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Surrey Street Fountain

Restoration of the fountain

Croydon’s town centre has ancient origins. Bronze Age remains have been found and there are suggestions that Croydon was a Roman staging post on the road between London and Portslade (Brighton). By the 9th century, Croydon, meaning either “crooked valley” or “saffron valley”, had become a Saxon stronghold with associations with the early Christian church. Surrey Street Market is one of the oldest known streets markets in Britain, trading since 1276, and a conservation area. Nearby are the 16th century Grade I listed Whitgift almshouses. Croydon became one of the first towns to adopt the Public Health Act in 1848 and the new Board of Health began in earnest to improve sanitary and social conditions in the Old Town area. By the 1880s the overcrowded market area was a cause of concern and in 1883 it established a High Street Improvement Committee with the aim of widening the High Street for traffic. In 1896 the High Street was widened from 29ft to 50ft for electric trams, which ran until 1950 from Embankment to Purley on the 16 and 18 routes. The fountain was erected at this time, built into the far end of a granite staircase sweeping between the High Street and Surrey Street.

HOLT is funding the restoration which will include cleaning, poulticing and the top of the fountain will be partially dismantled and re-set to close the failed joints and to realign the tiles. Hairline cracks and breaks will be filled with a colour matched resin. Missing tiles and breaks will be modelled in hybrid mortar and surface finished to match the originals. All open or failed joints will be re-pointed with a suitable colour matching lime mortar. The frame surrounding the lion’s head and the memorial plaque have cracked and will require re-welding. One of cast iron finials is missing and will be replaced by a cast iron foundry. We will install a push button operated system on the granite panel to the left of the basin, with the water coming out of the lion’s mouth.

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