The London Borough of Croydon was formed in 1965 from the old borough of Croydon and the urban district of Coulsdon and Purley. The borough covers 33 square miles and is on the southern edge of London.

Population change
1966:327,190 people
1998: 335,600 people

The areas that make up Croydon largely developed as 19th-century railway suburbs, although Croydon itself has a longer history, having been an established coaching town on the main road south from London.

By the 20th century Croydon had become an urban centre in its own right. After the Second World War it developed rapidly as a business centre with many companies moving from central London to new office blocks built under the Croydon Corporation Act of 1956. The new town boomed and it became one of the most modern-looking centres in London with many office blocks, flyovers and underpasses.

One of Croydon's most important 20th-century developments was Croydon Aerodrome, which was established in 1915 to provide air defence for London. By the 1920s it had become the main airport for London and new buildings made it the most modern airport in the world. Croydon's small size eventually made it unsuitable for further development and Croydon rapidly declined as a commercial airport with the opening of Heathrow in 1946. Croydon Airport closed in 1959 and parts of the site have since been developed.

As well as being an important urban centre, the Borough of Croydon has over 3,000 acres of parkland, countryside and open space within its borders, including Happy Valley Park.

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