No longer Taboo: Addiscombe gets signs of its East India past

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.

The unveiling of one of the special East India Conservation Area road signs last month

The unveiling of one of the special East India Conservation Area road signs last month

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.

Demolished around 150 years ago, Addicombe Place was home to East India Company's

Demolished around 150 years ago, Addiscombe Place was where the East India Company’s private army trained its engineers in the first half of the 19th century

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.

  • Inside Croydon is Croydon’s only independent news source, still based in the heart of the borough. In 2016, we averaged 17,000 page views every week
  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at


About insidecroydon

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
This entry was posted in Addiscombe West, Community associations, History, HOME, Mark Watson, Patricia Hay-Justice, Sean Fitzsimons and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to No longer Taboo: Addiscombe gets signs of its East India past

  1. Lewis White says:

    I wasn’t aware that the area was already a Conservation area, but the new signs must be a good thing– it gives a sense of identity and history.

    Let’s hope that the conservation area status has helped to stops architectural outrages both large (like mediocre blocks of flats) and small, such as rendering of perfectly good brickwork, and crummy windows, that blight areas of otherwise unspoilt Victorian buildings around Croydon.

    My only regret is that the nearby Alma Pub ( a quirky little gem of a building ) and its neighbouring shops on Lwr Addiscombe Road don’t seem to be included in the desiganted area. They are worth keeping. Another Addiscombe pub–the Black Horse- was demolished and replaced about 10 years ago with a building of the the “modern ultra mediocre” category, which was a shame, as the old Black Horse pub was a quality Victorian bulding. No problem with new flats if the pub was no longer viable, but they could have been so much better.

Leave a Reply