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St. Oswald's (July 2015).JPG
St Oswald's Parish Church
Norbury is located in Greater London
Location within Greater London
Population 16,476 (2011 Census. Ward)[1]
OS grid reference TQ315695
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district SW16
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°24′33″N 0°06′30″W / 51.4092°N 0.1083°W / 51.4092; -0.1083Coordinates: 51°24′33″N 0°06′30″W / 51.4092°N 0.1083°W / 51.4092; -0.1083

Norbury is a district in south-west London. It shares the postcode London SW16 with neighbouring districts Streatham and Croydon. Norbury is 6.7 miles (10.8 km) south of Charing Cross.


The name Norbury derives from North Burh, (North Borough). Some local histories note that this was due to Norbury's position on the northern boundary of the former Manor of Croydon. Others state that it takes its name from a split in the borough of Bensham, one of the former seven boroughs of Croydon. "Northbenchesham" became the Northborough, then Norbury; "Southbenchesham" later became Thornton Heath.


For most of its history Norbury was rural countryside through which the London to Brighton Way Roman road passed. At Hepworth Road, the intact road, 32 feet wide, was excavated in 1961. Remnants of a metalled ford across the stream were found further south at Hermitage Bridge on the River Graveney which forms part of the boundary between Norbury and Streatham, before flowing on to the River Wandle, then the River Thames.[2]

Norbury Manor

By the early thirteenth century, Norbury was a sub-manor within the chief manor of Croydon. The first recorded mention of Norbury Manor was in 1229 when Peter de Bendings conveyed the Manor to John de Kemsing and his wife Idonea and is referred to as the "lands stretching out either side of the London Road".[3] In 1269 the Manor comprised 91 acres of arable land in Pollards Hill, 30 acres in Grandon, 55 acres of pasture, 36 acres of heathland, 2 acres of woodland and 17 acres of meadow land.[3] In 1337, Norbury Manor was granted to Nicolas de Carew, who also held neighbouring Beddington Manor. The Carew family remained Lords of the Manor of Norbury until 1859 except for a brief interlude during the reign of Henry VIII. Norbury remained rural and agricultural throughout this period. By 1800 most of the land in Norbury was owned by a handful of people; approximately half was owned by the Carew family, and the remaining large landowners were Peter du Cane, Croydon Hospital and Pembroke College.[3]

Victorian period

At the start of the Victorian period, the population consisted of fifty six people and three main dwellings; the Hermitage, Norbury Manor Farm House and Norbury Hall.[3] The Hermitage was situated alongside Green Lane and backed onto Hermitage Sports Ground (now Norbury Park). The last resident of The Hermitage was Jenny Hill, a famous music hall performer in the 1890s.[3] In 1894 the North Surrey Golf Club built a 90 acre golf club on Hermitage Sports Ground and in 1896 purchased The Hermitage to use as their club house. The following year it was destroyed by fire.[3] Norbury Manor Farm House was situated on the corner where Norbury Avenue meets Kensington Avenue and was the Norbury Manor House until Norbury Hall was built in 1802.[3] The Farm House was demolished in 1914. Only Norbury Hall remains, now used as a retirement home and protected as a Grade II listed building.[3]

In 1859, the first Victorian villa, known as Norbury Villa, was built on the London Road. A second villa followed in 1878, and thereafter followed the construction of clusters of large villas along both sides of the London Road. In 1867, the Committee of Croydon Steeple Chase and Hurdle Races leased approximately 100 acres at Lonesome Farm. The following year, the first Streatham Horse Race meeting was held and a temporary grandstand was built on Northborough Road. The two day meets, held four or five times a year, proved successful and attracted large crowds from London.[3] To cater for the crowds, Norbury railway station opened in 1878, built on a railway line which had run through Norbury since 1862. The increased crowds however led to an increase in anti-social behaviour, and local residents lobbied politicians to enact a new law in 1879 banning horse racing within ten miles of Westminster, effectively ending the Streatham Races.[3]


By 1900, Norbury was an affluent semi-rural suburb boasting two golf courses and cricket, football, tennis and bowls clubs.[3] The first shopping parades on the London Road were constructed in 1900 and side roads behind the parades began to be laid out.[3] Electric trams were introduced in 1901 connecting the town to Purley, however as Croydon trams and London trams used different systems and could not use the same tracks, when going to London passengers had to change in Norbury. During the next thirty years most of the housing in Norbury was constructed, with the houses and roads in different areas forming part of several residential estates. The most notable estate was the Norbury Cottage Garden Estate built in 1901 in thirty acres of land between Northborough Road and Semley Road, and which was the first cottage estate built by the London County Council.[3] The population of Norbury had risen from 475 people in 1901 to 15,538 by 1931.[3]

During the second half of the twentieth century, many of the large Victorian villas were demolished and office blocks were built on their sites. Later many of the office blocks were themselves converted into residential apartments. In 1970 Norbury Fire Station was built to replace nearby Streatham Fire Station.[3] Today, Norbury is a built-up residential area housing a diverse and multi-cultural community.


The 2011 census showed that White British was the largest ethnic group at 24% of the population, followed by 13% Black Caribbean, 12% Indian and 12% Other White.[4] 55% of people living in Norbury were born in England, followed by 5% in India, 4% Pakistan, 4% Jamaica and 2% Kenya.[5] The most spoken language apart from English is Polish.[5] A majority of the population, namely 52%, identified as Christian followed by 18% as Muslim and 12% of no religion.[5]


Norbury is part of the Croydon North constituency and the current MP is Steve Reed. The constituency replaced the Croydon North East constituency in 1997 and has returned Labour Party MP's since it was re-instated.

Norbury includes two of the twenty-eight wards which make up Croydon London Borough Council. These two wards, both created in 2018, are Norbury and Pollards Hill and Norbury Park.[6]

The current elected Councillors are:

Elected Member Ward
2018 Shafi Khan Norbury and Pollards Hill
2019 Leila Ben-Hassel Norbury and Pollards Hill
2018 Sherwan Chowdhury Norbury Park
2018 Alisa Flemming Norbury Park

Nearest places

Notable residents

Nearest railway stations

In fiction

Norbury is portrayed in a Sherlock Holmes short story, "The Adventure of the Yellow Face", as one of the few places in which the detective turned out to be wrong regarding his theories (as referenced in the episode "The Six Thatchers" of the BBC-Series "Sherlock")

Norbury is mentioned in Penelope Fitzgerald's The Beginning of Spring (1988). The character of Nellie Reid, who is central to the plot, but who does not appear until the book's final sentence, is from Norbury; and it is repeatedly mentioned throughout the book in contrast to a very different type of life in Moscow.


  1. ^ "Croydon Ward population". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  2. ^ I. D. Margary (1965). Roman Ways in the Weald. Phoenix House.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Clark, David, A History of Norbury, The Streatham Society, 2013
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c
  6. ^
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