The Past and Present of Croydon's London Road

Croydon enclosure map (1800)


Enclosure was, in short, a process of extinguishing common rights over land and giving the landowner full control. Croydon’s enclosure took place in the era of parliamentary enclosure, when the earlier process of enclosure by agreement among all local parties with an interest in the land was replaced by a more formal system of private, public, and general acts of Parliament.

The full title of the 1797 Croydon Enclosure Act was “An Act for Dividing, Allotting, and Inclosing the Open and Common Fields, Common Meadows, Commons, Marshes, Heaths, Wastes, and Commonable Woods, Lands, and Grounds, within the Parish of Croydon, in the County of Surrey” (Private Act 37 Geo III c.144). It led to the creation of a map dated 1800 and an award dated 2 March 1801.

A summary of the act can be found in John Corbet Anderson’s book, Plan and Award of the Commissioners appointed to Inclose the Commons of Croydon (1889), along with a summary of the parliamentary proceedings associated with the act, several quotations from the act, descriptions of supplementary legislation relating to land allotted to “the Inhabitants of Croydon”, the full text of the award (i.e. the document produced by the enclosure commissioners to describe who they had allotted each piece of land to), and a reproduction of the map which accompanied the award.

The map

The version of the 1800 enclosure map hosted on this website is scanned from Tony Skrzypczyk’s copy of John Corbet Anderson’s book, and reproduced with Tony’s permission. I have georeferenced it (i.e. lined it up with a modern map) using a combination of my own local knowledge and advice from John Hickman and Carole Roberts.

The map can be viewed here, along with a slider (top left-hand corner) to fade the corresponding modern map in and out. Please note that this includes a large image of 13MB in size, which might take a few moments to load. I have reduced the file size of this image as much as possible, which has led to some speckling at very close-up zoom levels. Note also that the map seems to work a lot better in Firefox than in Chrome.