Open buildings revealed for 2015 Croydon Heritage Festival

By - Friday 10th April, 2015

The Whitgift Foundation, organiser of the Croydon Heritage Festival which returns from Saturday 20 June to Sunday 28 June 2015,  has revealed the highlights of this year’s Open Building tours.

The de Havilland Heron aircraft at Croydon Airport. Photo by the Croydon Heritage Festival, used with permission.

Release begins: Many of Croydon’s most iconic buildings will be open for public tours as part of this summer’s week-long celebration, with the theme Famous Croydon. They include Croydon Airport, once the world’s biggest international airport frequented by Hollywood film stars, the London Tramlink Depot, including a visit to the control room, and Whitgift Almshouses, founded with the permission of Queen Elizabeth I in the late 16th century. One of the most popular aspects of the festival in recent years, Open Buildings provides a rare and exclusive opportunity to explore some of the borough’s most interesting and famous buildings. They bring to life a wealth of stories from the area, highlighting the famous Croydon of the past, present and future.

Martin Corney, Chief Executive of The Whitgift Foundation, said:

“Exploring Croydon’s iconic buildings is just one part of the jam packed programme for this year’s festival. The festival offers an opportunity for local organisations to come together to highlight everything that is fantastic about Croydon. There is still time to get involved, whether that be by running a stall, talk or workshop; volunteering; performing on the main stage or contributing to the heritage exhibition.”

Anyone who would like to take part can find more information at

or contact

Open Building highlights for Croydon Heritage Festival 2015 include:

Croydon Airport Visitor Centre

London’s historic Croydon Airport was the world’s biggest international airport when opened in 1928. The terminal building is now Grade II listed and features the world’s oldest Air Traffic Control Tower. Free guided tours will be running throughout Sunday 21 June as part of Open Buildings, giving visitors an opportunity to hear about the airport’s extraordinary history and how it helped shape air travel. The festival’s 2015 theme of Famous Croydon couldn’t be more appropriate here, with previous faces travelling through the airport including Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Babe Ruth, John F Kennedy, Gracie Fields and Rita Heyworth, to name but a few. It is also where Winston Churchill took flying lessons in 1919, and the birthplace of the international distress call ‘Mayday, Mayday’, invented at Croydon by its Senior Radio Officer Fred Mockford.

The London Tramlink Depot

Where do Croydon’s ever popular trams go when they are finished for the day? These special tours of the depot on Therapia Lane will take visitors inside the control room, to the engineering workshop and also in to the driver’s seat itself.

St Andrew’s Church

St Andrew’s Church, designed by Henry Woodyer and built in 1857, holds one of the largest paintings ever made by Cecily Mary Barker, a Croydon resident, illustrator of the Flower Fairies and dedicated parishioner. First unveiled for public exhibition in October 2014, ‘Out of Great Tribulation’, was painted just four years after the end of World War II and features servicemen in uniform. Events will take place throughout the festival to celebrate Cecily Mary Barker’s 120th anniversary on 28 June.

The Whitgift Almshouses

Now home to 15 elderly residents, the Grade I Listed Almshouses are one the most historic buildings in the central Croydon, passed by thousands each day. Dating back to the 1500s and founded by Archbishop John Whitgift, the building was originally known as the Hospital of the Holy Trinity at Croydon and represent an important part of the town’s heritage. Visitors will be able to explore every corner, see, amongst other items, Queen Elizabeth I’s seal on the Founder’s Letters Patents to found a Hospital, dated 22nd November 1595. Just as Queen Elizabeth II did when she visited in 1996 to mark the Foundation’s 400th anniversary.

The full list of buildings confirmed to date:

The Whitgift Almshouses

St Andrew’s Church

Croydon Minster

Croydon Town Hall

Croydon Airport Visitor Centre

Stanley Halls

Fairfield Halls

London Tramlink Depot

Old Palace School

St George’s Church

St Mary’s Church, Addington Village

St Peter’s Church

The Adult School Hall

Release ends.

Release sender: FourColmanGetty.



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