Croydon’s oldest society is walking and talking towards 150

As it approaches its own historical milestone next year, when it will celebrate its 150th anniversary, the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society is stepping out on another series of fascinating walks and talks exploring the wonders around us.

Originally entitled the Croydon Microscopical Club when it was established in April 1870 (it has been the CNHSS only since 1902), the society in the 21st century meets four or five times most months, staging illustrated talks near East Croydon Station, and embarking on visits to sites in and around the borough for walks.

For example, in the next few weeks there’s a guided walk around Mertham village, looking at the local geology and landscape, led by Paul Sowan, while early next month, Dominic North, the warden at Happy Valley, has been invited to give a talk on the past, present and future of Happy Valley at one of the Society’s regular weekday meetings.

Happy Valley is the subject of a CNHSS talk in September

The scientific precision and detail of the members’ work is perhaps illustrated by the fact that their meeting points for walks are given by citing an OS grid reference.

They even manage and curate their own museum of Croydon curiosities, which is open to the public on certain dates.

All their talks and walks are also open to non-members, though they do depend on supporters signing up to help pay the costs of their activities.

Full details of all the CNHSS’s events can be found on its website, plus details of how to support and join this venerable society.

Here’s a selection of some of the activities that CNHSS has coming up. The talks are usually held in the hall of the East Croydon United Reformed Church, Addiscombe Grove, from 7.45pm.

Aug 25: WALK – “Merstham Village and Gatton Park”. A short walk to look at the local geology and landscape. Meet at 2pm  at Merstham Station. Led by Paul Sowan.

Sep 11: TALK – “Happy Valley – Past, Present and Future”, by Dominic North, Countryside Warden at Happy Valley. An introduction to Happy Valley, looking into what makes this beautiful area so valuable for wildlife and visitors, and how it is managed to protect and enhance the area for future generations to enjoy.

Sep 22: WALK – “Fruits and Fungi”. Meet at 2pm in the Addington Hills car park, Shirley Hills Road TQ354643. Led by Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings.

Sep 23: TALK – “The life and times of Old Palace”, by Janice Barter. Croydon Palace is a building of tremendous historical significance hidden in Croydon old town. A medieval manor that was for centuries a residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury, it suffered years of decline from the 18th century before being lovingly renovated to its current position housing a modern, thriving school. We explore its past and reflect on its present.

Oct 7: TALK – “The Isle of Wight: its wildlife and countryside”. Malcolm Jennings will talk about the often rare and beautiful flora and fauna of the Isle of Wight, its spectacular marine landscape, and also some of the historic sites on the Island.


Oct 27: ECOLOGY WALK – “Fungus Foray in Littleheath Woods”. Meet at 10am at the bottom of the steps at the end of Queenhill Road TQ349627. Led by Jane McLauchlin and Malcolm Jennings.

Oct 28 – TALK – “The Nostradamus of South Norwood”, by Stephen Oxford. The predictions of Nostradamus are open to interpretation and much criticism, whilst those of a past South Norwood resident are far clearer and more accurate.

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2 Responses to Croydon’s oldest society is walking and talking towards 150

  1. Many thanks of behalf of CNHSS.

    It is another Society along with the Friends of Shirley Windmill that I am involved with

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