Chislehurst Golf Club was established on Saturday 26 May 1894, in Camden Place, at a meeting of distinguished local residents headed by Alexander Travers Hawes.
William Willett, a well-known builder, had bought the mansion and 124 acre park in 1890 with the intention of creating an estate of up to 300 small houses with ready access to the newly improved railway connection to London. He was now prepared to restrict himself to building fewer, larger houses on the two outer fringes of the park and make over the mansion and the central area to the creation of a golf course.
Conveniently placed for the church and the common, Camden Place had always been central to the social life of Chislehurst. During the 1890s Queen Victoria featured among a succession of distinguished visitors to the exiled French Imperial Family who, for that decade, were tenants of its then owner Nathaniel Strode.
The Club made no distinction between playing and non-playing members and many ladies joined for the social side alone. The large rooms were well suited for dinners and dances. Much bridge was played and Napoleon III's billiard room continued in frequent use.
More than a century later the bridge meetings are still popular. Snooker is now preferred to billiards and the Club hosts a variety of evening functions and events throughout the year.
Text in this section is Adapted from a lecture given to the Chislehurst Society by John Mercer on 24th October 2002.