Lloyd’s legacy to Croydon offers a real breath of fresh air

Lloyd Park is enjoyed year-round, every day, from park runs to music festivals, by young and old

DAVID WHITE on one of Croydon’s greatest, greenest assets

For all its faults and challenges, Croydon is a great place to live. One feature which makes it great in my eyes is its parks and green spaces. All 127 of them.

They range from small neighbourhood parks and recreation grounds, to really large areas of open space which act as lungs for our increasingly urbanised environment.

One of the best is Lloyd Park. It’s close to the town centre and accessible by tram, yet if you wander, especially in the eastern part, you have the feeling of being out in the countryside miles from London.

Croydon came to own this marvellous open space through the generosity of Frank Lloyd.

Lloyd Park, one of Croydon’s largest, caters for the full range of activities and interests in an open space

Lloyd was a newspaper magnate and paper manufacturer at the turn of the 20th century. He lived in Coombe House (now the Cedars School) and owned large areas of surrounding land. In his will, Lloyd left what is now the western part of the park to Croydon Corporation. His daughter perfected the gift and later, in the 1950s, his granddaughters added even more land, giving the park the boundaries it has today.

Frank Lloyd’s philanthropy wasn’t confined to Croydon. He also left a house and land in Walthamstow to the local authority there. That land is now Lloyd Park, Walthamstow.

There’s always a welcome here even on the coldest of winter mornings

Before Lloyd’s time the house had been lived in for a period by William Morris, the Victorian textile designer. That house is now the William Morris Gallery. It’s well worth a visit, being 10 minutes walk from the end of the Victoria Line at Walthamstow.

Returning to Lloyd Park, Croydon, I think part of its attraction is the fact that it has something for everyone. The western side, next to Lloyd Park tram stop, hosts sports events, funfairs and music concerts. It also has newly laid cycle tracks, tennis courts and a very good café.

If you wander further to the east, past the children’s play area and the outdoor gym, you come to the other side of Lloyd Park.

This is unspoilt grassland, trees and vegetation, including some ancient woodland. There are great walks through here to Addington Hills and beyond, and the relatively new Friends of Lloyd Park group organised some guided walks here during the summer.

Volunteers are always welcome to help at Friends of Lloyd Park work days

Croydon Council maintains the park fairly well, though in recent years Government cuts have had their effect, as staffing levels of parks staff are much lower than they used to be. A large number of voluntary groups organise activities in the park, including the Friends of Lloyd Park who also organise litter picks, conservation works and more.

The council and the Friends group are united in wanting to preserve and enhance the park and make it accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.

I think it’s important that this beautiful park remains sustainable and attractive, so that we can enjoy it and so can future generations.

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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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4 Responses to Lloyd’s legacy to Croydon offers a real breath of fresh air

  1. Stephen Pollard says:

    Many thanks to David White for his informative article on Lloyd Park. Although I know the park very well, I knew nothing about the history and of Mr. Frank Lloyd at all. I was brought up as a teenager in Croham Park Avenue which goes from Croham Road to Coombe Road and a stones throw to Lloyd Park. With my brothers and school friends we spent much spare time playing cricket, football and tennis in the park. Also spending some evening hours sitting on the benches with teenage friends discussing the old chestnuts “Why are we here and what is the purpose of life….”
    What has always intrigued me was the BIG dip, by the now kids play area, and we would ride our bikes down one side and try to get up the other side without stopping. Was it a bomb crater??

    • I often wondered what the “big dip” was. The answer was provide by Paul Sowan of Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society on one of our walks. It isn’t a bomb crater. It’s a chalk pit. Chalk was mined in the area before the park came into existence. It was used mainly for agricultural purposes as lime, put into soil to combat acidity.

      • Stephen Pollard says:

        Thanks David. I had been thinking that if anybody would know the answer to the “big dip”, it would be Paul Sowan, one of he most knowledgeable local man of Croydon’s natural history. Coincidentally I have known Paul and his family all my life as I was born in the same little still unmade private road Pilgrim’s Way as Paul’s family, which runs from Melville Road and Croham Road behind the then Croham Hurst girls school

  2. I’m sure I remember going there in the 50s and somewhere at the Eastern end there was a fence with some cows on the other side.

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