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Croydon


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Repping Croydon

Published by Sam Blurton — 4 years ago

Croydon, my old home, isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination: it's a bit rough in parts, its architecture seems brutalist and uninspiring, and with the popular club tigertiger recently removed from the centre, its young nightlife has been indelibly weakened. Being located at the southernmost extremity of London's metropolitan area, it's also a bit of a way out from the bustling centre, the grandiose Capital seen in postcards, films and novels.
But, even if we were named 'the second most miserable place to live in the UK' in 2013, I struggle at times to find reasons not to love this town. Why? (and no, it's not because I don't live there anymore!)

In brief, it is because Croydon is a town of contrasts. This most populous borough is also the most spacious in London, which affords it a diversity of spaces unmatched by any other in the metropolis. From the busy market town centre (one that has been trading all sorts since Anglo-Saxon times!) to the up-and-coming business district in the West, leafy Purley in the South and the enchantingly countrified airs of Farleigh and Coulsdon, you won't be surprised to see all walks of life rubbing shoulders with one another (and with nature) in a spirit of (relative) harmony!

Indeed, its populace is very diverse. But it is much more than just an ethnographer's paradise(!) This is the town that begat the eloquent wordsmithing of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (writer of Sherlock Holmes). The wellspring of the inimitable wit of Ronnie Corbett, who graced our parents' screens in the Golden Age of Television. And the town that today fuels the raw musical energy of Stormzy, Krept and Konan, Section Boyz...  (the list goes on, for Croydon invented Grime and Dubstep). Could it be the hub of a new 'Tech City'? Or a Foodie Paradise in South End? It's not enough to say that I know that Croydoners have long been leaving their distinct mark on British culture, I'd much rather tell you to get out here and see it for yourself - we're only a 20 minute train from Victoria Station!

Croydon offers a wealth of everything for everyone. If you want to go shopping, hit the Whitgift Centre and Centrale Mall. Like walks in the countryside and pub lunches? Trek through the delightful Farleigh Downs. If a night on the town tickles your fancy, crawl the pubs and cocktail bars from North to South End. Even the history buffs will be satiated by the variety of its many, if underknown, architectural landmarks - its Victorian Town Hall, its almost-Soviet modernist College, quaint ancient parish churches or old Airport (now a massive industrial/leisure park). And if you're so inclined, go see a show at the imposing Fairfield Halls - though you won't find me there, I'm not a fan of musicals!

Croydon is a town as eclectic as its people, a close-knit and proud community that is - without a hint of hyperbole - really on the up (just see the skyscrapers being built everywhere!) Come and see for yourself!

(image retrieved freely from: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a1/Croydon_clocktower.jpg - labelled for noncommercial reuse)

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