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Authority record

Crosfield Nursery School

  • CB074
  • Corporate body
  • 1946

Land had been conveyed on 15 July 1932 to the Trustees of the Croydon Mothers and Infants Welfare Association which had been formed for the purpose of promoting the health and welfare of the expectant and nursing mothers and infants in Croydon. The intention was to erect a Nursery School (with or without payment as the Association might determine), the Trustees being Mrs Helen Grace Crosfield of Eskdale House, Castlemaine Avenue, South Croydon, the widow of Hugh Theodore Crosfield JP, Rosalind Jessie Everett of Yew Tree House, Hartley Old Road, Purley, Surrey widow and Winifred Jane Philpott of 63 Blenheim Park Road, South Croydon. The Secretary of the Association was F.G. Brown, of La Roque, Overton Road, Sutton, Surrey.

Later, Helen Crosfield seems to have been succeeded as a Trustee by Priscilla Crosfield and Rosaline Everett by Barbara Duncan Harris. The land was at about 91 Canterbury Road (i.e. on the south side of the Canterbury Road between Priory Road and Mitcham Road), with a paint factory and a carriers yard on one side and a metal works on the other, but with a gate leading onto Canterbury Road Recreation Ground. The premises were closed in September 1939. In March 1947 the then trustees Winifred Jane Philpott JP, the wife of Alan Philpott, Gentleman, Barbara Duncan Harris JP, the wife of George Percy Harris of 24 Haling Park Road, Croydon, Gentleman and Priscilla Crosfield of 122 Mortlake Road, Kew Gardens, Richmond, Surrey, Spinster, conveyed the property to the Corporation, the declared intention being that it should be used as a Nursery School.

It had, during the war, been used as a Red Cross Centre but had been reopened as a Nursery School on 3 September 1946. In November 1953 the present Nursery School site off Elborough Road was purchased compulsorily by the Corporation from the South Suburban Co-operative Society Limited for 163100, the land having previously been used as tennis courts and having fallen into disuse. The building seems to have been used initially as an annexe to South Norwood Junior School Crosfield Nursery School moved into the premises in September 1962.

Croydon Adult Students Association

  • CB172
  • Corporate body
  • 1954

The following extract which is taken from the first News Sheet produced by the Croydon Adult Students Association dated January 1954 describes the aims and intentions of the association:

The purpose of this news sheet is to bring to the attention of members, and of prospective members attending adult evening classes in Croydon, information concerning the activities of the Croydon Adult Students Association. It will also, as far as possible, give news of public events such as concerts and exhibitions which may be of interest to readers.

Membership of the Association is open to those who are attending, or have attended, classes or Saturday schools in Croydon, and the annual subscription is one shilling. The aim of the association is to promote cultural and social activities of various kinds and some particulars of these are given below. The affairs of the Association are managed by a committee which consists partly of members elected at the annual general meeting, together with representatives of sections. The latter include a countryside club, a drama section and a badminton club, and in addition associated with appropriate classes, are the Croydon Cecilia Choir, the East Surrey Symphony Orchestra, and the East Surrey branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. Other sections may be formed as the demand rises. Members of classes are invited to join the Association and , for convenience, subscriptions may be paid through the Adult Education Office, 13 Katharine Street, Croydon.

There are no other known surviving records of the Croydon Adult Students Association and therefore the date it ceased is not known.

Croydon Amateur Boxing Club

  • CB183
  • Corporate body
  • 1928

Croydon Amateur Boxing Club was formed at a meeting on 23 November 1928, held at the Queens Club, Poplar Walk, West Croydon. The founder and first Chairman was Peter Seaton MBE, later to become President of the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA). He died on 29 April 1933, and was succeeded as Chairman by Frank Richards. Peter Seatons contribution to the club was recognised when a Memorial Fund was established for a new headquarters, to be named after him. The first President of the club was Colonel CG Allen: he was succeeded in September 1931 by Councillor EC Stuart-Baker.

The Club trained at both junior and senior levels. The juniors met on Thursday evenings at the British Legion Hall; the seniors met there on Tuesdays, and at the Queens Hall on Fridays. The first Annual Boxing Tournament took place on 27 March 1929 at the Central Baths Hall, Croydon, and became a regular event thereafter. The Club also took part in Inter - Club and Divisional Tournaments. In addition, charity displays were organised, for causes such as hospitals and the RAF Benevolent Fund.

The Club was always particularly strong at Junior Level. In December 1932 Jack Richards won the first gold medal for the Club in the 9st Schoolboy Championships of Great Britain: many further titles were subsequently won by other members.

The Club initially depended heavily on donations, both of money, and of equipment such as boxing gloves. The Taylor Cup was donated by John Taylor to be presented to the member of the Club gaining most points in competition boxing.

The Club colours were a light blue vest, and black shorts with a light blue stripe.

Croydon Board of Guardians

  • CB005
  • Corporate body
  • 1836 - 1930

Croydon Poor Law Union was established in 1836, under the terms of the Poor Law Amendment Act, 1834. It incorporated the parishes of Croydon, Addington, Beddington, Coulsdon, Merton, Mitcham, Morden, Sanderstead, and Woodmansterne; the hamlet of Penge; and, from 1866, the new parish of Wallington (created from part of Beddington). The Board of Guardians, elected by the ratepayers, was responsible for looking after the poor of this area. The Board of Guardians was abolished from 1 April 1930, under the terms of the Local Government Act, 1929. Its work was taken over by the County Borough of Croydon.

Croydon Book Society

  • CB175
  • Corporate body
  • 1788

Croydon Book Society dated its history from 1788 or earlier (at which date it seems to have met every fortnight or so in the winter months). It is described in Garrows History of Croydon (1818), pp206 - 7.

The Book Society. This like many others in different parts of the country, is an association for the desirable purpose of affording to many resepctable and well- informed persons, who may not have the means of procuring the numerous publications of the present day, the opportunity of perusing instructive and entertaining books. According to the rules of the society, every member pays 16322 per annum, as a contribution, for the purchase of such books as the society may approve; which of course every subscriber is entitled to read, but necessarily for a limited time. At the expiration of every year, there is a meeting of the society, at the Kings Arms, when the books are disposed of amongst the members, to each highest bidder.

It was essentially a private circulating library: it functioned by buying books and magazines from its subscription income, circulating them among its membership, and then selling them to raise some additional income. In the early twentieth century, an Annual Dinner to raise some additional income. In the early twentieth century, an Annual Dinner incorporating a business meeting was held in December or January (normally with the Vicar of Croydon in the Chair): from 1940, this became a simpler Annual Meeting. The Society was wound up in December 1953, when its membership had dropped to 11, and no new Secretary could be found [Croydon Advertiser, 30/10/1953 pp1;6].

Croydon Borough Council

  • CB122
  • Corporate body
  • 1883

Croydon was incorporated as a Borough by Royal Charter on 14th February 1883, earlier petitions for incorporation in 1691 and 1707 having been unsuccessful. The first election under the charter was held on June 1st 1883, and first meeting of the Borough Council took place on June 9th 1883. It consisted of 49 members representing 6 wards. Croydon was granted arms, bearing the motto Sanitate crenescamus (Let us increase in health), in 1886. In 1889, under the Local Government Act of 1888, it was the only town in Surrey to be granted the status of a County Borough, retaining control of, among others, its own highways, education and public health services. Under the 1963 London Government Act Croydon became a London Borough, absorbing the Urban District of Coulsdon and Purley. It lost control of its fire brigade, ambulance service, vehicle licensing, refuse and sewage disposal, and strategic planning. Elections were held on 7th May 1964, and the first meeting of the London Borough Council of Croydon took place on 20th May 1964. Its powers came into force on 1st April 1965.

Croydon Branch of the Historical Association

  • CB178
  • Corporate body
  • 1906

The Historical Association is an independent national charity which has been supporting history since 1906. It has over 6,000 members representing teachers, academics, local historians and history enthusiasts. It has a strong national voice in secondary school education and advises on National Curriculum History at all levels.

It has over 50 local branches around the country, promoting life long learning and enjoyment of history. Branches have a lively series of talks by well-known historians, local walks and visits to places of historic interest.

Croydon Branch was formed in Feb 1955 but does not now exist. Details of current branches can be found on the associations website at

Croydon Centre for Unemployed Men

  • CB161
  • Corporate body
  • 1932

The Croydon Occupational Centre for Unemployed Men opened in 1932 was one of the first occupational centres in the country to open, and did so temporarily in the old Whitgift Middle School building in Church Road. For a short period in 1934 the centre was housed in the British Legion Hall on the London Road, until their new premises at Robin House, 6 Morland Road were ready in December 1934. These premises had formerly been an Industrial School and Detention Home. Within the second year of operation, it was decided to omit the word Occupational from the centres title, making it the Croydon Centre for Unemployed Men.

Soon after opening, the centre was seeing almost 300 men a day. Activities within the centre developed the mens skills in carpentry, cooking, gardening, cleaning, gardening and maintenance. The centre also had a library and reading room, guest lectures, and sports and games facilities available to the men. The centre operated with the help of volunteers and helpers. It was funded mainly by annual subscriptions.

In November 1936 a Womens Section of the centre started up in the Methodist Church Hall in Parchmore Road, providing a meeting place for the wives of the unemployed men. They organized drives and fund raising for the Centre, and by the outbreak of the Second World War had moved to Robin House.

The Centre received two royal visits in June 1933, from Edward, Prince of Wales and Prince George. Edwards visit was an informal one but George included the centre in his tour of the borough, which was a part of the celebrations for the Jubilee of Croydons Incorporation. During the visit he toured the building and its facilities, and also chatted with the men at the centre. (Croydon Times 10th June 1933).

The 1943 Annual Report mentions that funds were low, and it probably closed soon afterwards. By 1955 the building was in use as a Corporation Day Nursery.

Croydon Christian Free Church

  • CB263
  • Corporate body
  • 1870 - 1960

The congregation bought the 'Iron Church' (formerly a Baptist Church) in Wellesley Road. It was opened as the Free Christian Church on 11 December 1870. The freehold of the land was bought in 1875.
Subsequently, a new, permanent, church was built on the same site: the memorial stone was laid on 20 April 1883, and it was formerly opened on 17 November 1883. The 'Iron Church' had been moved to the rear of the new building: it was renamed the Social Room, and was put to regular use for soirees, dances, children's parties, etc. The Church attracted a relatively small, educated, middle class congregation, and its early ministers included several capable intellectuals. However, relations between minister and congregation were sometimes turbulent. EM Geldart, after some years as a popular minister, antagonised many of his congregation when he began to preach a doctrine of Social Democracy: the strain affected his health, and he died in mysterious circumstances soon afterwards.
His successor, CJ Street, resigned over differences of opinion with the congregation; WM Weston was criticised for some of his views (notably an address advocating the abolition of the traditional home), and resigned to re-join the Roman Catholic Church; and WW Chynoweth Pope was asked to resign following a difficult period of declining attendances. Only after the appointment of GC Sharpe in 1921 did relations become more consistently harmonious. Among the prominent early members of the congregation were Henry Moore and his family. In 1906 his son, H Keatley Moore, paid an official visit during his term of office as Mayor. The church was badly damaged during World War 2; and this, combined with the town centre redevelopments, led to a new church and hall being built in Friends Road in 1958. In 1960 the Church was renamed the Unitarian and Free Christian Church.

Rev RR Suffield 1870-1877
Rev EM Geldart 1878-1885
Rev CJ Street 1886-1892
Rev JP Hopps 1892-1903
Rev WJ Jupp 1904-1911
Dr WM Weston 1911-1916
Rev WW Chynoweth Pope 1917-1920
Rev GC Sharpe 1921-1937
Rev RPD Thomas 1937-1946
Rev AB Downing 1947-1949
Rev JP Chalk 1949-1961
Rev G Kereki 1961-1984
Rev P Giles 1984-1985
Rev S Dick 1985-1996
Rev V Marshall 1996-1997
Rev E. H. Birtles 1999-2006

For a history of the church, see:
FW Moore, Croydon Free Christian Church: its early days (typescript, 1923) held in the Local History Collection at S70(288)CRO;
Jeremy Morris, Religion and Urban Change (1992), pp97-100
Roger Thomas, The first hundred years of the of the Unitarian and Free Christian Church in Croydon 1870-1970, S70 (280) CRO.
An illuminated address presented to Thomas Mathews, Treasurer and Secretary of the Church, is held at AR69.

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