History of Temple Hill & St Edmund's Church
Temple Hill is full of history! Temples Manor, known as the manor of Dartford Temples, took its name from the Knights Templars who were the original landowners. The manor appears to have included the whole of the lands from Temple Hill on the north eastern edge of the town, right down to the River Thames. The manor also incorporated the Waterside district of Dartford and the area around the River Cranpit on the south side of the High Street, at the junction of Lowfield Street. The prior of St John of Jerusalem was the principal landholder within the manor.
Dartford's Temple Hill Estate was developed in response to the post-Second World War housing crisis. In 1945, many local families who had been bombed-out during the war were accommodated in prefabricated bungalows at Princes Road, and in temporary accommodation. There was an urgent need for mass good-quality housing in the local area. The council decided to develop a new housing estate on the outskirts of Dartford, which would almost be self-sufficient, in essence, a town in miniature, with shops, social and sports facilities and an extensive range of traditional houses and flats. The intention was to build an estate incorporating 1,800 family units. The traditional brick-built houses would be larger than those of pre-war standard and the design would "conform with the best aims of post-war planning, as far as is practicable within a limited cost".
Dartford Council intended to build flats "...to include all modern facilities such as refuse removal, central heating, clothes drying rooms and pram and bicycle stores on the ground floor". Sufficient shops would be provided "to satisfy the immediate needs of the housewife".
The first phase of the project at Temple Hill was a triumphant success for the council. The official opening was conducted by the then Labour Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, on 4 June 1947. Attlee declared: "We want people to have places they will love; places in which they will be happy and where they will form a community and have a social life and a civic life...Here in Dartford you are setting an example of how this should be done".
The popular Knights Manor Estate was developed in the 1980s.
In 1951 a Sunday School was started after the houses had been built on Attlee Drive. By 1952, a small group of estate residents met in the community centre and decided to build what was the original St. Edmund's Church building – a church plant from St Alban’s Church Dartford. It was the first single purpose church to be built in the Diocese of Rochester since the Second World War. The foundation stone was laid on 10 September 1955. The church was consecrated by the Bishop of Rochester on the Feast of St. Edmund in 1956. It was closed and demolished in 2002. The current building was opened in 2004 and it celebrated it's 10th anniversary on Thursday 16 October 2014. St. Edmund's plays an active part in the community and in the spiritual life of the Temple Hill Estate.