Brixton sewers force veteran car rally on a Croydon bypass

Our transport correspondent, JEREMY CLACKSON, on a traditional event giving the borough a swerve

The veteran car rally is bypassing Croydon this year.             Photo: Lee Townsend

The London to Brighton veteran car run, which has been chugging along the Brighton Road from London to the south coast for 90 years, is set to bypass Croydon when it is staged on the first Sunday in November.

Long-term, major road works earlier on the route, at Brixton Hill, is forcing the diversion, possibly until 2019.

The traditional route since the run began on an annual basis in 1927 has been from Westminster Bridge along the A23, going through Croydon.

Some adjustments are made to the route taken by the museum-piece vehicles most years, taking into account changes to local roads – the pedestrianisation of North End took the route away from the town centre, for instance. But it has continued to draw crowds on road sides on crisp autumn Sunday mornings for decades, from Norbury and Thornton Heath Ponds, through South Croydon and on to Coulsdon. Local businesses, such as car dealership Kingham’s, have embraced the event by offering hot drinks and sausage rolls to the hardy drivers and their passengers, and to spectators.

But this year, with Victorian sewers being replaced in a two-year project in Lambeth, the hundreds of participating old bangers will instead take a detour through Stockwell and past Clapham Common, going through, suitably, Tooting, before taking the A24 to Colliers Wood and Morden and heading through Banstead and rejoining the traditional route from Reigate into Redhill.

A spokesman for the organisers of the event, which is sponsored by auction house Bonhams, told Inside Croydon, “We were advised of the major road closures on the Brixton Road by Transport for London at the start of the year. We have liaised with Croydon Council and Surrey County Council, and the Surrey Police about the new route.

“The works are scheduled to last two years, so the route change could be in place this year and next.”

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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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