The Borough of Croydon came into being on 9 June 1883. It was formed largely from the territory of the former parish of Croydon, with the exception of the detached portion of Croydon Crook (Selsdon). It was promoted to the status of County Borough, with effect from 29 July 1889; and was enlarged, by taking in the parish of Addington, in 1928. The County Borough ceased to exist on 31 March 1965. The coat of arms was granted to the Borough on 10 August 1886, and was inherited by the County Borough. The costs of the grant were met by Alderman Reuben Barrow, Mayor 1885-6. The design of The Arms is rather crowded and fussy, typical of much Victorian civic heraldry.
The blazon (technical heraldic description) reads as follows: 'Quarterly argent and or, a cross parted and fretted gules, between three Cornish choughs proper in the first quarter, as many crosses paty fitchy sable in the second, a cross flory azure charged with three bezants fesswise in the third, and a fess embattled of the third in the fourth.
Crest: On a wreath of the colours, upon a mount vert, a crozier fesswise or, thereon a fountain in front of a tilting spear in bend surmounting a sword in bend sinister, the whole between two tufts of rye-grass proper, banded gold.
Motto: Sanitate Crescamus - Let us grow in Health.
The Shield is divided into quarters, with the dividing lines surmounted by a red open-work cross. The first quarter is white (or silver), with three Cornish choughs (members of the crow family: they are also known as 'beckits', and are taken from the attributed arms of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury). The second quarter is yellow (or gold), bearing three splayed black crosses with pointed feet (from The Arms of the See of Canterbury). The third quarter is again yellow, and contains a blue cross with its arms terminating in fleur-de-lys shapes, and surmounted by three gold discs (elements taken from The Arms of Archbishop Whitgift.) The fourth quarter is white, with a stylized representation of a battlemented wall in red (symbolizing a town).
The Crest (on top of the helmet) consists of a green hillock, surmounted by a gold bishop's crozier (representing the See of Canterbury), and above that a disc of wavy blue and white stripes (representing the waters of Croydon in general, and the Bourne Stream in particular). This is in front of a crossed spear and sword (representing the East India Company's Military Seminary, which stood at Addiscombe, 1809-1861); and is flanked by two tufts of rye-grass, bound with bands of gold (representing the irrigation meadows of Beddington Sewage Farm, opened by Croydon Local Board of Health in 1860, where rye-grass grew profusely). The Wreath (the twisted cloth band on which the crest rests) and Mantling (the decorative cloth flowing from it) are red and white.
The County Borough arms can be seen in stonework above the main entrance of the Town Hall; on the plaque (at the junction of the High Street and Surrey Street) to commemorate the widening of the High Street in 1896; on Norbury and Thornton Heath Libraries; on the front of Fairfield Halls; and on a series of small plaques, above shop front level, on the 1960s buildings along the south side of Park Street. Until their closure in 1988, both Selhurst High School for Girls and the original Selhurst High School for Boys incorporated elements of the shield from the County Borough Coat of Arms in their school badges. The Boys' badge was based on the bottom right corner of the shield whereas the Girls' badge showed all four elements.