|CROYDON - Route & what to see|
There is more to Croydon than trams and shops, although this walk includes both, together with lots of car parks! However there are many buildings of interest including those associated with the Archbishops of Canterbury who had their summer residence in Croydon from Medieval times until the 19th century. It takes in the conservation areas of Parish Church and Central Croydon. If you want to stand and stare avoid Saturdays and lunchtimes when the town is at its busiest.
This walk of about 2 miles is
between West & East Croydon Stations. Croydon
(zone 5) is well served by public transport.
Begin at West Croydon Bus
Station or Tramstop. If you arrive by train on exiting the
station go around to the left into Station Road.
West Croydon has been a station site since the London & Croydon Railway opened in 1839 on the route previously followed by the Croydon Canal (1809-1836) and includes the site of the Croydon Canal Basin. The old station building is now used by a motor spares shop. West Croydon was also the site of the Atmospheric Engine House (for an experimental form of railway) which was re-located and will be seen later. Notice the design of the 'Prospect West' building.
Head away from this down
The building on the left with the large arched windows on the first floor was the Station Picture Hall, Croydon's first cinema, converted from a shop in 1908 and closed in 1917.
Go across the junction down
This follows the line of a tramway which ran from alongside the canal basin. It is now a Tram route.
Follow this road to a
crossroads just before the main road ahead.
The small green on the right marks the point where the tramway joined the Surrey Iron Railway (1801) and Croydon Merstram & Godstone Iron Railway (1803) tracks (all freight railways).
Go around the Reeves Corner
This is named after the furniture store (established in 1867) which occupied premises here until destroyed in the summer riots of 2011.
Right into Church Street.
There are former almshouses at Ramsey Court. The buildings date from 1875 & 1887 but they were founded in 1447. The 'Rose & Crown' pub is over 300 years old.
Across to the parish church
of St. Johns (Croydon Minster).
This medieval church was largely destroyed by fire and reconstructed by George Gilbert Scott in 1867. A guide book to the church is available inside.
Take the path between the
churchyard and the main road.
Notice the old style 'Bradshaw' lamps with town crest, granite cattle trough and drinking fountain.
Turn left into Howley Road.
The Tudor arch is of Reigate stone. This was the site of Palace fish ponds supplied by the River Wandle.
Left into Old Palace Road
which was the Palace driveway.
The Palace, now a school, served as the summer residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury. In the 19thc it was a washing/ bleaching/ printing factory utilising the old fish ponds. Former premises of Pickfords Removals (notice dates) are now part of the school. 'Palace Cottages' were built in 1851. The site of the parish school, built on land once occupied by the Palace stables, is now a new school building.
Right into Church Road.
'Laud Cottages' were built in 1852. The former Mission Chapel is now a nursery school.
Left into Charles Street.
Ahead is the Surrey Street Waterworks building. The oldest part, dated 1851, utilised the Atmospheric Engine House moved from West Croydon. Extensions were added in 1866, 1872 & 1912.
At the end of Charles Street
turn left into Scarbrook Road.
This follows the line of Scarbrook Ponds.
Go up the steps ahead.
There is a drinking fountain and plaque marking the widening of the High Street. The Town Hall which stood here had to be demolished for this work along with the slum area of Market Street.
Go back down the steps and
right along Surrey Street
Surrey Street has been a market area since 1276, formerly noted for its meat trade. Points of interest include: Millets wall advertisement on right and views of the pumping station to the left. Halfway along steps on the right lead through Arcade to the High Street.
Go left into Overtons Yard.
The car park occupies the site of Page & Overton's Brewery (1814-1954). Opposite its granaries have been converted to a nightclub.
Return to and continue along
Old established Dog & Bull pub on the left. Opposite are buildings supported on pillars, formerly butchers premises, some with mathematical tiles (made to look like bricks).
Turn right up Bell Hill
Timber framed houses of late 16th/early 17thc (more mathematical tiles)
Right into Middle Street.
These are warehouse buildings with wall mounted hoist and former printing premises. Notice the shop topped with a Wyvern decoration.
Out of Middle Street turn
right to crossroads.
There are some Art Deco styled buildings on the right. Barclays Bank is on site of ancient Crown Inn demolished in 1955. Opposite are 16thc almshouses built by Archbishop Whitgift for retired servants of the Palace.
To the left is pedestrianised North End, Croydons main shopping street. The buildings above some of the shops are worth looking at [more info]. This road leads back to West Croydon Station for a shortened circular walk.
Ahead is George Street
Nat West Bank is on the site of the George Inn. The adjacent building was formerly a residential house & location of Croydon's first telephone exchange 1886-90.
To the right is the High
Street - take this keeping on left hand side.
A range of late 19thc buildings opposite include the former Castle Coffee House, Post Office and the remaining façade of Grants Store which has been incorporated into a new development.
Second left into Katherine
This was once the yard of the Kings Arms Hotel. The Spread Eagle is a converted Nat West Bank. Adjoining is the former Corn Exchange with a statue of Croydon's benefactor Archbishop Whitgift on its stairs. Set back is the Braithwaite Hall, now part of the Clocktower building - Croydon's cultural Centre. The clock and bells were made by local firm, Gillett & Johnson. Next to this is the elaborate Town Hall designed by local architect Charles Henman and opened by the Prince of Wales in 1896.
Return to the High Street,
turn left and take the first left into Mint Walk.
From here you can see the new library building by Tibbalds Monro which is linked to the Katherine Street building by a full height glass atrium.
Stand at the top of Mint
The road continued ahead along the line of the park path and was formerly a ropewalk.
The police station, demolished in 1980, was sited here with a subway link under the road to the court rooms (still existing).
Take this path to the
Taberner House to the right was designed in 1967 by H Thornley and named after Ernest Taverner, Town Clerk 1937-63.
Go left down the steps. Go
right along the path ahead.
This was the location of a railway cutting of the spur line from East Croydon to Central Croydon Station (now Town Hall site) operational 1866-71 & 1886-90 (a plaque on the wall records this).
Go through the subway which
comes out in front of the Fairfield Halls then into the park area
to the left of the Halls.
Site of Fair Field and location of the Great Fair, stopped when the land was purchased by the railway company for their branch line. Gravel was extracted from this site.
Return around the front of
the halls and go left along Barclay Road
There are court buildings on the left.
There is the option of exploring PARK HILL here (see add info).
Left into Altyre Road.
The church has wooden tiles and there are 'Arts & Crafts' style houses.
Cross the road ahead to reach
East Croydon Station where the walk ends. There is also a bus
station and tramstop at this location.
East Croydon station is by Alan Brookes Associates. At the roundabout is No. 1 Croydon known as the 'threepenny bit building'. It was designed by R Seifert & Partners and is 269' high.
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