|Population||14,296 (2011 Census. Ward)|
|OS grid reference|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Shirley is an area of south London, England, within the London Borough of Croydon. It is located east of Croydon, on the border with the London Borough of Bromley, and 10 miles (16 km) south south-east of Charing Cross.
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Until the 1930s Shirley consisted of a few hamlets between farms and the estates of the large houses. These included Spring Park, Monks Orchard, Shirley Park, Shirley Lodge and Ham, names which are reflected in the names of neighbourhoods today. Originally part of Addington and contrary to popular opinion, Monks Orchard is not named after a monastery in the area, but probably commemorates a family named Monk, who owned some of the land at one time. When Lewis Lloyd acquired the land and had a mansion built in 1854, he adopted the name of a local wood, "Monks Orchard", for the whole estate.
Lloyd's Monks Orchard House was one of the most substantial mansions in the Croydon area. It had 19 bedrooms, a billiard room, library, and numerous other rooms. The Dining Hall alone was over 36 by 21 ft (11 by 4 m). The estate covered 1,540 acres (6.2 km²), stretching northwards from the Wickham Road almost to Elmers End, southwards nearly as far as Addington, and eastwards across the Borough boundary into West Wickham. It included several other residences, such as Spring Park; farms, including Eden Park, Ham Farm, Shirley Farm, Spring Park Farm and Oak Lodge Farm; two dozen or so cottages; The Rising Sun, The Cricketers and the White Hart; and Beckenham Golf Course.
When the estate came up for sale in 1920, only parts of it found buyers, and the rest, including the part now called Monks Orchard was offered again in 1924. This was purchased by the City of London Corporation for the relocation of the Bethlem Royal Hospital, which had long outgrown its Lambeth home. Building of the new hospital started in 1928, and this involved pulling down the old mansion. The hospital development did not need all the land and parts of it were sold off for housing development. There are still substantial grounds around the Hospital largely undeveloped, although planning permission was granted. The Hospital and grounds were transferred into Bromley in the 1990s in exchange for South Norwood Country Park.
In the 1930s, a large amount of building took place over much of the open land, largely suburban-style semi-detached houses. To the north, Shirley links into neighbouring areas. However, some land escaped the building boom. Shirley Park House with its extensive grounds became a hotel and in 1965 was bought by the Whitgift Foundation to become Trinity School in a new building constructed on the site. Neighbouring the school grounds is Shirley Park Golf Course. To the south of Shirley are large areas of woodland, including Addington Hills and Threehalfpenny Wood. Parks and open spaces are dotted across the area, including Miller’s Pond. In Upper Shirley, large houses in a few estates have been built.
The tower mill was built by Richard Alwen to replace the first mill on the site, built by his grandfather William Alwen in 1808, after it was burnt by fire in 1854. By 1893, Alfred Rayson, the owner, was forced to abandon the mill as unviable. After closure the mill was allowed to deteriorate, being struck by lightning in 1899 and again in 1906.
In 1951 the mill and land were acquired by the Croydon Corporation. The mill was threatened with demolition when the new John Ruskin School was built but it was protected by its Grade II listed status  and strong public interest. The school, now the John Ruskin College, later left the site and housing was built around the mill.
In August 1996, it was announced that the London Borough of Croydon was to receive a grant of £218,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the mill. The grant money has helped restore the mill to working order and open it to the public.
Shirley Windmill is open to the public on the first Sunday of each month June to October open in May on National Mills weekend (Sunday) and usually open for Open House Week End (Sunday) in September.
- Forest Academy
- Harris Primary Academy Benson
- Monks Orchard Primary School
- Orchard Way Primary School
- St John's Church of England Primary School
- Coloma Convent Girls' School
- Orchard Park High School
- Oasis Academy Shirley Park
- Shirley High School
- Trinity School of John Whitgift
Famous residents, past and present
- John Maberly, Member of Parliament and owner of Shirley Park
- The Reverend William Wilks, Vicar of Shirley, developed the Shirley poppy, a common garden variety of the plant.
- Ronnie Corbett, comedian, lived in Shirley for many years and died at Shirley Oaks Hospital.
- John Surtees, world champion motor racing driver and motor cycle rider, brought up in Shirley
- George Pilkington Mills, cyclist.
- Tom Wright, architect Burj Al Arab
- "Croydon Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
- Historic England. "Church of All Saints (1376050)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
- Shirley Windmill at the British Listed Buildings website
- "Shirley Windmill | Open House London 2019". openhouselondon.open-city.org.uk. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
- "Upminster Windmill to be saved | The National Lottery Heritage Fund". www.heritagefund.org.uk. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
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