Mapledene (formerly the stables at Holly Bowers)

A note from John Westwood, who lived at Mapledene (pictured here), provides us with more information about Holly Bowers and the stables.


A short while after my Godparents, Hugh and Gladys Frampton, and their daughter Patricia, moved into Holly Lodge (c.1950), they alerted my parents, Herbert and Violet Westwood, to the fact that the old coach house and stables for Holly Bowers was up for sale.

Herbert and Violet purchased the (near) derelict Holly Bowers coach house and stables (probably in 1950) and moved there in 1951. When previously occupied (many years before) the property comprised stables on the ground floor, with a hay loft and sparse living accommodation for grooms and stable lads above part of the stable area.

Prior to moving into the property with their children John (aged 11) and Susan (aged 5) in 1951, extensive renovation and conversion took place – resulting in a spacious 4 bedroom house sitting in 1¾ acres of land. The original stables were built in 1899 (according to a plaque on the building).

When they moved in, my parents named the property 'Mapledene'. I recollect a letter being delivered by the postman, showing the address simply as 'Mapledene, Kent'. (Well done the Post Office!)

Attached to the property was a large room with double doors and a high ceiling – almost certainly where the coach was kept.   This made an excellent garage.

Living at Holly Bowers at the time were Doctor and Mrs Glyn Jones and their daughter (I can't recollect her name). In the early 1960's, Doctor Glyn Jones applied for planning permission to demolish Holly Bowers and replace it with 15 (?) flats. This application was rejected.  My father didn't much like the idea of living next to a block of flats, and so he applied for planning permission to erect either a small number of properties (or 11 flats) in the Mapledene grounds.   The application probably included demolishing Mapledene, but I'm not sure. The application for 11 flats was approved, and the Westwoods departed and moved to Sevenoaks in 1964

With the planning permission for 11 flats, Mapledene was sold to a developer for £18,500 in 1964. Nothing happened for a couple of years, until revised planning permission for 18 flats was approved. The current development of detached properties obviously supersedes these applications.

The Holly Bowers story had an interesting turn however. Following the rejection of Doctor Glyn Jones' planning application, Holly Bowers 'caught fire' and was damaged beyond repair. After this event, there was nothing to prevent the new development !
Two photographs are attached – one of Holly Bowers going up in flames [included on the Holly Bowers page], and the other of Mapledene at the time I lived there [reproduced above].  The rear of Mapledene (furthest away in the photo) formed a boundary to the footpath that runs from Kemnal Road to the shops at Belmont Parade, Green Lane.  

To the left of the house (hidden from view) was a greenhouse. The rear brick wall of this greenhouse also formed a boundary to the footpath, and I believe that this section of brick wall is all that remains of the 1964 Mapledene property.

One final memory of Mapledene (though not relevant to the actual building), concerns a modest sized pond at the bottom of the original garden.   There was a small island in the centre of the pond, and when we moved in there was a 3ft high effigy of Hitler tied to a stake !!!   Unfortunately, no photo.   As the property had been unoccupied for many years previously (probably since before the War), I can only think that the effigy was perhaps 'forward planning' for the next Fireworks Night - we will never know.

John L Westwood
February 2010

Footnote regarding Holly Lodge
I have no recollection of the name 'Green Hayes' – I always knew it as 'Holly Bowers Lodge'. I also had the feeling that Hugh and Gladys lived there for several years after we moved to the old coach house and stables in 1951, but doubtless your records are correct when showing that they moved out in 1954.