Saturday, 22 March 2008

Croydon - Surrey Street area

Theses photos came from a quick trip to the centre of Croydon and mainly come from the site of the open market in Surrey Street and the old (and now spruced up and pedestrianised) High Street (Map link)

It looks to me as though the main redevelopment of Croydon has taken place just north of the historic centre of the town which now provides a long pedestrianised walk to the rear of the Whitgift Shopping Centre. The landscaping has retained many of the old shopfronts though and it looks as though Croydon must have had a mini-boom period in the late nineteenth century if the number of fine facades from that period are anything to judge by. Surrey Street in contrast has a slightly more satisfyingly shabby and disreputable air about it!

Surrey Street - A nice example of metal sheet advertising that looks in pretty good condition
Bell Hill (off Surrey Street) this proud was perched way up on top of an otherwise nondescript building in a side street which suggests it might have had a slightly grander role in its early days. Dance Hall? Picture Palace? Billiard Hall? Not sure...

High Street - I've no doubt that this magnificent building must have some sort of historical significance or protection on it. It's double -fronted and far too big for my little camera to fit into a single shot and has a real presence to it. I assume it was a retail unit but what a superb place to visit to stock up on your dwindling supplies of ribbons!

High Street - Just along from the ribbon shop there are a whole series of impressive 'corporate' style buildings. This one caught my eye for its elaborate and attractive 'GB' monogram. Of course I've no idea who GB was...
High Street - Opposite side of the road if I recall correctly and this motif of blindfold child with scales suggests a justice theme, law-courts or the like. However I suppose it could also refer to 'fair and equitable' trading (is that a wheatsheaf in the background?). Whatever the meaning it's undoubtedly unusual and eye-catching.
Church Street - I noticed this tiny emblem stuck high up on the wall of a building. If you have a closer look at it you can make out the date '1710' which seems a little early to be the date of the building. I have a feeling that this might be an insurance plaque showing that the premises were fully insured with the 'Sun Alliance' or some such organization which was itself founded in 1710 but would be interested to hear if I'm totally wrong on that.
High Street (pedestrianised section) - Although there is a very nice 'ghost sign' in Surrey Street (see a previous posting for a look) this old shop number was the closest I came on this trip
High Street (pedestrianised section) - This eastern dome is very intriguing, sanwiched between retail units. It doesn't look to expand to the back and doesn't really have the air of a mosque about it. Could it be more secular in origin I wonder - part of an old film palace (no doubt called 'The Alhambra' or 'The Mecca' or something similar. Very curious...
High Street (pedestrianised section) - Opposite the modern Woolworths, I wonder if this slightly smaller building was where the company was originally situated?
High Street (pedestrianised section) - Not only is this an attractive shopfront, but Burton's themselves are still in residence
High Street (pedestrianised section) - Since I've started really taking an interest in street furniture I've begun to notice occasional repetitions where builders seem to have picked items from a catalogue. Two examples on this stretch firstly these attractive Tudor-esque chimney pots are very similar to those I spotted in Raynes Park
High Street (pedestrianised section) - The second example was on this over-decorated shopfront. She's new to me but the man on the left looks suspiciously like the head spotted on a capital in Putney High Street!

Church Street - And finally ... spotted on my way to the tram stop is this tantalising glimpse of what might well have been a ghost sign at one point, now partially concealed by what has to be one of the smallest (and to be honest one of the shabbiest) examples of 'infill development' I've seen!