Croydon is not a destination for its art, but the centre has some attractive 19th Century buildings, and we note here a cluster of sculptural work, on and by the Town Hall.
The Town Hall, with its impressive tower, dates from 1892, and is the work of the architect Charles Henman. The front is decorated with stone panels with figurative sculpture, on the themes of Health, Study, Religion, Recreation and Music. Each composition consists of groups centred on an allegorical female figure. Good drapery, especially Recreation. All this the work of a rather unfamiliar sculptor, John Wenlock Rollins. A figure of Whitgift is on a corner of the building, presumably by the same hand.
In front of the building, two free-standing works. The large and solid Queen Victoria is one of a number of portraits of her by F. J. Williamson. The War Memorial bears bronze figures of a grieving woman with child, and a wounded soldier, both modelled with much feeling. The sculptor was P. R. Montford, and the date is 1921.
Close by on High Street (close to Alders), the National Westminster Bank has a lunette panel by the arts and crafts sculptor Reynolds-Stephens. The subject is Truth and Justice, shown as children, and though a slight work, it is finely done.
It may be worth mentioning in passing two painters associated with Croydon: James Sant was born there in 1820, and a few years previously, the Boston-trained painter J. S. Copley was buried there.
Top of page
Sculpture pages // Architecture pages