Chris Wood, Friday 01 January 2010
Carshalton Beeches is the name given in the early 20th century to the area south of Carshalton village.
It derived from the line of mature trees along what is now Beeches Avenue, running south from the present-day station. The area was open fields and common land when it was divided by the building of the railway from West Croydon to Sutton in 1847. It was, however, some time before the railway opened the area for development, as no station was provided at that time.
It wasn’t until 1906 that a halt was opened at the north end of Beeches Avenue, the same year that the tram service between Sutton and Croydon opened. Beeches Halt was served by steam rail-motors running between West Croydon and Epsom Downs. As development continued, demand increased and the Sutton to London line was electrified in 1925 using an overhead electric supply. At that time the halt was upgraded to a full station and renamed Carshalton Beeches and the road bridge was rebuilt. The overhead electric supply was replaced in 1930.
The growth of the area from a rural idyll to superior outer London suburb was typified by Little Holland House at 40 Beeches Avenue. It was built by the artist Frank Dickinson (1874-1961) between 1902 and 1904. The Grade II interior was created entirely by Dickinson, inspired by the ideals of John Ruskin and William Morris and contains Dickinson’s paintings, hand-made furniture, furnishings, metalwork and carving, in a unique fusion of Art Nouveau and the English Arts and Crafts style. With very limited finances Dickinson designed and built the house and everything in it himself.
Today Carshalton Beeches remains a choice residential area, boasting a selection of quality retail outlets, a prestigious art gallery, a chocolatier, gift shops and hair and beauty salons, all backed up with a strong community spirit, epitomized by an active residents’ association.