This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 03/11/2018.
The Croydon pubs, clubs and shops we all wish had never closed
We asked for your memories of Croydon businesses that sadly no longer exist – and you didn’t let us down.
You won’t find many people still clubbing until 3am despite being old enough for a bus pass.
Most of us – the older we get – gradually go out less and less often.
Spending more Friday and Saturday nights sober, instead of crouched over a bush throwing up all those shots you should never have downed, means we all tend to reminisce a bit more about the glory days of going out.
We all like to think nights out were better when we were in our prime – even if plenty of evenings out ended in tears or, even worse, a kebab shop.
And there’s so many places in Croydon which we will all remember from our younger days that no longer exist.
So we decided to ask you for your fond memories of some of the pubs, clubs, bars and shops from years gone by that have bitten the dust.
You didn’t let us down …
At the time of writing there were 170 suggestions and one of the most popular was Turtles.
Dave West: It’s got to be Turtles in Park Street where you could go in with a broken ‘thing’ and they’d identify what it was and emerge with a replacement or nearest equivalent. They also had a way of not making you feel stupid and, unlike most hardware shops, they had men and women serving – way ahead of their time in the equality stakes. Hardly a month goes past when I need something and know that Turtles would have had it. Closed 10 years ago but sadly missed.
Laura Breadon: I used to go there as a kid to buy craft materials, square of felt, bits of wire, googly eyes for teddy bears … and, as an adult, four missing brackets for a cupboard, half a metre of chain mail, a specific type of enamel paint etc … and always got good advice. The best shop in Croydon!
If Turtles is the shop we are most nostalgic about, perhaps Joe Bananas is the bar we all get teary eyed over.
Alan Simpson: I used to love going out in Croydon! Worked in Allders for a while and used to go to Pals on a Thursday after work! Great nights and always rammed! Moonshine, Blue Orchid, Joe Bananas! Sadly all gone now! Do the kids of today even have anywhere to go to actually meet friends (old and new!) and have a good time. Too much ‘socialising’ is done online now I guess!
Daniele Le Ster: I miss Allders, C&A, Woolworths and Joe Bananas and the variety of good shoe shops. Really, though, it is the huge variety of shops, especially independent places over a large area down different streets and corners, I miss. I think we were almost spoilt for choice compared to shopping experiences now. And who remembers Ponderosa and Wendy’s?! I miss the buzz of the place. I also think since so many big companies moved out of the area its had a dramatic affect on Croydon’s shopping centre. If the council reduced their rates, companies would return and there would be more choice but they simply don’t seem to understand the concept even though it would provide tons of jobs.
Debbie Burgess: Yates, Joe Banana’s, Allders, C&A, Woolworths, and the Blue Orchid, where I met my partner, still together 20 years and 3 children later!
Another nightspot that got mentioned again and again was Pals.
Janet Maddix: Allders. Marks & Spencer used to have coffee bar in the middle of the shop. C&A. Woolworths. Crown Hill used to have a big cinema. Walkabout, Yates, Tiger Tiger, Pals, Blue Orchid. Reeves Corner furniture store before the terrible 2011 riots. I miss it all but nothing is the same. There are now too many junk food shops and second-hand shops selling cheap stuff. Croydon used to be a place where everybody knew each other.
Visha GT: Pals – best ice cream cocktails, Brannigans, McCluskys, Litten Tree, Blue Orchid – Thursday nights £8 drink all you want and you got a plastic pint glass on the way in. The best nights were always Thursdays. Budworld. Edwards had the best garage and R’n’B music, Bar Mex, Walkabout, Oceanas in Purley, Cinatra’s £18 drink all you want and it included a buffet of food. There were so many great places. Croydon was so much fun in my younger days
Claire Walters: PALS was a great place to drink as well as the Colosseum and Bar Red. I used to go to the Blue Orchid and also Cinatras for the under 18 discos.
At the time we don’t remember Yates’s having a great reputation but we all seem to miss it now.
Sarah Cawley: I used to always work in Croydon, first in the reject shop in the Whitgift Centre, and at lunchtime we would go to the Arkwrights Wheel. I spent a lot of time in the Blue Orchid, Joe Bananas and Walkabout but Yates was my favourite. The toilets being downstairs was not cool after a few vodkas and wearing heels. Lots of good memories
Sam Foster: Pool upstairs in Yates. Foam party/school night in Walkabout -karaoke on a Sunday night. The Disney store in Whitgift. Safari cinema in West Croydon.
These days there aren’t many record shops around – and fewer still as good as Beanos.
Helen Jackson: I loved Beanos. I had a Saturday job in Surrey Street and used to spend half the wages in Beanos.
Simon Cripps: Obviously Beanos, particularly the recent arrivals box by the counter. HR Cloake for singles, I remember getting a funny look and a wink from the girl behind the counter when I asked for “slap and tickle”. I was just 10 and wanted the latest single from Squeeze. The Dog and Duck. Stanley’s was a good haunt in Purley. Purley cinema, including the broom cupboard sized screen 4. Finally the toy department tucked away at the top of Grants.
Mick Belton: I shopped in Beanos many a time. I collected 45s from the age of 15 (1982) onwards. The original Beanos was a lot smaller but always had quality vinyl … I just never had enough money. It should open up again.
Perhaps when Westfield eventually gets built they can offer donkey rides through the mall!
Gill Griffin: The old Kennards with its arcade and donkey rides. Grants where I had fish and chips with my nan and aunt on Saturdays. Turtles where you could buy the most unlikely items and Allders in its heyday when it was a proper department store that sold puppets and pianos.
Ann Jolly: Thank god I am not the only one who remembers the donkey rides in Kennards. People I have mentioned it to think I am round the bend.
We must admit that Ponderosa is not one we remember but many of you do.
Kylie Jane Myers-Young: Ponderosa was literally amazing when I was a kid! Also Grants, my mate had her hen do at Joe Bananas and the spiral walkway in the Whitgift Centre which I have only just noticed is no longer there.
Stuart Douch: Not many remember the Ponderosa! It’s where HMV took over all those years ago.
Sadly there just aren’t many butchers’ around these days.
Ruth Pathalias: Kennedy’s! I used to go there every weekend with my dad after a visit to Surrey Street Market! They just don’t do butchers like that anymore!
Chris Bloomfield: Mmmm. Many a lovely pie eaten from Kennedy’s
Even places we thought were rubbish at the time we tend to now look back on fondly.
DC Callan: The Forum – what an awful place but if you took your school blazer off, no problem! Bring back Davy’s Wine Vault and Beaujolais Day.
James Mcblane: The Forum pub. It was always nice gliding up sideways on the travelator. The butchers’ on Frith Road with sawdust on the floor and a separate pay kiosk. Kennedy’s RIP.
The best of the rest
You gave us so many brilliant suggestions. Here’s some of the best.
Barbara Richardson: Early Learning Centre with the play group at the back, where you could happily leave the children while you went shopping.
Sharon Bruce: The Focus cinema on Crown Hill where my dad would leave us and we had to meet him at The Dog and Bull pub in Surrey Street where he bought us coke and sausage and tomato crisps. We watched all the Disney films there and the ABC cinema on London Road. It was later turned into Safari and we also went to Odeon where we watched Escape To Witch Mountain. Saturday mornings were great. I would love running up the walking escalator to The Forum pub in the Whitgift Centre and meeting Dad there. Best days ever.
Carly Mcintyre-Hollis: The Red Deer pub, you could walk in and there was always someone there you knew to have a drink with. One of the few pubs I felt comfortable in.
Helen Jackson: The Cartoon. Many misspent evenings listening to decent music.
Wren Aghaji: I liked the bead shop. The back of Debenhams was like it’s own secret world and I love going round there. I also miss Auberge which was a lovely quiet getaway on the third floor of the Whitgift Centre.
Susan Ramm: Me and my friends travelled into Croydon to go to Cinatra’s – £20 entrance with drinks included. Had some great Friday nights there.
Elizabeth Hardman: The Water Palace which was where the Colonnades is. Many a happy hour spent there as a teenager.
David James: Tiffany’s in Purley. Sunday night Capital Radio DJ Greg Edwards’ show called best disco in town.
Mark Fisher: Cinderella’s in Purley. I saw Queen on their Crazy Lil Thing Called Love tour. Van Damme bar in Surrey Street, Littlewoods, Grants and Allders. Great childhood memories.
Brian Simmons: Memory Lane Records behind the Drummond Centre. A fairly recent departure but that was a great little shop.
Natasha Wallis: The best toy shop was Zodiac. I remember buying an Action Man from there.
Ann Garry: I remember the swimming pool in Surrey Street. We had our swimming lessons there with Mr Judd. The outside pool had been damaged in a bombing raid (or so we were told) and they just shut and locked the gates! We were using it in the 70s.
And the final word goes to
We have no recollection of the shop this reader is referring to but it sounds incredibly niche!
Martin King: The faggots and pease pudding shop on Thornton Heath High Street.