Coulsdon signs leave a trail of Saxon kings, cricket and plants

Visitors to Coulsdon town centre in recent months have been intrigued about the appearance atop street signage of some delicately crafted, colourful figures.

Saxon roots: Cuthraed, sited close to Pizza Express

It has now emerged that these finials are the work of two loyal Inside Croydon readers, Charles King and Lewis White, as part of an art trail through the town centre.

Having been granted permission by Croydon Council for nine finials, King, the chair of the East Coulsdon Residents’ Association, and White, a retired landscape architect, have managed to place the first three in position as part of what they say are their efforts to “make the town centre more interesting and attractive to local residents and visitors alike”.

King said, “These finials commemorate the history of Coulsdon and Smitham Bottom and were selected from a list of suggestions that were put together from a public consultation by Pauline Payne when she was secretary of ECRA.”

The first three to appear are:

Lion Green was the scene of an early game of cricket

Cuthraed, the Saxon warrior who settled in the area around 648AD and from whom the name of Coulsdon is derived. His finial can be seen near Pizza Express.

Opposite Lion Green Road is a figure of the Greater Yellow Rattle, a wild plant that is rare in most parts of the country but which grows on Farthing Downs and Happy Valley.

And opposite the library, on the site where Lion Green once was, are cricket stumps to commemorate the match played there in 1739 between Surrey and East Grinstead.

The have been paid for by East Coulsdon RA, Friends of Farthing Downs and Happy Valley and from individual donations.

The flora of the downs and Happy Valley is highlighted with this Greater Yellow Rattle finial

Future figures would include Emmeline Pankhurst, who spoke at the Smitham Parish Hall in 1911; Logie Baird, to mark the first transatlantic TV transmission from Coulsdon to New York in 1928; and something to mark the Red Lion pub, which was a feature of the high street from 1680 until demolition in 2003.

“ECRA would like thank Croydon Council and Marshalls Landscape for their help and assistance,” King said.

Fund-raising to pay for additional figures continues. Anyone wishing to contribute to the costs should email

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This entry was posted in Art, Community associations, Coulsdon, Coulsdon East, East Coulsdon Residents' Association and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Coulsdon signs leave a trail of Saxon kings, cricket and plants

  1. Peter Bell says:

    Nice one Charlie – not much going on to cheer us up a bit – but i am sure these will when i get around to seeing them in reality.

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