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Author's insight into the look of Croydon results in 'concretopia'

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AN AUTHOR has written a book about post-war British architecture as part of his mission to understand why Croydon looks the way it does.

John Grindrod, 43, has penned his first book – Concretopia: A Journey Around The Rebuilding Of Post-War Britain.

John, who used to live in New Addington, said he delved into the subject when he realised he could not explain Croydon to people who had never been there.

He said: "I realised I didn't know how they had come to look like they had. With New Addington, it sort of feels urban but then it's surrounded by trees and green spaces so it doesn't.

"It was the same with Croydon really. People who pass through it on the train think it's just the town centre but it's surrounded by areas with lovely Victorian buildings.

"I've spent a lot of my life trying to understand it a bit better.

"For the book I went round the country to new towns like Milton Keynes and high-rise blocks of flats in places like Newcastle to try and make sense of the rebuilt Britain."

The former Addington High student, who works in publishing, said writing the book had improved his relationship with the area.

John, who now lives in Forest Hill, added: "When I was at school at Addington High, a geography teacher showed us a video about bad town planning and it was about New Addington.

"I realised when I got older that it probably was quite badly planned and it's a bit sad really that the council has never seemed to care about the area at all."

Concretopia tries to explain how Britain emerged from the austerity of the post-war period to look like a space-age world of concrete, steel and glass.

And John believes the stereotyping of Croydon as 'ugly' is largely unfair.

He said: "After writing the book, I've realised that there are quite a number of crap buildings in Croydon, but there are also some really amazing ones.

"People lazily say it is full of rubbish post-war buildings but that isn't fair, there are some great buildings like the NLA tower which I used to think was quite cool but now I think is amazing."

Author's insight into the look of Croydon results in 'concretopia'


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