Old Coulsdon, Croydon
An expanded village situated south-west of Kenley
As its name suggests, this was the original Coulsdon, which added the ‘Old’ when a new settlement grew up around Coulsdon South and Smitham (now Coulsdon Town) stations.
The church of St John the Evangelist was in existence by the twelfth century, and has a 15th-century tower. The manor was held by the Abbey of St Peter, Chertsey, from before the time of its appearance in Domesday Book until the dissolution of the monasteries.
In 1776 Coulsdon cricket club played in the first-ever match to use three stumps. However, despite occasional claims to the contrary, the game was staged at their opponents’ ground in Chertsey, not on Coulsdon’s Bradmore Green.
Thomas Byron acquired the extensive manorial estate in 1782 and the Byron family remained in residence here for 140 years, building Coulsdon Court in the 1850s. To the south, the progressive enclosure of Coulsdon Common led to litigation until its acquisition and preservation by the Corporation of London in the early 1880s.
Until the First World War the village consisted of a cluster of cottages and farm buildings around the green. Following the death of Edward Byron the Coulsdon Court estate was put up for sale in 1922 and the council bought the house and its parkland for a municipal golf course. In the years leading up to the Second World War, new roads were laid out centring on the village and lined with houses, including the Tudor village, to the south-east. From 1967 Wates laid out the Coulsdon Woods estate on the hillside to the north of the village.
Since 1968 a conservation area has protected the heart of Old Coulsdon, including Bradmore Green farmhouse and its 17th-century barn. However, on the outskirts, several small cul-de-sacs have filled former large gardens. Coulsdon Court was restored and extended in 1991 as the Coulsdon Manor hotel. Coulsdon College, on Placehouse Lane, was formerly a boys’ school and occupies the site of a medieval colliery.
Postcode area: Coulsdon CR5
Further reading: Ian Scales, Village Histories: Coulsdon, Bourne Society, 2000
and Roger Packham and Jean Tooke, Coulsdon in Old Picture Postcards, European Library, 1995
Website: Old Coulsdon Residents’ Association (a site seemingly created by someone with a wide screen who assumes everyone else has one too)