The Croydon-Kaliningrad connection

Posted on July 31st, by Charles Barber in Culture. 8 comments

Drawing comparisons between our borough and this unusual Russian city

I suspect many people in Croydon will not have even heard of the city and region of Kaliningrad. Yet for this particular Croydonian, it will always have a special place in my heart. Twenty-seven years ago, a few months after this then-Soviet city was opened up to foreigners, I married my dear wife. This June, tempted by … Read More »



Review: Frivolous Convulsions at TURF Gallery, Whitgift Centre

Posted on February 14th, by Charles Barber in Culture. No Comments

A feast of fantasy and colour enjoyed at the Whitgift Centre’s bold TURF Gallery

As an antidote to a dull, cold winter’s day and the mundane reality of everyday life, I’d warmly recommend TURF Projects’ latest exhibition, Frivolous Convulsions. This riot of fantastical art shows off the work of several artists whose vision is sometimes humorous and sometimes dark and challenging – and, indeed, quite often both. Yet … Read More »



The Croydon Forum: a catalyst for positive change

Posted on January 25th, by Charles Barber in Politics & Society. 4 comments

The first meeting of the Croydon Forum for Change is branded a success

Get a group of people together who care about the future of Croydon, who have different experiences and expertise, and let them chat freely about how such a new group might help improve our diverse and fascinating borough. This was more or less the remit for the first meeting of The Croydon Forum for … Read More »



Get involved: how to build a better Croydon community

Posted on December 20th, by Charles Barber in Politics & Society. 4 comments

Join the Croydon Forum: a new way to engage in debate and idea generation

I am writing this on the day that the petition to save Matthews Yard will be debated in the Croydon Council chamber. The fact that a place like Matthews Yard exists is a symbol of all that’s good about Croydon – but the fact that people are having to fight so hard to … Read More »



Event review: Croydon’s evolution

Posted on July 14th, by Charles Barber in History. 11 comments

Dodgy microphones did not spoil an engaging and detailed journey through the borough’s varied and innovative history, but where were the audience questions?

The banqueting hall of the Old Palace School was an appropriately historical location for a discussion on the evolution of Croydon. Expertly hosted by James Naylor, who was a combination of both chairman and compere, the evening consisted of a guided … Read More »



Searching for an answer to Croydon’s rubbish problem

Posted on May 19th, by Charles Barber in Politics & Society. 8 comments

How can local residents hold back the rising tide of litter?

The Croydon Communities Consortium should be congratulated on holding a meeting that attempted to face up to one of Croydon’s seemingly perennial problems – rubbish. A number of Croydon’s residents’ associations were represented and, in all, around thirty people turned up to ask questions and make suggestions. Due to the election, no council officers were present, … Read More »



Croydonites Festival of New Theatre 2017 review: Adventures in Noggle Noggle Land

Posted on April 4th, by Charles Barber in Culture. No Comments

One man’s search for his magic noggle button at TURF Gallery

As my wife and I entered the informal lair of the TURF Gallery in Keeley Street, central Croydon, instead of the usual theatre chairs, we were presented with a variety of generous and differently coloured cushions placed on ornate, attractive rugs that could have doubled as magic carpets. In the centre at the back of the … Read More »



Event review: the Whitgift School’s production of Hamlet, Sunday 4th-Saturday 10th December 2016

Posted on December 8th, by Charles Barber in Culture. No Comments

A student production which bardly goes where few school plays have gone before

One has to admire the gumption and courage of a school which takes on one of the most famous plays in English theatrical history, one which is so well known and has had so many famous performances. Hamlet is also a very long play and it says much for the production of this Shakespearean … Read More »



Why I founded the Friends of White Horse Park

Posted on November 30th, by Charles Barber in Politics & Society. 3 comments

Let’s bring back beauty to a forgotten green space in West Croydon

At the beginning of September, I and my family moved a short distance, crossing the boundary between East and West Croydon. While at our previous residence in St James’s Road, I had occasionally walked to Park Hill Park to help out with gardening duties at the walled garden.Having fairly recently given up my job as … Read More »



Croydon can help to save the rainforest

Posted on November 7th, by Charles Barber in Politics & Society. No Comments

Cities don’t have to exclude nature, let’s bring the rainforest’s vibrant energy to Croydon

Croydon is situated in a temperate region and though it contains a number of woodlands, none of them is in the least tropical. The nearest actual rainforests are more than 3,000 miles away in Central America. Yet, when I see bindweed trying to creep up the hoardings of the new Boxpark, when I … Read More »