Glimpse history through old images of Croydon, in Greater London.
Croydon’s New Hospital 1916
In 1916, a new hospital was opened in Croydon by Queen Mary. We don’t get to see much beyond fairly distant views of Queen Mary’s activities, but there’s a nice shot of her being driven away in her carriage at the end.
New Croydon hospital (1916) – British Pathé on YouTube
Croydon’s Returning Soldiers 1919
In 1919, following the end of the Great War (later known as the First World War), Croydon’s own Territorial Battalion, the Queen’s West Surreys, returned from India.
They were given a heroes’ return, filmed by Pathe Gazette.
In the background, above the heads of the soldiers and cheering crowds, are the upper storeys of the town centre buildings.
Croydon Territorials Home (1919) – British Pathé on YouTube
Croydon in the 1930s
We start with a home movie. In the first part is a dramatisation of the church fire of January 5th 1867. Then the camera moves to the contemporary streets, busy with crowds of pedestrians and lines of double decker trams.
Includes the High Street, Croydon Advertiser, and market, plus several nice views from above.
Croydon, 1930’s – Film 17675 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube
The 1930s saw a roof-top gaiety event which included a mannequin parade and bicycle games.
It’s all a bit of nonsense and you don’y see much of the town, but gives an insight into some of the ways people entertained themselves in the old days.
Summer fete in Croydon (1930) – British Pathé on YouTube
Mayor Plants a Tree 1938
There seems to be a nurse in amongst the small crowd of dignitaries who watch the Mayor plant a tree.
Croydon (1938) – British Pathé
Plane Wreckage 1938
By the damaged Stabena KLM hangar at Croydon in 1938, lay the shattered remains of an aircraft. Unfortunately, it’s not clear what happened here.
Croydon (1938) – British Pathé
Croydon in the 1940s
Bombed Factory 1941
It’s 1941 and Britain is at war with Germany. Unfortunately, a Croydon factory is destoyed by a Lufftwaffe bombing raid.
The firefighters battle blazes while a victim’s body is carried out on a stretcher.
All around the buildings and cars are destroyed.
Bombed Factory – Croydon (1941) – British Pathé
Croydon’s Streets 1943
This home movie, made in 1943, records the empty car park which used to be full of cars before the war. It also shows the war time posters for the Wings for Victory week, 1st – 8th May 1943,
In such busy roads, where buses, trucks, cars and bicycles fight for space, it’s strange to see a horse and cart. The road is so busy, the traffic policeman helps a family cross.
The Surrey Street market is still as busy as ever, and at home citizens are busy growing vegetables. We even see a lady loading her scraps into the street’s special bin for pig scraps.
There are many people, streets and buildings in the footage, which lasts eight and a half minutes.
Croydon Homefront in the Second World War, 1940s – Film 1001090 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube
Crodon in the 1960s
Boys Killed in Air Crash 1961
In 1961, 35 school boys and two teachers, all from Croydon’s Lanfranc Secondary Modern School, were killed during a school trip to Norway. The plane they were travelling in crashed into the side of a mountain.
One of the boys and one of the masters were buried separately, but the rest of the group were mourned in a combined funeral, and then laid to rest together at the Mitcham Road Cemetary.
The funeral procession left the school building and travelled to the local parish church of St John the Baptist, passing large crowds of mourners on the streets. 1,200 mourners attended the funeral inside the church.
The Bishop of Croydon led the ceremony. Sir David Eccles, the Minister of Education, was also present.
More than 2,00 wreaths were sent. The Soho Street Traders decorated a truck with wreaths, including a giant one which read ‘Lanfranc Boys’. On the roadside, a long line of wreaths were laid out. The camera looks at a collection of wreaths for John Wells, and the guitar-shaped wreath for Bobby from his Mum and Dad.
A Town In Mourning (1961) – British Pathé on YouTube
Croydon in the 1970s
Surrey Street Market 1971
Clear, colourful images of the people and stalls seen at the Surrey Street Market on a bright day in 1971. Includes glimpses of nearby buildings and businesses too.
Croydon’s Surrey Street Market – 1971 – IanSvideo on YouTube
Unfortunately, this archive footage from the 1970s is silent, but over 13 minutes shows many local locations.
Included are the old Croydon Manor, girls playing in the school playground, Whitgifts school and almshouses, old pictures of the road junction, remains of the Surrey Iron Railway and disused Deptford to Croydon Canal, houses and shopping streets, including Burton, Etam, Wh.H. Smith & Son, Freeman Hardy Willis, and Allders.
Croydon in the 1970’s. A history of the Borough. Archive film 3029 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube
Croydon in the 1980s
A Drive In The 1980s
A quick two minute look at Croydon’s town centre streets in the 1980s shows a bix mixture of architectural styles from different decades. The pedestrians have nice wide footpaths to walk along, but are then left marooned waiting for a gap in the traffic before they can cross.
Driving through Croydon | 1980s Croydon | London Streets | 1980s Traffic | TN-SL-035-013 – Thames News on YouTube
The 21st Century
Low resolution footage from the early days after the launch of Croydon’s Tramlink service.
You can buy longer DVDs in high resolution, from pmpvideo.com, which offers more than a thousand titles of local transport DVDs from the past.
Croydon Tramlink June 2006 from PMP Transport Films – DaveSpencer32 on YouTube
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