Croydon Heritage Festival 2017 announces ‘evolution’ as its theme

By - Thursday 18th May, 2017

The festival returns to Croydon in 2017, with a programme designed to bring together past and future.

Photos by the Whitgift Foundation, used with permission.

Release begins: There is nowhere quite like Croydon. As the town embarks on the most significant era of redevelopment since the 1960s, Croydon Heritage Festival will explore how it has evolved to become the place that it is today. The journey is a tale of innovation – from Roman saffron farms to Tudor palaces, pioneering Victorians and concrete utopias – all the way through to the explosion of creative energy that London’s most populous borough is enjoying now.

Announced today by organisers the Whitgift Foundation, a 420 year old charity, festival highlights include a flagship discussion telling the story of Croydon’s Evolution; the return of the National Trust’s Edge City Walking Tours and the Museum of London Archaeology Time Truck.

 The festival also features a wealth of home-grown talent such as Concretopia author John Grindrod, comedian Kevin Day, theatre-maker Jenny Lockyer, films by David Lean, music from Trinity Boys School Choir and Croydon Minster, poetry from Well Versed Ink, live film soundtracks by Lucky Dog Picturehouse and a series of talks from revered local historians at Croydon Libraries.

Martin Corney, Chief Executive of The Whitgift Foundation said:

“In our fifth year of celebrating Croydon’s heritage, this year’s festival theme of EVOLUTION is perfect for Croydon’s zeitgeist. Croydon is on the brink of metamorphosis, both culturally and economically, but it is important to reflect on all the events and people that have helped Croydon make its mark. Once again, Croydon’s community has come together to produce a compelling and fun way to remind us about our amazing town and the Foundation is proud to be part of it.”

Joseph Watson, London Creative Director of the National Trust, said,

“We launched the Edge City project in 2016 to explore how politics, place-making and pride have created the Croydon of today. The National Trust are excited to be partnering with Croydon Heritage Festival this year to continue the debate about what is special and cherished about Croydon – a place brimming with at least as much heritage, green space, and beauty as anywhere else.”

Croydon Heritage Festival 2017 includes activities for all ages, with the majority of events taking place over the Heritage Weekend of 24 and 25 June. There really is something for everyone – from families to film buffs, gamers to gardeners, Instagrammers to innovators.  Many events are free but booking in advance is recommended to avoid disappointment.  Detailed event information and ticketing links can be found

Sponsorship for Croydon Heritage Festival is generously provided by Croydon BID, Croydon Partnership, Stiles Harold Williams, Handelsbanken, Natwest Corporate and Commercial Banking and AMP House Managed Suites.

Programme highlights

Headline event:

-         Croydon’s Evolution - hear the whole story, from Roman saffron farms to the vision for the future, via Tudor palaces, Victorian invention, concrete utopias and cultural creativity.  A lively discussion featuring representatives of Croydon Citizen, The Whitgift Foundation, National Trust, Croydon Council, Develop Croydon and British Museum (Mon 26 June)

Heritage Weekend:

-         The Museum of London Archaeology Time Truck in North End, offers the opportunity to handle Saxon artefacts found in the local area (Sat 24 June), while a nearby a Saxon skeleton found under a Croydon driveway can be seen at Croydon Museum

-         Outskirts: Living on the Edge of the Greenbelt - bestselling author John Grindrod’s charming new illustrated talk about our national obsession with the greenbelt and his own experience of growing up in New Addington on ‘the last road in London’ (Sat 24 June)

-         ‘The Evolution of Games’ – an afternoon of retro gaming for all ages at the Playnation Lounge (Sat 24 June)

 -         A Heritage Flowers for Bees Forum at Croydon Saffron Central (Sat 24 June) will see gardeners sharing knowledge of flowers local to Croydon which can attract bees

Family events and workshops:

-         family activities include the Croydon Classic Car Show (Sun 25 June), a Victorian paper doll craft workshop at Selsdon Library (Mon 26 June) and a Magical Garden Elves and Fairies afternoon at Ashburton Library (Fri 30 June)


-         Amy Johnson: Last Flight Out a one woman theatre show about the inspiring aviator who had many record-breaking flights from Croydon Airport. The show returns having sold-out its initial run at Croydonites Festival (24 & 25 June)

 -         Trinity Boys School Choir performing some of its most famous songs at Boxpark – including their contributions to soundtracks for The Hunger Games and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - plus Js Dance Factory and Boom Arts academy bringing a rush of adrenaline with high-energy dance (Sun 25 June)

 -         a concert marking the 1867 fire at Croydon Minster with a specially commissioned piece written and performed by resident composer and Organist Martin How (Sat 24 June)

-         an intergenerational Croydon Youth Theatre show, based on interviews with older residents about the evolution of entertainment in Croydon, at The Shoestring Theatre (28 & 29 June)

 -         Spoken word performances from Well Versed Ink – South London’s Potent Poetry Night (Weds 28 June), Tales of Croydonia at the Oval Tavern (29 June) and Crystal Palace-supporting comedian Kevin Day (Fri 30 June)

Talks and Tours:

-         re-discover Croydon with guided walks including the return of the National Trust’s Edge City Tours, @Croydonist’s Instagrammers tour of cultural heritage, and a Town and Country afternoon adventure with Croydon Outdoor Pursuits and Social Events Club

-         Grade II* listed Croydon Airport will throw open its doors (Sun 25 June) to tell the story of early air travel and pioneering aviators. There will be a scale model of Charles Lindbergh’s airplane Spirit of St. Louis, greeted by huge crowds when he landed after his record-breaking 1927 transatlantic flight

-         Open Buildings tours offer a rare chance to see inside some of Croydon’s most iconic buildings including the Whitgift Almhouses, Croydon Old Palace, Stanley Halls, the Tramlink depot and Croydon Mosque & Islamic Centre

-         a fascinating series of library talks from local historians covering: the East India Company’s links to Croydon; the destruction of Croydon Parish Church;  talented artists in Norbury; the River Wandle, and the evolution of Coulsdon, Purley  and Shirley Industries

Film screenings:

-         David Lean’s Brief Encounter , his 1945 romantic drama, written by Noel Coward, about British suburban life on the eve of World War 2 -  accompanied by a talk with Patrick Cadel, who was assistant director to Lean on his final film A Passage to India (Sat 24 June)

-         Lucky Dog Picturehouse’s live soundtrack to The Epic of Everest, a classic silent movie which features the very earliest film footage of the Himalayas and documents the fateful expedition of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine (Sat 24 June)

 -         a look back at Fairfield Hall’s heydays with a specially created film at Croydon Museum

 -         Made in Dagenham – a movie filmed in Croydon at Boxpark (Mon 26 June)

 -         a rooftop showing of 80s favourite Back to the Future at Lost Format Society (Fri 30 June).

Release ends.

Release sender: Four Colman Getty.



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