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Authority record

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.

MINISTERS:
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)

Thornton Heath Ratepayers Association

  • CB138
  • Corporate body
  • 1893

Thornton Heath Ratepayers Association was in existence by 1893. In 1947 it was renamed the Thornton Heath Ratepayers Residents Association; and it survived until at least the late 1960s. Like other Ratepayers Associations, it was a local community body for Thornton Heath ward which put forward candidates for election to Croydon Borough Council. It claimed to be 'non-sectarian and non-political', but was broadly anti-socialist; and it believed in 'a co-operative effort to secure the best representation and the maximum efficiency of administration in the interest of all'. It was a member of the Croydon Federation of Ratepayers Associations. It had a junior section, called the Venturas Club.

In general, the Associations meetings concerned themselves with the selection of election candidates; discussions about local amenities; and the organisation of social, fundraising, and philanthropic events.

The Associations principal officers and representatives on the Council over this period were:

Presidents: WJ Palmer (1929)-1930

EEL Arkell 1930-1946

DG Stewart 1946-1948

JW Dowsett 1948-1949

FS Martin 1949-1950

P Durrant 1950-1951

Mrs VT Davies 1951-(1952)

Hon Secs: TJH Pitman (1929)-1935

JE Herod 1935-1937

WG Morris 1937-1941

Mrs Morris 1941-1943

Mrs VT Davies 1943-1946

John Davies 1946-1947

Mrs Rodda 1947-1948

FS Martin 1948-1949

JB Pickles 1949-(1952)

Councillors: John Hicks 1921-1929

WJ Little 1922-1923

Dr C Owen Fowler 1922-1928

WJ Palmer 1923-1926

EEL Arkell 1926-1941; elected Alderman 1941

[Mrs MCL Cullis unsuccessful candidate 1928]

[TW Manley unsuccessful candidate 1929]

WH Parry 1930-1936

M Lynch 1931-1947

HW Anderton 1936-1940

DG Stewart 1940-1945; 1946-1956; elected Alderman 1956

F Harding 1942-1945

[JEW Robinson unsuccessful candidate 1945]

JW Dowsett 1947-1954

Frank S Martin 1949-1952

The Croydon Writers Circle

  • CB145
  • Corporate body
  • 1945

The Croydon Writers Circle was founded in June 1945 on the initiative of Nancy Martin (who became the first Secretary), and with the active support of WC Berwick Sayers, Chief Librarian of Croydon (who became the first Chairman). Cyril Spackman, a local sculptor, offered his Studio in Edridge Road, free of charge, as a meeting place and headquarters. The aim of the society was to 'unite writers in the Croydon area for mutual assistance in the art of authorship, the discussion of its theory and practice and the disposal of literary work'.

The Circle began with 30-40 members; but by the time it reached its sixth year there were 104 members, and it was the second largest such circle in the country. It had many honorary members, who included Agnes Allen, John Gordon (editor of the Sunday Express) and Cicely Mary Barker (author of the Flower Fairy books).

Monthly meetings were and are held and so are group meetings for the purpose of reading and criticising members manuscripts. As a result of the society many books, scripts and articles etc. have been published. They also sponsored and organised Croydons first Authors Book Week in 1949. They regularly hold exhibitions of members work and hold meetings with famous guest speakers. Many of their members have won awards for their work and have become prolific authors as a result of the circle.

The Circle changed its name to the Croydon and District Writers Circle in 1985.

South Norwood Ladies Swimming Club

  • CB127
  • Corporate body
  • 1883

South Norwood Ladies Swimming Club was formed in 1883 after a meeting at 'Sunnyside', South Norwood Park, the residence of Charles Horsley. This resulted in the inauguration of a club which, from the end of the nineteenth century until 1914, was the largest ladies swimming club in England, with a membership of over two hundred. At the time of its dissolution in 1934, after 51 years, it was also the oldest club of its kind. The club was based at the South Norwood Baths (Birchanger Road), and played a large part in the campaign for their modernisation from a small open-air bath to an enlarged covered facility, completed in 1913. Every year various activities were organised, including racing, other competitive events and the annual Entertainment (consisting of serious and light-hearted events). This did not take place during the years 1916-1919, when the Admiralty was using the baths to store the furniture of soldiers away fighting. Because of the War, membership of the Club fell from around 200 to 50 and never fully recovered. The problem was exacerbated by the coal strike in 1921 which meant that the baths were once again closed and the Entertainment had to be cancelled, whilst other clubs continued to function as normal; and also by changes in the district and the lack of younger members coming up to replace the Seniors. In 1934, with membership down to 33, the decision was taken to dissolve the Club.

During its existence, the Club attached great importance to the teaching of life-saving techniques, and a total of 157 awards from the Royal Life-Saving Society were gained by members. In addition, it was notable for being the first club to use a musical swimming drill; and for leading the way in the adoption of a practical ladies swimming costume.

The Honorary Secretaries of the club were:

Mrs. Horsley (1 year) 1883-1884

Mrs. Botterill (1 year) 1884-1885

Mrs. Lynch (3 years) 1885-1888

Mrs. Frederic Cooper (4 years) 1888-1892

Miss Mabel Cooper (7 years) 1892-1899

Miss Fannie Moore (26 years) 1899-1925

Mrs. Stuart Carter (1 year) 1925-1926

Mrs. Tom Sutton (7 years) 1926-1933

Miss Fannie Moore (1 year) 1933-1934

Sanderstead Preservation Society

  • CB124
  • Corporate body
  • 1961

The Sanderstead Preservation Society was formed on Sunday 16 April 1961, when 19 local residents called a meeting to discuss opposition to the reported intention of the Coulsdon and Purley Urban District Council to develop land adjoining Sanderstead Pond for a clinic. The residents present felt that a specialist body was needed, as the Sanderstead Residents Association would not be able to focus its attention entirely on the problem. The S.P.S. was therefore founded, its stated purposes being 'the preservation and good development of Sanderstead, its natural beauty and its buildings of historical and architectural interest'. The society was non-political, non-religious and non-profit-making. In addition, the committee made it clear that the society was not in competition with the Sanderstead Residents Association, there being a member from each society sitting on the committee of the other.

The first campaign of the S.P.S. was a success. Canvassing of the whole of the Sanderstead area resulted in a petition of 1200 signatures, which led to plans for the development of the land next to Sanderstead Pond being dropped. The society also managed to protect the same land (called the Gruffy) when it was threatened by a car park, by providing an alternative site at the old Express Dairy. It was greatly responsible, in 1968, for the eventual designation of the Gruffy as an open space for all time, along with Kings Wood, Sanderstead Plantation and Croham Hurst.

Representatives from the S.P.S. attended development appeals and made suggestions for the future of the district. As well as opposing planning proposals, the society played a large part in nature conservation in Sanderstead - for example, the protection of old trees and the planting of new ones. It was also responsible for the clearing out of Sanderstead Pond, the organisation of a new, pumped, water supply, and the improvement of the surrounding area. Not all campaigns, however, were successful. The Society failed to remove Sanderstead from Greater London, and to block plans for a roundabout at the top of Sanderstead Hill.

The society published a book in 1972 called The Story of Sanderstead, by Basil H. Tripp; and, in 1970, instigated the week long Sanderstead Festival. The S.P.S. was affiliated to the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, the Surrey Amenity Council, the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society and the Civic Trust.

The Presidents of the Sanderstead Preservation Society were Godfrey Talbot, a well-known B.B.C. reporter and commentator who lived in Sanderstead, from 1961-1975; followed by G.S. Smart (1975-?).

Rogers

  • F001
  • Family
  • 1859 - 1958

The Rogers family originally came from Beckenham. Edward Rogers (1836-1924) set up business as a corn merchant in Thornton Heath in about 1880 (at 71 Thornton Heath; renumbered 280 London Road in 1889; and also known as the Unicorn Granaries). The business was taken over in about 1889 by two of his sons, Edward William Rogers (1864-1958) and S Rogers [Stephen or Sydney]: its name changed to EW S Rogers in about 1894, although in fact S Rogers retired from the partnership only a year or so later. In about 1895, the business opened a retail shop at 62 High Street, Croydon. The London Road premises were seriously damaged by fire in 1895, and again in 1902. In the twentieth century, the firm came to specialise in seeds and horticultural supplies. The High Street shop moved a few doors to 72 High Street in 1921; and the London Road premises (renumbered 516 in 1927) were given up in about 1931. The business closed in 1957. EW Rogers died a few months later, in April 1958.

Alice Maria Skinner (c1866-1908) was the daughter of James Arthur Skinner (1839-1907) - a builder, and Mayor of Eastbourne in the 1890s. She grew up in Eastbourne, and went to school in Tunbridge Wells, but regularly visited relations and friends in Croydon. She married Edward William Rogers (her cousin) in 1893, and lived in Croydon for the rest of her life. They had a daughter, Mildred Elizabeth Rogers ('Millie'), born in 1894. Alice died in April 1908. EW Rogers was subsequently married a second time, to Kate Beatrice [--] (c1885-1922).

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