Our Iconicon winners name their favourite Croydon buildings

Icon: Leon House, South Croydon, once offices, now luxury apartments, with hidden treasures inside. A favourite of the Editor

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.

There are just a few tickets left (free for iC subscribers; £5 for anyone else). Click here for more details.

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

Icon: what you call it defines your era

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.

Icon: the golden ratios of Go Ahead House have been crowded out by other, less well-considered offices

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

Icon: The Skylark, now an ex-pub

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.

Read more: John Grindrod on why Croydon holds a concrete grip

Become a Patron!

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
This entry was posted in Inside Croydon and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Our Iconicon winners name their favourite Croydon buildings

  1. miapawz says:

    My favorite buildings are the 18th century offices on the south end, cowering between tower blocks.

Leave a Reply