By 1912 Bexleyheath was already a thriving community. Just over a century earlier, people had begun to live on the heath, drawn by the expanding fabric printing industry in nearby Crayford.
After enclosure of the heath in 1819 to 1820, when the land was partitioned between the parish's freeholders, houses replaced the shacks. The railway arrived in 1895 and tramways started in 1903, encouraging further development in the area. At the end of the 19th century the population of Bexleyheath was 6000 and in 1931 it had risen to 14,737.
The Broadway has long been a busy shopping area and transport hub. Significant changes include the opening of the Broadway Shopping Centre in 1984, pedestrianisation in 1993, and amidst competition from Bluewater, the building of Broadway Square in 2001.
Today the area is characterised by large-scale buildings of the 1980s and 1990s: the Civic Offices, Bexley Magistrates' Court, Central Library, Marriott Hotel, Police Station, Asda supermarket and several large car parks. Only a few older buildings survive: the Clock Tower, Christ Church, Trinity Chapel, the Kings Arms, the Prince Albert and the Golden Lion. Most of the older buildings have gone, but perhaps you remember them? Market Place, built around 1831, remained next to the Clock Tower until it was destroyed by fire in 1990. The Duke of Edinburgh pub and adjoining terrace of mid-19th century cottages were demolished in the early 1990s. The old Athenaeum formed part of the Bexleyheath Shopping Hall, also demolished in the early 1990s. Oak House (1817) and West Lodge (1820) were used as council offices until the 1980s, when the Civic Offices replaced them.