Croydon Heritage Festival review: the classic car show, Purley

By - Monday 30th June, 2014

Romantic bench seats, removable engines and heritage for the mechanically-minded in the Croydon Heritage Festival’s classic car show in Purley

Lovely old MG. I felt like driving it home!
Photo author’s own.

Croydon’s transport heritage is in the public eye during the Heritage Festival 2014 – but it’s not just about aeroplanes and trams. My husband Steve and I have a great interest in old cars and were delighted to hear that they were making an appearance too.

We went along on Sunday 22nd June to the Rotary Fields on Brighton Road in Purley and found many – all types and colours, lined up one after the other with the owners sitting close by. The event was open to all who wished to exhibit and it cost just £5 for an exhibitor bring along their classic car or bike.

One car’s engine could be lifted right out – a task normally requiring a mechanic

As well as the display of classic cars, trucks, emergency vehicles and bikes, there were activities for children, games for all and live music and refreshments including a barbecue, homemade cakes, soft drink, beer – and of course Pimms, for that summery touch.

For the more engineering-minded, some cars had their bonnets open so that one could see the type of engine. There was one, in fact, where one could simply put both feet inside and lift the engine out. Nowadays one needs to spend money on a mechanic to achieve this!

The feel of the place was one of happy contentment

It was charming to see the old bench seats, of course, and I was reminded of their usefulness to young couples courting! One of the car owners was also displaying his old turntable, which he had polished up and was playing 78s on it. I used to have some of those records many years ago.

The old turntable, with the 78s.
Photo author’s own.

There was a police car in attendance and police allowed some of the children to test things out – sounding the horn and getting the blue lights to flash. A group of musicians were playing at one end as well. I spotted loads of stalls where goodies were on sale including some interesting looking cakes. We headed for the drinks tent, where people were buying beer and Pimms. We opted for the latter – I do love a glass of Pimms at this sort of event.

We then headed for the burger stall. I don’t usually eat these, but they were rather tasty, with a little cheese and onion on top. What is so nice about this type of occasion is that it is very much a family affair. It is very friendly and one finds oneself talking to all sorts of people one has never met before. Children were enjoying themselves, adults were taking photographs of the interesting cars and dogs were enjoying the walk in the park. The whole feel of the place was one of happy contentment for everyone, not just for vintage car enthusiasts.

This lovely event was organised as part of Croydon’s wonderful Heritage Festival by the Rotary Club of Croydon, with all proceeds going to to its Whitgift Trust Fund and the Worldwide Rotary International Foundation – so we had the additional satisfaction of knowing we’d enjoyed ourselves in a good cause.

We are so very lucky to have these events in Croydon borough. Long may they continue!

Anne Giles

Anne Giles

I grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the daughter of an Anglo-Argentine mother and English father. I went to an English school and worked for a British company out there before coming to live in the U.K. I spent many years teaching Spanish in adult education in various centres in Croydon Borough and have got to know so many different areas – North and South. We have been living in Selsdon since 1989 and I love it. I feel passionately about Croydon and have spent many years writing blogs – firstly for the Croydon Advertiser, then the Croydon Guardian, and eventually my own blog entitled “The Good Life in Croydon”. I am very much involved in the community, attending regular meetings with the Croydon Community Police Consultative Group and am also a member of the British Transport Police PACT (Police & Community Together) Team.

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  • Andrew Dickinson

    I wish i’d gone along now.

  • Croydon Whitgift Rotary Club

    While we loved this review, we felt we should point out that the Croydon Whitgift Rotary Club is one of eight Rotary Clubs in Croydon and it was our Club Trust Fund which was the registered charity which benefited from the proceeds of the event and we are very grateful to everyone who contributed.

  • Stephen Giles

    The car where one could simply put both feet inside the engine compartment and lift the engine out was of course the Morris Minor!