High Street Culture
Find out what’s coming up in our four-year programme of cultural activity across England's High Streets Heritage Action Zones, continuing until 2024.
The scheme will help to reinforce the High Street as the vibrant commercial, community and cultural heart of South Norwood through celebrating local heritage and improving the area's physical appearance.
It will build on existing programmes to support the growth and regeneration of the area.
South Norwood originally developed as a stopping point on the Croydon Canal, which opened in 1809. The subsequent railway expansion created a sought-after residential district and by the 1870s the High Street was the focus of local commercial and social activity.
In the late-19th century, growth was influenced by the inventor and philanthropist, William Stanley who ran a local factory and funded educational projects and bequeathed his estate to local schools and students. Stanley also designed and built the Grade II listed Stanley Halls, now a local arts and community centre.
Today, South Norwood retains much of its fine Victorian architecture, although many buildings are in poor condition. Years of economic decline have taken their toll on the look and feel of the High Street and many shops are vacant. Narrow, cluttered footpaths, traffic congestion and a busy road junction distract also from the High Street's attractive heritage architecture.
Focussed on the route of the High Street from Norwood Junction station to Stanley Halls, the High Street Heritage Action Zone will involve restoring shop fronts and facades, repairs and improvements to landmark buildings, and making the public realm more attractive and welcoming. A new Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan will increase understanding of the area's heritage and guide future development.
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