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Located in South Croydon, Haling Grove lies between Brighton Road and Pampisford Road, a footpath runs around much of the boundary from St Augustines Avenue in the east past Tirlemont Road and south to Culmington Road
Haling Grove was once part of the larger Haling Park country estate which reached as far as Duppas Hill; today the Estate is mainly occupied by Whitgift School.
The house at Haling Grove was probably very early Victorian and was occupied by a succession of owners the last being Mr Sydney Shorter, a London Merchant, who was frequently seen exercising his horses at the Grove or riding a high trap through the town.
Mr Shorter was also a breeder of horses and apart from the breeding he carried out at Haling Grove, he also owned a Stud Farm at Cookham. He employed a coachman, two grooms and a stable boy at Haling Grove.
Mr Shorter died in 1929 and his wife who was not interested in horses did not continue to keep them. Mrs Sydney Shorter bequeathed Haling Grove to the Playing Fields Association in 1933 and they transferred it to the Corporation to care for.
The house was demolished in 1936 and the lawn was extended over its site. Colourful displays of bedding and herbaceous plants are laid out on the lawn and below this there is a meadow with many fine mature trees. The house garden was separated, by a bank of trees, from the old kitchen garden which has been developed as a rose walk.
The original bequest requires the meadow to the south to be used as a playing field for organized games although this was temporarily interrupted when the field was used for allotments during and just after the war when food was scarce.
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Friday, 24 May, 2013