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Norwood Grove (also known as Streatham Grove)


Norwood Grove is an early-20th-century public garden and park, formed from a 19th-century estate.

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

An early 20th century public park formed from a 19th century estate which was purchased by an Acquisition Committee when threatened with development and formally opened by the Prince of Wales in 1926.



Norwood Grove lies to the north of the London Borough of Croydon, on the border with the London Borough of Lambeth. The lodge to the west of the house and the area of open space to the south-west of the lodge is within the London Borough of Lambeth. The 14ha site is bounded on three sides by intensive early to mid C20 development: Covington Way to the south and south west; Gibson's Hill to the east and south-east; and Ryecroft Road to the north. The north-west bounday borders The Rookery, a public open space owned by the London Borough of Lambeth. Trees grow along the boundaries and the site is enclosed with iron railings.


What was the main thoroughfare from Beaulah to Streatham now provides the main entrance to the site at the eastern corner. The drive runs west then north-west through the northern part of the site from Gibson's Hill, up to and past the mansion to the C19 lodge where it ceases to be metalled but continues past The Rookery to Streatham Common. Additional access is provided by gates in the iron railings which enclose the site.


The mansion (listed grade II), or White House as it is known locally, is a C19 stuccoed building with a bow in the middle of the entrance facade. It is set in rising ground to the north of the site with views over suburban London and the Wandle valley. An engraving by John Hassell of 1804 shows a house similar in size to the one that survives today (1997), but a later map (OS 1868) shows a larger house with two bays and a glass conservatory attached to the west wing and the orangery on the east side. During the Second World War the west wing and the conservatory were destroyed by enemy action. The first floor has been converted into flats (late C20) and the ground-floor rooms are now (1997) used for various local activities.


The ground adjacent to the south-west front of the mansion slopes gently to the south and south-west. The central area is laid to lawn and the cupressus planted by the Prince of Wales when he opened the site in 1926 has been replaced by a blue cedar. Access to the lawn from the orangery is by way of a flight of steps, the piers of which have been rebuilt and no longer support the sphinx and lion shown on a photograph of the 1870s. The steps lead south-east to a tree-lined path which meanders through shrubberies and a grove of trees, some of which are recorded on the OS 1st edition map of 1868, to make a circuit of the lower, steeper slopes of the grounds as far as the south boundary, then north alongside Gibson's Hill, eventually meeting up with the main entrance.

Ornamental gardens to the south-west and west of the central lawn focus on a C19 fountain 60m to the south of the house. The fountain, which is set within three circular flower beds, has figures below the rim depicting the four seasons, and the rim is inscribed with appropriate months above them. Originally there was an ornamental head above the basin, but this has not been replaced since it was damaged in the Second World War. This part of the garden is screened to the south-west by ornamental shrubberies.

Some 20m to the north-west of the fountain is a stone bird bath dedicated to Stenton Covington, and a further 5m to the north-west is an iron rose arbour with a central rose bed and seats. To the north of the rose arbour, enclosed by brick walls on two sides, are flower beds and borders with a rockery which are planted out with herbaceous plants and Ericas. The high wall to the north of this area was once part of the extensive glasshouses recorded on the OS map of 1868. Beyond the ornamental gardens to the south and west the grassed slopes fall more steeply down to the boundary fences; some mature trees survive especially to the north near the lodge. Some 60m to the south-west of the fountain the site of a bowling green has been made into a sunken shrubbery.


The kitchen garden was situated to the north-west of the house; all of the C19 glasshouses which existed until c 1940 have been removed.


Across the main drive, to the north of the mansion, is an area of ground divided by a footpath leading to Ryecroft Road. To the east is a grassed area which slopes down to the north-east, while immediately to the west of the footpath is a mid C20 public bowling green. To the north-west lies another area of grass, the entrance to which is opposite the lodge.


D E Holmes, Norwood Grove, guide leaflet, (London Borough of Croydon 1979)

D Mojon, Norwood Grove, (Streatham Society 1980)

B Cherry and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2 South (1983), p 234

M A Winterman, Croydon Parks, an Illustrated History (nd), pp 63-66


J Rocque, Twenty Miles around London, 1745

OS 6" to 1 mile: 3rd edition published 1913

1933 edition

OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1864, published 1868

2nd edition published 1894


J Hassell, The seat of ... Stockwell Esq, 1804 (Croydon Local Studies Centre)

Description written: 1997

Edited: November 2001

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

This is a municipal park for general public use. It is open from 8am Mon-Fri/9am weekends - dusk.


Rail: Streatham Common. Bus: 249, 250


London Borough of Croydon

Taberner House , Park Lane, CR9 3JS

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):


Originally part of the 'Great North Wood', which once covered the whole of the north of Surrey, the area was referred to as Limes Common in the Domesday Survey of 1086 and in about 1635, when it was enclosed to form a shooting estate around the shooting box presented to the first Earl of Portland by Charles II. The site has since been known variously as Copgate, 1746; Norwood Grove, 1864; and Streatham Grove, 1894, reverting to Norwood Grove in the 1920s. During the 19th century the site was occupied by numerous families including Arthur Anderson, who co-founded the shipping line that eventually became P&O. Anderson entertained Garibaldi to lunch in 1864, when the latter was on a visit to the nearby Crystal Palace. The Nettleford family occupied the mansion from 1878 until 1936 when it was sold to Croydon Corporation.

By 1924 the site was threatened with development and an Acquisition Committee was formed by Mr Stenton Covington, a prominent local resident who, with the Archbishop of Canterbury as patron and the Mayor of Croydon as president, first raised £1215 for the purchase of an orchard and meadow land that linked the site with The Rookery to the north-west. Then, with the help of grants from London County Council and the boroughs of Lambeth, Wandsworth, and Croydon a further £18,200 was raised and 32 acres (about 13 hectares) of the 'higher and wooded portion of the park' was purchased (Mojon 1980).

Norwood Grove was officially opened to the public on 16 November 1926 by the Prince of Wales. It remains (1997) a public park in the care of the London Borough of Croydon.


  • 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
  • Early 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD1817
  • Grade: II
  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: Norwood Grove including terrace steps to garden
  • Grade: II
  • Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation


  • Fountain
  • Orangery
  • Gate Lodge
  • Railings
  • Description: The site is enclosed with iron railings.
Key Information





Principal Building

Parks, Gardens And Urban Spaces


20th Century (1901 to 1932)





Open to the public





  • London Parks and Gardens Trust