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St John's Church Memorial Garden Croydon


St John's Church Memorial Garden was formed from the churchyard of Croydon parish church. Destroyed by fire in 1867, St John's Church was rebuilt in 1870 and until 1957 had a traditional graveyard but by then no longer used for burials. When Church Street was widened, a new home was needed for the War Memorial and plans were developed to create a memorial garden on the site of the well-treed churchyard. The gravestones were removed, some headstones used to form paths, more elaborate memorials erected as a screen wall round the church. Special tombs and sarcophagi were relocated in the garden, as was the War Memorial. Adjacent is the former Archbishops Palace, now Old Palace of John Whitgift School.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
St John the Baptist Churchyard; Croydon Parish Church

Site location:
Roman Way/Church Street/Howley Road, Croydon

CR0 1SG ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Public Gardens

C15th (church) 1957 (public garden)

1950s memorial garden: Peter Youngman

Listed structures:
SAM: St John's Church gateway, a stone archway into memorial gardens from Howley Road. LBI: Parish Church; Old Palace School


Site ownership:
LB Croydon

Site management:
Parks and Open Spaces

Open to public?

Opening times:
8am Mon-Fri/9am weekends - dusk

Special conditions:



Public transport:
Rail/London Overground: West Croydon. Tramlink: 1, 2 & 3. Bus: 264

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.

Further Information

Grid ref:

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:

On EH National Register :

EH grade:

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

Local Authority Data

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:

In Conservation Area:

Conservation Area name:
Parish Church

Tree Preservation Order:

Nature Conservation Area:

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:
Yes - Archaeological Site of National Importance

Other LA designation:
Area at risk of flooding every 100 years

Fuller information

The memorial garden, designed by Peter Youngman, was formed in 1957 from the churchyard of St John the Baptist, the parish church of Croydon. St John's Church was destroyed by fire in 1867 and rebuilt by G G Scott in 1870. Until 1957 the Parish Church had a traditional graveyard but by then it was no longer used for burials and few of the surviving plots were maintained. When the nearby Church Street was widened a new home was needed for the War Memorial. Plans were developed to create a memorial garden on the site of the well-treed churchyard in 1957 and the gravestones were removed. Some of the footpaths that lead around the garden are made from old headstones. Other more elaborate headstones and memorials were erected as a screen wall around the church and special tombs and sarcophagi were relocated at strategic points. The War Memorial was repositioned on a plinth in the garden. There are seats and a shelter in the garden. Adjacent to the memorial garden is the C14th former Archbishop's Palace, now Old Palace of John Whitgift School. As the Lords of the Manor, the Archbishops had a considerable influence on the town and they stayed at their country residence near London for centuries. When they moved to Addington Palace the Old Palace building was used as a bleaching factory before being bought for the school.

Sources consulted:

Winterman, M A, Croydon's parks: an illustrated history (LB Croydon, 1988) p82; Cherry, B and Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England London 2: South (1983) p208; LB Croydon, 'Local List of Historic Parks & Gardens', December 2008

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