The London Road has possibly seen more changes than most other areas around Westerham. In living memory, Costell’s Meadow and the Market Field have come and gone, taking with them the Women’s Institute, the Girl Guides hut, ‘Hollybob’s Ranch’ (John Hollingworth’s Nursery field), and the WWII Ministry of Supply ‘Buffer Depot’ beside the railway yard.
This first picture taken in the 1880s is not easily recognisable today, as it shows the original tile-hung terraced cottages that stood at the top of London Road. Down the road, beyond, but in line with the horse, stands The Swan Beer House – now ‘Castle Antiques’ – then owned by Watkins and Son, brewers at the bottom of Hosey Hill. The row of cottages to the right of the beer house, known as ‘Knipe’s Cottages’ were also tile hung at this time, hiding a timber frame of great antiquity.
From 1900, the stretch of London Road from Madan Road to the railway station was known, not surprisingly, as 'Station Road'. In 1883 the 'Crown Family & Commercial Hotel' was built opposite the railway station. An application by Watkins brewery for a license to sell wines, spirits and beer was opposed by Nalder and Collyer, brewery owners of the George and Dragon along with vigorous opposition from Mr Hadley, proprietor of The Kings Arms. Messrs Watkins and Son cunningly withdrew application for renewal of the license on their little Swan Beer House, and the bench granted the new license for The Crown... The Swan Beer House (now Castle Antiques) became the Swan Coffee Tavern.
The Crown Family and Commercial Hotel was built in 1883, two years after the opening of the Westerham Valley Railway and it is, perhaps, interesting that it was not called the Station Hotel. Originally described as “…contains superior accommodation for Families, Commercials, Private Parties &c. The rooms are lofty, commodious, pleasant and well ventilated, with private entrance…” It was to last only 108 years.