Croydon’s proud history

Croydon has a rich heritage – here is a snapshot of some of the key moments in the town’s history

  • 1086 It was recorded as having a church, a mill and 365 inhabitants in the Domesday Book
  • 1276 Archbishop Robert Kilwardby acquired a charter where Surrey Street Market still operates today
  • 1596 The Whitgift Almshouses, which still stand next to the Whitgift Shopping Centre, was built by Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift, providing education and care for the elderly.
  • 1803 The horse-drawn Surrey Iron Railway from Croydon to Wandsworth opened, becoming the world’s first public railway
  • 1807 The first of six archbishops lived at Addington Palace, where they were based until it was sold in 1898
  • 1809 The 9.5-mile Croydon Canal opened. Although it is long gone, South Norwood Lake is the former reservoir for the canal.
  • 1849 Croydon became one of the first towns in the country to develop a public health infrastructure featuring a reservoir, water supply network and sewers
  • 1851 Building began on the Surrey Street Pumping Station, in Exchange Square, which Guildhouse Rosepride are planning to bring back to life
  • 1867 A great fire destroyed the parish church, now Croydon Minster, which was redesigned by Sir George Gilbert Scott and opened in 1870
  • 1920 Croydon airport opened. It was the main airport for London before World War II and remains a landmark of historical significance today
  • 1956 The Croydon Corporation Act was passed, leading to the building of new offices and road schemes throughout the 1950s and 1960s
  • 1962 Fairfield Halls was opened
  • 1970 The 50p building, now known as No.1 Croydon, was completed
  • 1990 Crystal Palace FC reached the FA Cup final
  • 2000 Croydon Tramlink, the only tram network in the capital, began operating
  • 2004 Centrale shopping centre opened
  • 2013 Westfield and Hammerson announced a £1.5billion plan to redevelop the 1960s Whitgift Shopping Centre