Thornton Heath

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Thornton Heath
High Street, Thornton Heath - - 605910.jpg
High Street, Thornton Heath
Greater London UK location map 2.svg
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Thornton Heath
Location within Greater London
Population65,812 (2011) [1]
OS grid reference TQ315685
  Charing Cross 7.2 mi (11.6 km)  N
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CROYDON
Postcode district CR0
Postcode district CR7
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°24′01″N0°06′31″W / 51.4002°N 0.1086°W / 51.4002; -0.1086 Coordinates: 51°24′01″N0°06′31″W / 51.4002°N 0.1086°W / 51.4002; -0.1086

Thornton Heath is a district of Greater London, England, within the London Borough of Croydon. It is around 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north of the town of Croydon, and 7.2 miles (11.6 km) south of Charing Cross. Prior to the creation of Greater London in 1965, Thornton Heath was in the County Borough of Croydon.



Until the arrival of the railway in 1862, Thornton Heath was focused on an area 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in the parish of Croydon St John the Baptist, south west of the Whitehorse manor house (now a school), at the locality on the main London–Sussex road known as Thornton Heath Pond. Between the manor house and pond was an isolated farmhouse. Eventually it became the site for the railway station and the main expansion hub.

In the 50-year period from 1861 to 1911, Thornton Heath saw a complete transformation from isolated rural outpost to integrated metropolitan suburb. In its infancy, a new railway station in the eastern farmlands enabled the immediate area to evolve around a central point. In the late 19th century, the western part of Thornton Heath, which lay directly on the main London–Sussex road, demonstrated a classic form of suburban ribbon development. In the process, it became the final piece in an urban chain linking two major centres, London and Croydon, completing the greatest metropolitan expansion in the world at that time which cost £112 million in today’s money.


The nearest places are Mitcham, Croydon, South Norwood, Norbury, Pollards Hill, Selhurst, Upper Norwood and Eastfields.

The geology for the general area is that some areas have clayey, heavy soil including Norbury and South Norwood. There is gravelly, fertile soil in parts of the Thornton Heath area which explains why market gardening and gravel extraction were major industries. [2]



Thornton Heath is served by London Buses routes 50, 60, 64, 109, 130, 198, 250, 289, 450, 468 and X68, plus night routes N68, N109 and N250 and school route 663. Thornton Heath bus garage, owned by Arriva London, is at the junction of London Road and Thornton Road, known as Thornton Heath Pond.


Thornton Heath railway station is on the London Victoria branch of the Brighton Main Line, and is operated by Southern. Other stations nearby are Selhurst, the next station down, and Norwood Junction, on the East London line of the London Overground.

Culture and architecture

St Paul's Church, Thornton Heath St Paul's church, Thornton Heath - - 1450626.jpg
St Paul's Church, Thornton Heath
St Alban's Church, Grange Road, Thornton Heath St Alban's church, Grange Road - - 217367.jpg
St Alban's Church, Grange Road, Thornton Heath
Decorative features at former Thornton Heath Pond Thornton Heath Pond, Croydon, Surrey - - 1442239.jpg
Decorative features at former Thornton Heath Pond

Architecturally, Thornton Heath is predominantly Victorian in both its residential and commercial sectors. There are a number of imposing, even grand, buildings surviving from this period.

Two examples are St Paul's Church and St Alban's Church. St Alban's is an Anglican church and is listed Grade II. Built in 1889, it was the first church designed by the late Victorian architect Sir Ninian Comper. It is situated on a busy junction (of Grange Road and the High Street), as can be seen in the photograph. It is described as being of a red-brick perpendicular style with stone dressing.

At the junction of the High Street and Parchmore Road, on a site previously called Walker's Green, stands the Clocktower, which was built in 1900, financed partly by public subscription.

However, the Victorian baths did not survive, [3] and were replaced by a modern sports and leisure centre in 2004. [4] It cost £8m with £2.8m from the British National Lottery Good Causes Fund through Sport England. [4] [5]

Several small and large blocks of flats have been built in the area, in a similar style. A large one is Crystal Court, adjacent to the Leisure Centre. There was an intense fire there. Although the building had passed safety checks, residents were concerned about the role of the cladding. This is being replaced. [6]

Architects have posted about their project in the Library with a Council remit to refurbish and extend the Edwardian building, in particular to improve access. [7] There was also work as part of the regeneration project of the High Street to the Library on Brigstock Road [8]

There was a contest organised by Thornton Heath Community Action team for a planned redesign for the central area, won by architecture students [9]


Thornton Heath has a high degree of ethnic diversity with large proportion of people from a BAME background. In the 2011 census, Thornton Heath, comprising the wards of Bensham Manor, Thornton Heath and West Thornton, was Black or Black British (36.4%), White or White British (27.4%), Asian or Asian British (25.9%), Mixed/multiple ethnic groups (7.1%), and Other ethnic group (6.6%). The largest single ethnicity is White British (20.2%) followed by British African-Caribbean people (17.6%). [10] [11] [12]

Sport and leisure

Thornton Heath gained a new leisure centre in May 2004 which has proved popular. [4] The popularity was such that turnstiles had to be fitted to improve security. [4] [13] The centre is owned by Croydon Council, but originally run by Parkwood Leisure, [4] and now run by Fusion Lifestyle in partnership with the council. [14]

Thornton Heath formerly had a Non-League football club, Croydon Athletic, who played at the Keith Tuckey Stadium; but the club ceased to exist at the end of the 2010–11 season. In 2012, fans of the club formed AFC Croydon Athletic, which plays at the Mayfield Stadium. In 2015 the club competed in the Southern Counties East League. The reformed 5 time FA Cup winners Wanderers FC currently play at Thornton Heath.

Thornton Heath is also home to historic rugby club Streatham-Croydon RFC founded in 1871. Their grounds and clubhouse are located in Frant Road off Brigstock Road.

Thornton Heath is one of the railway stations used by visitors to Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park stadium.

There are 3 parks in Thornton Heath. Their websites have details including facilities: Grangewood Park, [15] Thornton Heath Recreation Ground, [16] and Trumble Gardens. [17] 2 of the webpages include historical information. Unfortunately, the Council has reduced funding on park maintenance, such as cutting the grass regularly. Trumble Gardens has become very untidy and run down.

The 2012 Olympic torch was taken along the High Street and Brigstock Road.


Thornton Heath healthcare is part of NHS Croydon Health Services [18] GP practices are independent and receive NHS funding. The Council covers some health services such as public health. It has sole responsibility for social services.

The local hospital changed its name to Croydon University Hospital. It was assessed in 2021 by the Care Quality Commission as 'requiring improvement' overall. However,some specific services were rated as 'good'. [19]


Thornton Heath Community Action Team [20] was formed in 2014 by a group of residents and businesses. Its aim is to deliver projects and to improve the area This has included: organising litter picks, planting of new plants, and a community Christmas tree. Members of the community have a garden in part of a local park, and are maintaining the planting area in the Ambassadors House forecourt. They also lobby and campaign on relevant local issues.

Sustainable Thornton Heath is a group of local people concerned about the environment. [21]

Friends of Grangewood Park organise events and projects to improve the park, and to encourage people to use it. [22]

Facebook groups include Thornton Heath Community Action Team and Thornton Heath Local, a more general group. Both are private but easy for local people to join. A Thornton Heath app has been created; 'We are Thornton Heath' . [23] [24]

There is local news in the 'Thornton Heath Chronicle'. [25]

There were Thornton Heath festivals for several years up to 2019. [26]

The Council had a Regeneration Plan for Thornton Heath. "Since 2016 we have been involving local people in an improvement programme, making the High Street and Brigstock Road more attractive, with funding from the GLA. This included new pavements and road improvements, upgrades to shop fronts, wall art by local artists along the high street, and improvements to the forecourt of Ambassador House." [27] Unfortunately, there were quality problems with some of the work.

In addition to the murals in the improvement programme, there are other artworks, such as a mosaic and mural at the station. An 'Art Trail' map was compiled as a guide. [28]

All the banks have closed their branches [29] Some (not all) are listed on a website [30] There is a growing number of branches from chains such as: Subway, Boots Optician, Poundland and Costa. The number of hairdressers, nail bars, takeaway shops and cafes and independent food shops has increased in recent years.[ citation needed ] There is also a wider variety of food, such as halal meat and ingredients for some South Asian, Eastern European and Afro Caribbean recipes.

Unfortunately, several food outlets got poor hygiene ratings in an official inspection. [31]

Notable residents

Related Research Articles

London Borough of Croydon Borough in United Kingdom

The London Borough of Croydon is a London borough in south London, part of Outer London. It covers an area of 87 km2 (33.6 sq mi). It is the southernmost borough of London. At its centre is the historic town of Croydon from which the borough takes its name; while other urban centres include Coulsdon, Purley, South Norwood, Norbury, New Addington and Thornton Heath. Croydon is mentioned in Domesday Book, and from a small market town has expanded into one of the most populous areas on the fringe of London. The borough is now one of London's leading business, financial and cultural centres, and its influence in entertainment and the arts contribute to its status as a major metropolitan centre. Its population is 386,710, making it the second largest London borough and fifteenth largest English district.

Crystal Palace, London Residential area in London, England

Crystal Palace is an area in south London, England, named after the Crystal Palace Exhibition building, which stood in the area from 1854 until it was destroyed by fire in 1936. Approximately 7 miles (11 km) south-east of Charing Cross, it includes one of the highest points in London, at 367 feet (112 m), offering views over the capital. The area has no defined boundaries and straddles five London boroughs and three postal districts, although there is a Crystal Palace electoral ward and Crystal Palace Park in the London Borough of Bromley. It forms a part of the greater area known as Upper Norwood, and is contiguous with the areas of Anerley, Dulwich Wood, Gipsy Hill, Penge, South Norwood and Sydenham.

Croydon Town in South London, England

Croydon is a large town in South London, England that gives its name to the London Borough of Croydon. It is one of the largest commercial districts in Greater London, with an extensive shopping district and night-time economy. The entire town had a population of 192,064 as of 2011, whilst the wider borough had a population of 384,837. It is 9.4 miles (15.1 km) south of Charing Cross.

Queens Road Peckham railway station British railway station

Queens Road Peckham railway station is in the London Borough of Southwark and also serves the area to the east of Peckham, in the London Borough of Lewisham. It is on the South London Line, 2 miles 58 chains (4.4 km) from London Bridge, and trains also go to Croydon via various routes and beyond. It is on the road of that name and is in Travelcard Zone 2.

South Norwood District of south east London, England

South Norwood is a district of south-east London, England, within the London Borough of Croydon and the historic county of Surrey. It is located 7.8 miles (12.5 km) south-east of Charing Cross, north of Woodside and Addiscombe, east of Selhurst and Thornton Heath, south of Crystal Palace/Upper Norwood and Anerley, and west of Elmers End and Penge.

Norbury District of South London, UK

Norbury is an area of south London. It shares the postcode London SW16 with neighbouring areas Streatham and Croydon. Norbury is 6.7 miles (10.8 km) south of Charing Cross.

Croydon North (UK Parliament constituency) UK Parliament constituency since 1997

Croydon North is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2012 by Steve Reed of Labour Co-op. The seat was created in 1918 and split in two in 1955 and re-devised in a wholly different form in 1997.

County Borough of Croydon

The County Borough of Croydon was a local government district in and around the town of Croydon in north east Surrey, England from 1889 to 1965. Since 1965 the district has been part of the London Borough of Croydon within Greater London.

Croydon North West was a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.

Heavers Meadow

Heavers Meadow is a meadow located in South Norwood and Selhurst in the London Borough of Croydon. South Norwood Recreation Ground is on the other side of the road. The meadow covers an area of 834 acres. With meadows there are not usually many facilities. Heavers is no exception; the only facility stated on the council's website is a footpath through a flood meadow.

Selhurst Human settlement in England

Selhurst is an area in the London Borough of Croydon 7.8 miles (12.6 km) south-south-east of Charing Cross. Historically it lay in Surrey. The area is bounded to the west and south by Thornton Heath and Croydon and to the east and south by South Norwood and Woodside. Selhurst Park, the home stadium of Crystal Palace Football Club, is sited at the northern end of the neighbourhood.

Pollards Hill Human settlement in England

Pollards Hill is a small residential district straddling south London boroughs of Croydon and Merton between Mitcham, Norbury and Thornton Heath. The boundary of the two boroughs is a street named Recreation Way. No roads directly cross the Croydon and Merton divide, and streets were planned according to borough, leading to differing architectural or building schemes. It lends its name to a ward of the London Borough of Merton.

Grangewood Park

Grangewood Park is an extensive woodland area situated in South Norwood, London. It is managed by the London Borough of Croydon. It is bounded by Grange Road, Wharncliffe Road, and Ross Road. It covers an area of 27.7 acres. The park is located on the main A212 road between Thornton Heath and Upper Norwood/Crystal Palace. The nearest stations are Thornton Heath, Selhurst and Norwood Junction.

Selhurst High School Secondary school (community) school in Croydon, London, England

Selhurst High School for Boys is a name that has been given to two separate schools in England that existed at different times, but occupied the same site. The former school had been a grammar school that closed in 1988, the latter was the relaunch of a former comprehensive school, Ingram, under a different name in a different location. Thus, the current Selhurst High School for Boys is not simply an extension of the old school but rather has a more complex heritage. The school, located in the north of Croydon, is currently referred to as Selhurst Mathematics and Computing Specialist School. The school is notable not only in the eminent alumni that feature among its forerunners' former pupils, but also because of the dramatic contrasts in its academic fortunes over time.

Bensham Manor (ward)

Bensham Manor is a ward in the London Borough of Croydon, covering part of the Thornton Heath area of London in the United Kingdom. The ward extends from Thornton Heath railway station westwards and is largely residential with a retail or industrial core. The population of the Ward at the 2011 Census was 16,201.

Thornton Heath is an area of South London, England, and makes up a part of the London Borough of Croydon.

2012 Croydon North by-election

The Croydon North by-election was a by-election for the Parliament of the United Kingdom's House of Commons constituency of Croydon North in the London Borough of Croydon. The by-election was caused by the death of its Member of Parliament Malcolm Wicks. It took place on Thursday, 29 November, the same day as by-elections in Middlesbrough and Rotherham. The by-election was won by Steve Reed of the Labour Party.

2022 Croydon London Borough Council election 2022 local election in Croydon

In the 2022 Croydon London Borough Council election, on 5 May 2022, all 70 members of Croydon London Borough Council, and the Mayor of Croydon, were up for election. The elections took place alongside the local elections in the other London boroughs and elections to local authorities across the United Kingdom. Jason Perry of the Conservative Party narrowly won the mayoral election.


  1. Thornton Heath is made up of three wards in the London Borough of Croydon: Bensham Manor, Thornton Heath, and West Thornton. "2011 Census Ward Population Estimates". Greater London Authority. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  2. Hepworth, S and Bligh,S ‘Thornton Heath; A local study pack’, (2nd edition) Croydon Libraries 1993
  3. "Thornton Heath Leisure Centre". Huntley Cartwright Charted Quantity Surveyors. Retrieved 13 September 2009.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Menhinnitt, Daniel (30 June 2004). "New centre success". The Croydon Guardian . Newsquest Media Group . Retrieved 13 September 2009.
  5. Menhinnitt, Daniel (3 November 2004). "National Lottery's benefit to the borough". The Croydon Guardian . Newsquest Media Group . Retrieved 13 September 2009.
  6. "Fears over cladding in fire hit block". 2 August 2021.
  7. "FAT Architecture".
  8. "Thornton Heath High Street by YOU & ME Architecture Ltd".
  9. "Student architects winning redesign of Thornton Heath". 19 May 2019.
  10. Services, Good Stuff IT. "Bensham Manor - UK Census Data 2011". UK Census Data. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  11. Services, Good Stuff IT. "Thornton Heath - UK Census Data 2011". UK Census Data. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  12. Services, Good Stuff IT. "West Thornton - UK Census Data 2011". UK Census Data. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  13. "Hurry for tickets to see Manchester Utd". The Croydon Guardian . Newsquest Media Group (via Factiva - subscription required). 10 November 2004. Retrieved 13 September 2009.
  14. "London Borough of Croydon: Thornton Heath Leisure Centre". London Borough of Croydon. Retrieved 13 September 2009.
  15. "Grangewood Park | Croydon Council".
  16. "Thornton Heath Recreation Ground | Croydon Council".
  17. "Trumble Gardens | Croydon Council".
  18. Trust, Croydon Health Services NHS. "Home". Croydon Health Services NHS Trust.
  19. Croydon University Hospital, Care Quality Commission, 2021 viewed 3/5/2022
  20. "Thornton Heath Community Action Team". Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  21. "Sustainable Thornton Heath". Sustainable Thornton Heath.
  22. "Grangewood Park". Grangewood Park.
  23. "We Are Thornton Heath". We Are Thornton Heath.
  24. "Thornton Heath app launched to drive economic growth". 7 October 2021.
  25. "Thornton Heath Chronicle". Thornton Heath Chronicle.
  26. "Thornton Heath Festival". Thornton Heath Festival.
  27. "Thornton Heath | Croydon Council".
  28. "Thornton Heath Art Trail – Thornton Heath Community Action Team".
  30. "Shops in Thornton Heath (CR7): Opening times, addresses and reviews".
  31. "Shocking hygiene in food outlets". 3 January 2022.

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