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Authority record

Grant Bros.

  • CB186
  • Corporate body
  • 1877

Grants department store was founded by Mr Richard Grant and his brother Mr William Grant in 1877, as a modest drapery business at no. 17 Croydon High Street (then No. 8). The family lived above the shop, but within a few years they needed to expand the shop into the back garden. Later still, the shop expanded into part of the Greyhound Inn. In order to prevent the prospering business from further expansion, local traders bought the adjoining property, causing the Grant family to buy No. 16, over the road for their expansion.

When the High Street was widened, the store was rebuilt over the road, (the West side) in Numbers 14,16, 18 and 22. soon afterward they bought Numbers 20, 24 ,28, 28, 30 and 30A.

By this time the store had over 60 departments, including Hairdressing Salons, China, Glass, Hardware, Restaurants, and outside catering.

Richard Grant died aged 75 in January 1924.

The stores next expansion, in October 1929, was just behind the store, near Surrey Street, and was opened in October 1931.

William Grant died on the 3rd of March 1931 aged 79. William and Richard Grant left behind 3 sons between them, R. Donald Grant, W. H. Goss Grant, and Sidney T. Grant, who all ran the store together after their fathers deaths.

In 1959 Grants became a public limited company.

In 1960, when the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Croydon, the Grants store provided the afternoon tea, which was hosted by the mayor.

The Grant family sold the store in 1983, and it finally closed in 1987.

Anderson, John Corbet (17 January 1827 - 3 January 1907)

  • Person
  • (17 January 1827 - 3 January 1907)

John Corbet Anderson was a leading historian of Croydon in the nineteenth century. He was educated in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. Showing a keen interest in art from a young age, Anderson submitted a cartoon sketch to an exhibition in Westminster Hall in 1843 called ‘The Plague of London 1655’. He moved to Liverpool in 1846 and worked as a portrait painter. Anderson moved to Croydon in 1852, living with his sisters on Duppas Hill. He married Frances Goddard in 1855 and following her death in 1861, married Sarah Goddard in 1864 with whom he had seven sons. Anderson contributed cricketing lithographs in ‘Sketches at Lord's’; between 1850 and 1860 he drew lithographs of 39 different players. In 1859 he published 'To India and Back by the Cape by a Traveller', despite having never visited India. Five years later he published 'Shropshire: its early history and antiquities'. He also contributed to ‘English Landscapes and Views’ (1883) by Roberts and Leete, wrote the footnotes for the updated version of Joseph Nash’s 'The Mansions of England in the Olden time', illustrated ‘Biblical Monuments’ by William Harris Rule, wrote ‘Old Testament and Monumental Coincidences’ (1895), and edited ‘The Family of Leete, with special reference to the genealogy of Joseph Leete’ (1881).

Anderson’s first book on Croydon – ‘Monuments and Antiquities of Croydon Church in the County of Surrey’ – was published in 1855. The book traced the history of the parish church from the 14th century to the restoration undertaken in the 1850s. In 1871 he wrote ‘Monuments and Antiquities of the old parish church of St John Baptist of Croydon, in the County of Surrey, which was destroyed by fire on the night of January the fifth’, and ‘The parish church as it was rebuilt during the years mdcclxii-ix after the design of G. Gilbert Scott, R. A.’ He also wrote ‘Chronicle of the Parish of Croydon’, the first volume of which was ‘Croydon: Pre-Historic & Roman’ (1874). The second volume was ‘Saxon Croydon’ (1877) which covers finds such as human remains in Park Street, under Whitgift’s almshouses and at Farthing Downs. The third volume was ‘Croydon Old Church: Parish Register and the Whitgift Charity’, followed by the final volume on ‘The Archiepiscopal Palace at Croydon’ (1879). Anderson’s next book on Croydon was published in 1882, ‘A Short Chronicle concerning the Parish of Croydon’, followed by ‘A Descriptive and Historical Guide to Croydon Surrey’ in 1887. His final book, ‘The Great North Wood: with a Geological, topographical and Historical description of Upper Norwood, West & South Norwood, in the County of Surrey’, was published in 1898.

Anderson died on 3rd January 1907 and was buried five days later in Queen’s Road Cemetery in Croydon, where his grave still stands.

Byron Family

  • F009
  • Family
  • 1755-1962

The Bryons were Lords of the Manor and residents of Coulsdon from the purchase of the Manor in 1782 until the sale of the estate and its dispersal in 1921.

Thomas (1) had no children and the manor was inherited by his nephew, Thomas (2) (1772-1845) before passing to the eldest son, Thomas (3) (1809-1863). Thomas married his cousin, Julia Jeffreys (1813-1899), daughter of Thomas’s aunt, Charlotte, who married Revd. John Jeffreys. Thomas and Julia are the first members of the family to feature significantly in the Byron Collection AR1057.

Thomas and Julia’s only child, Edmund (1843-1921) inherited the estate in 1863. He married Charlotte Jeffreys (1845-1908) in 1867. This was also a first cousin marriage into the Jeffreys family, Charlotte being the daughter of her Edmund’s uncle, Gen. Edmund Jeffreys. Consequently, they, and their five children who survived into adulthood (one daughter died at the age of 5) and the grandchildren, features relatively prominently in the Byron Collection

The manor and all the estate were sold and dispersed upon Edmund’s death in 1921 with his children as the primary inheritors.

The children of Edmund and Charlotte were:
Lucy (1868-1967), who married Theodore Hall Hall. They had one child, Owen.

Thomas (1869-1940), who did not marry. Emigrated to Canada.

Cecil (1870-1911), who married Katharine McAfee. They emigrated to Canada. Two children died in infancy; one son survived into adulthood, Arthur (1906-1984). Arthur wrote a family history, which was privately printed and a copy is held by Croydon Museum and Archives.

Eric (1875-1964), who married Margaret Daisy Robinson. Eric stayed in England; he is the main recipient of personal family letters held by the archive and he is the one who essentially amassed and preserved the Byron archives. He donated an important archive to the Museum of Croydon in 1934, AR384.
Eric and Margaret Daisy had three children. The oldest, Robert (1905-1941), did not marry. He was a renowned author of travel books, art historian and political campaigner; the second was Anne (1909-1977), who married Percy Charlesworth; and the youngest was Lucy (1912-2009). It was Lucy who took on custodianship of the archive.

Mary Eva (1880-1964), who married Charles Hilton. Eva was the youngest child of Edmund and Charlotte. Eva and Charles had no children.

Lucy Byron later married Ewan Butler (married 1934-1955) and Ewan’s brother, Rohan (married 1956); Lucy and Ewan had three daughters, the youngest of whom, Setitia (1946-2017), donated the archive (AR1057) to Croydon Museum over 2010-2012. Following her death, her husband, Anthony Simmonds, assumed any copyright issues relating to the Byron papers and archives.

Family trees are available in:
• Elliott, Nigel (2020) The Byrons of Coulsdon: Abroad and at Home, Bourne Society, Surrey, p.XIX.
• Scales, Ian (2000) ‘The Byrons of Coulsdon’ in Ian Scales (ed.) Bourne Society Village Histories 5: Coulsdon, Bourne Society, Surrey, p.48. These two family trees serve to complement each other in the periods covered. The volume by Elliott has a specific focus on the Byron archive, drawing extensively upon it.
• The Museum of Croydon holds a copy of a handwritten and comprehensive family tree running from the seventeenth century through to the 1970s/1990s, including the ties with the Jeffreys family. This was produced as a working research document and may be used in conjunction with the published family trees.
• Byron, Arthur (1982) A Short History of the Byron and Jeffrey Families, privately printed. This work may also be consulted for reference. The book is primarily text based rather than providing family trees but it takes the reader through the generations of these two families in a structured manner. A copy is held by the Museum of Croydon.

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.

Southern Pathfinders

  • CB191
  • Corporate body
  • 1931

The Southern Pathfinders (often called 'Sopats') were a Croydon-based rambling club, founded in March 1931 by Victor Morecroft of Addiscombe. Early members were recruited through a letter published in the Croydon Advertiser, and at the end of the first year there were 111 members. The club disbanded during World War II, but was revived in 1946. Regular rambles, generally in Surrey, Sussex and Kent, were organised; and there were also night walks, tours lasting several days, and (until 1969) purely social events. The club is still active in 1997.

The Club was affiliated to various national countryside bodies, including the National Council of Ramblers Associations (afterwards the Ramblers Association), and the Youth Hostels Association. It was at a meeting organised by the club in December 1933 that the Croydon YHA, the first independent branch of the national organisation, was initiated.

Victor Morecroft (1899-1984) was the founder and first Hon Secretary of the club. He left in 1934; but returned in 1953 to become Chairman, then Vice-President from 1955, and President from 1977 until his death in 1984. Herbert Gatliff (1897-1977), a high-ranking but eccentric civil servant with numerous country interests, served as the first Chairman, and later as President, until his death in 1977: he devised the club motto, 'We wont go cosy'. Another important figure was Harold Ockenden (1908-1988), who succeeded Morecroft as Secretary in 1934, became Treasurer in 1946, and Vice-President from 1969 until his death in 1988: for most of this period, he also continued to act as Secretary.

Woodside Swimming Club

  • CB184
  • Corporate body
  • 1887

The Club was founded on 4 May 1887, although its earliest minute book has not survived. It went into abeyance during World War 2 (1940-1946). In January 1980, the Club merged with Thornton Heath Ladies Swimming Club, to become Woodside and Thornton Heath Swimming Club. The Club was based until 1940 at South Norwood Baths (Birchanger Road). The Baths were closed in April 1940, and never re-opened. After the Club was revived in 1946, it was based at Thornton Heath Baths (High Street, Thornton Heath).

The Clubs activities included racing and other competitive events, water polo, and an annual 'Entertainment' (consisting of serious and light-hearted competitions). Prominent members of the Club at various dates included Alderman Alfred T Layton; Sidney Herbert MP (afterwards Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery); Frederick Foss; Sir Thomas Edridge; Sir FT Edridge; FC Venn; HP Venn; Percy Phipps; WH Hoveman; Maurice Riesco; and RFA Riesco.

Womens International League

  • CB141
  • Corporate body
  • 1917

The Womens International League (in full, the Womens International League for Peace and Freedom) was founded in the Hague in 1915. The Croydon and District Branch was established in about November 1917. The League was based on the principles of 'right rather than might', and of co-operation rather than conflict in national and international affairs. Its convictions were broadly internationalist, pacifist (in favour of disarmament) and humanitarian: the specific details of its policies and interests varied from time to time.

The Branch organised lectures (ranging from travelogues to overtly political meetings), and fundraising events; and it was periodically involved in political lobbying. The Annual General Meeting was normally held in March, April or May. The Branch was wound up as a formal body in June 1976, although there was a proposal that it should continue as an informal discussion group.

The principal officers were:

Presidents: Miss Theodora E Clark (1920-1927)

Mrs Hugh Crosfield (1927-1933)

Mrs Benham (1933-1937)

Miss M Glazier (1937-1949)

Mrs Alan Philpott JP (1950-1951)

Mrs BW Thomas JP (1951-1956)

Mrs Ritchie Calder (1956-1962)

Mrs (Dr) Cynthia Harris JP (1962-1965)

Mrs CE Checker (1965-1968)

Miss Dorothy L Bing (1969-1976)

Chairmen: Mrs Barbara Duncan Harris (1919-1920)

Mrs Lucy Backhouse (1920-1921)

Miss Lucy F Morland (1921-1922)

Mrs de Jastrzebski (1922-1924)

Mrs I MacGregor Ross (1924-1925)

Miss Lucy F Morland (1925-1926)

Mrs BW Thomas (1926-1927)

Mrs Barbara Duncan Harris (1927-1931)

Miss Edith L Hayler (1931-1935)

Mrs Mary Grindley (1935-1937)

Miss Edith L Hayler (1937-[1938])

Mrs Olive E Berwick Sayers (1947-1948)

Mrs MH Kinnish (1948-1949)

Mrs Phyllis G Mitchiner (1949-1951) [resigned over the issue of rearmament]

Mrs MH Kinnish (1951-2)

Mrs Elsie Wise (1952-3)

Mrs Olive E Berwick Sayers (1953-7)

Mrs MH Kinnish (1957-1967)

Mrs SE Humphreys (1967-1976)

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