NOTE:There is another community named Bromley in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
Bromley was historically a market town chartered in 1158 and an ancient parish in the county of Kent. Its location on a coaching route and the opening of a railway station in 1858 were key to its development, and the economic history of Bromley is underpinned by a shift from an agrarian village to commerce and retail. As part of the suburban growth of London in the 20th century, Bromley significantly increased in population and was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1903. It has developed into one of a handful of regionally significant commercial and retail districts outside central London and was absorbed into Greater London in 1965. The population of the town, consisting of the Bromley Town ward, was 16,826 in the 2011 census.
The history of Bromley is closely connected with the See of Rochester. In AD 862 Ethelbert, the King of Kent, granted land to form the Manor of Bromley. It was held by the Bishops of Rochester until 1845, when Coles Child, a wealthy local merchant and philanthropist, purchased Bromley Palace (the Bishops' Palace) and became lord of the manor. The town was an important coaching stop on the way to Hastings from London, and the now defunct Royal Bell Hotel (just off Market Square) is referred to in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It was a quiet rural village until the arrival of the railway in 1858 in Shortlands, which led to rapid growth, and outlying suburban districts such as Bickley (which later overflowed into Bromley Common) were developed to accommodate those wishing to live so conveniently close to London.
Bromley, also known as Bromley St Peter and St Paul, formed an ancient parish in the Bromley and Beckenham hundred and the Sutton-at-Hone lathe of Kent. In 1840 it became part of the expanded Metropolitan Police District. The parish adopted the Local Government Act 1858 and a local board was formed in 1867. The board was reconstituted as Bromley Urban District Council in 1894 and the parish became Bromley Urban District. In 1934, as part of a county review order, the borough was expanded by taking in 1,894 acres (7.66 km2) from the disbanded Bromley Rural District; an area including parts of the parishes of Farnborough, Hayes, Keston and West Wickham. Bromley was absorbed into the newly created Greater London in 1965, as the new London Borough of Bromley.