Little Roke, Croydon
A relatively affordable residential locality in north Kenley, situated immediately south-west of Riddlesdown
Little Roke’s name means (indirectly) ‘little place at the oak tree’ and dates back at least five centuries. Roke Farm was in existence by 1762 and a substantial house called Little Roke later stood at the southern end of Roke Road.
In the 1920s and 1930s Little Roke consisted of a small community of terraced and semi-detached cottages. The village had a primary school, a church hall and a surprising variety of shops, selling almost everything except clothing.
Little Roke was almost entirely rebuilt during the second half of the 20th century, losing most of its amenities and its village character.
Roke primary school was rebuilt in 1994 and has a relatively high proportion of pupils from ethnic minorities who speak English as an additional language. Having previously been repeatedly judged ‘outstanding’ by the educational standards agency Ofsted, the school’s rating dropped to ‘inadequate’ following its inspection in May 2012 – a highly unusual plunge from the best category to the worst.
Despite the insistence of many parents and teachers that this was a misleading blip, the Department for Education quickly proposed to convert the school to academy status, under the aegis of the Harris Federation. The upheaval prompted most of the school’s staff to leave during the first half of 2013, and Ofsted applied a ‘special measures’ regime to keep the place ticking over until its relaunch as the Harris Primary Academy Kenley. Ofsted inspected the academy in June 2015 and rated it ‘outstanding’ in every category.
Two ancient oaks were measured in 2001, when they were threatened by a proposed development, and one was found to be almost 900 years old.
Postcode area: South Croydon CR2