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Fairfield Gardens Croydon
   
Summary: The Fair Field was the site for Croydon's annual fair from at least early Tudor times. The 'Great Fair' was an important cattle fair as well as an occasion for popular entertainment, although this was discontinued after 1868 when rioting took place. Despite local protest, the Croydon Board of Health sold the Fair Field to Brighton Railway Company. The ground was also used for gravel extraction, and later as a car park until the 1960s. Croydon College of Technology and the Fairfield Halls opened in 1962 and Fairfield Gardens were laid out as ornamental gardens and ponds over an underground car park, designed in the modernist geometric style that was gaining popularity.
Previous / Other name: The Fair Field
Site location: Park Lane, Croydon
Postcode: CR9 1DG > Google Map
Type of site: Public Gardens
Date(s): 1960-62
Designer(s): Peter Youngman
Listed structures:
Borough: Croydon
Site ownership: LB Croydon
Site management: Parks and Open Spaces
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events: Occasional open-air art shows
Public transport: Rail: East Croydon.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/12/2008
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.croydon.gov.uk

Fuller information:

The Fair Field was the site for Croydon's annual fair from at least early Tudor times when the Walnut Fair was held here. Croydon's 'Great Fair' was an important cattle fair as well as an occasion for popular entertainment, which included all manner of attractions from mummers, jugglers, tumblers, dancing bears and other attractions. However, this aspect of the fair ceased in 1868 when rioting took place, the entertainment having increasingly attracted 'undesirables'. The Ordnance Survey map 1st edition of 1870 shows the old Fairfield, and the annual Cattle Fair continued to be held here for some years. Despite local protest, the Croydon Board of Health sold the Fair Field to Brighton Railway Company for the new railway and the ground was also used for gravel extraction. The gravel pit was used as a car park until the 1960s when Croydon College of Technology and the Fairfield Halls were built, opened in 1962 by the Queen Mother.

Next to the college, Fairfield Gardens were laid out as ornamental gardens and ponds over an underground car park. The new gardens were designed by Peter Youngman in the modernist geometric style that was gaining popularity. Due to the shallow soil above the car park large trees could not be planted. In 1969 the first open-air art exhibition was staged here and in 1976 the first permanent sculptures were installed in the garden.

Sources consulted:

MA Winterman, Croydon's parks: an illustrated history (LB Croydon, 1988) p34/35
Grid ref: TQ326654
Size in hectares: 0.81
   
On EH National Register : No
EH grade:
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
No
 
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List: No
In Conservation Area: No
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation: Local Open Land. Part of AP2. Part of Proposals Site
   

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