Inventory Site Record

Whitehorse Road Recreation Ground (Croydon)

Brief Description

The site of Whitehorse Road Recreation Ground was acquired by Croydon Corporation in 1888 as an informal play area for local children in a densely populated district and work was completed by 1891. It was laid out with a perimeter gravel path, 250 trees and grass, and a clump of trees, seat and drinking fountain were moved. In 1936 an enclosed rest garden was created for the elderly, which had circular raised areas of planting and a shelter, the latter later removed. Opposite the recreation ground there used to be a large fishpond, now grassed over as Boulogne Road Playground.

Practical Information
Site location:
Whitehorse Road/Boulogne Road, Selhurst
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
8am Mon-Fri/9am weekends - dusk
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: Selhurst, Thornton Heath. Bus: 50, 468
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

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

Full Site Description

The site of Whitehorse Road Recreation Ground was acquired by Croydon Corporation in 1888 as an informal play area for local children, in a densely populated district where large numbers of poor children were daily seen playing in the streets. Although the area was not large enough for any organised games it was well used for informal games by the children who lived in the otherwise congested neighbourhood. The cost was £1360, and an 8-foot gravel path was made around the site, 250 trees were planted and land was levelled and cleaned, and grass sown. An additional £800 was spent on surface water drains. A clump of trees, seat and drinking fountain were moved and by 1891 £170 was needed to complete it. The original estimate for laying out the grounds lists as the first operation 'Raising level of ground....£400' and adds as a footnote from the Borough Road Surveyor: 'I propose to raise it as much as possible within a reasonable time by carting the dust and ashes, as well as the road scrapings, on to it, commencing at the southern end of the ground, and pushing forward to the north as fast as materials come to hand.'

In 1936 a side garden was constructed with a shelter for elderly people, since removed. Berwick-Sayers described this garden in 1938: 'It has a shelter for old folk, where they can sit in pleasant surroundings and play cribbage and other games. A fire is provided for them in the winter months.' During WWII the main part of the field was used for A.R.P. Shelters.

Opposite Whitehorse Recreation Ground is Boulogne Road Playground, which in 1880 was the site of a large fish pond behind private houses in Whitehorse Road. The site was purchased by Croydon Borough Council in October 1930 with the provision that they would not carry out on the site any 'noisy, noisome, noxious or offensive trade or business'. The pond was either drained or dried out naturally and was filled-in by the Council before the playground was built. Behind the playground there used to be a bus station for horse-drawn buses where stabling for the horses was in a building above the vehicles.

Sources consulted:

Winterman, M A, Croydon's parks: an illustrated history (LB Croydon, 1988) p114; W C Berwick Sayers, 'The Parks and Pleasure Grounds of Croydon', (Croydon Corporation, 1938), p45; Borough of Croydon Council Minutes 1887-8; 1888-9; 1890-1; LB Croydon, 'Local List of Historic Parks & Gardens', December 2008.

LPGT Volunteer Research by Kristina Taylor, 2006

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ326674 (532560,167350)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Croydon
Site management:
Parks and Open Spaces
1888-91; 1936
Croydon Corporation Borough Surveyor
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


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:
In Conservation Area:
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Whitehorse Meadow Local Importance
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Local Open Land

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.