What is this website for?
It originated as an up-to-date, searchable, and categorised directory of the businesses and services available in Croydon. It's now primarily a historical record of central Croydon retail and other businesses during the 2010s, though it also includes some information about earlier decades.
What does it cover?
Businesses and services that had a physical (shopfront) presence within our geographical area of interest (see map). We don't have any information on businesses that were run from people's homes or that worked only via house calls, via post, or via the internet.
Is it still being updated?
No information about changes happening to Croydon after December 2019 will be added. However, if we find out new information about things that happened earlier, we may well add it.
Why the cut-off in December 2019?
When we launched this site (then known as the Completists' Guide to Croydon) back in August 2012, we planned to keep it running indefinitely — making sure the information stayed up to date, reporting openings and closures, and keeping everything carefully categorised. However, after Kake accidentally turned into a local historian, we found that the work of keeping things up to date was interfering with our other projects, so we decided to wind the site down at the end of 2019.
Why did you start doing this in the first place? Why not just rely on Google Maps?
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. Google Maps is a global site, and some of its local data is years out of date — and aside from Street View, which does give the date when the photos were taken, there's no indication of when the information was last verified.
We wanted to have a reliable, complete, and easily navigable source of data about the businesses operating in Croydon, and we made it publically available on the internet, rather than keeping it to ourselves, because we hoped that other people would find it useful too.
Where did you get all this information?
Most of it comes from walking around Croydon, looking at things, and asking people questions.
I would like to talk to you about something! 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 don't you have any information on things like market stalls and popups?
We decided from the beginning not to cover the individual market stalls on Surrey Street because they weren't all there every day, so it would be hard for us to keep the data up to date — if a stall was absent on a particular day, this could have been because they'd 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.
I would like to resurrect this guide and start making updates again! Can I do that?
All our data is available under Creative Commons, and the code that runs the site is open source. We'd be happy for someone else to start it up again (as long as you don't aim to monetise it, since this is prohibited by our chosen Creative Commons licence), but please don't underestimate how much work it takes to keep the data up to date. If you've never done anything like this before, you should think very carefully about whether you have enough time available for it.
What's a completist? Why was this website originally 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 site and the Randomness Guide to London?
The Completists' Guide to Croydon (CGC) was a sister project to the Randomness Guide to London (RGL). It was run by some of the same people, and it used the same software, but it was a separate project.
CGC was a completists' guide. We aimed to document every business within our area of interest, whether we'd used its services or not. For this reason, we included 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.