• Avril Coleridge-Taylor: A Lost Musical Legacy

    2022 Creative
  • Webber Bros. Ltd 18 Leather Panel Football: ‘Premier’

    SE25 5AH 1901 Commercial

    The Webber Premier football was a ball developed and manufactured in South Norwood during the first half of the 20th Century. Thanks to its innovative 18-panel, laceless design, the Premier was selected to be the match ball in the FA Cup finals in 1935, 1950 and 1951. 

    The Webber Premier helped transform how football was played, allowing for more precision and control. The ball “kept its shape irrespective of how conditions were,” wrote Gordon Banks, goalkeeper in England’s 1966 World Cup winning side, and “never deviated in the air.”

    The Premier was made by Webber Bros., a sporting goods manufacturer based at 19-21 Station Road, currently the site of Yeha Noah cafe. At its height, the company employed over a hundred people and produced cricket balls, netballs and more.



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  • Stanley Halls

    South Norwood Hill 1903 Architectural

    Stanley Halls (now known as Stanley Arts) were designed by the inventor and philanthropist William Ford Stanley.

    He added several technical design features, designed to improve comfort and safety, including fire-proofing features in metal and teak wood, and a central heating system using various metals (with brass gratings).

    Take a look at a 360 degree scan of the building here, generously funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund or read more about it below.


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  • South Norwood Clocktower

    Station Road 1907 Architectural

    This clocktower has helped local people tell the time for the last 100 years.

    This clock tower was created in 1907 by Gillett & Johnston of Croydon (although one could argue that this company is really located in Selhurst) and is a replica of Little Ben which is found in Victoria.

    The Little Ben clock pre-dates our South Norwood clock by 15 years. The clock design was registered although there are only a small number of copies, one of them being the South Norwood Clock Tower.

    The reason there is a clock tower in South Norwood was that local people raised money to mark the golden wedding anniversary of William and Eliza Stanley who had done so much for the area including employing many local people and creating Stanley Halls and Stanley Technical School.

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  • Concrete Underpass

    Station Road 1912 Commercial

    This subway underneath Norwood Junction Station was opened in July 1912 and is the first reinforced concrete subway in the world. It improved the accessibility of the neighbourhood for the local community who lived on either sides of the tracks.

    Local people ‘agitated’ for a subway for around ten years  until the council swung into action to get this local improvement. Key figures involved in this action were Councillor W Roberts and the local vicar. In October 1909, the councillor asked the Streets Improvement Committee to consider the possibility of a subway and after December 1909, the plans and specifications were set out at a planned cost of £6,000. The subway was completed and opened in 1912 and continues to be in use.

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  • Stanley Technical School

    South Norwood Hill 1907 Architectural

    Stanley Technical Trade School was founded by William Ford Stanley in March 1907. It was located on the site of the Stanley Halls. The School was built for £50,000 and was endowed with £25,000 in local property.

    It was not the first trade school in the UK however it is often referred to as ‘the first of [its] kind’. This is perhaps in reference to Stanley’s particular vision for the operation of a trade school, laid out in his essay Technical Trade Schools.

    The school consisted of five ‘divisions’ for general learning, including a science class with raised seats and library, and a workshop, fitted for wood work and metal work. The instructors were experienced mechanics e.g. engineers, joiners and the general instructions were given by qualified teachers.

    The School’s purpose was to ‘educate the sons of mechanics from the age of 12 to 15 years, to form the ground work of knowledge for scientific, artistic workman’. The main objective was to teach the elements of mechanics, science and applied art and manual skills and dexterity using workshop practice before entering apprenticeship programmes.

    Stanley was compelled to found the school by what he saw as the declining fortunes of Britain and its working men. The steam engine and the factory had done away with the need for specialised skills. But without skilled workers, Britain could not achieve the excellence in manufacturing. As a result, Britain had lost “the important position we once possessed in being able to carry to ideas and inventions”.

    William Ford Stanley was born in Hertfordshire on the 2nd February, 1829. In 1853 he set up a business as a maker of drawing office equipment. He died on 14th August 1909 in South Norwood.

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