- source: Family History Library Catalog
Purley is an area in the south of Greater London within the London Borough of Croydon. It is located south of central Croydon, and is situated 11.7 miles (18.8 km) south of Charing Cross (a basis for measuring distances in the centre of London). It has a population of about 72,000.
- the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia
The name, first recorded as "Pirlee" in 1200, means 'Peartree wood or clearing'.
Under the Local Government Act 1894, Purley became part of the Croydon Rural District of Surrey. In 1915 Purley and the neighbouring town of Coulsdon formed the Coulsdon and Purley Urban District which in 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, was abolished and its area transferred to Greater London and used to form part of the London Borough of Croydon.
The urban district council was based in a colonial-style building opened in 1930. The building, on the A23 Brighton Road near Reedham Station, became the property of the London Borough of Croydon and was sold to developers. It was left derelict for many years but was converted into flats in 2012.
Kenley Aerodrome, to the east of the town, is currently official property of the Ministry of Defence. It was one of the most important fighter stations – together with Croydon Airport and Biggin Hill – during World War II.
Purley grew rapidly in the 1920s and 1930s, providing spacious homes in a green environment. Northeast Purley stretches into the chalk hill spurs of the North Downs.
One road, Promenade de Verdun, created by William Webb, has a distinction all of its own. It is 600 yards (550 m) long and has on one side Lombardy poplars planted in soil mixed with English and French earth specifically shipped over to the UK, a plaque at one end explains that the French ministry of Interior donated the soil from Armentières, as a memorial to the alliance of World War One and the soldiers who died. At the other end of the road stands an obelisk carved from a single piece of stone with the inscription "Aux soldats de France morts glorieusement pendant la Grande Guerre". Notably, the town was home to Joachim Von Ribbentrop when he was ambassador before WWII, and he attempted to ensure that the town was never bombed. However, the town was very heavily bombed.
The 32nd Surrey Battalion of the Home Guard was known as the Factory Battalion, and had the specific task of guarding the Purley Way factories: its units were mainly based on staff from the individual firms. The factories adjoining Croydon Airport took the worst of the air raid of 15 August 1940: the British NSF factory was almost entirely destroyed, and the Bourjois factory gutted, with a total of over sixty civilian deaths.
A comprehensive history of Purley and its growth around Caterham Junction (now Purley Station) with the coming of the railways some 150 years ago is found in the Bourne Society's 'Purley Village History' and in its Local History Records publications.
The Webb Estate made headlines in a 2002 survey, which found that it had over the years attracted the highest-earning residents in the UK. In the same year Purley topped Britain's rich list becoming the most affluent suburb and consistently features among the most affluent suburbs in Britain owing to its exclusive gated estates, large houses and greenery yet only less than 30 minutes from central London thus attracting wealthy city workers.
Surrey Research Tips
Part of a list taken from GENUKI
Archives and Libraries
Surrey Cemeteries & Crematoriums
- Registration Districts in Surrey for the period 1837 to the present. By drilling down through the links you can follow any parish through the registration districts to which it was attached.
Administrative boundaries of the county of Surrey (Surrey History Centre)
- In 1889 the County of London was created, and the areas of the modern London boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Wandsworth were removed from Surrey. The records of these areas are held either by the London Metropolitan Archives or by the local boroughs, but the Surrey History Centre holds pre-1889 Quarter Sessions records for this area.
- Also in 1889, Croydon was made into a county borough exempt from county administration. Croydon became a London borough in 1965, and most Croydon records are held by the Croydon Local Studies Library and Archives.
- In 1965 more of Surrey was lost to London, with the creation of the London boroughs of Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and an expanded Croydon. For these areas, records are held by the local boroughs (either in their archives or local studies libraries) or the Surrey History Centre. The London Metropolitan Archives may also have some material.
- In 1965 Staines and Sunbury were transferred from Middlesex to Surrey. In 1974 these areas became the new District of Spelthorne. Most records relating to the former Middlesex area are held by the London Metropolitan Archives.
Greater London Research Tips
- See wiki.familysearch.org under "London" and also under "Middlesex", "Surrey" and "Kent" for key information about Greater London's jurisdictions and records, plus links to indexes, reference aids and Family History Library holdings.
- The London Metropolitan Archives (40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB) holds records relating to the whole of Greater London. Ancestry (subscription necessary) has produced transcriptions and provides images of lists of baptisms, marriages, and burials in churches across Greater London. These lists start in 1813 and stretch into the 20th century.
- GENUKI has a long list of websites and archive holders in addition to London Metropolitan Archives above. (The list from GENUKI is not maintained so well that there is never a dead link in it. However, it is often worth googling the title given on the page just in case the contributor has reorganized their website.)
- GENUKI also has a list of the Archives and Local Studies Libraries for each of the boroughs of Greater London.
- The London Encyclopaedia by Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert. An e-book available online through Google, originally published by Pan Macmillan. There is a search box in the left-hand pane.
- London Lives. A very useful free website for anyone researching their London ancestors between the years 1690-1800. This is a fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.
- London Ancestor, a website belonging to one of the London family history societies, has a list of transcriptions of directories from the 18th century, listing in one case "all the squares, streets, lanes, courts, yards, alleys, &C. in and about Five Miles of the Metropolis..." In other parts of the same website are maps of various parts of 19th century London and Middlesex.
- The proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's central criminal court, 1674-1913. A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. This website is free to use.
- Registration Districts in London, Registration Districts in Middlesex, Registration Districts in Surrey, Registration Districts in Kent, are lists of the registration districts used for civil registration (births, marriages and deaths, as well as the censuses). There are linked supporting lists of the parishes which made up each registration district, the dates of formation and abolition of the districts, the General Register Office numbers, and the local archive-holding place. This work has been carried out by Brett Langston under the agency of GENUKI (Genealogy United Kingdom and Ireland) and UKBMD - Births, Marriages, Deaths & Censuses on the Internet.