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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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A municipal, county and parliamentary borough of Surrey, England, suburban to London, 10 m. S. of London Bridge. Pop. (1891) 102,695; (1901) 133,895. The borough embraces a great residential district. Several railway stations give it communication with all parts of the metropolis, the principal railways serving it being the London, Brighton & South Coast and the South-Eastern & Chatham. It stands near the sources of the river Wandle, under Banstead Downs, and is a place of great antiquity. The original site, farther west than the present town, is mentioned in Domesday Book. The derivation indicated is from the O. Fr. croie dune, chalk hill. The supposition that here was the Roman station of Noviolnagus is rejected. The site is remarkable for the number of springs which issue from the soil. One of these, called the "Bourne," bursts forth a short way above the town at irregular intervals of one to ten years or more; and after running a torrent for two or three months, as quickly vanishes. Until its course was diverted it caused destructive floods. This phenomenon seems to arise from rains which, falling on the chalk hills, sink into the porous soil and reappear after a time from crevices at lower levels. The manor of Croydon was presented by William the Conqueror to Archbishop Lanfranc, who is believed to have founded the archiepiscopal palace there, which was the occasional residence of his successors till about 1750, and of which the chapel and hall remain. Addington Park, 3z m. from Croydon, was purchased for the residence, in 1807, of the archbishop of Canterbury, but was sold in consequence of Archbishop Temple's decision to reside at the palace, Canterbury. The neighbouring church, which is Norman and Early English, contains several memorials of archbishops. Near the park a group of tumuli and a circular encampment are seen. Croydon is a suffragan bishopric in the diocese of Canterbury. The parish church of St John the Baptist appears to have been built in the 14th and 5th centuries, but to have contained remains of an older building. The church was restored or rebuilt in the 16th century, and again restored by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1857-1859. It was destroyed by fire, with the exception of the tower, on the 5th of January 1867, and was at once rebuilt by Scott on the old lines. In 1596 Archbishop Whitgift founded the hospital or almshouse which bears his name, and remains in its picturesque brick buildings surrounding two quadrangles. His grammar school was housed in new buildings in 1871, and is a flourishing day school. The principal public building of Croydon is that erected by the corporation for municipal business; it included court-rooms and the public library. At Addiscombe in the neighbourhood was formerly a mansion dating from 1702, and acquired by the East India Company in 1809 for a Military College, which on the abolition of the Company became the Royal Military College for the East Indian Army, and was closed in 1862. Croydon was formed into a municipal borough in 1883, a parliamentary borough, returning one member, in 1885, and a county borough in 1888. The corporation consists of a mayor, 12 aldermen and 36 councillors. Area, 9012 acres.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Croydon'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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