County Borough of Croydon

County Borough of Croydon
Motto: Sanitate Crescimus (May we grow in health)
Status Local board of health (until 1883)
Municipal borough (1883 – 1889)
County borough (after 1889)
1911 area 9,012 acres (36.5 km2)[1]
1931 area 12,617 acres (51.1 km2)[1]
1961 area 12,672 acres (51.3 km2)[1]
HQ Katharine Street, Croydon
Origin Croydon parish
Created 1849
Abolished 1965
Succeeded by London Borough of Croydon
1911 population
- 1911 density
1931 population
- 1931 density
1961 population
- 1961 density
Governance Croydon Corporation
Arms of the county borough corporation
Arms of the county borough corporation

Croydon was a local government district in north east Surrey, England from 1849 to 1965.



A local board of health was formed for the parish of Croydon St John the Baptist in 1849. On March 9, 1883 the town received a charter of incorporation to become a municipal borough. The borough was granted a commission of the peace and a separate court of quarter sessions in 1885 and 1889 respectively.[2] Under the Local Government Act 1888 it became an autonomous county borough in 1889. The area of the original borough included part of Norwood and the Addiscombe, Bensham, Croham, Coombe, Haling, Norbury, Shirley, Waddon, and Woodside areas.[2]

From 1894 to 1915 it was surrounded by Croydon Rural District to the south, east and west and the County of London to the north. The rural district was abolished in 1915, but the county borough was unsuccessful in its attempt to annex the area. The only significant extension of the borough boundaries was in 1925, when the parish of Addington was absorbed.[3]

The borough ran its own tram services until they became the responsibility of the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933. The borough ran its own fire brigade and ambulance service until it became a London Borough.

In 1954 Croydon Corporation unsuccessfully petitioned the Queen for the grant of city status. At the time, Croydon was the only county borough with a population in excess of 200,000 not to be a city.[4]

In 1965 the county borough was abolished and its former area transferred to Greater London to be combined with that of Coulsdon and Purley Urban District to form the present-day London Borough of Croydon.


On incorporation the borough was divided into six wards (Central, East, South, South Norwood, Upper Norwood and West) each returning six councillors. These, together with 12 aldermen and a mayor formed the borough council.[2] In 1905 a new North ward was formed, and the council enlarged to 14 aldermen and 42 councillors.[5] By 1918 a new ward of Bensham Manor had been created and on the extension of the county borough in 1925 Addington ward was formed. Consequently the number of aldermen and councillors was increased to 18 and 54 respectively.[3]

The wards were reorganised in 1930, with 15 wards each returning 3 councillors[6] From then until the borough's abolition, the council consisted of a mayor, 15 aldermen and 45 councillors.

The 1930 wards were:

The wards were slightly reorganised with the creation of Shirley ward and the amalgamation of two wards as "South and Waddon" by 1955.[7]


From its incorporation the borough was controlled by parties allied to the Conservative Party, known as the Coalition Party or Ratepayers Association. The Ratepayers Association was more formally organised as an anti-Labour Party grouping after 1900, and was supported by both the Conservatives and the Liberals, who seldom fielded candidates of their own.[6]

Croydon was constituted a parliamentary constituency in 1885, with the same boundaries as the borough. In 1918 the borough was divided into North and South constituencies. For the general election of 1950 Croydon's representation increased to three: North, East and West. In 1955 the boundaries for the three Croydon constituencies were altered to become North East, North West and South.[7]

Coat of arms

The borough was granted a coat of arms on October 16, 1886 by the College of Arms. The style was typical of grants to boroughs by Albert Woods, Garter Principal King of Arms, with its quartered shield and complicated design.

Most of the emblems on the shield were related to the Archbishops of Canterbury, who had a palace in Croydon. The three choughs are associated with Thomas a Becket, and appear in the arms of the city of Canterbury; the cross crosslets came from the arms of the Diocese of Canterbury; and the flory cross bearing three gold disc was taken from the arms of archbishop John Whitgift. In the fourth quarter was an emabattled fesse, to represent a town wall and thus municipal government.

The crest on top of the helm featured a grassy mound and heraldic fountain, for the Croydon Bourne. On either side was a sprig of rye-grass, for the irrigation meadows of Beddington Sewage Farm. The crest also contained a gold crozier, another reference to the archbishops, and a crossed sword and tilting spear for Royal Military College of the British East India Company, which had formerly stood at Addiscombe.

The Latin motto was Sanitate Crescimus or May we grow in health.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Vision of Britain - Croydon population (area and density)
  2. ^ a b c Kelly's Directory of Kent, Surrey and Sussex 1891, pp. 1199 - 1204
  3. ^ a b F A Youngs Jr, Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol 1, London 1979
  4. ^ Claim for city status, The Times, March 1, 1954
  5. ^ Kelly's Directory of Surrey, pp. 97 - 98
  6. ^ a b Sam Davies and R E Morley, County Borough Elections in England and Wales, 1919-1938: A Comparative Analysis, London, 1999, pp.145 -162
  7. ^ a b The Parliamentary Constituencies (Croydon) Order, 1955 (S.I. 1955 No. 174)
  8. ^ C W Scott-Giles, Civic Heraldry of England and Wales, 2nd Edition, London, 1953

External links

Coordinates: 51°22′20″N 0°05′57″W / 51.3722°N 0.0991°W / 51.3722; -0.0991

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