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History of South Norwood

The earliest reference to South Norwood may be found in the document in the Minister's of Bailiffs Account of the Chauntry of St Nicholas 3, during Edward IV reign (1442-1483) that a rent of 33 shillings and four pence was paid annually for a place called "Cholmerden". This was a coppice of woodland later known as the ''Goat House", which was situated in the area now known as "Sunnybank". All the area including Woodside was once part of the Great "Northwood" and the origin of Norwood came from the village of that name.

A 1678 map of the time shows an area of 19 acres with a house and barn called "Shelverdine" alias "Goat House". Also shown are gateways to the woodland at Selhurst spelt "Cellors" at Whitehorse Road and possibly at Harrington Road.

19 July 1797 an act of Parliament for Dividing and Alloting the Common lands of Croydon was given the Royal Assent.

22 October 1809, the Grand Surrey Canal was opened, starting at New Cross and finishing at Croydon. The canal passed through South Norwood. One of the two reservoirs needed to keep the canal supplied with water was built in the area, which today is known as Norwood Lakes.

1836 the Grand Surrey Canal closed, and work commenced on the construction of the railway utilising much of the old bed of the canal. The first station at South Norwood was called the "Jolly Sailor". Two bridges were constructed, The Goat House and also the bridge over Portland Road.

1848 records show there were only two wooden cottages in the High Street.

1850 onwards, development was beginning in Portland Road.

1852, St Mark's Church, Albert Road, was constructed.

1858 - 1890, Croydon races were run at Selhurst Farm, now known as Heavers Farm. From 1866 to their closure in 1890 they continued to run at Stroud Green. Woodside railway station was constructed with a ramp to facilitate the transport of racehorses.

1860 onwards, development started between Upper Grove and Oliver Grove. This was known as Selhurst Park. Private Estate gateways were erected across the roadway. The gate pillars across Oliver Grove were eventually removed and re-erected at the entrance to South Norwood Recreation Ground in Selhurst Road, which opened in 1890. A new railway station was built which is on the present site of Norwood Junction.

1861-1865, South Norwood High Street was built. Records show that number 3 was a Pharmaceutical Chemist.

1869, the directory of that year shows a Fire Engine Station in South Norwood High Street.

26 October 1871 A letter addressed to the District Superintendent, Captain Baynes, was received at Brixton Police Station. The letter was written by a Mr Haynes acting on behalf of the residents of South Norwood, who were anxious to have a police station of their own. He suggested that suitable premises, numbers 82, 83 and 84, High Street, South Norwood near the junction with Station Road, were available for conversion to a police station.

October 1873, in a memorandum to the Receiver from the Police Surveyor, it was stated that the Police Station was ready for occupation.

Police Order, 5 December, 1873, new station to be occupied by "W" Division.
The new police station at South Norwood is to be taken into occupation, the assessment for rent is to be as follows: -
1 married Sergeant at 4s. per week.
1 married Constable at 3s. per week.
8 single Constables at 1s. per week.
Augmentation - ("W" Division). Two Station and Two Section Sergeants and three Constables for duty at the new police station, South Norwood.
C.T. Brock & Company purchased 50 acres of land behind Birchanger Road for the manufacture of fireworks.

23 June 1880 public road transport came to the area , initially with a tramway.

Police Order, 20 June 1884 The new address of South Norwood police station in 1884 was: 83 High Street, South Norwood. Steam Trams came into service.

South Norwood Police Station 1900

South Norwood Police Station 1900

Relief of Mafeking

1902 Electric trams replaced the steam trams.

1903 Stanley Halls is built, the benefactor being W.F.Stanley.

1907, the Clock Tower in Station Road was erected by the residents of South Norwood to commemorate W.F.Stanley's Golden Wedding.

1910, the first cinema was built on the corner of Stanger Road and Portland Road. It was called the "Electric Picture Palace". Also, the Council constructed a subway under the railway line from Clifford Road to Station Road.

Police Order, 24 February 1921 with the formation of "Z" or Croydon Division and the revision of boundaries of divisions South of the River Thames on 28 February 1921, South Norwood was one of the stations transferred from "W", or Brixton Division to the new "Z" Division.

Station Photograph, 1924

Station Photograph, 1924

1928/31, introduction of police telephone boxes. Mounted Branch were attached to the station, although no dates are available. Some of the horses were stabled in Cargreen place.

1929, Crystal Palace Football Club moved from "The Nest", now Selhurst Goods Yard, to Park Road. Trolleybuses replaced trams.

Station Photograph, Return from Coronation of George IV,24th May 1937

Station Photograph, Return from Coronation of George IV,24th May 1937

1939-1945, The Second World War. South Norwood was bombed heavily, due to, as the story is told, that many brick works in the area had firing chimneys. The German pilot seeing the letters BR in BRICKWORKS believed they were railway stations.

1959, diesel buses replaced the trolleybus.

8 November 1960, in a memorandum to the Receiver from the Estates Branch, it was stated that the Inter-Department Committee's review of the police stations had recommended that in the new building programme, South Norwood police station should be rebuilt in a first five-year period (1961-1965). The building was acquired in 1873 and leased until 1899 when the freehold of the site was purchased. A report was attached to the memo giving details of an inspection of the existing station, listing the inadequacies and the need for new fresh site to be acquired for the erection of the new police station. Furthermore, the scheme should be given the highest priority.

1961, the top floor of the station ceased to be married quarters.

1962, a site for the new police station was sought in the vicinity of the existing station. A possible site, 193/195 Selhurst Road, SE25 was earmarked for development. It was the best site worth pursuing after a two year search and it was about 550 yards south-east of the present police station and was centrally situated geographically in the area to be served.
The County Borough of Croydon was informed of the Receiver's intention to purchase the above property for the purpose of erecting a new police station. The Council, in a reply dated 9 August, 1962, stated that the Planning Sub-Committee was not in favour of the property being used as a police station. They were of the opinion that the proposed use would be seriously detrimental to the residential amenities of the surrounding properties, bearing in mind that this area is scheduled on the approved development plan for the primary residential use. In view of the Council's attitude the Receiver cancelled plans for the above site and went ahead with an alternative site at numbers 1- 11 Oliver Grove SE25. The freeholds of the combined properties were purchased between the years 1964-1969 for the sum of £36,250. The site was later let to the London Borough of Croydon as a public car park in September 1969.

Police Order 6 August 1964, the Secretary of State authorised a re-organisation of the Force designed to relate the Police boundaries created by the London Government Act 1963. The new local authority police boundaries were implemented on the 1 April 1965. South Norwood police station was designated a sectional station of Norbury sub-division situated in the new London Borough of Croydon.

1965, Velocette motorcycle patrols began.

1965-1966, personal radios introduced.

1970, introduction of Panda cars - the Morris Minor.

1979, under Force reorganisation, South Norwood Police Station lost the post of a Chief Inspector at the station and all the administration work was transferred to Norbury Police Station.

South Norwood Police Station, South Norwood High Street, 1980

South Norwood Police Station, South Norwood High Street, 1980

Police order 1 February 1980 ‘Z’ District - Revision of boundaries - Croydon and Norbury division. With effect from 4 February, adjustments were made to the boundaries of Croydon and Norbury Divisions.

Police order 29 February 1980, the new Croydon Police Station accommodates a switching centre to provide direct dialling facilities over the police network to all stations in ‘Z’ district. South Norwood began on 13 March 1980.

Police order 29 August 1985, force re-organisation - eight new areas. The Commissioner directed that the new eight-area structure for the Metropolitan Police be introduced with effect from 0600 hours on Monday, 23 September 1985. South Norwood became part of 4 Area - South – Divisions LD, LK, LM, LS, VM, ZD, ZN, and ZP.

Police Order 13 December 1985, charging facilities at South Norwood Police Station are withdrawn from 7am on Monday, 16 December 1985. Persons arrested North of Lower Addiscombe Rd/ Long Lane, Croydon will be dealt with at Norbury and South of this boundary will be dealt with at Addington.

The new South Norwood Police Station, 1988

The new South Norwood Police Station, 1988

Autumn 1988 The new Police Station in Oliver Grove is completed.

1994 The Metroplitan Police Service is restructured from 8 Areas down to 5 Areas. South Norwood becomes part of  4 Area with a Headquarters based in Sidcup.

April 2000 The Metropolitan Police Service restructures to Borough based policing in line with local government boundaries. South Norwood, New Addington, Kenley, Norbury and Croydon are all administrated under Croydon Borough Police.

Special Thanks to Colin Moore, Derek Gerrard and Sally Hubbard who assisted in the creation of the original document. Thank you to Julie Fuller for the conversion of the document into a webpage.