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New AddingtonNew Addington is a comparatively young area, dating back only to the 1930s. Before the estate was built the land on which it now stands was farmland belonging to Castle Hill, Addington Lodge and Fisher's Farms, and the nearest village was Addington.
In 1935, the First National Housing Trust purchased 569 acres of Fisher's Farm with the intention of erecting a 'Garden Village', standing astride of Lodge Lane, with 4400 houses, shops, two churches, cinema, and village green. There were several reasons behind this plan, but one them was the pressing need for Croydon to clear many of the older semi-slum areas.
The driving force behind the Trust was its Chairman Charles Boot, which is why the earliest part of New Addington is sometimes called 'The Boot Estate'. Boot was enthusiastic about the Garden Village movement:
I am merely a builder of houses, but I have realised a conception that houses are not merely bricks and mortar: they are the physical part of a better life, and just as the modern estate is a great uplifting from the slums of yesterday, so life on the estate can uplift the spirit of its people...
On 15th July 1934, the Mayor of Croydon performed the turf-cutting ceremony to mark the beginning of the project. By 1939, when the outbreak of war suspended construction, 1023 houses (642 occupied) and 23 shops (8 occupied) were already built. The new estate was popular with its residents, but the provision of amenities had not kept pace with the house building. Only one of the proposed schools (Overbury) and few of the shops were in operation. For employment, decent shopping, and entertainment, the residents had to travel off the estate.
After the war, there were new fashions in house-building and new priorities in planning. On the one hand there were worries about the inexorable growth of London, and plans for 'Green Belt' were being laid, while on the other Croydon had 55,000 people on its housing waiting-list. The Greater London Development Plan of 1944 designated the land to the west of Lodge Lane as Green Belt. Croydon Council purchased the unused First National Housing Trust land, and bought a further 400 acres to add to it, for extensive further development. This in effect marked the end of the 'garden village' ideal and ushered in the large local authority estate which New Addington was to become.
The first step was to erect 320 prefabs for homeless families, and these were in place by 1948. Over the ensuing years, New Addington estate took shape, section by section, and schools, shops, churches and even some factories were included in the scheme. The main building programme was completed in 1963, but there was still a housing shortage, and Croydon Council obtained permission for a further 87 acres of development - 1412 houses - which was completed in 1968 and is known as the Fieldway Estate.
As with all big estates, New Addington has had a mixed press over the years - some residents love it, while others are less pleased. One definite improvement has been the arrival of Croydon Tramlink in May 2000 which has made access to and from New Addington much easier.
For further information on the history of New Addington, see New Addington Local Studies Pack in the Local Studies Library.
What's happening in New Addington now - read the Regeneration Strategy & Planning Brief
PHOTO caption: New Addington Estate, August 1993
Saturday, 31 January, 2015