Tell us about your memories of Croydon

By - Wednesday 13th June, 2018

When you think of Croydon, what comes to mind?

Photo public domain.

We really want to know… For our July print issue, we want you to tell us about your strongest memory of Croydon: whether you’re 15 or 85, we want to know what you think of when you think about our borough. Is is shopping down Surrey Street with your family? Is it going to one of the local pubs, trying to get in underage, and the adventures that ensued? Is it buying a house, getting married, finding yourself? Prosaic or personal, we want to know what Croydon means to you in your memory.

All you need to do is and tell us what you’re thinking of right now when we ask you about your Croydon memories. What is in your head when you think about the borough? Please share it with us as we want to collect up your thoughts and tell other people about them.

And if you’ve got a picture or two that you want to share of the area, please send that over too!

I was a moody teen when I first came to Croydon

My memory is this. I came to Croydon for the first time when I was 13, a sulky teenager, fed up with my mum trying to dictate what I wore and how I acted. She was always desperate to bond with me, make me her friend, to connect with this moody, Duran-Duran-obsessed alien who had taken over her daughter’s body and now grunted and sighed in the back of the car as she drove me to the Whitgift Centre car park, pulled up, turned to me and said, “why don’t we go to Joshua’s?”.

I didn’t want to go to Joshua’s, whatever Joshua’s was. I wanted to go to Pizza Hut or McDonald’s, eat American food and drink milkshakes. Mum said that Joshua’s did milkshakes – so I relented. I trailed after her into Allders, swishy red carpets underfoot, smiling salespeople at the tills, up that little flight of stairs into Joshua’s Tea Room and into a little slice of tea-scented heaven. There were frilly tablecloths and waitresses in black and white pinnies. My mum ordered a toasted teacake. I had Welsh rarebit and an orange juice. It became our Croydon ritual. For twenty-five years – to me being a grown-up with my own house in Croydon, my own money to pay for lunch at Joshua’s – we went there together and she had a teacake and I had an orange juice and their Welsh ‘rabbit’ as we called it.

My mum died the same year as Allders closed, and in my mind they are inexorably linked. I lost my mum and I lost Joshua’s, our little haven of peace and happiness, where I’d tell her about work and men, and she’d tell me about her garden and her university studies. That little cut-through between the women’s swimming cossies and the posh coats department housed all of our secrets and our chat, our entire mum-daughter relationship captured in that space that once had a bud vase on every table and a pot of tea for two when you really wanted to talk something through.

That’s my memory of Croydon. What’s yours? Please tell us on . We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Cassie Whittell

Cassie Whittell

Cassie has lived in and around Croydon since 1988. She's a digital project manager and editor with a passion for welsh rarebit, cats and Rotherham United (in that order). She's also Operations Director for the Croydon Literary Festival, and Production Editor on the Croydon Citizen.

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