As well as enjoying a feast of music, theatre and dance performances on the main stage and roaming entertainment throughout North End, Croydon Heritage Day provided visitors with an opportunity to find out more about a host of organisations which promote the heritage and culture of the borough.
Brian Lancaster of Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society said: “We had a busy day; our stall attracted many onlookers and browsers as well as people of interested in buying guidebooks and leaflets on the town.
“We saw some surprising things during the day such as the penny farthing cyclists and people on stilts as well as the number of helpers who were there to set up and remove stalls.”
South Croydon Business Association (SCBA) used the event to promote the South End Food Festival, which takes place in Croydon’s Restaurant Quarter on Sunday, June 23.
Linda Arthur, chair of SCBA, said: “It was a wonderful event and is going to be massively important as far as the Food Festival is concerned.
“I’m convinced from the number of leaflets we gave out today, which was hundreds and hundreds, that it’s going to be amazing.”
Dennis Goswell, of Croydon Airport Society, added: “It was a great day. We had a constant stream of interested people at our stand – the organisation was brilliant.”
Croydon Bowling Club signed up 150 new members and other organisations represented included East Surrey Family History Society, Broad Green & Friends of Church Alley, Apsara Arts and Croydon Soroptomists.
Passers-by were even able to test their footballing skills thanks to the Crystal Palace FC Foundation, which works in the community to inspire and improve the life chances of local children.
The Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Yvette Hopley, told visitors to the Heritage Day her parents had chosen Croydon to be their family home because it was “steeped in history”.
“It has something for everybody,” she added.
“We have a great past and we have a very great future. With the new development by Hammerson and Westfield we are going to see transformational changes here in Croydon that are going to bring to life our historic culture and heritage with modern architecture and modern development.”
Croydon Heritage Festival, being presented by The Whitgift Foundation, is a huge celebration showcasing the best of the town’s history via more than 150 events across the borough of Croydon up to Sunday, June 23, 2013.
Conducted tours of the Whitgift Almshouses, North End, part of The Whitgift Foundation, were fully booked with more than 180 visitors stepping through the gates.
The organisation’s chief executive Martin Corney, said: “The Whitgift Foundation is presenting this heritage festival, the first one of its kind, to remind the people of Croydon of the fantastic heritage and history that this town has.
“We’re delighted that we’ve been so well supported and that so many organisations around the town have become a part of the festival.
“I would like to thank our sponsors the Croydon Partnership – Westfield and Hammerson – as well as Stiles Harold Williams for their generous contributions to today’s event.”
A full calendar of events can be found at www.croydonheritagefestival.co.uk or you can collect a guide from Croydon Visitor Centre, next to East Croydon station.
Events for next weekend include a tour of the Elis David Almshouses, Duppas Hill, conducted tours of Croydon Airport Visitor Centre and a Classic Car Show and Family Fun Day at Rotary Fields, Purley, presented by Croydon Rotary Club.
There is still time for youngsters to involved in the Festival through the Croydon Heritage Challenge.
There is a chance to win a £100 giftcard, courtesy of the Whitgift Centre, by collecting special stickers by attending some of the Festival events and the opportunity to win family tickets to see Peter Pan, courtesy of Fairfield Halls, by entering a special Art competition.
A competition entry card can be collected from Croydon Visitor Centre, Croydon Central Library, and other prominent town centre venues during the Festival.