seems fitting that one of the niches should be filled by a bust of Queen Elizabeth II.

"We want people to tell us who they think should fill the last one."

A free oral history training workshop takes place on Saturday (October 29) at Bexleyheath library.

For more information, email or visit the library.