Thornton Heath

Thornton Heath

infobox UK place
country = England
map_type = Greater London
region= London
official_name= Thornton Heath
latitude= 51.4002
longitude= -0.1086
os_grid_reference= TQ315685
london_borough= Croydon
dial_code= 020
constituency_westminster= Croydon North

Thornton Heath is a district in the London Borough of Croydon, 7.2 miles (11.6 km) south of Charing Cross.Thornton Heath High Street is the centre of a large area of north Croydon known as Thornton Heath between West Croydon and South Norwood.


Until the arrival of the railway in 1862 and the subsequent building of many houses around it, Thornton Heath was actually focused on an area a mile (1.6 km) to the west, at the locality on the A23 now known as Thornton Heath Pond. The heath itself consisted of 36 acres (146,000 m²) stretching northwards from Thornton Heath Pond towards Norbury. This was the common grazing land for the manor of Norbury. There were also some farms and cottages. Colliers Water Lane, an ancient route, is thought to have been used by charcoal-burners who took water from Thornton Heath Pond.

The area was known for being desolate and a haunt of highwaymen, including the most famous of all, Dick Turpin, who was said to have lived for a time nearby. A gallows was placed by the pond to execute criminals and serve as a warning to others. On 31 March 1722 six men were hanged there together, and a further four together the following year. The area was known as Gallows Green, the gallows being a well-known sight along the increasingly important stagecoach route between London and the south coast. In the 18th century a coaching inn called The Wheatsheaf was established by the pond providing refreshment for travellers and their horses. In 1799 the common was enclosed and some development began around the pond along London Road. By 1900 most of the common had been built on. For a period after the arrival of the railway, the area around the station was known as 'New Thornton Heath'.

The pond had become a hazard by the late 19th century, a parcel mail coach having notably come to grief in it in 1891. To commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, a large fountain was placed in the middle of the pond and railings were erected around it. In 1953 the pond was drained and is now a major roundabout on the London to Brighton route (the A23 road). In 1975, due to sporadic incidents of vandalism, the decision was made to fill in the pool as well. In January 2003, a new water feature (funded by Croydon Council's Smarter Croydon initiative) was put in place, although this was soon removed.

At the junction of Thornton Heath High Street and Parchmore Road, on a site previously called Walker's Green, is a Clocktower, built in 1900, and financed partly by public subscription.

Thornton Heath was the site of the Croydon Workhouse from 1865, later to become Queen's Road Hospital, with the neighbouring Queen's Road Cemetery, opened in 1861. Mayday University Hospital began as the Workhouse infirmary and is now one of the largest hospitals in south London.


Thornton Heath is one of the most multicultural areas in Croydon, home to large Asian communities as well as a significant Afro-Caribbean population. It has a wide range of temples, mosques and churches. There has also been a recent influx of Polish immigrants as exemplified by a large growth of Polish shops in the area, which is attractive by virtue of significantly lower house prices, making Thornton Heath more affordable than some other parts of Greater London, although being one of the most poverty stricken with 35% of households having an annual income of less than £15,000 a year. At Thornton Heath Pond is a London Bus garage which was a tram depot until the 1950s. Croydon's last tram until the Tramlink scheme of the 1990s was driven to Thornton Heath by the then Mayor of Croydon and MP Fred Harris.

Notable people

*Dickie Pride (21 October 1941, died 26 March 1969), British rock and roll singer. He was born Richard Charles Knellar at 74 Parchmore Road, Thornton Heath.
*Simon Jordan - Crystal Palace Football Club Chairman - was born in Thornton Heath, although he currently resides in Marbella , Spain.
*Desmond Dekker, ska legend, lived in Thornton Heath for many years.

Local Sport

Thornton Heath's aging sports centre was recently knocked down and replaced by a more modern sports and leisure centre with a wider range of facilities.

Notable local sports teams include:
*Streatham-Croydon RFC
*South London Storm Rugby League Club
*Croydon Athletic F.C.
*Crystal Palace F.C.

Leisure and Sports Centres in the area include:
*Thornton Heath Leisure Centre
*Gonville Sports Club Bowling Green

Nearest places

* West Croydon
* South Norwood
* Norbury
* Pollards Hill
* Selhurst
* Upper Norwood
* Eastfields

Nearest railway stations

*Thornton Heath railway station
*Norwood Junction railway station
*Selhurst railway station

External links

* [ Thornton Heath photos]
* [ 13 historic photos]
* [ Croydon Guardian, 22 January 2003 "Thornton Heath Pond Flows Again"]

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