Spotlight: The Past and Present of Croydon's London Road


12-Sep-2014 08:57

Kake is a West Croydon resident who has turned her fascination of Croydon's history into a project that will intrigue and enlighten all those familiar with London Road and the buildings that sit along it's path.

Think of Croydon, and what comes to mind? Trams, tall office blocks, the big chain shops of North End, the Old Town charm of Surrey Street market, the historical almshouses and Minster? Beyond all this, there's an area of Croydon that came prominently and shockingly to attention in August 2011: London Road.

Running north from West Croydon station to Thornton Heath, Norbury, Streatham, and beyond, London Road forms the heart (or perhaps the spine) of West Croydon; lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, and threaded with buses. I live just off the southern end of it, having moved here at the end of July 2011, a couple of weeks before the evening of violence that damaged or destroyed so many of our local businesses. In the aftermath of the riots, I resolved to support the small business owners of London Road by shopping there whenever I could; what I didn't initially realise was how much this would improve my own day-to-day life. London Road doesn't just offer the possibility of buying yams and Turkish bread at 3am (an option I have yet to take advantage of); it lets me buy my food and household necessities from people who remember me, and say hello, and ask how I'm doing — all without the queues and corporate blandness of the chain supermarkets.

I chose to move to West Croydon partly because of the excellent transport links, but also because of the many and diverse independent shops and restaurants along London Road. My plan is to share this experience with you in a series of articles covering each address on the road, starting at number 1, in numerical order, with one article per week. Given that London Road stretches to over 1500 addresses, this will probably take me nearly 30 years. However, I love living in Croydon and intend to stay here for the rest of my life, so I feel this plan is entirely plausible. I hope you enjoy reading along.

Please visit the link below to view the project

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