Biggin Wood

Betty Griffin. Local History Publications £3.50.

Betty Griffin, a long-time member of the Society, and a stalwart of the Local History Group, has written a splendid and fascinating history of Biggin Wood at the very reasonable price of £3.50.

The history of Biggin Wood is traced from its origins as part of the Great North Wood, through the Middle Ages, when the woods were spread along the South Side of Beulah Hill, to its present size of about twelve acres. Interesting maps of the Croydon Enclosures of 1800 and Roberts’ map of 1838 are included with a description of Biggin Wood House that stood in the North of the present woods and was built around 1830, when it was owned by James Epps, the person renowned for the manufacture and marketing of Epps’ Cocoa.

Betty Griffin shows a remarkable memory with her descriptions of the trees and flowers she saw during her explorations of the Wood in the 1930’s. The demise of Biggin Wood House after a fire in 1934 is recorded, as are the efforts, begun in 1938, of various people and societies to preserve the Wood as permanent open space. James Epps’ granddaughter eventually sold the Wood to Croydon Council for £2,500 on condition that it was kept as a bird sanctuary and open space. Plans to divide it to connect the two ends of Covington Way were also stopped.

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