This rather awkwardly-titled book is nonetheless a handsome, interesting and cheering one; it is well illustrated, it tells us a great deal about the streets we live in and, perhaps, take for granted, and it points out how much there is to enjoy and cherish in our neighbourhoods. Particularly, we need to raise our eyes above the often banal or downright ugly shop fronts in our High Streets and notice the dignified buildings on which they have been superimposed.
There are three excellent chapters on Norwood: Upper Norwood Triangle by Audrey Hammond, South Norwood by Hugh Byford and Harold Road by Lilian Thornhill. It is very rewarding to ‘walk’ these, book in hand. We can be taken down roads not usually on our route, or notice features that we may have walked past a hundred times without really seeing.
Norwood also features in the chapter on The Local List. There are 143 statutory-listed buildings in Croydon, but 900 locally-listed ones. These are particularly good examples of their type, such as railway stations, schools, homes, libraries and others. In Norwood we have St Joseph’s College on Beulah Hill, the South Norwood Library and the lovely little well-cared-for Victorian cottages in Haynes Lane, off Westow Street.
An abridged list is to be found at the back of the book. We also have four out of the seven Blue Plaques. There is an opportunity for the public to make suggestions for the new Green Plaques which commemorate people and events of local rather than national importance.
One tiny, and personal, quibble. Since this book is best used as a guide-book, it would have been better to have it in a handier form than its A4 size. However, one should not be without it!
Croydon’s Built Heritage, Conservation Areas, Local Areas of Social Character and Locally Listed Buildings
The Norwood Society 1999.