Pollards Hill shown within Greater London
|OS grid reference|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Mitcham and Morden|
|London Assembly||Croydon and Sutton|
|Merton and Wandsworth|
Pollards Hill is a residential district crossing the border of the south London boroughs of Croydon and Merton between Mitcham and Norbury. It is the name of a council ward in Merton. The district is bisected by the Croydon/Merton boundary along Recreation Way. With no road connections between the Croydon and Merton portions of the district, they retain very different characteristics.
Mitcham Borough Council's solution to the post-war housing shortage was to build prefabricated ‘Arcon’ bungalows at Pollards Hill. The first bungalows were ready as early as January 1946, and were meant to last about 10 years; in fact, many were still in use in the mid-1960s.
The four maisonette blocks were built by the Council[specify] in the 1950s on Yorkshire Road, beginning with Westmorland Square in 1950 and the final block, Bovingdon Square, in 1956; the other two were Hertford Square and Berkshire Square. The pre-fabs were mostly demolished in the 1960s, to make way for a new, high density, low-rise scheme that was constructed by the Merton London Borough Council and Wimpey between 1967 and 1971. A new branch library and community centre was included in the estate, which at the time received a design award.
The area is represented at Westminster by Siobhain McDonagh on the Merton side and Steve Reed on the Croydon side; both are Labour Party. Both sides of Pollards Hill also elected Labour Party councillors at the last Council elections in May 2014.
To the west (in Merton), at the foot of the hill, is the Pollards Hill estate stretching to Mitcham Common. A section of the estate was put under the authority of MOAT housing association in 1998, which has since demolished four maisonette blocks dating from the 1950s.
Covering the crown of the hill is Pollards Hill Park, an open area of 7.75 acres (3.14 hectares), managed by Croydon Council.
Pollards Hill on the Merton side also contains a wide range of community facilities including a library, community centre, youth centre and a neighbourhood police station, the first in Merton. In September 2006, Harris Academy Merton opened on the former site of Tamworth Manor High School. The academy is on the Merton side but right on the Croydon border. Tamworth Manor High School was originally Pollards Hill Secondary Modern School built in the 1950s, which became a comprehensive school, Pollards Hill High School, in 1968.
Pollards Hill is home to one of the largest Ghanaian British community in the UK on the Merton side according to the 2011 census, with 6% of the population and over 600 people born in Ghana. It also has a large Asian British population on the Croydon side, and the area is home to many other different nationalities. The non-white British population of both parts has grown considerably in recent years, yet with very little inter-community tension.
Culture and community
In 2005, a community cycling club was set up with help from the Commonside Trust. It now has over 550 members from all over South London, and had won the London Cycling Campaigns' award for Best Community Cycling Initiative in 2006.
In 2007 the Pollards Hill Poker Club was founded on Wide Way. It began life as a group of poker players who met weekly but soon expanded to include other games (chess, backgammon, and "euro" board games) and also began fundraising for children's charity The Evelina Family Trust. It has since grown to over 300 members and boasts five star reviews on gaming sites. In 2009 the club relocated to the Streatham and Tooting border, but it has retained the name Pollards Hill Poker Club to reflect its origins as a poker club and its roots in the area.