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Inventory Site Record

Grangewood Park (Croydon)

Brief Description

Grangewood Park is on the site of a late C18th/early C19th villa and gardens, itself carved out of pre-existing oak woodland of the Great North Wood. The estate was bought in 1806 by John Davidson Smith, who divided it for residential development. By 1868 the mansion had gardens to the south and a water garden and rockery to the south-west. In 1900 it was acquired by Croydon Corporation for a public park and the gardens and walks were augmented with a bowling green, tennis courts and bandstand, and a nursery was established in the walled kitchen garden. The nursery, water garden and bandstand have all gone and the park is largely oak woodland, with an ornamental garden laid out on the foundations of the mansion, which was demolished in 1960.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Benchesham Manor; Whitehorse Wood
Site location:
Grange Road/ Wharncliff Road/ Ross Road, South Norwood
Postcode:
SE25 6TG
What 3 Words:
crown.tracks.pills
Type of site:
Public Park
Borough:
Croydon
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
8am Mon-Fri/9am weekends - dusk
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Bowling green, tennis courts, children’s playground, football, basketball
Events:
Public transport:
Rail: Thornton Heath then bus. Rail/London Overground: Norwood Junction then bus. Bus: 468, 50
Research updated:
01/10/2018
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.croydon.gov.uk

Full Site Description

Grangewood Park is a public park made out of a late C18th/early C19th villa and gardens, itself carved out of pre-existing oak woodland, once part of the Great North Wood. Between 1299-1338 the woodland, then known as Benchesham Manor, belonged to two successive Bishops of London. The name changed to Whitehorse Wood after it was purchased by Walter Whitehors, shield-bearer to Edward III. In 1800 the wood was surrounded by fields, with a few cottages around the farmhouse. The estate was bought in 1806 by John Davidson Smith, who also owned Beulah Spa (see The Lawns q.v.), who divided it for residential development. By 1847 a track had been constructed across the wood connecting Beulah Spa with the road junction at White Horse Farm, which is now the route of Grange Road. The 1868 1st edition Ordnance Survey map shows the mansion with gardens to the south and a water and rockery garden to the south-west.

The site was acquired by Croydon Corporation in 1900 for a public park, and the existing gardens and walks were augmented with a bowling green, tennis courts and a bandstand where regular summer concerts were staged. During WWI the mansion was used for billeting Canadian troops and it was subsequently used as a museum until WWII when it was badly damaged by enemy action and subsequently demolished in 1960. A formal garden was laid out on the retained foundations of the house. The bandstand was also demolished, following a decline in the popularity of concerts. At about the same time c.1960, the water garden was filled in.

The walled kitchen garden with glasshouses was situated to the east of the mansion. The Corporation used this for plant production and it was famous for its chrysanthemums, but after WWII part of the nursery was demolished for the tennis courts. The nursery was closed in the mid-1960s and a paved herb garden and a cultural garden took the place of the Corporation's Nursery. Two of the three lodges survive, Wharncliffe Lodge (pre-1868) to the north and Heath Lodge (built in the late C19th) to the south. A third lodge, Ross Lodge (to the east of the walled garden) was demolished in 1987, due to subsidence. An ornamental garden was made within the foundations of the mansion, with the bay window laid out as flower beds. Oak woodland covers much of the park. A new area has been created with plants with exotic foliage.

Sources consulted:

M A Winterman, Croydon's parks: an illustrated history (LB Croydon, 1988), p40/1; 'Celebrating a century of public ownership', Croydon Reports, March 2001; LB Croydon, 'Local List of Historic Parks & Gardens', December 2008

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ329689 (532955,168860)
Size in hectares:
11.23
Site ownership:
LB Croydon
Site management:
Parks and Open Spaces. Grangewood & Whitehorse Residents Association
Date(s):
Late C18th/early C19th; 1900
Designer(s):
Borough Engineer (1900)
Listed structures:
None
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

No
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

No

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
Yes
In Conservation Area:
No
Tree Preservation Order:
No
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Local Importance
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
Yes
Special Policy Area:
No
Other LA designation:
Croydon Panorama View

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.