The 2018 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2019 programme mid-August.
Robert Atkinson & Partners
Park Lane, CR9 1DG
An early post-war concert hall & arts centre with unparallelled acoustics. Built in a style similar to the Royal Festival Hall, it houses a 1794 seat concert hall & 763 seat theatre and a flexible studio space.
Robert Atkinson & Partners,
As the name might suggest, Fairfield stands on the site of a field that was used for a fair for five and a half centuries. It was a very famous fair. In fact it was so famous that it attracted every ne’er-do-well from miles around! The sober Victorian burghers of Croydon eventually decided to ban the fair in 1866. This was because they thought the fair had become far too troublesome.
In 1866 the land was bought by the Brighton Railway Company and as late as 1933 the site was used for sidings and workshops.
There was a rumour that the site may revert back to a place of dubious entertainments, this time to be developed as a greyhound stadium. Not being too keen on that idea, Croydon Corporation acted swiftly once more by buying up the land to ensure the stadium wouldn't happen.
A more morally acceptable use of the land was planned and a competition was held to design a new civic centre. A winner was announced and a grand prize of £500 handed over. This was a relatively cheap way of getting some leading architects to do a lot of work for a small amount of money, and undoubtedly they wouldn’t fall for it these days.
Unfortunately the public of Croydon (who possibly favoured the dog track idea) did not share its council’s enthusiasm for the centre and in 1938 the plans were shelved “having regard for the international situation”. Indeed ‘spin’ was around even then. As a result work didn’t start on Fairfield until the 1960s.
Opening of the Halls
The Queen Mother opened Fairfield on Friday 2nd November 1962. She then attended the inaugural concert which was given by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Malcom Sergeant, with the soloist being one Yehudi Menhuin. Since then, and for several decades, our audiences have continued to enjoy classical music, drama, comedy and dance in Fairfield’s famous Concert Hall and Ashcroft Theatre.
The Concert Hall
Designed as a scaled down version of the Royal Festival Hall (with Hope Begenal acting as acoustic consultant on both projects), Fairfield has been described as the finest acoustic concert hall in the South East and has resonated (perfectly, of course) to a huge range of performers, each bringing their own unique magic and their own particular audience. All eager to share the special experience that is the essence of a live performance.
A £30 million makeover is transforming Croydon's Fairfield Halls into a state of the art performance venue at the heart of a stunning new cultural quarter in Croydon.
This is a key part of Croydon's £5.25 billion regeneration programme and will restore the venue to its 1960s glory.