CROYDON COMMON FOOTBALL CLUB
Croydon Common played at three grounds during the life of the club. These are shown on the 1913 Ordnance Survey map, which can be accessed by clicking on the thumbnail.
A. Whitehorse Road Recreation Ground
The amateur club played its home fixtures on this ground during its first six seasons. The recreation ground was known to the local populace as "The Dust Hole" or "The Dell" and it still exists today largely unchanged.
Along the south side of the recreation ground runs Boulogne Road and it was in St Luke's Mission Church in this road that the club was founded. St Luke's, which was affiliated to the nearby Holy Saviour Church, was a basic corrugated iron structure which stood on the site until it was demolished in1989. The name of the club was chosen because St Luke's was sited on ground that had once formed part of Croydon Common in earlier times.
B. The Crescent
The club played its home fixtures here in the final four seasons of its amateur life and during its first season as a professional side in 1907-1908. The map shows the "Borough School" built on the site by Croydon Education Committee after it gave the club notice to quit. The building is still there and it now houses The Crescent Primary School.
C. The Nest
|A postcard of The Nest showing a Croydon Common match in progress (c.1910).|
|A photograph taken at The Nest during the tenure of Crystal Palace F.C. between 1918 and 1924.|
|An aerial photograph showing The Nest at the top (c.1924).|
|A modern painting of The Nest, based upon the aerial photograph above.|
The club subleased The Nest from the London Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1908 and it was home for the rest of its existence. The ground had been built some years earlier on the site of Selhurst Wood, the remaining part of which is still visible on the map. The lease was signed on 15 September 1908; the parties being The Croydon Common Football and Athletic Company Limited, The London Brighton and South Coast Railway Company and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England. The reason for three parties to this lease was that the Church Commissioners actually owned the land, the Railway had leased it from them and thus the club was subleasing it from the Railway. The lease was signed on behalf of the club by John William Bartlett (secretary), and John Stephen Fuller and Richard James Whiting (directors).
The lease stipulated that the ground could only be used for soccer or athletics or for "the holding of Flower Shows and School treats". As the ground was owned by the Church, the lease also prohibited its use for any purposes on Good Friday and Christmas Day and so the club played only away fixtures on these particular days. This meant that it missed out on the increased level of revenue that matches on these days provided. The ground was quite basic, having only earth banks around the major part of its circumference. These banks were topped by bushes known to the supporters as "The Jungle". When the club took over The Nest there was a small stand with seats on the northern side of the ground, but this burned down shortly afterwards. A new stand, significantly longer than the previous one, was erected to replace it. A cinder athletics track ran around the pitch.
Following the demise of Croydon Common, the Railway leased the ground to Crystal Palace F.C. and the club played there from 1918 until the newly built Selhurst Park was ready in 1924. When the Southern League's Division One became in effect the Football League's Third Division South in 1920, Crystal Palace had achieved what Croydon Common had failed to do - bring Football League matches to The Nest. After leaving the ground in 1924, Crystal Palace sublet it to a local side named Tramways F.C. The site is now occupied by Railtrack's Selhurst Depot. The whole site was supposedly completely levelled prior to the building of the depot and so nothing remains. However, the photograph below (click thumbnail for a full size image) was supposedly taken on the site and some have suggested that it is the remains of the main stand. Judging by photographs of the stand when the club played there, it could perhaps be the brick section of the stand, which was topped by corrugated iron back and side walls. Also, since the photograph was taken, the structure may have been demolished anyway. Overall, a bit of a mystery.