- Purley, London
Unreferenced|date=February 2008infobox UK place
country = England
map_type = Greater London
constituency_westminster= Croydon South
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.
Local Government Act 1894, Purley became part of the Croydon Rural Districtof Surrey. In 1915 Purley and the neighbouring town of Coulsdonformed the Coulsdon and Purley Urban Districtwhich in 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, was abolished and its area transferred to Greater Londonand 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 has recently been sold to developers and converted into housing.
Kenley Aerodrome, to the east of the town, nowadays home to a gliding club, was one of the most important fighter stations – together with
Croydon Airportand Biggin Hill– during World War II.
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. 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.
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 CR8 postal district was named in 2003 as having the highest average earning residents in the UK. [http://www.findaproperty.com/story.aspx?storyid=3378]
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 late 90s) and, more significantly, a
Tescosuperstore 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-story building containing affordable flats above a new store. These expansion plans were subsequently shelved [http://www.thisiscroydontoday.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=250080&command=displayContent&sourceNode=250082&home=yes&more_nodeId1=250133&contentPK=19805691] .
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 (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.
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
*On television the town became known in the sitcom, "
Terry and June" where Terry and June Medford ( Terry Scottand June Whitfield), had moved after the characters' previous series, " Happy Ever After". The sitcom was set on the cusp of Purley and Wallington(on Church Road in a house within sight of St Mark's Church) and the opening credits featured them dancing around the (now unrecognisable) Whitgift Centre– a shopping precinct in central Croydon.
*One of the houses used in "
Footballer's Wives" is in Purley.
*Purley is famous for a reference in both the "Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more!" and "Kilimanjaro Expedition" sketches by
June Brown, actress, lives in Purley.
Nigel Harman, actor, was born and grew up in Purley.
*Sir Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher's former press secretary, lives in Purley.
Francis Rossi, Lead Singer with Status Quo, lives in The Webb Estate in Purley.
John Horne Tooke, an English politician and philologist, lived in Purley at the end of the 18th century where he began writing "Epea Pteroenta, Or, The Diversions of Purley".
Ray Mears (author), TV survivalist
Derren Brown, psychological illusionist, was born and grew up in Purley.
* Martin Lee, Singer with
Brotherhood of Man. Born in Purley.
Jay Aston, singer with Bucks Fizz, born in Purley.
Purley Cross roundabout connects routes leading east to
East Grinsteadand Eastbourne(the A22), west to Epsomand Kingston, south to Redhill and Brighton(the A23), and north to Croydon and London. 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 Airportand 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 Tramlinkto Purley.
Nearest railway stations
Purley railway station
Purley Oaks railway station
Riddlesdown railway station
*Reedham railway station
Sanderstead railway station
* [http://www.croydon.gov.uk/leisure/parksrecreation/additionalitems/openspacesa-z/promenadedeverdun?a=5441 Local Gov. Site Promenade de Verdun]
* [http://www.58-12.co.uk/ Purley's "58:12" Regeneration Project]
* [http://www.purleywoodcote.org.uk/pwindex.html PWRA, Purley & Woodcote Residents' Association]
* [http://www.bourne-society.org.uk/ The Bourne Society, representing heritage interests in the debate over Purley regeneration]
* [http://www.pjfrfc.co.uk Home of Purley John Fisher Rugby Football Club]
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