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|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Purley is an area of the London Borough of Croydon in London, England, 11.7 miles (18.8 km) south of Charing Cross, with a history going back at least 800 years. It was originally granted as an estate from holdings at Sanderstead and until as a district of Surrey and then, with neighbouring Coulsdon, as an urban district that became an electoral ward of the London Borough of Croydon, becoming part of the ceremonial county of London, in 1965. In 2018 the Purley ward was divided into two: Purley and Woodcote, and Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown.
Purley is a suburban area of South London, and the quintessential suburban environment has been referenced in fictional and popular culture, most notably as the setting for the long running Terry and June sitcom.
Purley had a population of about 14,000 in 2011.
The name derives from an estate, mentioned in about 1200 when it was deeded to one William de Pirelea, son of Osbert de Pirelea by the abbot of St. Peter’s monastery near Winchester. The original meaning of Purley was probably a wood or clearing where pear trees grow, derived from "Pirlea", which is from Anglo Saxon pir, pear or pirige, pear tree and leá, a clearing or a place.
Under the Local Government Act 1894, Purley became part of the Croydon Rural District of Surrey. In 1915 Purley and the neighbouring town of Coulsdon formed the Coulsdon and Purley Urban District which was based at the Purley Council Offices. The council was abolished in 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, and its area transferred to Greater London and 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 was sold to developers. It was left derelict for many years but was converted into flats in 2012. Plans to dig under the building and build additional flats were refused in 2015.
Kenley Aerodrome, to the east of the town, is currently official property of the Ministry of Defence. It was one of the key fighter stations – together with Croydon Airport and Biggin Hill – during the World War II support of Dunkirk, Battle of Britain and for the defence of London.
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.
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 one side Lombardy poplars planted in local soil mixed with French earth specially shipped over to the UK. A plaque at one end of the road explains that the French ministry of the interior donated the soil from Armentières, as a memorial to the alliance of World War One and the soldiers who died. At the other end stands an obelisk carved from a single piece of stone with the inscription "Aux soldats de France morts glorieusement pendant la Grande Guerre".
The 32nd Surrey Battalion of the Home Guard was known as the Factory Battalion, and had the specific task of guarding the Purley Way factories: its units were mainly based on staff from the individual firms. The factories adjoining Croydon Airport took the worst of the air raid of 15 August 1940: the British NSF factory was almost entirely destroyed, and the Bourjois factory gutted, with a total of over sixty civilian deaths.
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 Webb Estate is a gated community with around 220 homes. It began as 260 acres of farmland before being purchased in the 1880s and transformed into Edwardian homes and landscaped gardens by estate agent William Webb. Known for having a "garden village" feel with a high level of privacy, it also includes two private schools plus a restaurant and deli.
The estate made headlines in a 2002 survey, which found that it had over the years attracted the highest-earning residents in the UK, having established itself as an attractive destination for wealthy city workers.
Notable people to have lived on the Webb Estate include singer Francis Rossi, footballer Wilfried Zaha, television presenter Laura Hamilton, and former Downing Street Press Secretary Bernard Ingham.
The Purley postal district encompasses Purley high street and extends through Woodcote to the West, includes the Peaks Hill area to the North, and borders Purley Oaks in South Croydon. To the East it includes Riddlesdown and to the South it borders Kenley and Coulsdon. The current electoral ward of Purley and Woodcote is largely co-extensive with the postal district, but Riddlesdown is now in the neighbouring Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown ward.
Woodcote is contained within Purley. Developed in the early 20th century, it is centred on Woodcote Village Green and is the location of Woodcote Model Village. Purley's Webb Estate lies on Woodcote road, close to Upper Woodcote Village.
The Bourne river runs through Purley. The river is culverted but can flood in Purley valley. A local history society take their name from this river.
Purley is home to a number of schools; including four Catholic schools. Two of which are in Peaks Hill neighbourhood of Purley, and these are The John Fisher School an all boys state school (formerly an independent and then a voluntary aided state school), and Laleham Lea School a co-educational prep-school.
Purley has one of the UK's longest-established language schools, Purley Language College, founded in 1928.
The current schools in Purley are:
Current Purley Schools Name Type Mix Status Enrollment Beaumont Primary School Primary Mixed LEA 128 Christ Church Cofe Primary School Primary Mixed C of E 214 Cumnor House School for Girls Primary Girls Independent 118 Laleham Lea School Primary Mixed Catholic Independent 147 Margaret Roper Catholic Primary School Primary Mixed Catholic 219 Oakwood School Primary/Prep Mixed Catholic Independent 219 Reedham Park School Limited Primary Mixed Independent 113 Riddlesdown Collegiate Secondary Mixed LEA 1517 St David's School Primary/Prep Mixed Independent 167 St Nicholas School Primary Mixed LEA/Special 103 The John Fisher School Secondary Boys Catholic 1004 Thomas More Catholic School Secondary Mixed Catholic 717 Tudor Lodge School Mixed Mixed Independent 8 Wattenden Primary School Primary Mixed LEA 139 West Dene School Primary Mixed Independent 107
Retail and commerce
Purley used to have many different kinds of shops such as greengrocers, butchers, toy shops, tobacconists, a restaurant and a cinema. There was an earlier Sainsbury's store that closed in the 1980s, when a new Sainsbury's was opened at Purley Fountain. The new Sainsbury's closed in 2001. A Tesco superstore was opened in 1991, and there has been a shift in the town's retail offering towards charity shops, restaurants and non retail businesses.
Purley retail and commerce interests are represented by the Purley Business improvement district. This Business Improvement District (BID) is in the second 5-year term having successfully been voted in favour in 2015 and 2020.
The island opposite Purley Baptist Church has been refurbished 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 Purely Business improvement district, the Purley & Woodcote Residents' Association and Purley Rotary who actively participate in the Neighbourhood Partnership forums hosted by Croydon Council.
In the 2011 census, Purley had a population of 14607 with a demography of: White or White British (68.2%), Asian or Asian British (15.5%), Black or Black British (8.2%), Mixed/multiple ethnic groups (5.8%), and Other ethnic group (1.7%). White British is the largest single ethnicity (60.7%).
Purley lies within the Croydon South parliamentary constituency, where voters have consistently returned Conservative Party MPs to the local seat since 1974. Purley has been staunchly conservative and its amalgamation into the London borough of Croydon in 1965 helped consolidate the middle class domination of that borough. The Purley electoral ward returned Conservative party councillors in Croydon London Borough Council elections from 1965 up until the reorganisation of 2018. In 2018, Purley was split into two wards; Purley and Woodcote, and Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown.
- On television the town became known in the sitcom, Terry and June where Terry and June Medford (Terry Scott and 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 searching for each other around the (now unrecognisable) Whitgift Centre – a shopping precinct in Croydon.
- One of the houses used in Footballer's Wives is 7 Rose Walk, Purley, owned by former Crystal Palace FC Chairman Ron Noades.
- The CBBC children's sitcom Little Howard's Big Question is based in Purley, and also features continuous references to Croydon.
- Mr Angry, a character on Steve Wright's Radio 1 afternoon show in the 1980s, is from Purley.
- Michael Arthur, Vice-Chancellor of Leeds University, Provost of University College London from September 2013, was born in Purley.
- Jay Aston, singer with Bucks Fizz, was born in Purley.
- Ronald Binge and his wife Vera lived at 18, Smitham Bottom Lane in the 1950s. He composed the well-known Elizabethan Serenade there.
- Derren Brown, magician and mentalist, was born and grew up in Purley.
- Kit Connor, actor, was raised in Purley.
- Peter Cushing OBE, actor, was born in nearby Kenley, and went to school in Purley.
- Brian Fahey, composer of "At the Sign of the Swingin' Cymbal" (the signature tune to BBC Radio's Pick of the Pops).
- Andy Frampton, former professional footballer, grew up in Purley.
- Shelagh Fraser, actress, was born in Purley
- Laura Hamilton, TV presenter and Dancing on Ice Contestant, lives in Purley.
- Nigel Harman, actor, was born in Purley.
- Sir Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher's former press secretary, lived in Purley.
- Sir David P. Lane, oncologist best known for identifying P53, went to John Fisher school in Purley.
- Martin Lee, singer with Brotherhood of Man, was born in Purley.
- Archibald Low, pioneer of radio guidance systems, was born in Purley.
- Ray Mears, TV survivalist, went to school in Purley.
- Ron Noades, former chairman of Wimbledon FC, Crystal Palace FC and Brentford FC and owner of the Altonwood Golf Group, lived in Rose Walk, Purley, from 1993 until 2013.
- Innes Hope Pearse, doctor and co-founder of the Peckham Experiment, grew up in Purley.
- Francis Rossi, lead singer of 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.
- Wilfried Zaha, footballer, Crystal Palace FC, lives in the Webb Estate.
Purley Cross gyratory connects routes leading south-east to East Grinstead and Eastbourne (the A22), west to Epsom and Kingston (the A2022), south to Redhill and Brighton (the A23), and north to Croydon and Central London (the A23 and A235). 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 Airport and London Gatwick Airport.
Nearest railway stations
- Purley railway station
- Purley Oaks railway station
- Riddlesdown railway station
- Reedham railway station
- Sanderstead railway station
- South Croydon
- The John Fisher School
- St. David's School
- Commonweal Lodge
- Purley Language College
- Purley Business Association
- Birch, Walter de Gray (1887). Domesday Book: A Popular Account of the Exchequer Manuscript So Called, with Notices of the Principal Points of General Interest which it Contains. Society for promoting Christian knowledge. p. 232.
Another example of the late use of the term hida is that afforded by the Ad. Ch. 24,613 in the British Museum collection. In this deed John, abbot of St. Peter's monastery at Hyde, or Newminster, outside the city of Winchester, confirms a grant to William de Pirelea, son of Osbert de Pirelea, of "dimidiam hidam terre in Sandestuda," or Sanderstead, co. Surrey. The date is about A.D. 1200.
- Mills, A. D. (2010). "Purley". A Dictionary of London Place-Names. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199566785.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-956678-5. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- Tichy, Ondrej; Rocek, Martin. "Bosworth-Toller's Anglo-Saxon Dictionary online". Bosworth-Toller's Anglo-Saxon Dictionary online. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
- Historic England. "Purley Council Offices including attached railings (1063902)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
- "Timeline of Croydon Borough | Croydon Council". www.croydon.gov.uk. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
- "Permission refused for Purley Town Hall's underground flats". Inside Croydon. 30 July 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
- "BBC - WW2 People's War - The Bombing of Kenley Aerodrome 1940". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
- Truelove, Sam (12 September 2017). "The incredible history of RAF Kenley which opened 100 years ago". The Croydon Advertiser. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
- "Promenade de Verdun history" (PDF). croydon.gov.uk. London Borough of Croydon. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
- "London Borough of Croydon : Purley Way and Valley Park". Croydon Online. 6 December 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- Truelove, Sam (11 October 2019). "Life on Purley's Webb Estate - where celebs flock and homes sell for £4 million". MyLondon. Retrieved 28 March 2023.
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- "Purley & Woodcote - MapIt". mapit.mysociety.org.
- "Purley Oaks & Riddlesdown - MapIt". mapit.mysociety.org. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
- "Woodcote Village Green".
- "The Webb Estate and Upper Woodcote Village | Croydon Council". www.croydon.gov.uk. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
- "How pipes and tunnels caused our 'River of Woe' to flood". Inside Croydon. 15 February 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
- "Search for local schools in PURLEY". www.schools-search.co.uk. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- "School History | The John Fisher School". www.johnfisherschool.org. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- "Purley English Language College - News, articles and cooperation". www.cylex-uk.co.uk. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- "Growing Up In Purley - a nostalgic memory of Purley". www.francisfrith.com. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- "Shock at Sainsbury's closure". Your Local Guardian. 8 March 2001. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- "Purley Deserves Better- Jasmine Savory, St Philomena's High School". This Is Local London. 30 January 2022. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
- "Purley business improvement district ballot | Croydon Council". www.croydon.gov.uk. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- "58-12.co.uk". 58-12.co.uk. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
- Services, Good Stuff IT. "Purley - UK Census Data 2011". UK Census Data. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
- Services, Good Stuff IT. "Purley - UK Census Data 2011". UK Census Data. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
- Saunders, Peter (21 December 2006). Urban Politics: A Sociological Interpretation. Routledge. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-415-41773-0. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
- "Final recommendations on the new electoral arrangements for Croydon Borough of Croydon" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 April 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- Morris, Deborah (2 June 2018). "9 fascinating facts you never knew about Purley and Coulsdon". croydonadvertiser. Croydon Advertiser. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- Flanagan, Aaron (15 October 2015). "Wilfried Zaha set for new £2.5million Surrey mansion - featuring Crystal Palace emblem on the swimming pool floor". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
- "CBBC - Little Howard's Big Question, Series 2, Why Can't I Get Hold of Sawblaind the Municipal?". BBC. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- "Steve Wright In The Afternoon". British Classic Comedy. 21 May 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- Winter, Laura (December 2011). Debrett's People of Today 2012. Debrett's Peerage. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-870520-97-3.
- Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus Press. p. 2942. ISBN 9780857125958. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
- Norris, Gerald. A Musical Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1981), p. 96
- Green, Adam (30 September 2019). "How Derren Brown Remade Mind Reading for Skeptics". The New Yorker. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
- "Christmas is saved by 10-year-old boy from Purley after Santa Claus crashes his sleigh". Your Local Guardian. Sutton and Croydon Guardian. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- "Peter Cushing | Actor | Blue Plaques". English Heritage. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- "Brian Fahey". HeraldScotland. 20 April 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- "Andy's Wimbledon mission - News - AFC Wimbledon". www.afcwimbledon.co.uk. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- Granger, Derek (20 September 2000). "Obituaries: Shelagh Fraser". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 19 July 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- "TV presenter calls time on village Post Office in shed dispute". Inside Croydon. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- "Steamy relationship". Your Local Guardian. 26 November 2003. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- "Sir Bernard Ingham: The uncivil servant". The Independent. 24 March 2003. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- "Welcome | The John Fisher School". www.johnfisherschool.org. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- Kauth, André (14 October 2019). Pop History Band 1: Musikgruppen von A bis K (in German). Books on Demand. ISBN 978-3-7481-7940-5.
- "The Machine Age". TIME. 21 November 2010. Archived from the original on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- Mears, Raymond (2013). My outdoor life. London : Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-1-4447-7819-9. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
- Truelove, Sam (11 October 2019). "Life on Purley's Webb Estate - where celebs flock and homes sell for £4 million". MyLondon. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
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- Brayley, Edward Wedlake (1844). The History of Surrey. R.B. Ede. p. 43. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
Purley House, on this estate, was formerly the property and residence of the late John Horne Tooke, esq.; whose celebrated philological work inituled, "Epea Pteroenta, or the Diversions of Purley," was written here, and first published, in octavo, in 1786.
- "A23/Route - Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki". www.sabre-roads.org.uk.
- Purley Business Improvement District
- Purley Business Association
- Purley Business Expo
- Purley Festival
- Local Gov. Site Promenade de Verdun
- History of Purley Village
- PWRA, Purley & Woodcote Residents' Association
- The Bourne Society, representing heritage interests in the debate over Purley regeneration