Residents' Associations are essentially watchdogs and pressure
groups. They commonly start because of someone's failure
(usually the Council) to provide acceptable services, or else
object to undesirable changes. Old Coulsdon Residents'
Association is no exception.
July 1936, 35 residents met in the Jolly Farmers pub in Purley
to discuss what could be done about the poor water supply, the
condition of roads and road charges. The existing water supply
at that time was from a well in Waterhouse Lane, which was
intermittent and of poor quality. Roads were unmade, rutted and
potholed. Charges for having them made up should have been the
developer's responsibility, but the Council was billing the
residents instead. One of the original 35 residents at that
first meeting was taken to court over non-payment of his bill.
area concerned was a development known as 'Tudor Village' i.e.
Court Avenue, The Glade and Keston Avenue. At this time the
area now covered by OCRA had grown over a short period to about
1,000 dwellings compared with the present day 2,418.
the Second World War ended in 1945, local groups including OCRA
organised various victory celebration events. OCRA's efforts
yielded a surplus of nearly £41 towards a fund for a
community centre, which residents had been trying to obtain
since 1934. A Community Hall Association was formed, and a fête
arranged by OCRA in Grange Park the same year raised a further
£59 for the fund.
lack of further community support meant that the idea
floundered and it was not until June 1984 that the Old Coulsdon
Centre for the Retired was opened by the Mayor, Mrs. Maureen
Hordern. This was only made possible by a government grant via
Help the Aged, combined with a lot of help from local charities
and individuals. Although this was not what was originally
intended, the steering committee were persuaded that after 50
years of talking but not doing, it was more sensible to make a
start by concentrating on the retired slice of the populace
than aim for the whole cake and, once again, achieve nothing.
the years we have made a difference to our community by keeping
a watchful eye on various planning matters, especially where
any encroachment on Green Belt land was proposed. We campaigned
successfully to have another secondary school in the area,
which resulted in Taunton Manor Secondary School (now Oasis
Academy) being built in 1959. It was also OCRA that asked the
then Coulsdon and Purley Urban District Council to provide a
children's play area in Grange Park in 1960. By the following
year swings, a roundabout and a rocking horse had been
installed, and in 1967 OCRA also provided a slide.
can also find out more about the local history of the area in
general by borrowing one of the following books, 'A Village
History: Coulsdon', by Ian Scales of the Bourne Society and the
Local Studies Pack for Old Coulsdon produced by Bradmore
of the Association had doubled to 70 only two months after that
first meeting in July 1936. In December 2015, 1,770
out of 2,418 households were members (73%). The
subscription in 1936 was 1 shilling (5p) per person, then in
1937 it was 3 shillings (15p) and, when later made per
household, became 2 shillings and sixpence (12½p), or
half a crown to those of us old enough to remember the old
was not until 1975 that inflation triggered a number of
increases, culminating in a 60p rate in 1983. It was increased
to £1.00 in 1989 and has remained the same until 2010
when it was increased to the still very affordable amount of