Beaulieu Heights is on woodland that was once part of the Great North Wood before it formed the grounds of two large houses, Hazelwood and Beaulieu Lodge. Much of the land in the area was owned by the Archbishops of Canterbury. A map of 1870 shows woodland at that time of a very similar extent to that in the area today. Croydon Council purchased Hazelwood and Beaulieu Lodge from the Church Commissioners in 1938 and the park was opened to the public after WWII.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/12/2008
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Beaulieu Heights is set on a slope that runs from Church Road to Auckland Rise. The woodland was part of the Great North Wood but more recently the grounds of two large houses, Hazelwood and Beaulieu Lodge. Thomas Bainbridge’s map of Croydon in 1800 shows the area in the ownership of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the 1870 map shows the woodland of very similar extent to today’s area. The same map shows Beaulieu Mansion and gardens, which are still in private use. The Mansion, which is now an old people’s home, served as a hotel for many years. Hazelwood was built in considerable splendour in c.1860 by a Dr Butter, who had returned, evidently with some wealth, after a career in India. According to an estate agent's brochure of 1878 the gardens of Hazelwood were laid out under the supervision of Sir Joseph Paxton, and included an attractive lithographed view and quite detailed plans of the house and the garden. Although confirmation of Paxton's involvement is yet to come, it is quite possible that Dr Butter might have consulted him, since the site is about a mile from Paxton's home, Rockhills, next to the Crystal Palace.
Croydon Council purchased Hazelwood and Beaulieu Lodge from the Church Commissioners in 1938 and it was opened to the public after WWII. A fire in 1976 destroyed much of the oak woodland, although recolonisation by plants and animals has recommenced. A traditional old walled garden was once situated here, outside the area of the current park.
Winterman, M A, Croydon's parks: an illustrated history (LB Croydon, 1988) p 12; 1995 Inventory. Information from Anthony Ashby; LB Croydon, 'Local List of Historic Parks & Gardens', December 2008