• The South Norwood Brutalist Library

    Lawrence Rd 1968 Architectural

    This library was built in the Brutalist style adding an architectural gem to the high street.

    Architect Hugh Lea, who had just completed work on the infamous Taberner house, first began working on the design of the modernist library in South Norwood in 1967.
    When it was completed in 1968, it was clear to see that the simple structure and concrete block facade were inspired by the Brutalist architecture popular in 1950’s Britain.
    Understandably Bridget Cherry (former editor of the ‘Pevsner Architectural’ guides) remembers fondly it causing “quite an impact in the street”. The building interior inhabits three levels with floor to ceiling windows which flood the space with natural light.

    Reference: https://brutalistlibraryse25.org/heritage

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  • Portland Road Railway Bridge Mosaic

    Portland Road Underline Bridge 1997 Creative

    This community art piece consists of nine panels divided into three spaces underneath the bridge. The colour palette is minimalist, mainly consisting of green, white and brown pieces of glass and ceramic.

    Artist Gary Drostle and Rob Turner were commissioned by the London Borough of Croydon to work in consultation with local schools and member of the community to create a mosaic mural.

    The first section of the mosaic shows a person herding sheep, someone picking fruit from an orchard, a man moving bricks, Stanley Halls, a person conducting with the name Samuel Coldridge Taylor written below. Other local names included are Handley’s bricks, Steven’s Farm, W F Stanley and Conan Doyle. The final part of this section shows a vegetable garden and modern townscape with words such as ‘organic’, ‘think locally’ and ‘new energy’ displayed above or below the graphics.

    The second section of the mural shows stories of transport. It has an image of the canal, an old steam train leading to a polluted congested city and finally showing people walking and cycling. The images are surrounded by the words, ‘congestion’, ‘cycle routes’ and ‘use buses’. The final section tells the story of the Great North Wood, showing images of trees, plants, dancers, oaks, bonfires, and modern people enjoying the outdoors. This is paired with words such as ‘charcoal burners’, ‘forest dwellers’ and ‘recreation’.

    At 25 years old, the mural has remained in very good condition underneath the bridge and still is an improvement to the area. It also offers a chance to tune into the local history of South Norwood and the ideas of the local community in the 1990s.

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  • ‘Croydon’ A song by Captain Sensible

    South Norwood Hill 1982 Commercial

    ‘Croydon’ is Captain Sensible’s autobiography in song, immortalising his days at Stanley Technical School, South Norwood. With a tale of the theft of the bronze bust in the entrance hall as well as trying to get to know girls from the local schools, and cleaning Fairfield Halls’ toilets, the song celebrated life growing up in Croydon.

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