Thames Tributaries - the River Wandle - West Croydon

Thames Tributaries - the River Wandle
The Wandle flows westwards through this area, largely in culverts, and picking up tributar

Post to the west Waddon
Post to the east Croydon

Alton Road
Waddon Caves. This is an odd group of underground structures in a tunnel which appears to go towards the stream in the park. They were discovered in 1902 under the lawn of what was then Waddon House. They consist of three chambers cut into the sand and shaped like beehives. A fourth cave was found in 1953 following heavy rain. They contain what could be scratched drawings from the Middle Ages. They are thought to be Neolithic in origin and like others at Croham Hurst.

Bog Island
The area around Pump Pail and Salem Place was sometimes called Flag Mead. It was often flooded with intermittent Bourne water. The Bourne ran right round the area. A mill in the area was owned by a Mr. Harris who removed a wash mill in the area. A mill dam was removed by the Board of Health and they wanted to build a culvert from there to Wandle Park. The course of the stream through the area could once be traced by willow trees.

Booth Road
Slip road alongside Roman Way named for General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army.
Salvation Army Citadel in red brick. Built in 1900.

Church Street
The Saxon village of Croydon is probably under the floor of the parish church floor and the Old Palace. Church Street was part of Tramway Road
124 Rose and Crown pub with a weather boarded back,
St. John the Baptist. Founded pre-950, and rebuilt in the 15th. It was dedicated to John the Baptist, the saint of the wilderness and may describe what the area was like when it was founded? The old church was burnt down in 1867 during a snowstorm, leaving only the tower. It was rebuilt by G. G. Scott in 1870 but the porch and tower are medieval. The old church, built on the grandest scale, was at the expense of Archbishops of Canterbury six of whom are buried here. It is flint with stone dressings and many fragments remain of the old church –a late 15th tomb and two 14th corbels. There are lavish furnishings and decoration including a wall painting, of the Feeding of the Five Thousand and screens of the 1890s, given, by the Eldridge family. The tower screen is a First World War Memorial, by J. Oldrid Scott. Monuments: Brasses to Gabriel Silvester 1512; to William Heron 1562 and wife. Hugh Warham of Haling Manor, a brother of the Archbishop, c. 1536-8 with a Tomb-chest of Archbishop Whitgift 1604 and one to Archbishop Sheldon 1677 realistic hour-glasses, bones and skulls.
Churchyard The Wandle originally began in the area of the church. The Bourne flowed here from Bog Island and then moved westward to meet the Scarbrook – and from thence was the Wandle.
Cattle Trough - granite Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association trough.
Gothic Villas. flint walled,timber framed buildings on the site of the Palace stables.

Coldharbour Lane
Became Purley Way

Cornwall Road
The road is directly on the route of the Surrey Iron Railway and this continues down the footpath alongside council depot.
Oil factory here in 1845.
Houses on the edge of the park are on the site of where Croydon Local Board of Health built a sewage works nearby the river Wandle. It was later replaced it with a Slaughter House. Housing built in the 1980s following site clearance.
Croydon Scout HQ and Scout hut

Cranmer Road
Named for the Archbishop

Drury Crescent
New road through the old gas works site, full of warehouse shops.
Purley Way Centre

Duppas Hill Lane
A Bridge crossed over the Bourne between here and Pump Pail with brick arches
.Site of Croydon Workhouse Infirmary built in 1867.

Factory Lane
Surrey Iron Railway Route –the line went down what is now Factory Lane from Waddon New Road.
This was the site of a bleaching ground, in the early 29th owned by, Loin and Co. This was probably the factory after which road is called
Banbury Ironworks. Smith’s house of 1896
Croydon A Power Station. The Station was a borough initiative dating from 1896 with numerous additions. Parts of the generator hall survived on the east side of Factory Lane, and the transformers, switches and control room on the west. It was on the east side of the railway line and connected to the railway from the mid-1920s, with its own internal electric railway system. Cooling towers
Croydon Gas Works. Site of Brimstone Farm where a new gas works was built in 1860 by the Croydon Gas Co. The majority of the complex was on the west side of the railway and there were two gasholders. Co-partnership scheme from 1908. Closed in the early 1970s.
Gas Works sidings. Shunted by the gas company's own locomotives, which were painted in green.
GasholderReliance Iron Works
East Surrey Iron Works. The name can be found on street furniture around the area
Vine Cottage
ICI Plastics and Vinyl Factory

Harrisons’s Rise
The Rise is made up of an isolated section of Blackheath beds.
Waddon Cottage

Howley Road
Named for Archbishop Howley and who provided a water supply to the village of Addington.
Gateway on the corner. Thought to have come from an earlier rectory and moved here in 1850

Lower Church Road
The Surrey Iron Railway route went along Lower Church Street from its beginning to Waddon New Road. It intercepted with the canal and the Croydon, Merstham and Godstone Tramway in this area.
Depot for the Croydon, Merstham and Godstone Tramway with a weighbridge and toll house.

Old Town
When the Bourne rose Old Town was flooded and people had to get to their houses over planks. Site for the house of the Croham Manor.
92 Fire Station, 1960-1 by Riches & Biythin. Partly three and four-storied it includes two maisonettes. Sited here in 1938 to provide cover for the airport.
Duppas House
Old Town House
143 Running Horse. Coaching house and pub now gone. 
Bourne ran under the west wall of the pub – where windows were supported on posts. There was a bridge over the stream by the front door. Another bridge crossed to the skittle ground.

Pitlake Road
This is now partly Roman Way but in 1895 the northern section was Handcroft Road. Pitlake means a stream in a hollow
Pitlake depot – part of the barracks site.

Purley Way
Was previously known as Waddon Marsh Lane. It is Croydon’s 1924 by-pass which was the first use in the UK to use sodium street lighting in 1932. It was previously an area of brick fields and bleaching grounds,

Railway Lines
Rail line – West Croydon – Waddon Marsh- the Surrey Iron Railway is followed by the line of the railway from Mitcham but immediately south of Waddon Marsh the line leaves the route of the Iron Railway, and skirts Wandle Park. There was once a junction here since removed. This became The Wimbledon & Croydon Railway which was opened in 1855 by George Parker Bidder who ran it for 8 months after which it was leased by LBSER. It was electrified in 1930 when the council estate of Waddon Marsh was built. It closed in 1997 and the line replaced by the Tram link.
Siding to the Power Station built in 1925, which they worked with their own locomotives.
Sidings for Croydon B power station from 1948. This was a large complex of sidings with their own shunting locomotives

Rectory Grove
Victorian villas.
11-21 flint houses
Harris mill. Watermill on the Wandle - but the site is partly under the motorway. The mill dam held back water in Old Town.
Cidu Engineering

Reeves Corner
Was Ellis Davis Place. This area had horse slaughterhouses, bone-boiling establishments, and a solid sewage filtering establishment,
The Croydon, Merstham and Godstone Tramway came through here and went as far as Church Street.
Surrey Iron Railway. The Railway had its terminus here which was roughly triangular on a site now covered by the bridge, and extending to the corner. It included a timber yard, a house, a stable and coal sheds. The route of the railway began at the junction of Cairo New Road, Reeves Corner and Jubilee Bridge and then on to Lower Church Street.
Bath Cottage. Where the bath was
Reeves Corner Tram Stop. 1998. Between Centrale and Wandle Park on Croydon Tramlink

Ruskin Road
John Ruskin, after who this is named, was a frequent visitor to Croydon since his aunt was landlady of a local pub.

Tamworth Road
The road was laid down in 1845 on the line of a short iron railway serving the Croydon canal basin and the Croydon, Mersham and Godstone Tramway. The railway had been built shortly after 1801. The trucks were pulled by mules with an incline at the canal basin. It was bought up and closed by the London and Croydon Railway.
The area around the road was bought by the London and Croydon Railway in the 1840s and sold for development.
On the line of the Surrey Iron Railway.
37 Strict Baptist Church. Built 1866 with a classical facade.
52 Eagle pub. Inn which served coaches between London and Brighton.
62 Tamworth Arms. Detached pub, a 19th building with a tiled exterior and stepped doorways
Buildings of the John Ruskin Grammar School, in other use.

Theobald Road
Theobald was Archbishop in 1139
Stubbs Mead Depot. On the site of East Surrey Iron Foundry. Disinfecting station of 1913 replaced. Dust destructor, Recycling centre

Vicarage Road
The Paragon Works. Owned by Wenham & Waters Limited who were sanitary, heating, electrical engineers, and iron and brass founders here 1881- 1911. William Philipps Wenham traded in 1856 in Church Street and from 1883 at North End and then Oxford Street in central London. Paragon Works included an engine house with its 20hp horizontal steam engine, a smiths' shop with forges and a steam hammer, an iron shop where 100 tons of iron were stored; a fitting room with guillotine machine and lathe, a brass foundry and a carpenters' shop. It was later used by Trojan Ltd, making cars. Trojan, owned by Leslie Hounsfield, were here from 1914 but production moved to Kingston following a deal with Leyland, and later, when that arrangement ended they moved to Purley Way.
Wandle Park Tram Stop. 1998 Between Reeves Corner and Waddon Marsh on Croydon Tramlink

Waddon New Road
The road was laid out in the late 1840s along the new railway line with houses along one side and the railway along the other.
The Surrey Iron Railway’s line had come along Lower Church Street to Waddon New Road and then down what is now Factory Lane. There was a crossing on this part of the route.
132 between the road and the railway it dates from the early 1850s, and was connected with a coal siding on the Sutton Line. It had been thought that it was Surrey Iron Railway’s tollhouse since there is what could be a "toll" window blocked up in the north wall and a corner corbelled so that wagons could go under it. Inside are marble window-sills, and massive door bolts. However, it is not on plans before 1852.
73a Pitlake Arms
90 Wandle Arms

Wandle Park
The name ‘Wandle’ is taken from ‘Wandsworth’ the town at its mouth. The earlier name of the river was 'Loudbourn' that is 'stream called the loud one’ or Ledebourne said to derive from Saxon Hlidabourne - meaning loud and/or sloping. The earliest written name is Latinized ‘Vandalis riuvlus; in 1586, by Camden but there is no evidence it was ever called this.
The river Wandle used to emerge from its 1850/51 culvert into the Park but the culvert has now been extended to the borough boundary. In 1967 the river was put into a straight liqne culvert and grassed over. The river’s original course can be traced in the line of willows and flint wall at the children’s playground was once along the river side at the edge of Stubbs Mead.
The Tramlink, after crossing the railway, follows approximately the line of the 1855 railway to Mitcham Junction and Wimbledon, and it forms the park boundary.
The park was opened by Croydon Corporation in 1890. There were bandstands and bowling greens. The land was bought by the local authority in 1890 from corporate owners. It is a former marshy area - Frog Mead and Stubbs Mead and consists of made up ground.
Lakes – although these were originally planned as part of the Wandle the river remained in its culvert and the lakes filled with ground water. There were two lakes with islands, and facilities for boating. However as the water table dropped from the 1930s they became difficult to maintain and were eventually filled in.
Electricity supply box, probably for cable junctions perhaps from the late 1890s or early years of the 20th century.

Warrington Road
The Hawthorns


hallyally said…
I'm an author researching for my book of memoirs from 1950s Croydon, and I've just found this blog. Such an excellent resource!
I lived in Cuthbert Road, Croydon, under the shadow of Pitlake Bridge until the early 1960s.
Wandle Park was our playground. I recall that a fairground or circus used to have a compound next to the park for over-wintering, but cannot find out which set-up this was. Hoping someone might be able to tell me!
I am also trying to find out about an incident on Pitlake Bridge, when the manholes exploded.

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