Downe (//) is a village in Greater London, England, located within the London Borough of Bromley and beyond London urban sprawl. Downe is 3.4 miles (5.5 km) south west of Orpington and 14.2 miles (22.9 km) south east of Charing Cross. Downe lies on a hill, and much of the centre of the village is unchanged; the former village school now acts as the village hall. The word Downe originates from the Anglosaxon word dūn, latterly down, hence the South and North Downs. The village was part of Kent until April 1965 when it (and the remaining part of Orpington Urban District Council) was subsumed into the new London Borough of Bromley.
Charles Darwin lived in Down House for 40 years, from 1842 until he died there in 1882. He became a close friend of Sir John Lubbock, 3rd Baronet, who lived nearby at the Lubbock's High Elms estate on the other side of the village. A favourite place of Darwin's was Downe Bank, now a nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, and several members of his family are buried in the graveyard of St Mary's Church.
Since 2010, the local Member of Parliament has been Jo Johnson of the Conservatives who is brother of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Jo served as Minister for Transport and Minister for London up until his resignation in November 2018. He did so in order to support a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal. In July 2019, he was subsequently reinstated in his ministerial role as Minister for Universities before resigning in September 2019 and announced that he would stand down as an MP at the next United Kingdom general election.
By a numerical majority of 19,453 votes (38.5%), Orpington is the safest Conservative Parliamentary seat in London.
One councillor is elected every four years to Bromley Council. To date, the ward has only been represented by representatives from the Conservative Party.
|Conservative||Richard Scoates *||1,201||72.8|
|Liberal Democrats||Millicent Brooks||133||8.1|
|Conservative||Richard Scoates *||987||51.2|
|Liberal Democrats||William Ritchie||45||2.3|
Buckston Browne Farm
Downe is the location of Buckston Browne Farm, built in 1931 as a surgical research centre by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS). In the 1980s, the farm caused controversy because of its use of vivisection techniques, and in August 1984 it was raided by anti-vivisection activists.
The farm has now been made into four houses.
There are two scout campsites in the Downe area:
- The Downe Scout Activity Centre consisting of 86 acres (350,000 m2) of woodland and open fields is just outside the village.
- The Greenwich (one of the Districts of the Greater London South Scout county) District campsite is also nearby.
Downe, being in the county of Greater London, is still under Transport for London remit despite being outside the metropolis, is served by several London Buses bus services from London but overall has limited connections into London. There are no rail links to the village (nearest stations: Orpington, Bromley and Hayes), but it is served by two 1 hourly bus routes:
146 - Bromley North to Downe via Old Hayes and Keston;
R8 – Biggin Hill to Orpington via Downe and Green Street Green;
- Charles Hayes (1678–1760), mathematician and chronologist
- Sir John Lubbock, 3rd Baronet (1803–65), banker, barrister, mathematician and astronomer
- John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury (1834–1913), banker, biologist, archaeologist and Liberal politician
- Charles Darwin (1809–82), biologist, naturalist and geologist
- Horace Darwin (1851–1928), civil engineer and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
- Herbert Newton Casson (1869–1951), journalist and author, founder of Efficiency magazine
- Olive Willis (1877–1964), founder of Downe House School
- Nigel Farage, (born 1964) Former leader of UKIP and Member of European Parliament for South East England. He is also chair of the EFDD group.
- "Letter 637 — Darwin, C. R. to Darwin, E. C., (24 July 1842)". Darwin Correspondence Project. Archived from the original on 22 August 2007.
- "UK launches Darwin heritage bid". BBC News. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "Darwin's home and workplace World Heritage nomination deferred by UNESCO Committee". Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 1 August 2010. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
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