Woodcote Village Green
Purley, Upper Woodcote Village.
3 1/2 acres 1.42 hectares.
- Village Green
- Play area - (see-saw only)
Woodcote Village Green was laid out in 1903 with whipping post, stocks and see‐saw. A flock of geese was installed on the pond which was situated at the south west corner opposite the smithy and village inn, the inn was "a pub with no beer" but a blacksmith was installed in the smithy as estate blacksmith from 1904 till the out‐break of war in 1914.
The green was situated at the south west corner of the Woodcote Model Village which was conceived by William Webb a chartered surveyor in Purley. In partnership with an estate agent Webb bought the Foxley Estate, 105 hectares of agricultural land near Purley and planned the Upper Woodcote Estate which was a totally new concept in estate development.
Webb reversed the usual order of development, preparing the plots several years before building commenced so that, when houses were eventually built, they had matured boundary hedges and well established ornamental trees.
The village blacksmith made ornamental gates for Rose Walk, Silver Lane and South Border although they were taken down during the Second World War when there was a shortage of metal. The smithy made most of the metalwork on the estate, including window sashes, and strap hinges. In addition he looked after the geese who were provided with a shed in the smithy's garden. Mr Webb felt that no smithy would be complete without a spreading chestnut tree so he had a 25 year old tree dug up and transplanted so that it shaded the door of the forge.
The village smithy, pond and geese have now gone although the village green still remains. During the summer Mr Webb invited parties of children down from London to play on the green where tea was provided. A handbill dated June, 1907 announced the opening of the "Lord Roberts" Temperance Inn and General Stores by Mr Edwin Castleman. He stated, "Visitors to the Village can obtain at the Lord Roberts' a capital Tea, Luncheon or Light Refreshments at quite moderate charges, served in the quaint Elizabethan Coffee Room, or on the old goose green".
The houses around the green were intended for the occupation of workmen but although a few of Mr Webb's employees lived there, most cottages were empty. A reporter in the local newspaper wrote "In Woodcote Model Village the houses rejected by workmen at 10s. 0d. per week are now being clamoured for by bank managers, stockbrokers, and other at from £30 to £35 per annum. The policeman on duty at Purley tram terminus on a Sunday is getting a stiff arm by incessantly pointing up Foxley Lane to visitors who enquire the way to the Model Village".
Football and hockey were played on the green, but the ground was not level enough for cricket, so Webb set about organising the building of a Purley cricket clubhouse on the other side of Foxley Lane, just outside the estate.
Upper Woodcote Village
Purley CR8 3HF