Croydon is a large town located in south London, England. It is the seat of the London Borough of Croydon, and is one of the largest commercial areas in Greater London. The city is home to a wide range of shops, and a lively night economy. There are many museums and attractions in the city, as well as a large sports complex.
The town’s name is derived from the Old French word croie dune, meaning “chalk hill”. It is located on the northern edge of the chalk hills known as the North Downs. The area is a major centre for both the labour and temperance movements. In the early nineteenth century, Croydon was a thriving commercial district of London. Public houses were the sites of early labour meetings. However, Croydon also had a strong temperance movement. Georgina King Lewis, an early member of the Croydon United Temperance Council, set up a dry center for the labour movement in the town. Learn more.
The town is home to several political parties. The Conservative Party controls the council, with approximately 45% of seats being held by Conservatives. The Lib Dems hold just one seat in the town. Croydon Borough Council is divided into 24 wards, and all of the seats on the council were up for re-election in the 2006 local elections. The Conservatives took 10 seats from Labour and one from the Liberal Democrats. This makes the Conservatives the majority party in Croydon.
Croydon has several theatres, and many community arts groups. The town has a large, landscaped green space that is adjacent to the town hall and Clocktower art centre. It is also home to several small comedy venues and community arts groups. The Spread Eagle Theatre is a modern 50-seat studio theatre, which collaborates with the Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham.
The city’s history dates back to the 18th century, when the town became an important stop for stage coaches. The town was also the endpoint of two early commercial transport links with London. The Surrey Iron Railway arrived in Croydon in 1803, and it was extended to Merstham in 1805. The Croydon, Merstham and Godstone Railway followed in 1809. The Croydon Canal branched off the Grand Surrey Canal at Deptford. Later, in 1839, the London and Croydon Railway began running between London Bridge and West Croydon.
The town is also home to several historic buildings. The Croydon Town Hall is the city’s third town hall, which was built in 1895. The town’s first town hall was built in 1566, and the second one was constructed in 1808 and demolished in 1895. The current town hall was designed by local architect Charles Henman and was officially opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales on 19 May 1896. The building is built of red brick from Wrotham in Kent, with green Westmorland slates used for the roof.
In the past, Croydon was a bustling market town. It was the gateway between Brighton and London, and was home to the Surrey Iron Railway. In 1809, it was followed by the Croydon Canal and then the London and Croydon Railway. In the early twentieth century, Croydon opened an aerodrome, which operated until 1959. Sadly, this historic site was badly damaged during World War II. The last scheduled flight to Croydon departed from Croydon on 30 September 1959.