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Coordinates: 51°19′16″N 0°08′19″W / 51.3211°N 0.1386°W / 51.3211; -0.1386

Barclay's Bank, Coulsdon - - 1000058.jpg
Brighton Road
Coulsdon is located in Greater London
 Coulsdon shown within Greater London
Population 25,695 - 2011 Census [1]
OS grid reference TQ3059
London borough Croydon
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town COULSDON
Postcode district CR5
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Croydon South
London Assembly Croydon and Sutton
List of places

Coulsdon (/ˈklzdən/, traditionally pronounced /ˈklzdən/) is a settlement at the south of the London Borough of Croydon, lying between approximately 12.5 (20.1 km) and 13 miles (20.9 km) from Charing Cross. It is surrounded by the Metropolitan Green Belt of Farthing Downs, Coulsdon Common and Kenley Common and two smaller settlements contiguous to it, Woodmansterne and Reedham, Purley. Modern Coulsdon comprises Old Coulsdon and Smitham Bottom, which grew substantially with the early arrival of the railway — this has a branch diverging here and so Coulsdon has three stations serving its communities. Coulsdon encompasses several dry valleys (with natural underground drainage) due to its highly permeable soil — these underground headwater streams converge and spring at a surface, 3 miles (4.8 km) north in Croydon as the River Wandle. The London Loop path passes directly through the centre of the district.


Before the Norman Conquest, the name changed. Originally it seems to have derived from Cuðrædsdun (Cuthred's down - down in topography means hill), via Curedesdone (675), Colesdone(1086), Colesdene(1287), Cullysdon(1377), Culsdon(1446) and Cullesdune.[2]

Coulsdon has Saxon burial mounds and an Iron Age field system on Farthing Downs,[3] Coulsdon was in the Anglo-Saxon hundred of Wallington which was where the local wealthy, wise and powerful convened for strategic purposes in the Kingdom of England.

The Domesday Book of 1086 shows Colesdone had one church (Malden's 1911 edition of the Victoria County History states this was likely a related entity to Chaldon Church[4]) had fourteen households and rendered £7 per year to its overlords,[5] in this case, to Chertsey Abbey. Its assets were 3½ hide, 7 ploughs, and woodland worth 3 hogs.[6]



In 1545 Henry VIII granted two homes with land in Whattingdon manor, Coulsdon: Welcombes and Lawrences to Sir John Gresham, the manor having been owned by Chertsey Abbey in the 8th century when it was recorded as Whatindone until the English Reformation in the 16th century.[7]


At the time of the Valor Ecclesiasticus the annual rent accruing to the House (Hospital) of St. Thomas of Acre from the manor of Tauntons was 100ss and approximately 450 acres (180 ha) of wood belonged to it valued at a yearly rent of 12d. per acre.


Sir Nicholas Carew's son Sir Francis was lord of the main manor, Coulsdon Manor, in 1557, after his father.[7] Successors included Jerome Weston, 2nd Earl of Portland, Sir Richard Mason, Sir Edward Bouverie (see prominent male heir and owner Earl of Radnor) and the Byron family (spanning from a Thomas in 1782 to magistrate Edward Byron in 1912), by which time the manor house had become Coulsdon Court.[7]

20th century[edit]

In 1912 the development of Smitham Valley or Smitham Bottom was fast apace. Malden recorded development in 1912:[7]

The whole aspect of the parish has been completely transformed during the last twenty years by building. It [Coulsdon] was a little while ago entirely rural with a few new houses scattered along the line of the railway and up the valley towards Caterham, whence another deep depression in the chalk runs down to Smitham Bottom. Now there are continuous rows of villas and cottages and shops from Croydon to south of Coulsdon station.

From 1889 until 1965 Coulsdon was in the administrative county of Surrey — between 1915 and 1965 the residents conferring additional local powers to Coulsdon and Purley Urban District. Under the London Government Act 1963 the London Borough of Croydon was formed.

Most housing in Smitham (Bottom/Valley) and the clustered settlement of Old Coulsdon, as well as the narrower valley between them, was built in the 80 years from 1890 to 1970.

Coulsdon segregated its long-haul from its short-haul traffic by gaining the Farthing Way A23 bypass, which opened in December 2006[8] as part of the Coulsdon Town Centre Improvement Scheme.


In the first two decades of the second millennium, Coulsdon's retail area lost Woolworth's and the bookstore on Brighton Road and opened The Pembroke[9] and Caffé Nero. Waitrose has a longstanding branch in the centre, and Tesco Express opened in the period mentioned. A planned Sainsbury's with apartments above has been singled out for note by periodical New London Architecture.[10]

Coulsdon has few large company head offices but substantial storage and technology premises. One notable head office is that of Jane's Information Group.


Coulsdon is a largely suburban district of London. The central area has substantial industrial, automotive and distribution services, convenience, standard socialising and niche retail as well as local professions of a typical town in the country, by its main road and main railway stations: Coulsdon South and Smitham (now named Coulsdon Town Station). The alternate centre, Old Coulsdon, has a recreation ground/cricket pitch-focused village green, a much smaller parade of shops than Coulsdon's high street between Coulsdon and Smitham stations and a medieval church. London's 'Brighton Road', locally the official name, and the railway, served by semi-fast services rather than stopping services, give Smitham Bottom/Valley a bustling, busier setting for economic life.

Old Coulsdon[edit]

Old Coulsdon occupies the south-east of the district.[11] Scattered, rather than clustered are six listed buildings, for their national heritage and architectural value, at Grade II. Two categories above this, in the highest class, Grade I is the Church of St John the Evangelist here. This is by the recreation ground, shortly after Marlpit Lane has been joined by Coulsdon Road, from the north. St John's is late thirteen century with extensive later additions, made of flint and rubble with much brick patching. Its nave spans two (window) bays. Older still is its "good" chancel of 1250 with stepped sedilia and piscina. The west tower above the entrance is of circa 1400 with corner buttresses and a tapering broach spire. A nave at right angles, replacing the south aisle; in decorated style was designed for its 1958 construction by J B S Comper.[12]

Smitham Bottom or Valley[edit]

At the heart of the geographical feature Smitham Bottom (where three dry valleys merge into one)[7] is this downtown part of the district. Most commerce and industry is here, set beside the Brighton Road, which is since 2006 a town centre arc of the A23 road and on Chipstead Valley Road which terminates half way along the arc, leading directly to Woodmansterne. The various local feeder roads reach this street, including the combined one from the south-east, Marlpit Lane, under the A23 without needing a junction with that trunk (long-distance) route (which later becomes the M23).

The soil is dry, and water was obtained even in 1912 by deep wells here in the chalk. This dry valley in the chalk, Smitham Bottom, has a watercourse below, the water of which in until the 16th century occasionally in times of flood ran here but after this, inexplicably, waits to break out as far as at the foot of the chalk in Croydon and Beddington, running through it.[7]

The Marlpit and Cane Hill[edit]

These respectively are the east and west of centre estates (contiguous) to Coulsdon's downtown area.

The Marlpit business and industrial estate

Marlpit (a former chalk quarry) is the town's Marlpit Industrial / Business Park estate, which is strong in storage, distribution and technology.

Cane Hill

The former hospital buildings and grounds, on a gentle, wide rise are described in the main article above. The estate's current status and/or features are described below.

The Mount or Clockhouse[edit]

The Mount or Clockhouse is a square neighbourhood on a hill plateau with marked borders along three residential roads from Coulsdon, one of which continues from the town centre as the London Loop path, via the Banstead Downs and East Ewell to Nonsuch Palace 4 miles (6.4 km) north-west. It shares its local authority with that place as it is part of the London Borough of Sutton.[11]

Coulsdon Woods[edit]

This neighbourhood is a loosely defined residential part of Coulsdon, equally on undulating ground.

Cane Hill[edit]

An approved development of the former site of Cane Hill Hospital by Barratt Developments may start in 2014, which if so, will create over six hundred new dwellings. In 2013, Barratt published a Public Consultation document[13] and report of feedback.[14] Resident's protests and concerns relate to the likely affect of local infrastructure, including access routes, the proposed mix of housing, transport and the provision of educational services.[15][16][17]

Open spaces[edit]

Scattered about Coulsdon are typical suburban football pitches and parks, dwarfed in size by Coulsdon's publicly accessible green buffers that are protected from development, largely chalk downland on the northern edge of the North Downs. Farthing Downs and New Hill are owned by the City of London Corporation, and Happy Valley Park by Croydon Council. Farthing Downs and Happy Valley are a Site of Special Scientific Interest.[18] Farthing Downs is also a scheduled ancient monument, showing evidence of human occupation back to the Neolithic period, including Iron Age fields and Anglo-Saxon barrows.[19] The London Loop footpath passes through Farthing Downs between Hamsey Green and Banstead. The Coulsdon section was the first of the 24 to be opened.

Rickman Hill Park is the highest public large park in London, at 155 metres above sea level - it cannot claim to be the largest small park due to the micro-park which has been opened on top of 20 Fenchurch Street nicknamed The Walkie-Talkie spanning the top three storeys of the 160-metre high block in the City.

Places of religious interest[edit]

Methodist Church, Coulsdon

Places of worship include:



Coulsdon United Football Club participate in the Combined Counties League Division One.

Rugby Union

Purley John Fisher Rugby Football Club[23] at Parsons Pightle, Old Coulsdon. Chipstead Rugby CLub [24] play locally at The Meads, Chipstead, offering mini, youth, adult social and adult league rugby.


Old Coulsdon had one of the first cricket clubs in the world, founded in 1762. It was one of the strongest teams in the country in the late 18th and early 19th century and once boasted eight England internationals, as well as a young Stuart Surridge. The club was possibly the first to use three stumps and two bails and frequently played matches on the most famous early cricket grounds such as Mitcham, and later in Grange Park in the village. In 1995 falling player numbers forced the club to merge with the nearby Redhill Cricket Club, playing at the Ring on Earlswood Common in the Earlswood neighbourhood of Redhill as Redhill & Old Coulsdon Cricket Club.

Other sports

The Coulsdon Martial Arts Club (also known as Yoshin Ryu) is long established and very popular with children and adults, founded and led by Errol Field, 6th dan Judo, 4th dan Karate, 6th dan Ju Jitsu.

Old Coulsdon Hash House Harriers (or "OCH3") provide a wide range of running groups and assist competitors entering triathlons and broadly athletics.[25]

Woodcote Park Golf Club is just to the north-west of the centre of Coulsdon, off Meadow Hill. Another 18-hole golf course is in the grounds of Coulsdon Manor Hotel [4]. Green bowls is available next door.[26]

The Memorial Gardens has an adventure park, crazy golf, basketball, tennis, cricket and, in the summer, 'beach games' and events organised by the café.

Grange Park, Old Coulsdon has a playground, football pitches and is widely used for picnics. Rickman Hill Park hosts football, and has a children's playground, a zip wire, and tennis courts that were refurbished in 2009.

Horse riding is available on the downs. Coulsdon has wide and long pavements and indoor cafés from which to watch any of the London-Brighton rallies (vintage cars, minis, Land Rovers, vintage commercial vehicles, motorbikes, cycling etc.).[27]


The United Kingdom Census 2011 recorded that the two wards: Coulsdon East and Coulsdon West, divided by the A23 road contained respectively: 12,244 people living in 4,912 homes and 13,449 living in 4,793 homes. The percentage of the population who declared their health as very good was 47% and 51% respectively.[1]


Nearest places[edit]

Nearby stations[edit]

Railway stations are:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 2011 Census
  2. ^ Appendix 4 to L B Croydon's Improving Coulsdon Centre
  3. ^ Description of tumuli with Scheduled Ancient Monument status and identified parcels of land used in Iron Age Cultivation English Heritage
  4. ^ Origins with Coulsdon parish at historically adjoining parish of the Church of England
  5. ^ Surrey Domesday Book
  6. ^ Coulsdon Retrieved 2013-10-20
  7. ^ a b c d e f H.E. Malden (editor) (1912). "Parishes: Coulsdon". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ The Pembroke - website
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b Grid square map Ordnance survey website
  12. ^ English Heritage. "Details from listed building database (1188464)". National Heritage List for England . St John the Evangelist - Grade I listing
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Natural England, Farthing Downs and Happy Valley citation
  19. ^ The Megalithic Portal, Farthing Downs - Barrow Cemetery in England in Surrey
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Purley John Fisher Rugby Football Club website
  24. ^ Chipstead Rugby Club
  25. ^ Hash House Harriers
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^

External links[edit]