Finally, after nearly a decade, it’s in black and white: the East India Estate Conservation Area is there for all to see on road signs in that part of Addiscombe.
Special road signs were unveiled last month in the presence of the local MP, Gavin Barwell, ward councillors, council officials and contractors, plus many of the residents who had worked since 2008 to get their patch of Croydon recognised for its community and historical significance.
Not to mention the opportunity for local estate agents to add a few grand on to the property prices by simply including the phrase “located in a conservation area” in the particulars.
The East India Estate Conservation Area lies between Addiscombe Road and Lower Addiscombe Road, bounded by Ashburton Road and Canning Road.
The project was the brainchild of HOME, the residents’ association serving Havelock Road, Outram Road, Mulberry Lane, Elgin Road, and Ashburton Road, Gardens and Close.
The project was part-funded by residents’ donations and a grant from the ward budget of Councillors Patricia Hay-Justice, Sean Fitzsimons and Mark Watson, while Keir contractors made and installed the signs as part of their social and corporate responsibility policy.
Croydon Council first agreed to the establishment of the East India Estate Conservation Area in 2008, to commemorate the Victorian architecture in the area, which was once the property of the East India Company.
From 1809 to 1858, the East India Company – the focus of the BBC’s Tom Hardy and Ridley Scott series, Taboo – had their engineering college based at Addiscombe Place, a large mansion, located more or less where Outram Road is today. After the college closed, the land was sold off in 1861, and the mansion and most of the other buildings demolished and the land divided up into five residential streets, built in the 1870s and named after eminent figures associated with the East India Company: Canning, Outram, Clyde, Elgin and Havelock.
HOME residents’ association was formed in 2004 to save one of the area’s fine Victorian villas from demolition, when it was due to be replaced by what they describe as “an overbearing and mediocre block of flats”. Following success in this, the association continued to monitor planning applications, a function it continues to serve today, maintaining relationships with the residents’ associations and groupings in Addiscombe.
It organises the HOME in Bloom competition each spring and stages a series of social events throughout the year. In 2017, HOME is planning an Open Gardens event to let residents enjoy some imaginative (some small and some large) traditional gardens in the area.
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