Aerial Map of Selsdon


Selsdon – Our Area, a short introduction

The boundaries of Selsdon are shown on the membership map. Selsdon is a pleasant surburb in Surrey, South East England on the southern border of the London Borough of Croydon. As well as bordering greenbelt countryside Selsdon has great transport links, with easy access to London & the South Coast, and is close to many local and national attractions.

Selsdon developed from farmland from the 1920’s, and Selsdon today has a high street with a post office, shops and restaurants, many churches, the ‘Village Club’, two pubs, schools (one of which offers a members' sports centre with swimming pool), a tennis club, two supermarkets, a library, a community centre, a hotel spa and golf course, as well as many well run community focused clubs and voluntary groups. Local Activities

Selsdon has two well maintained woods, Littleheath and Selsdon, and adjoins Sanderstead Plantation (so over 285 acres of public woodland to explore in total!) as well as having playground and recreation areas. It is also situated in walking distance of three well established golf courses (Croham Hurst, Selsdon and Farleigh) and a short drive from four others (Addington Court, The Addington, Purley Downs and Shirley Park). All this green space makes Selsdon a wildlife haven. Butterflies, badgers, bluebells, even deer, are a common sight.

Selsdon is, at its highest points (such as in Littleheath Woods), more than 166 metres above sea level meaning that Selsdon is well placed for fresh air and fine vistas. Running through the two woods are two well known walking routes The London Loop (section 4) and The Vanguard Way (section 1). For more suggested local walks, please see our Local Activities page.

Selsdon - Some notable connections

For a more detailed history of Selsdon, please see our History page.

In summary…

The earliest written records, dating to the Anglo Saxon period, show that Selsdon was owned and used as a manor, farm and sometime hunting venue by the monarchy or their high ranking favourites and for a long time loaned/leased to Religious Orders such as the Benedictines. It is said that a tree in the grounds of the now Selsdon Park was planted by Queen Elizabeth 1.  

The most notable, more recent, resident of Selsdon was George Smith (30 April 1765 – 26 December 1836) MP, banker and director of the infamous East India Company, who bought the freehold in 1810. He transformed the Selsdon farm into a manor house, ‘Selsdon Park’. Smith was a great-great-grandfather (through George's grand-daughter Frances Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne) of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and therefore also ancestor of Elizabeth II. His memorial is in All Saints Church, Sanderstead. Following his family’s residence in Selsdon there were two further owners until 1925, when the last ‘Squire’ died and the manor was sold for development. The house to become a hotel and golf course and from 1926 onwards the surrounding farmland began to be developed into what was then known as ‘Selsdon Garden Village’.

Sir Julian Huxley (22/06/1887-14/02/1975), Biologist and writer, an early advocate of conservation and an influential populariser of science. His connection to Selsdon lies in his public support of the 10 year campaign to create a ‘bird sanctuary’ and save Selsdon Wood from housing development in the 1920/30’s. He was a keen bird watcher and was very influential in shaping the modern RSPB. He went on to become the first Director-General of UNESCO (1946) and a founding member of the World Wildlife Fund. He also has a pub in Selsdon named in his honour!

In 1940 General de Gaulle fled France to organise & lead the Free French Army, and he first lodged at the Selsdon Park Hotel, and then with a French family (the Boissiers) in Arundel Avenue. Some of the first French evacuees from Normandy were also billeted in the Selsdon area.

In the early 1970’s Selsdon hotel was used as the meeting place for Ted Heath and a like minded group where they wrote their Conservative manifesto promoting a free market economy. They published under the name ‘The Selsdon Group’ and those choosing to follow these tenets continue the group today though none, then or now, were actually associated with the area! There is also a Lord Selsdon who, again, is not actually linked to the area, although his grandfather was once a South Croydon MP.

There are several famous alumni of Selsdon based Croydon High School including world renowned Cellist Jacqueline du Pré OBE (26/10/1945 – 19/10/1987) and more recently the broadcasters and TV personalities, Anneka Rice and Susanna Reid (coincidentally both of whom also appeared on BBC’s 'Strictly Come Dancing' partnered by dancer Kevin Clifton!).

Singer/Songwriter Kirsty MacColl (10/10/59 - 18/12/00), perhaps best known for singing on perennial Christmas favourite song 'Fairytale of New York', was born at Mayday Hospital, and grew up in Selsdon, attending local schools. Her mother, Jean Newlove (15/05/23 - 16/05/17) was a dancer & choreographer, and commissioned their contemporary home to be built by architect Eric Mayne in 1965. Supermodel Kate Moss lived on the borders of Selsdon during her childhood (from 1974 to circa 1988).

Selsdon Transport links

Bus services

Trains

Selsdon has direct access via frequent running, short bus journeys to East Croydon, West Croydon, South Croydon, Sanderstead and Purley Oaks railway stations.  Journey time into central London from these stations is approximately 30 minutes. These also provide direct trains to Gatwick and Luton and links to others.

Tram

Tramlink which runs through Croydon, is a short bus ride away at Addington Village interchange for transport East - West through South London between New Addington, or Beckenham and Wimbledon.

Car

Within the M25 area, Selsdon is approximately 6 miles or 20 minutes drive from the motorway, and 11 miles(18 km) from central London. The journey into London can take from 40 minutes upwards to drive, depending on the time of day.

Airports

Gatwick Airport to the South is the nearest major airport to Selsdon 16 miles (26 km) drive, via the M25 and M23, or by train via East Croydon or Purley stations.

Heathrow Airport is 34 miles (56 km) by road via the M25, or can be reached by various transport links through central London. The X26 bus route runs from West & East Croydon to Heathrow via Sutton & Kingston

Biggin Hill airport is a small airport a short drive away.