Croydon: a victim of the riots or a triumph in the aftermath?

By - Monday 23rd September, 2013

Croydonian and geographer Georgie Willis asks for your help placing the 2011 riots in history

The riots in August 2011 were, for many, the worst national disturbances in recollection, with the image of Reeves furniture store ablaze distributed around the world. Following the riots, the government was quick to brand the perpetrators as a “feral underclass” committing “criminality pure and simple”. But what long term consequences have there been two years on from the riots?

Today, it seems as though the riots have been written off from public agenda and discourse. Just a handful of the recommendations made in a report commissioned by the government have been implemented. Furthermore, in contrast to the Olympics, there has been minimal reference to the anniversary of the riots from any of the political parties or the media. But that does not mean that the people affected have recovered. It is for this reason that I have decided to investigate the social and political responses to the riots in Croydon over the last two years.

Despite Croydon being one of the most populated boroughs in the UK, historically it has received relatively limited academic interest

The decision to focus on Croydon was an easy choice. Having lived locally all my life, the images of burnt-out shops, broken glass and charred paper in Croydon had a profound impact on me. Furthermore, unlike in Tottenham and other towns, the riots infiltrated multiple areas rather than just being isolated to one high street. In this way it was unique. Finally, despite Croydon being one of the most populated boroughs in the UK, historically it has received relatively limited academic interest. I thus believe it is important that Croydon should be at the forefront of my research.

I hope that my investigation will highlight some of the inadequacies in the responses to the riots but also some of the more positive outcomes: Croydon’s spirit, fortitude and desire to recover and rebuild. The lasting memory for me is not that of devastation in Croydon but the striking display of community as people united to clean up the damage with a desire to get back to normality.

August 2011 and the aftermath saw the worst of British society but also what is best about our nation. The impact of the riots thus needs to be addressed. To contribute to this effort and my research please complete the questionnaires below as appropriate.

If you are a Croydon resident please complete this questionnaire.

If you have a business in Croydon or work there please complete this questionnaire.

Georgie Willis

Georgie Willis

Georgie is a 20 year old student studying geography at Durham university and is about to enter her final year. She has lived locally to Croydon all her life and is currently researching the legacy of the riots in Croydon as part of her degree.

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