The road is likely to follow the route of the Roman road through Croydon and is shown on the earliest maps of the town. In the 18th century it was designated a Turnpike, and there was a tollgate at the Selsdon Road junction.
In 1992 the southern section, in Purley, was named as a Local Area of Special Character. Buildings listed as being of local historical or architectural interest include the United Reform Church at number 960, and 1-13 High Street. 
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