Croydon History Notes at 30 January

John Hurt and Croydon

The death of John Hurt is a sad occasion for those who had admired him as an actor. When the BBC TV programme Who Do You Think You Are? dealt with his ancestry he was upset that his long held belief of Irish roots turned out not to be true. His great-grandmother was not the illegitimate daughter of the Marquis of Sligo that family oral tradition had suggested. She was baptised in Croydon in 1827, the records showing her parents to be Edward and Emma Stafford and no hint of an Irish connection. I was consulted on the programme about the possibility that a Tooting clergyman might have been Emma’s father. There turned out to be no evidence. I had to argue strongly that the programme makers needed to tone down the way they dealt with this.

Emma married Walter Lord Browne. He was born in Tooting in 1829, the names of the parents not being known. Walter Lord was the name of the older of the two clergymen there, which led to another assumption that one of them was his father.

Further details and a clip from the programme showing John Hurt walking past Allders and visiting the Parish Church can be seen at

Since then further information has become available. Emma appears to have been a student and teacher at Miss Thompson’s Establishment for Young Ladies at 49 North End in Croydon, possibly up to 1855. 

Archives Service Accreditation

The Museum of Croydon have finalised and submitted our application for accreditation for the London Borough of Croydon Archives. Archives Service Accreditation is administered by The National Archives (TNA) and is the benchmark standard for the sector. Throughout 2016, the Museum of Croydon team have reboxed and catalogued a large number of core collections and developed the policy and procedural framework required to comply with the standards. The decision of the Accreditation Panel will be in March 2017.’ (Extract from Bulletin by Cllr Timothy Godfrey, Cabinet member Culture, Leisure and Sport at Council meeting 30 January)

 Heritage trainee placement

‘The Museum of Croydon are working in partnership with ‘Culture&’, to provide a Heritage trainee placement from January 2017 – 18. The placement is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future programme, which aims to diversify the heritage workforce, one of the key aims of the Museum of Croydon. During the 12 month placement, our trainee will be working with schools and local community groups to develop and deliver projects supporting the First World War Centenary Partnership, led by the Imperial War Museum.’ ((Extract from Bulletin by Cllr Timothy Godfrey, Cabinet member Culture, Leisure and Sport at Council meeting 30 January)

Museum & Fairfield Halls Fairfield Collection Project

‘The Museum of Croydon are continuing to support FAB Croydon’s HLF funded ‘Fairfield Collections’ project. The archives strand has been running weekly workshops to sort the material that was transferred from the Fairfield Halls in July. Starting in October with a taster session, volunteers from the Corps of Stewards have been focussing on the signature books, planning ledgers, signed photographs and monthly diaries. This has involved re-boxing and ordering the monthly diaries and starting to record information about the signatures and signed photographs. Recently we focussed on listing the yearly Pantomimes, recording details of the show and its stars and sharing stories of our favourites and how the casting has changed over more than 50 years. We have also looked at ‘Friday night is Music Night’ which was regularly hosted and recorded in the Concert Hall. At the beginning of November, volunteers and project staff received training from the Oral History Society and new recorders were purchased to record some of the amazing stories that stewards, staff, performers and members of the public want to tell as part of the project. After Christmas, we will be continuing with weekly workshops as well as planning to share our findings with residents of several care homes in Croydon and identifying themes for an exhibition during Croydon Heritage Festival.’ (Extract from Bulletin by Cllr Timothy Godfrey, Cabinet member Culture, Leisure and Sport at Council meeting 30 January)

Support for local community projects

‘The Museum of Croydon are supporting Subrang Arts’ successful HLF application for their ‘Gujarati Yatra: journey of a people’ project. The £72k grant awarded will fund an oral history and research project with this under-represented community group, culminating in an exhibition at Croydon Clocktower from autumn 2017. The Museum of Croydon are also providing support to the whole Council’s work following the tram incident in November 2016, by permanently archiving of the books of condolence and memorial sites. This is with a view to providing a lasting archive for local people to remember this tragic incident and the lives lost.’ (Extract from Bulletin by Cllr Timothy Godfrey, Cabinet member Culture, Leisure and Sport at Council meeting 30 January)

145-151 London Rd: Praise House (part 3)

The now-demolished 149 London Road was built by Croydon brewer Henry Overton in the 1840s. Following a succession of different tenants including another Croydon brewer, Bristow Collyer of Nalder & Collyer, it became home to Henry’s daughter — and inheritor of the house — Rosa Paget. Her son Clarence later became one of Croydon’s most respected local historians. Kake’s latest posting is at

Whitgift Foundation Story since 1596

The Foundation has produced a video telling its story.

Following Fairfield Path

Ian Marvin walks the historic Fairfield Path

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network Newsletter 46

Contents: Kathleen Easmon and The Stars; Obituaries; Coleridge’s Influence on W. E. B. de Bois & 1920s Black America; Recordings; Thou art Arisen – My Beloved; Appendix: Listing of Youtube videos of performances of SC-T.

Downloadable at

or emailable from me as a PDF.

History & Social Action Publications

I have up-dated my History & Social Action Publications website to make it easier for orders to be made for its publications. Each one can now be ordered using a Paypal button. For the Croydon titles see


About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly, and am a member of the latter's Environment Forum. I am a member of the 5 Norbury Residents Associations Joint Planning Committee, and a Governor of Norbury Manor Primary School. I write for Croydon Citizen at I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and advise the North East People's History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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