I read with much interest Hugh Byford’s fascinating item on South Norwood in the last issue of the Review. It prompted me to go to my bookshelf to see if I could discover something of the history of the area. With the end of the current century in mind I reached for my copy of Kelly’s Directory of Surrey for the year 1899 which contains thirty one and a half pages on Norwood, almost nine of which list the names of the prominent inhabitants and traders who resided in South Norwood at that time.
Among the fascinating entries relating to the locality were details of the Norwood News & Crystal Palace Chronicle which was founded in 1868 and based at 31 Station Road. The paper was then owned by William Tyas and was published by Alfred C. Hall. Labelled ‘Conservative’ in outlook, the Chronicle was published each Saturday.
To the poor of the area possibly the most important resident of South Norwood was Frederick Henry Burton, the ‘Relieving Officer’ for the Norwood and Penge District of the Croydon Union who lived at 44 Penge Road. He was responsible for administering the very limited ‘relief’ then available to the aged and inform from the local Board of Guardians of the Poor.
I reproduce below the information on South Norwood Kelly provided readers in 1899 which I thought present-day residents of the locality may find of interest:
SOUTH NORWOOD is included within the municipal, parliamentary and county borough of Croydon. Norwood junction station on the London, Brighton and South Coast railway is situated here, and the line from Balham with a station within this district at Selhurst, and the Croydon and Epsom line here join the main Brighton line and here also is connection with the London, Chatham and Dover railway.
St. Mark’s, South Norwood, is a parish formed Sept. 27 1859, out of All Saints’, Norwood, in the civil parish of Croydon. The church, built in 1852, is of Kentish rag, in the Early Decorated style, and has a belfry containing one bell: in the chancel are three memorial windows: there are 750 sittings, 200 being free. The register dates from the year 1852. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £650, with residence, in the gift of the vicar of All Saints, and held since 1898 by the Rev. Henry Bickersteth Ottley M,A, of St. John’s College, Oxford. The area is 470 acres; and the population in 1891 was 10,582.
Holy Innocents’ church, Selhurst road, a chapel of ease to St. Mark’s, was built in 1895.
Holy Trinity parish was formed Aug. 23rd, 1867, out of the parish of St. James’, Croydon. The church, consecrated in 1967, is of stone, in the Early English style, and seats about 586 persons, 150 sittings being free. The register dates from the year 1867. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £115, chiefly derived from pew rents, in the gift of the vicar of St. James’, Croydon, and held since 1894 by the Rev. Clifton Bokenham M.A. of Pembroke College, Cambridge. The population in 1891 was 5,204.
There are Congregational and Wesleyan chapels.
The Jewish Convalescent Home, Portland road, was founded in 1869 in memory of Judith, Lady Montefiore and is available for 29 patients.
Public baths for both sexes were opened here in 1881, and are under the control of the Croydon Corporation, and there is a branch here of the Croydon Free Library.
Here is a pottery, where red earthenware is made.
(Entry for South Norwood taken from Kelly’s Directory of Surrey 1899.)
John W. Brown
A Glimpse of Norwood’s ‘Forgotten’ Suburb in 1899
The Norwood Review Edition #148.