What's this guide for?
Our aim is to create an up-to-date, searchable, and categorised directory of the businesses and services available in Croydon. We're doing this mainly for our own enjoyment and convenience. We live in Croydon, we like gathering data, and we like to shop in small local shops rather than from huge megastores.
We also record the history of the buildings used for these businesses and services, where possible. This includes recent history — we expect the data gathered by us to be of interest to local historians in the future.
What does it cover?
We cover businesses and services that have a physical (shopfront) presence within our geographical area of interest (see map). We don't cover businesses that are run from people's homes or that work only via house calls, via post, or via the internet.
Why don't you just use the existing map/directory sites, such as Google Maps? Why make another one?
The Completists' Guide to Croydon is a hyperlocal site, run by people who live in Croydon and who actively enjoy walking around Croydon to check that the things we think are there are really still there. Google Maps is a global site, and some of its local data is years out of date — and aside from Street View, which does give the date when the photos were taken, there's no indication of when the information was last verified.
One directory that comes close to the quality we aim for is the Local Data Company. They specialise in providing high-quality data, and, like us, they gather this data partly by physically walking the streets and looking at things. However, they're mainly aimed at gathering this data for the purpose of selling it to other companies, and so their own site isn't geared towards direct use by the consumer.
One of the reasons we started this project was that we wanted to have a reliable, complete, and easily navigable source of data about the businesses operating in Croydon. We're making it publically available on the internet, rather than keeping it to ourselves, because we hope that other people will find it useful too.
How do you plan to keep all this information up to date?
By walking around and looking at things, the same way we collected it all in the first place. We're deliberately keeping our geographical coverage tightly focused on Croydon, in order to make this possible.
Why haven't you included my favourite pub/restaurant/shop/etc?
There are two main possibilities: either it's outside the area we cover, or we haven't yet got around to surveying the street it's on. Email us and tell us where it is, and we'll check it out.
I would like to talk to you about the Croydon Guide! Can we talk on the phone?
No, we don't do phones, but you can talk to us over email or in person. We like email conversations! But if you'd like to talk to us in person, send us an email and let us know — we can meet for a chat in a local pub or cafe some time.
Why can't I leave a comment?
We don't plan to have user comments displayed automatically on the site, because we don't have the resources to put into moderating user submissions; we would rather spend that time out and about looking for new things in Croydon. As the site develops, we'll be adding a form that you can use to let us know of any problems or issues with our data, but for now, please just email us.
If you would like to join our team of contributors, do get in touch, particularly if you've done this sort of data-gathering before.
I don't think your categories make sense. Why are they like that?
The categories aren't finalised yet — some are too general, and some are too specific. We want to let the categories emerge from the data, rather than imposing them from the start, so we're tweaking them as we go along. We'd definitely appreciate any suggestions.
Why don't you list the individual market stalls on Surrey Street?
Because they're not all there every day, so it would be hard for us to keep the data up to date — if a stall is absent on a particular day, this could be because they've ceased trading or simply because they didn't plan to come that day. With permanently-located shops, this sort of thing is a lot easier to check out.
What if you get bored of running the site? Will all the data just sit there and go out of date?
All our data is available under Creative Commons, and the code that runs the site is open source. Anyone can download our latest database dump, download and install the OpenGuides software, and have a mirror of our site up and running (as long as they don't aim to monetise it, since this is prohibited by our chosen Creative Commons licence). So if we disappear, anyone else with a bit of technical knowledge can take over.
What's a completist? Why is the guide called "The Completists' Guide to Croydon"?
The Oxford English Dictionary gives two definitions for the term "completist": "an obsessive (and often indiscriminate) collector", and "intent on completeness or comprehensiveness". These seem to sum up our aim pretty well.
What's the connection between this guide and the Randomness Guide to London?
The Completists' Guide to Croydon (CGC) is a sister project to the Randomness Guide to London (RGL). It's run by some of the same people, and it uses the same software, but it is a separate project.
CGC is a completists' guide. We aim to document every business within our area of interest, whether we've used its services or not. For this reason, we include only factual data, and not our own opinions.
RGL, on the other hand, focuses on providing in-depth information and opinions on places in London that we have actually been to ourselves. The intention is not to cover every pub/restaurant/etc in London, but to only write up a place if we have something original to say about it.