Might this weekend represent the latest minor victory for Inside Croydon? Just over a year ago, we broke the news that, like a churlish, spoilt child having a tantrum, Croydon Council had withdrawn from the Open House London weekend.
As we reported at the time, it was “another spectacular own-goal” and “short-sighted”, and all just to “save” £4,000 – or less than is paid for a week’s work to planning director Paul Spooner.
Well, this weekend, we are pleased to report, Croydon Council has rejoined the rest of the capital and is playing its part in Open House London 2013, with a number of buildings throwing their doors open to the public. Could the decision to take part in the weekend’s events this year, and paying the subscription, be because of the adverse publicity last year?
Top of the list for many to visit this weekend should be Taberner House, the soon-to-be-demolished council headquarters for almost half a century. The council office block opens its doors to the public on Saturday, September 21, from 11.30am to 3.30pm.
This will give Council Tax-payers a final opportunity to assess for themselves whether the old offices really could not have been repaired and upgraded, offering better value for money to the people of Croydon than the building of the £140 million Fisher’s Folly next door (which is not open as part of the weekend activities).
Croydon Council’s own blurb says, “The indoor viewing gallery offers sweeping panoramas of London and the south-east, with all the major landmarks in sight, including Wembley Stadium, the Shard and Canary Wharf.
“Booking is not necessary. Visitors will be taken in groups of 30 to the viewing galleries on the 18th floor for 15 minutes at a time. Officers will be on hand to answer any questions.” This suggests that viewing of the working offices will not be allowed.
The Whitgift Almshouses are also open this weekend, but tours of this Tudor gem in the centre of town are already fully booked – in as much demand as the “Croydon Village Outlet” next door.
In which case, the St Bernards Houses, 21 modern homes built in 1969 on Chichester Road, may be worth a look. Acclaimed by Nikolaus Pevsner, the renowned architectural historian, as “a group with few equals in Britain”, they are open on Saturday from 2pm to 4pm.
Full details of the (still somewhat brief) listing of other buildings in Croydon open this weekend can be found here: www.openhouselondon.org.uk/croydon
Coming to Croydon
- Green Heritage Fair at Heathfield House: Sep 21-22
- Three plays in a pub: The Ship, Sep 24
- Have a cup of coffee and help fight cancer: Sep 27
- Help break the chains of human trafficking: Sep 28
- Tea at Five at the Spread Eagle: Oct 2-4
- Minster’s musical celebration for Silver Sunday: Oct 6
- Rent at the Secombe Theatre: Oct 9-12
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- Where to visit during Open House London weekend (londonisforliving.com)