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Coordinates: 51°20′14″N 0°06′51″W / 51.3373°N 0.1141°W / 51.3373; -0.1141

Purley
Purley is located in Greater London
Purley

 Purley shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ313615
London borough Croydon
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town PURLEY
Postcode district CR8
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Croydon South
London Assembly Croydon and Sutton
List of places: UK • England • London

Purley is a place in the London Borough of Croydon. It is a suburban development situated 11.7 miles (18.8 km) south of Charing Cross. The name derives from "pirlea", which means 'Peartree lea'. Purley has a population of about 72,000.

Contents

History

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Local government

Under the Local Government Act 1894, Purley became part of the Croydon Rural District of Surrey. In 1915 Purley and the neighbouring town of Coulsdon formed the Coulsdon and Purley Urban District which in 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, was abolished and its area transferred to Greater London and used to form part of the London Borough of Croydon.

The urban district council was based in a colonial-style building opened in 1930. The building, on the A23 Brighton Road near Reedham Station, became the property of the London Borough of Croydon and was sold to developers and has been left derelict for some years now.

Aviation

Kenley Aerodrome, to the east of the town, is currently official property of the Ministry of Defence, was once one of the most important fighter stations – together with Croydon Airport and Biggin Hill – during World War II. Currently it is used within granted permission as a gliding ground and is a popular area for learner drivers to practise at.

Suburban growth

Purley grew rapidly in the 1920s and 1930s, providing spacious homes in a green environment. Northeast Purley stretches into the chalk hill spurs of the North Downs.

Former offices of Coulsdon and Purley Urban District on Brighton Road, Purley

One road, Promenade de Verdun, created by William Webb, has a distinction all of its own. It is 600 yards (550 m) long and has on both sides Lombardy poplars planted in soil mixed with English and French earth specifically shipped over to the UK, and a plaque at one end with the inscription "Aux soldats de France morts glorieusement pendant la Grande Guerre", as a memorial to the alliance of World War One and the soldiers who died. At the other end of the road stands an obelisk carved from a single piece of stone. Notably, the town was home to Von Ribbentrop when he was ambassador before WWII, and he is understood to have ensured that the town was never bombed.

A comprehensive history of Purley and its growth around Caterham Junction (now Purley Station) with the coming of the railways some 150 years ago is found in the Bourne Society's 'Purley Village History' and in its Local History Records publications.

The Webb Estate made headlines in a 2002 survey, which found that it had over the years attracted the highest-earning residents in the UK.[1]

Retail and commerce

Purley used to have many different kinds of retail shops such as greengrocers, butchers, fishmongers, card shops, sport shops, etc. The old Sainsbury's was closed in the early 1980s (and has now been demolished as part of redevelopment plans by the congregation of Purley Baptist Church). Since the opening of Sainsbury's in the early 1980s (closed 2001) and, more significantly, a Tesco superstore in the early 1990s, there has been a shift in the town's retail, predominantly charity shops, estate agents, restaurants and bars. In 2006, further change was on the cards as Tesco proposed to replace the store with a 6-storey building containing affordable flats above a new store. These expansion plans were subsequently shelved.[2]

The town centre has gradually moved upmarket, for example with the replacement of a gas showroom with The Rectory bar, and the introduction of new eating eastablishment. But the island around Purley Baptist Church remains tatty and the Church, under the banner of 58:12[1] (a company and charity set up by the Church) are planning to redevelop it. Other partners in the development of a strategy for the regeneration of central Purley include the Purley & Woodcote Residents' Association and Purley Rotary who actively participate in the Neighbourhood Partneship forums hosted by Croydon Council.

Politics

Purley has consistently returned Conservative Party MPs to the local seat of Croydon South and has also returned Conservative members to the local council. Since the north of Croydon tends to return Labour councillors, the two halves of the borough are often at loggerheads. In the 2006 local elections the Conservatives were returned to power in Croydon removing Liberal Democrats and replacing Labour from the local political scene. Prominent members of the new Council are residents of Purley & of Woodcote (now part of Coulsdon West Ward)

Notable references in fiction

Notable residents

Transport

Purley Cross gyratory connects routes leading south-east to East Grinstead and Eastbourne (the A22), west to Epsom and Kingston (the A2022), south to Redhill and Brighton (the A23), and north to Croydon and Central London (the A23 and A235). The A23 north from Purley forms the Purley Way, which leads to Croydon's trading and industrial hinterland and also to the former Croydon Airport, the predecessor of the present London Heathrow Airport and London Gatwick Airport.

The town is on the main London-to-Brighton railway line and is served by Purley and Purley Oaks stations on that line, and Reedham station on the Tattenham Corner Line. There are plans to extend Tramlink to Purley.

Nearest places

Nearest railway stations

See also

References

External links


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