19 February, 2012

Croydon on a fine day

A visit to Croydon to fill in a gap on my London photograph map. It's not easy to get pictures of Croydon because of the crowds, and there are few historic buildings, but some striking skyscrapers. Croydon Parish church houses the tomb of John Whitgift, former Archbishop of Canterbury, who endowed the Hospital of the Holy Trinity, better known as the Whitgift Almshouses. The residents of the Hospital must be over the age of sixty, of modest circumstances, communicant members of the Church of England and come from either the parishes of Lambeth or Croydon or the County of Kent to comply with the terms of Whitgift's will.

Croydon was extensively redeveloped in the 1960s and the oldest building in the Town centre is the Kentucky Fried Chicken, which dates from even before the alms houses. There's no picture because it looks like a nineteenth century pastiche but you eat your fried chicken in a medieval hall.
The electricity and gas companies both had imposing offices now used for different purposes

and the college carries sculptures of both Minerva (goddess of learning) and Vulcan (god of fire).

Culture is not neglected and the Fairfield Halls provide entertainment and recreation to Croydoners and others, I used to go there for co-operative meetings and it is a fine venue with two theatres and lots of committee rooms.

There are still one or two firms who find Croydon convenient as a place to work

but the council must also take the credit for a skyscraper - Taberner House which was built between 1964 and 1967. Croydon took in Coulsdon and Purley Urban District Council in 1965 so new accommodation would be needed. The 19-storey building has its elegant upper slab block narrowing towards both ends. I think it looks quite elegant.

Not easy to get a picture of though.
Croydon council, in years gone by at least, put religion at the centre as this plaque over the door to the library shows.

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