Jonathan Meades once described Croydon as London’s filing cabinet, and later this month there will be a chance to take a look around the cupboards.
The National Trust will be leading a series of walks around the unfairly maligned town, showing off its post-war ambition to build a new society.
A series of tours will tell the story of Croydon’s 1960s building boom, its future ambitions, and include behind-the-scenes access to Fairfield Halls, which has played host to the likes of The Beatles, The Who and Morrissey. Visitors will get a unique view of the Halls and exclusive access to its stage, dressing rooms and royal box before it closes for a two-year, restoration-led refurbishment.
Other events as part of the series include a Routemaster tour of Croydon and film screenings of 1960s footage of the town – on top of one of its famed seven multi-story car parks.
A National Trust guidebook to the town will also be published.
As it undergoes another wave of regeneration, the National Trust seeks to spark a debate about what is special and cherished about suburban places like Croydon, which are as awash with heritage, green space and beauty as anywhere else.
As John Grindrod, author of the best--selling Concretopia, and a Croydonian himself notes, ‘there are millions of people like me in Britain, who don’t recognise the village green, country cottage or Georgian square as the epitome of our nation, but whose identities have instead been moulded by ‘concrete monstrosities’ or ‘bad planning’ – or rather, the post--war optimism that sought to build a better future’.
Places like Croydon are the ordinary places in which people live, work, and play. The National Trust seeks to reveal how they came about, how they took their current form, what people love about those places, and how we can maintain and develop them for future generations.
The walking tours run from 16th-24th July and cost £9 each, while the Routemaster tours take place on 16th July and cost £22.
Booking details here