|Location Map ( geo)
|Thornton Heath (TQ313677)
|4.6 miles (7.4 km)
|A23, A213, A236, A23, A22
|Route outline (key)
The A235 connects the A23 with itself, passing through Croydon en route - except it doesn't any more. Because of pedestrianisation in Croydon Town Centre, the A235 is now a road in two halves.
Section 1: Thornton Heath - Croydon
The road starts from the Thornton Heath Pond roundabout, which is where the A23 starts its "by-pass" of Croydon on the Purley Way. There are plenty of cheap-looking hotels on the right and shortly on the left is a turning for Croydon University Hospital (previously named, and still known to everyone locally, as Mayday Hospital). After 0.7 of a mile we reach our first light-controlled-junction where minor roads cross. Shortly thereafter is another crossroads, this time with the A213.
The Ordnance Survey map suggests this is the end of the Northern half of the road now and this would make sense. Collins Bartholomew suggest a continuance into Croydon, so carrying straight on: After 1.2 miles from the start we pass West Croydon station and encounter a block to forward progress. North End in Croydon where the road carried on straight ahead has been pedestrianised for many years as Croydon's main shopping street. The only way you could properly carry on the road was to drive a vintage car in the London to Brighton veterans rally! Even this privilege is now gone because the tram crosses the "road" at the end of North End at an uncontrolled crossing and benches, etc., now make the former highway a slalom course.
If you have come this far, there is no choice but to follow the "All traffic except buses and trams" directions and bear off to the right on a series of unclassified roads which bend and turn through Croydon's many car-park areas. (Buses and trams can follow a short route to the left which links to the A212.) Following this diversion we eventually come to the A232 primary route which is D2 at this point. So we must turn left on a easterly heading. The former A235 actually starts again off a slip road from the A232 going the other way.
Turning left from the sliproad onto Croydon High Street we can follow the former route of the A235 again (Some maps have the A235 marked from this spot). This part of Croydon is the home for many pubs, bars and restaurants. Cars and pedestrians are abundant, even late into the evening. After a short while there is a light controlled crossroads with Coombe Road and Lower Coombe Street which is a spurs of the A212.
Croydon - Purley
We are now in South End and the road continues with restaurants and bars of every variety. Another light controlled crossroads is soon reached. This is the terminus of the A236 which comes in from the right in a kind of merge because of the angle of the road and a branch of the B274 to the left. This is where the A235 gets its classification back per the Ordnance Survey, which means that the A235 and A236 merge end-on, inviting the question of why the former has not taken over the latter. There is another short hop to yet another light-controlled-crossroads, this time with the B275. There is then a stretch free of lights, so the traffic speeds up. Brighton Road is known for its car dealerships and we pass at least four before the end of the road.
After a further mile or so we reach what appears to be a roundabout with a building on stilts (to allow a car park beneath) in the middle. Actually the road layout gives priority to the A235 so it is not a true roundabout (we take the second exit.) The building in the middle was for many years the RAC's control headquarters, but now sadly lies empty. Continuing as Brighton Road, we reach Purley after another mile. There are two traffic light junctions with local roads and just at this point the road becomes a kind of unofficial S4 although not marked on the road as such. We soon reach the end of our journey at the notorious Purley Cross, which is the junction of the A235 with the A23, A22 and A2022.
Original Author(s): Ian (Multiraider2)