Friday 19 November 2021

History, Architecture and Timber Windows in Croydon, Greater London

Croydon was originally part of Wallington in Surrey.  The town was situated on the road from London to Portslade and there is some evidence that there may have been a small Roman settlement in the area.

However, the first recorded mention of a settlement in Croydon dates back to 1086, when Croydon was recorded as having a church, a mill and around 365 residents.

In the Middle Ages, Croydon grew as a market town.  In 1276 Archbishop Robert Kilwardby acquired a charter for a market and the Surrey Street Market, which is still going strong today, began trading.  During the Middle Ages the town was also home to charcoal production, leather tanning and brewing industries.

The popularity of Brighton helped Croydon grow in importance, with the town being a popular stop on the journey to and from London.

In 1803, the Surrey Iron Railway from Croydon to Wandsworth opened and was the world’s first public railway.  In the mid-19th Century, the town was a popular leisure destination for London’s Victorian society and was home to a spa and pleasure gardens, designed by Decimus Burton who was one of England’s most prominent architects.  The spa later closed in 1856, before it was destroyed in a fire in 1936.

Horse racing also took place from 1860 on a course at Park Hill, followed by races at Woodside from 1866.  However, horse racing ceased in 1890.

In 1883, Croydon became a borough, before becoming a county borough in 1889.

By the early 20th century, Croydon was an important industrial area, known for car manufacture, metal working and Croydon Airport, which opened in 1920.  Until World War II, Croydon was the location of London’s main local airport.  However, after the war, Heathrow became the main airport and Croydon Airport declined in popularity, before closing for good in 1959.

In the mid-20th Century retail and the service economy brought large redevelopment to the area and Croydon was amalgamated into Greater London in 1965.

Addington Palace

The Georgian Palladian style building, Addington Palace, was built in the late 1700s after the estate was purchased by Alderman Barlow Trecothick in 1768.

By 1807 the mansion had become the exclusive country retreat for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the building was home to six archbishops between 1807 and 1898.

A chapel, library, and other apartments were added by Henry Harrison in 1829-30.  The Palace was then sympathetically altered by the architect Richard Norman Shaw, who added several additional features, including the Great Hall.

During World War I the estate served as a Red Cross building, before becoming the Golf Course Club House in the mid-1920s and then home to the Royal School of Church Music between 1953 and 1996.

Today, the Grade II* listed 18th Century building is a hospitality and wedding venue and still has several timber sash windows.

The Parish Church (Croydon Minster)

Croydon Minster, previously known as The Parish Church, is believed to date back to the Saxon times and was mentioned in the Domesday Book.

Over the years the Church regularly received Royal visitors, including King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.

The building was remodelled in the 1850s before it was destroyed in a fire in 1867, leaving only the tower, south porch, and outer walls.

After the old Church was destroyed, a new Church was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, a famous Victorian architect.  The new design, incorporating some of the medieval remains, re-opened in 1870.

Although the town is today situated in the Diocese of Southwark, the Church is the burial place of six Archbishops of Canterbury.

Today the building is Grade I listed and is the parish and civic church of the London Borough of Croydon.

Elizabethan Whitgift Almshouses

Between 1596 and 1599, the Elizabethan Whitgift Almshouses were built in the centre of Croydon at the corner of North End and George Street.  The buildings were built after Archbishop John Whitgift petitioned for and received permission from Queen Elizabeth I to create a hospital and school in Croydon for people from the parishes of Croydon and Lambeth.

The hospital, or Almshouses, were built to provide accommodation for between 28 and 40 people, along with a school and schoolmaster’s house.  The building was designed to have a courtyard surrounded by the various buildings.

The Almshouses were almost demolished in 1923, due to reconstruction and road widening plans, however an intervention of the House of Lords saw them saved.

On 21 June 1983 Queen Elizabeth II visited the Almshouses and unveiled a plaque celebrating the history of the building.  Today, it operates as a care home for the elderly.

Timber Windows in Croydon (CR0)

With its rich history, timber casement windows and sash windows can still be spotted on various period properties in Croydon (CR0).

The borough is home to several conservation areas, including Beulah Hill, Central Croydon, The Waldrons and Upper Norwood Triangle.  There are also over 150 statutory listed buildings, helping preserve the local heritage for future generations.

At The Sash Window Workshop, we have extensive experience working in period properties in Croydon, including in conservation areas and listed buildings.  We offer a range of services from the complete replacement of timber windows and doors to draught proofing timber windows.

We are proud to manufacture all our own windows and doors in the UK and were recently awarded Which? Trusted Trader of the Month, highlighting our high-quality products and customer service.

To arrange a free, no obligation visit and quotation for your home, contact us today on 01344 868 668.

Victorian window architecture