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London Gardens Online


Whitgift School Croydon


Whitgift School occupies former parkland of Haling Park, and vestiges of the earlier planting remain in the school grounds and a copse from the medieval woodland. Haling Park was once the home of Lord Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral of the Fleet at the time of the Armada in 1588. The school was founded in Croydon in 1596 by John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, and opened in 1600; it moved to Haling Park in 1931. Andrew Quadrangle in the centre of the main block has undulating lawns, an ornamental pond, collection of bonsai and a Japanese garden, with aviaries and a variety of exotic birds. An Elizabethan-style Founder's Garden was created in 2000 on the site of Haling Park's walled garden. The Water Gardens opened in 2005 with a waterfall between upper and lower lakes and over 500 species of trees and shrubs.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
Haling Park

Site location:
Haling Park Road, South Croydon

CR2 6YT ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Institutional Grounds



Listed structures:
LBII: Haling Cottage (Whitgift School Headmaster's House). Local list: Whitgift School


Site ownership:
Whitgift School

Site management:
Whitgift School

Open to public?

Opening times:
Has opened for OGSW. Otherwise private, school users/visitors only
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 8 times, most recently in 2018.

Special conditions:

Whitgift Primary Schools Project enables local schools to see aviary, squirrels and other wildlife kept here.


Public transport:
Rail: East Croydon then bus; South Croydon then bus. Bus: 60, 166, 312, 405, 407, 469, 466, 468

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2007
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:

Tree Preservation Order:

Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Borough Importance II (Whitgift School Wood)

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:

Other LA designation:

Whitgift School

Whitgift School - Bonsai - Photo: Whitgift School

Click photo to enlarge.


Fuller information

Former C19th parkland now occupied by C20th school but retaining vestigial elements, including a copse from medieval woodland. The 1860s layout is recorded on the 1st edition OS Map. Haling Park had once been the home of Lord Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral of the Fleet at the time of the Armada in 1588. Whitgift School was founded in 1596 by John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, and opened in 1600; it moved to Haling Park in 1931. Since then the original buildings have seen numerous additions including the Music School and Concert Hall, an integrated science, technology, art and design facility in 1990, a separate Junior School, and most recently a major new sports complex.

The Founder's Garden was created in 2000 to celebrate Whitgift's 400th anniversary on the site of the walled garden of Haling House, its design and planting inspired by the Elizabethan period. On one side of the central path is a yew maze with central dovecote and on the other a lawn with statue of John Whitgift. Borders, trellises and pergolas are planted with lavender, rosemary, figs, agrimony, Herb-Robert, and a Weeping White Mulberry planted by the Duke of York, the school's patron.

In the centre of the main school block is Andrew Quadrangle, with undulating lawns, paths, an ornamental pond with koi carp, a collection of bonsai and a variety of exotic birds freely wandering. There have been peacocks at Whitgift since the 1930s and there are now (2007) also white peafowl, Crowned and Demoiselle Cranes and a variety of African and Asian species. Andrew Quadrangle also has a well-kept aviary and a breeding colony of red squirrels. In one corner of the Quadrangle Japanese Garden is in the process of being created, the first phase opened in October 2006.

The third new garden area to be created are the Water Gardens, opened in September 2005 by Sir David Attenborough, with a waterfall from an upper lake feeding into a lower lake, and a smaller still-water pond. Over 500 trees and shrubs are planted in this area, with wildfowl including species from every continent, a pair of Albino Bennett's Wallabies and breeding pairs of Caribbean Flamingos.

Playing fields dominate the level areas, but vestiges of the earlier planting remain: clump of beech, notable specimen trees, including several Lebanon Cedars, Sequoiadendron, Blue Atlas Cedars. There is a block of woodland to the south west and there are notable views back to St Peter's Church spire and the tower of Coombe Cliff in Park Hill (q.v.). A modern housing estate has been built around Whitgift House on the Brighton Road.

Sources consulted:

Cherry, B and Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England London 2: South (1983), p215; leaflet produced by Whitgift School for OGSW 2007; school website

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