Grindrod and architects try to build on Croydon’s reputation

Croydon artwork

Detail from above the entrance to AMP House at East Croydon

As if having 22-quid National Trust bus tours of Croydon are not enough, now there’s even a feature film about the town centre. Well, a short-form documentary, at least.

Entitled the “Croydon: The High-rise and Fall”, it is from the Architecture Foundation, so has the benefit of a greater amount of impartiality, and expertise, than so much of the rose-tinted guff spouted by the Glee Club.

It also carries the words “Part One” in its title, which implies there will be a Part Two (it doesn’t state when). Maybe after Hammersfield, if that ever happens?


The video includes interviews with Croydon Council officials, including the “stunning” (copyright Tony Newman) £185,000 new CEO, Jo Negrini, as well as input from the author of Concretopia and unabashed Croydon fan, John Grindrod.

It is signal of the disregard in which Croydon is held that, even when the National Trust was promoting this week of tours and talks which it is co-promoting with the council, the official making the announcement chose to describe the place as a “crap town”, somehow reinforcing that very notion.

In post last week, Grindrod provided a useful caveat to the National Trust’s activities: “Back when I was writing Concretopia it didn’t seem anyone was interested in Croydon. That was part of the inspiration for writing it: no-one ever mentioned Croydon in books or culture, unless it was a shit joke.

“Now there’s a whole load of National Trust activity celebrating the town’s post-war rebuilding and the Fairfield Halls. There are bus and walking tours. There’s tons of media coverage. There’s a beautiful book celebrating the town and its post-war heritage. The full works.

“What do I think of it? Great if it gets people re-evaluating Croydon’s post-war past, and being more positive about the place. Not so great if all it is is an advert for developers to come and trash the place, in that endless cycle of insecurity that the town suffers.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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