Urban development and redevelopment in Croydon, 1835-1940



An earlier dissertation illustrated the causes, methods and parochialism of the nineteenth and twentieth century development of two Croydon suburbs. The first of four sections of the present thesis seeks and finds analogies in the development of another, and more central, part of the town. It also shows that the urban growth of Croydon v/as influenced by its being a long-established market town. Yet, ironically, whilst so much new building was proceeding, the market area itself was deteriorating and acquiring an increasingly evil reputation. The second part of the dissertation shows how and why this was happening and examines the attempts to find a remedy. Ultimate success, through municipal compulsory purchase, was only possible because greatly increased resources of finance and expertise had become available with the town's rapid growth. The third part of the dissertation, therefore, sets out to discover more about this growth; to find out who the new Croydonians were, and from whence they had come. It shows that in the mid-nineteenth century Croydon was still in the line of population movement towards London, despite considerable working-class immobility and an out-flow from London, small numerically but influential financially and politically, of upper- and middle-class people. These last were the forerunners of the thousands of daily commuters of the mid 1930's. It seemed appropriate, therefore, to conclude the dissertation with a study of an inter-War housing estate. This brought to light abundant evidence of incompetent methods of land division and sale, the fallibility of planning legislation, builders' under- capitalisation and lack of expertise, the apparent insecurity of their employees, the strong element of chance in the way the estate developed, and the short distance that incoming residents had moved. It would seem that the characteristics of Croydon's development changed far less in a century than did almost any other facet of the town's life.




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Cox, R. C. W., “Urban development and redevelopment in Croydon, 1835-1940,” Centre for Regional and Local History Theses and Papers, accessed February 2, 2023, https://elhleics.omeka.net/items/show/70.