South Norwood is a urban town and ward within the Greater London boundaries, in Croydon, England. It is a suburban development 7.8 miles (12.5 km) south-east of Charing Cross. South Norwood is a town comprising a resident population of just over 14,000. A tributary of the River Wandle, which rises in Merton, ends in South Norwood.
The north-eastern side of the town is dominated by the 125 acre country park which opened in 1989. At the other northern end of the town is South Norwood Lake, which was created after the reservoir for the unsuccessful Croydon Canal went out of use. It is used by the Croydon Sailing Club and local anglers who fish for carp, bream and perch.
Together with Norwood New Town, it forms the ward of South Norwood in the local authority of Croydon. There are two secondary schools in the area along with a public leisure centre. The town has a high street which forms part of Selhurst Road which includes a number of banks, estate agents and a coffee house. It is a commuter town, with many residents travelling to either the financial and insurance districts of Croydon or London for employment via the large railway station. The town and surrounding areas are covered by the London SE25 postcode.
Arthur Conan Doyle lived on Tennison Road in South Norwood, from 1891 to 1894, and used the area as the setting for a Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Norwood Builder. D. H. Lawrence taught at Davidson School before the First World War. In 1966, a dog called Pickles discovered the FIFA World Cup Jules Rimet Trophy under a bush in Beulah Hill which was stolen during a public rare stamp exhibition at Westminster Central Hall.
The area was originally covered by the Great North Wood which was a natural oak forest that covered four miles (6 km) of South London. Apart from South Norwood, the wood covered Upper Norwood, West Norwood (known as Lower Norwood until 1885) and the Woodside and Gipsy Hill areas reflect the past history of the area. The wood covered more of Lambeth and Southwark than Croydon, but the name Norwood is itself a reminder that it had closer connection with Croydon than with Lambeth or London.
Jolly-sailor station opened in 1839 by the London and Croydon Railway. It was listed as Jolly-sailor near Beulah Spa on fare lists and timetables. The station was renamed Norwood in 1846. The station was immediately adjacent to a level crossing over Portland Road, making it slightly further north than the site currently occupied by Norwood Junction. As part of the construction works for the atmospheric-propulsion system, the worlds first railway flyover (overpass) was constructed at the north end of Portland Road, to carry the new atmospheric-propulsion line over the conventional steam line below. In 1847, the atmospheric propulsion experiment was abandoned.
The Croydon Canal ran from New Cross to the site of West Croydon station. As it passed through South Norwood, pubs sprung up near its course. The Jolly Sailor still stands at the intersection of South Norwood Hill and High Street. The Ship, a few yards to the east, was beside the loading point for bricks from a nearby brick field across what is now the High Street. The passageway through which bricks passed to the canal is still there. The Goat House pub (which has since been demolished) was said to have been named after an island in the canal on which goats were kept. It was also home to the famous Ryan Chart.
South Norwood is now unofficially divided into the less deprived area in the north west side of the railway, which was the location of a private estate, and the generally more deprived area in the north east. In the south east of the borough, where workers for a former brick factory lived, the entrance to the estate was between a pair of pillars, though they have long since been demolished. However the capitals were preserved and now sit on the two brick pillars at the Selhurst Road entrance to South Norwood Recreation Ground. In 2006, South Norwood Lakes in the north of the ward was the scene of a fatal stabbing.
South Norwood is bordered by Anerley to the north, Selhurst to the south, Woodside due east and Thornton Heath to the west. The northernmost point of South Norwood is at Beaulieu Heights (alternatively spelt Beulah Heights, Beaulah Heights and Beulieu Heights) which contains Beulah Heights Park, overlapping with Upper Norwood and New Town. The northern part of the district is situated on the lower parts of the hill that forms Upper Norwood.
South Norwood lies on the southern slopes of the Norwood Ridge which forms the southern edge of the London Basin. This line of hills runs from north-east to south-west for about three miles and rises to approximately 110 metres above sea level at its highest point. It is formed by a ridge of grey silty deposits known as London Clay, capped in places with the gravel of the Claygate Beds. Because of this gravel working was an important local industry and at one time the road along Beulah Hill was called Gravel Pit Road. South Norwood Hill is the most southerly spur of this ridge and the London Clay extends at its foot to the southern edge of the South Norwood Country Park. Here a stream marks the junction with the sands and gravels of the Blackheath Beds that rise to Shirley, Addington Hills and Croham Hurst. streams join the Chaffinch Brook and the Beck to form the Pool River which eventually flows into the Ravensbourne.
The police service is provided by the Metropolitan Police with the new South Norwood Police Station close to the High Street. The London Fire Brigade provide services for the area and Greater London as a whole. The nearest fire station is at Woodside which has only one pumping appliance.
There are many primary schools in the South Norwood area including Priory Special School, Heavers Farm Primary School, South Norwood Primary School, Cypress Junior School and Cypress Infant School, St. Chads Roman Catholic Primary School, St. Marks Primary School and Ryelands Primary School.
The former Stanley Technical High School has been replaced and turned into an academy as part of the Harris Federation. After delibiration with local residents, it was orriginally going to be called Harris at Stanley, but the federation changed it to Harris Academy South Norwood which came with some controversy. Many local residents are upset that the name Stanley was removed from the school, as William Stanley, who had the original school built in 1907, is a famous and well regarded figure in South Norwood. Harris City Academy Crystal Palace is a city academy in the north west of South Norwood, but to avoid confusion with the other school it uses the Crystal Palace name.
South Norwood has also been the home of Spurgeon's College, a world-famous Baptist theological college, since 1923; Spurgeon's is located on South Norwood Hill and currently has some 1000 students. It is one of only four further eductation establishments in the borough.
South Norwood Library is located on Selhurst Road. The building is arranged over five levels split across the front and rear of the building. The front part of the building has the ground floor entrance level, which houses the reception, and the second floor which houses the children's library. The rear of the building has the basement, first and third floors. The levels are offset so that the floors in the front and rear of the building appear like mezzanine levels to each other.
South Norwood contains a leisure centre which is owned and maintained by Fusion on behalf of Sport Croydon. South Norwood Leisure Centre is situated on Portland Road and reopened in late 2007 after refurbishment. It was closed in early 2006 so that it would be knocked down and construction would start on a site next to the Croydon Sports Arena. This was so that it could be redesigned from scratch like the leisure centre in Thornton Heath, which would result in a cost of around £10 million. In May 2006 the Conservatives gained control of Croydon and decided that doing this would cost too much money, so they decided to refurbish the centre instead, although this decision came with controversy. It now includes a 25m swimming pool, a gym, a crèche and a café.
South Norwood is also the home to South Norwood Country Park, a former sewage farm and site of a fireworks factory now converted into a nature reserve. Other parks in the local area are South Norwood Recreation Ground, Heavers Meadow, Brickfields Meadow, Beaulieu Heights, South Norwood Lake and Grounds, Woodside Green and Ashburton Park.
Other clubs who use the stadium are athletics club Striders of London and Croydon Harriers an athletics club for all ages, all levels in track & field and road & country.
Norwood Junction railway station is situated in the centre of South Norwood just off the High Street. It has 7 platforms but only 5 are in use at the present time. Southern and Southeastern trains run to London Bridge, East and West Croydon stations and urban and rural stations thereafter. The other nearest stations include Selhurst, Anerley and Thornton Heath railway stations.
The Thameslink Programme (formerly known as Thameslink 2000), is a £3.5 billion major project to expand the Thameslink network from 51 to 172 stations spreading northwards to Bedford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King's Lynn and southwards to Guildford, Eastbourne, Horsham, Hove to Littlehampton, East Grinstead, Ashford and Dartford. The project includes the lengthening of platforms, station remodelling, new railway infrastructure (e.g. viaduct) and additional rolling stock. If implemented, First Capital Connect services would call at the station.
Transport for London has begun work on the southern extension of the East London Line as part of the London Overground. On completion, proposed services would run between West Croydon and Dalston Junction via London Docklands.
Trams do not run through the town centre of South Norwood, however the nearest tram stop on the Tramlink network is Harrington Road tram stop. If current proposals for an extension to Crystal Palace are approved, then a second stop at Penge Road will be opened. There is also another tram stop next to Croydon Sports Arena called Arena. South Norwood is served by many London bus routes.
For buses to central London, daytime routes 196 and 468 run to Elephant and Castle, while night time route N68 will get you to Tottenham Court Road. Route 75 is a 24-hour route. There are also two bus stands in South Norwood both at Norwood Junction railway station, one on the west side of the rail lines (for the 197 and the 312 bus routes) and the east side of the lines (for the 130 and 196 bus routes). Other routes include the London Buses route 157 and 410. All of these services are operated by either Selkent, Travel London, Arriva London, Metrobus, London Central and London General.
"Baz" Lally - Ginger Rights Activist b. 1988 - Present.