In the past couple of weeks, Inside Croydon carried two pieces on the centenary of the foot tunnel at Norwood Junction: one, here, on its history, the other about the ceremony staged to mark the occasion, where Croydon’s partisan mayor used an apolitical occasion to try to score points for his own political party.
We thought you might like to see a sample of the sort of complaints about the absence of any such coverage by a newspaper based in Redhill, in a letter to the editor, which we reproduce here unedited (so the grammatical nonsenses are entirely those of the author):
Ceremony at Norwood Junction Subway – a squandered opportunity
Please allow me to begin with a disclaimer: I am NOT a local – or any other kind of – historian, but I do take a lively and informed interest in anything to do with the Borough’s heritage. I know a number of local historians who make extensive use of the Croydon Advertiser’s outstanding coverage of local events in copies dating back to the 1860s.
Imagine therefore, my disappointment on reading last week’s edition and finding no coverage whatsoever of the unveiling of the mural above the entrance to the public subway under Norwood Junction Station, to mark the centenary of its completion. (One wonders if, in 2112, our successors will be remembering the building of the Hotel “which-will-not-be-a-dosshouse” at 40 Portland Road, other than as an example of how undemocratic and seedily-incompetent local planning was in poorer parts of the Borough at the beginning of the 21st Century?)
Many readers will be aware of the huge amount of effort that went into getting the installation of the plaque authorised, as well as seemingly-endless historical research and the creation of the tablet itself. The subway was a highly-significant feat of construction associated with railways, apart from the intrinsic local interest. Among several distinguished guests at the ceremony was a senior regional figure from Robert McAlpine, and a prominent local businesswomen, whose presence should have been lauded; but instead, they were barely mentioned in the press coverage.
Your omission of this exciting news – there could hardly be a better, more affirmative or heartening antidote so close to the first anniversary of the Riots – was almost as depressing as the erroneous coverage of the event given in the (usually outstanding) Croydon Guardian. Meanwhile ‘Inside Croydon’ cynically exploited the occasion to score points over the Mayor (Cllr Eddy Arram) for his failing to be apolitical in his speech at the unveiling. No doubt Councillor Arram ought to have been more careful, but I cannot see that Cllr Paul Scott’s political point-making, and claiming more credit than was due to People for Portland Road for their part, was any more edifying.
So come on, Croydon Advertiser – and Inside Croydon – how about publishing something retrospectively to genuinely celebrate this important event? And whilst we are at it, how about nominating John Hickman for a Community Champion Award?There could hardly be a more deserving – and self-effacing – candidate, working among and for us at the present time.
We would simply suggest to Mr Falks that in future, he ought to try to read all the coverage in Inside Croydon, and that he should contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, rather than wasting his time with newspapers based in small towns in the Surrey countryside.
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