In the mid-1800s, Bromley was in decline, as the nearby towns of Lewisham and Croydon bloomed with developments after the arrival of rail. In 1858, Bromley finally got its station - comparatively late by London standards - and the town's fortunes predictably changed. The row of railway workers' cottages found behind the main station building is a reminder of those days.
Historically, Bromley was a small market on the road to Hastings, and as more and more people passed through, a settlement formed. Today, architectural relics of early Bromley can be found in Market Square, and although much has changed over the centuries, the town's retail prosperity remains - the intu Bromley shopping centre (once The Glades), boasting some 135 stores and lying equidistant between the town's two stations, is one of South East London's most popular malls. The Kent Downs are just a bus ride away and making Bromley the only London borough to include an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.