Fairfield Halls

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Fairfield Halls as seen from Queen's Gardens

Fairfield Halls is an arts centre in Croydon, London, England that opened in 1962. It contains a concert hall, the Ashcroft Theatre (named after local Peggy Ashcroft), the Arnhem Gallery civic hall (Croydon is twinned with Arnhem) and an art gallery.

The large concert hall is frequently used for BBC recordings. The Halls are the home of the London Mozart Players. Many famous faces have appeared at the Fairfield Halls, including Tangerine Dream, Genesis, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Who, Queen, Morrissey, a-ha, Caravan, Traffic (who recorded a live album in the halls), Family (who recorded the first side of their album, Anyway in the halls), The Nice (who recorded their album, Five Bridges in the halls), Robert Cray, Status Quo, Chuck Berry, Kenny Rogers, Elkie Brooks, Peter Frampton, Wishbone Ash, Daniel O'Donnell, Shakin' Stevens, The Sinceros, Petula Clark, Hall & Oates, Free, James Last, Bucks Fizz, Judith Durham, McFly and Coolio. Delaney & Bonnie & Friends recorded their live album "On Tour with Eric Clapton" in the halls, with a band that also featured Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, Leon Russell, Dave Mason, and George Harrison. Rat Scabies and Captain Sensible of The Damned both worked as toilet cleaners at Fairfield Halls.[1] Captain Sensible remarking that he was inspired to take music more seriously after witnessing a T.Rex concert there.[2] Morecambe and Wise's appearance at the halls in 1973 was filmed, the only time that their live stage act was recorded.[3]

It is frequently used by local schools as the venue for their annual choral concerts.

The halls are built on the site of Croydon's historic fair field, and above disused railway cuttings which used to link the main London to Brighton railway to Croydon Central Station in what is now Queen's Gardens.

Fairfield Halls has also been used for British professional wrestling for many years, with various cards having been featured on ITV's World of Sport in the 70s and 80s.

In 2009, Fairfield Halls was used in the "SpecSavers" TV advertisements. It was renamed "Fairview Shopping Centre" in the advert.

The future[edit]

The Arnhem Gallery inside the Fairfield Halls.

Fairfield is run by a self-financing charity. It was in receipt of an operating grant from Croydon Council of nearly £1m up until 2005 when the grant was removed completely due to financial difficulties at the Council.

However Croydon Council, the freeholder of the land, has had various plans to refurbish Fairfield over the years but none of these plans have ever come to fruition. The latest development scheme to fall through involved the development of College Green Next to Fairfield. This was this latest in a long line of grand plans for Croydon to come to nothing.

The long-term commercial viability of the Fairfield was threatened by the local council's proposed development of an 12,500 seater arena on the Croydon Gateway site next to East Croydon Station. The council-backed scheme included a multi-use arena that would target the same income-generating markets that keep Fairfield alive today. On 30 July 2008 the Arena Public Inquiry finally concluded that an Arena was not financially viable. Planning permission and the compulsory purchase of the land were rejected. Croydon Council continues to seek an Arena.

In cinema[edit]

Fairfield's Concert Hall was used as a brief location for Robert Langdon's speech for The Da Vinci Code film. You can see it in the first ten minutes of the film where Langdon (Tom Hanks) gives a talk to students about symbols.


  1. ^ Turpin, Adrian (3 March 1995). "Don't mention the 'C' word". The Independent. Retrieved 10 June 2013. "Ray Burns, of South Norwood (aka Captain Sensible), "joined The Damned after he met the drummer in the Fairfield Hall, where he worked as a toilet cleaner"." 
  2. ^ Savage, Jon (4 August 2010). The England's Dreaming Tapes. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 328–329. ISBN 978-0-8166-7292-9. "On Sunday evenings I was an usher, and Marc Bolan came down, and there were all these manic T.Rex fans. It was the policy at the Fairfield Hall not to let anyone get up and have a good time. But I got involved in this rush to the front, swept along with the crowd. I was in with all these sweaty female bodies and looked up at Marc Bolan and thought, that's the job for me. At that point I decided to make an effort, and get practising." 
  3. ^ Sellers, R and Hogg, J (2011), Little Ern: The authorised biography of Ernie Wise, Pan Macmillan, ISBN 9780283071577, p.166

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°22′20″N 0°5′45″W / 51.37222°N 0.09583°W / 51.37222; -0.09583