The History of Purley Beeches

On the evening of 23rd January 1907 the Parish Council met in the Council's school in Sanderstead Village to discuss the purchase of Purley Beeches by the ratepayers.

For a number of years previously some of the residents of Sanderstead had subscribed for the rent and maintenance of the Beeches but the option to purchase the site expired in February 1907. They had succeeded in raising the sum of £1,474 towards the price of £5,400 asked by the owner Mr E Arkwright, for the free hold, this price being about half the value of the land for building purposes.

It was proposed that a rate of 2d in the pound should be levied against the ratepayers in order to raise the necessary money. The resolution was put to the meeting and carried by 50 votes to 30, but a poll was demanded and the Chairman agreed. As a result, a poll of the whole Parish took place on February 2nd 1907, 178 ratepayers voted for the purchase and 114 against there being a majority in favour of the motion the Beeches was purchased.

In 1953 the Coulsdon and Purley Urban District Council were granted a coat of arms and this included two trees, one for the Purley Oaks and the other a Beech for Purley Beeches.

Official Opening of the Beeches

As stated above, the Beeches were purchased for the benefit of the local community in 1907. Around 2020 a local resident found by accident on Ebay an album of photographs presented to the then Mayor of Croydon, H Keatley Moore, when he officially opened the Beeches in 1907. Recognising the importance of this locally they bid and were successful in purchasing this album. They then donated it to the Friends of Purley Beeches to keep for posterity. There follows images of this album, including the leather bound cover, the citation, a map and some of the photographs. These not only show parts of the Beeches but also what some areas of Sanderstead looked like at the time.