We invited you to tell us what your favourite, most iconic Croydon building is, and why, in our latest exclusive prize competition for Inside Croydon subscribers.
The entries received included the obvious, and the not so obvious, and one or two thought-provokers and controversial choices.
Each of our winners will be receiving a signed copy of John Grindrod’s acclaimed new book, Iconicon.
John will be Inside Croydon’s guest speaker this Wednesday at our first Talking Inside Croydon event since the pandemic, when he will speak about his book and his journey around Britain – and Croydon – seeking out some of the best, and worst, architecture from the last 50 years.
And here are our perceptive winners, in no particular order:
Paul Ainscough, Sanderstead
Purley Leisure Centre (left). Its brutal modernist architecture brings back fond memories of being a student in Coventry during the Miners’ Strike in the 1980s.
It is a popular building judging from community and political activity of late.
The logo seemingly leaping into oblivion certainly captures Croydon’s zeitgeist.
Jane Nicholl, South Norwood
No1 Croydon (right): I guess it has to be the NLA Tower, as it holds so many memories. From the time an elderly retired doctor was trying to stop her home being compulsory purchased to build on the land in the mid-1960s and the demonstrations by rowdy art students, including Jamie Reid, to support her. They built the roundabout round her and she finally gave in.
There’s the changing name during decimalisation from the Threepenny Bit Building to the Fifty Pence Building.
It’s just always been there these last 50 years, in a sort of handsome ugly way and stood its ground while Croydon is demolished and concreted over.
Martin Evans, Addiscombe
Go Ahead House (above), on Addiscombe Road: Difficult choice given the number of hidden gems in Croydon.
Go Ahead House is a deceptively simple building now sadly being crowded out by overambitious neighbours, its “golden ratios”, stone dressings and contrast brickwork an exercise in restraint and harmony, rather than pale pastiche.
A gem – I hope it can survive another 60 years.
Paul Davidson, South Croydon
The Skylark (right): The culled Skylark, Art Deco tippling point.
I like the “tug boat” form of stepped cream faience, with a ribbon of delicately framed windows and reeded terracotta panels, all afloat on a glazed frontage.
Inside is a revelation, a showroom with gallery.
This commodious building was originally a drapers.
Ken Towl, Addiscombe
No1 Croydon: Every evening at around 6pm, as I stand at the tram stop outside East Croydon Station, I catch sight of the reflection of No1 Croydon, distorted in the windscreen of the approaching tram, so that it looks like a concrete mushroom rather than a pile of 50p coins.
Congratulations to all our winners, and many thanks to the other entrants.
There will be more competitions, guided walks and specialist talks coming up in the next few weeks, with priority bookings and discounts for Inside Croydon subscribers.
- Iconicon: A Journey Around the Landmark Buildings of Contemporary Britain by John Grindrod is published by Faber (£20 hardback). To order a copy, click here
- To visit John Grindrod’s website to find out more, click here
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