How a rural market town was transformed in Victorian age

Croydon might be undergoing drastic changes in the next few years, but they are nothing to the transformation which happened in the mid 19th century. In an extract from his book, historian JOHN GENT charts how Croydon was shaped in the Victorian era

Crystal Palace drawing

The Crystal Palace was, girder by girder, pane by pane, dismantled in Hyde Park and re-assembled close to the Croydon boundary

The year 1851 saw the Great Exhibition of Science and Industry take place in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. As an exhibition it was undoubtedly a great success but it failed to succeed in its aims of fostering trade and international relations. No doubt many Croydonians visited the exhibition and were captivated by the great glass edifice which has somehow come to symbolise the Victorian age. Only three years later the building was re-erected in a much enlarged form on the Norwood heights, just across the road from the Croydon boundary. Its presence attracted much building development in the adjacent areas. Large detached villas in spacious grounds soon spread through Upper Norwood as wealthy Londoners made their homes near the Palace.

The town of Croydon now had a Local Board of Health, a good water supply, and a drainage and sewage disposal system which was held up as a model for other towns to follow. It was poised to develop at a faster rate than almost any other town in the land, the population growing from 20,343 in 1851, to 30,240 in 1861, and to 134,037 by 1901. But it was still a largely self-contained town, surrounded by open country, and remained so until beyond the end of the century. Continue reading

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It’s official: Sutton scrutiny chair does have conflict of interest

It’s official: The position of a Sutton councillor on a panel to distribute £1million-worth of “hush money” from incinerator operator Viridor does hold inherent conflicts of interest.

Sutton logoThat’s the view of Jessica Crowe, one of Sutton Council’s most senior public servants.

Crowe’s advice contradicts entirely the public position originally aired by the council, and ought to cause further extreme embarrassment for the usually shameless LibDems who control Sutton Council.

Pathumal Ali is a Liberal Democrat councillor for Beddington North ward who was recently promoted to chair Sutton Council’s influential scrutiny committee.  Continue reading

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Something stinks at Croydon Arena after building works end

Something stinks at Croydon Arena.

The scene at a smelly Croydon Arena earlier today

The scene at a smelly Croydon Arena earlier today

There’s a very earthy nature to the whiffs that have been detected on the cold winter winds. It seems that one of the sewers under the car park which is used by the sports arena and the nearby school may have been broken.

Barely had the tarmac on the Arena’s car park dried than workmen appeared on site to dig it all up again.

The relaid and reconfigured car park has been annexed as part of the development of the 1,200-pupil Oasis Academy Arena school, which was imposed on locals and Metropolitan Open Land by the Town Hall Tories and barely opposed by the Labour ward councillors from South Norwood or Woodside.

The workmanship and the lack of care for the properties of neighbours and the Metropolitan Open Land by building contractors Willmott Dixon has been questioned throughout the £22 million, publicly funded project, which started in 2013.

And now, apparently as a final gesture of contempt for the people living in this part of South Norwood, the contractors appear to have left an open sewer. Continue reading

Posted in Croydon Council, Croydon parks, Environment, Oasis Academy, Schools, South Norwood, Woodside | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2001 – A Space Oddity has arrived on Platforms 5 and 6

Whimsy appears to be taking over at East Croydon Station. It already has its Bridge to Nowhere, a £22 million edifice which, almost four years after “completion”, remains unfinished with no access on the Addiscombe side of the station.

Kubrick's mysterious monolith from the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey

The mysterious monolith from the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey

Now, bemused and harassed commuters have noticed that the station appears to be trying to rival Hollywood movie director Stanley Kubrick with its own version of the mysterious monolith that appeared in 2001 – A Space Odyssey.

Never mind the concerns of regular rail travellers who want some accurate and timely information about the latest delays or cancellations to their wretched Southern Rail “services”. Don’t worry about providing passengers with seating to while away the lost hours they are forced to spend on the platforms. What the station operators have come up with on Platforms 5 and 6 this week is what appears to be a matt black piece of modern art… Continue reading

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Youth Games cricket trials, Thornton Heath, Dec 9-16

cricket-trials Continue reading

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Surrey Street late-night Christmas Market, Dec 8 and 15

surrey-street-santa Continue reading

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Rosie Barnes is guest speaker at Photography Forum, Dec 13

lenses-of-croydon-dec-2016 Continue reading

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