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The Association, which started life as the ‘East Ward Electors Association’ (EWEA), was established in 1923, the year of its first AGM after a group of local people had come together in 1922 with the sole aim of safeguarding the interests of the area and its residents.
At that time our Ward was significantly larger than today being the old East Ward of Croydon Borough Council, stretching a little beyond East Croydon Station, north and south of Upper Addiscombe Road and along Wickham Road. This was a time when the Ward saw rapid growth in housing development, although it wasn’t until the late 1920s and early 1930s that Shirley emerged as a newly built up area, mostly with housing designed for families.
During this time the EWEA became involved with anything from pressing hard for improved postal facilities in the newly developed Glade area and dealing with local public transport problems to ensuring adequate local education facilities for the area’s children. They also held fund-raising events specifically for local charities.
Progression of the 1930s saw the dark clouds of a possible outbreak of war approaching but the work of the EWEA continued unabated. Notably, in 1937, was their remonstration with Croydon Council, following the infamous outbreak of typhoid, stemming from the Addington (Shirley Hills) well. The council came under fire for insufficient warning after the first outbreak.
In October 1939, just a few weeks after the outbreak of WW2, the EWEA’s Executive Committee met to consider their way forward in respect of their activities and the current situation. They unanimously decided to continue but as an ‘Emergency’ committee.
Intermittent meetings continued throughout the war, with attention to the well-being of residents uppermost, particularly in respect of the problem of housing and the plight of those locally who had suffered through enemy bombing. They also raised ‘comfort’ funds for the forces as well as other current causes.
Peacetime saw the EWEA intact, gradually returning to its pre-war normality and resuming its ordinary activities as before. That was until the 1970s when revision of the Ward boundaries took place and the demise of the old East Ward. Now as only a portion of the old Ward the EWEA, at the 1977 AGM, resolved that the Association would hence be known as Monks Orchard Residents’ Association (MORA).
MORA continues to do its very best, where it is able, for local residents and its area, admittedly with some failures but also with some successes. Probably, one of the most notable of the latter was, in 1990-1992, the fight against the might of Tesco who wanted to build a store at the top of Orchard Avenue. More recently, in 2016-2017 the SaveShirley campaign was started by MORA along with the support of 3,600 residents objecting to Croydon Local Plan 2 (CLP2), forcing the council to make significant changes to the plans.
This is only what one might call a ‘potted’ history of MORA but, hopefully, it does demonstrate the dedication of those groups of local people who have come together over all its, sometimes extremely difficult, years to devote some of their time to the needs of residents and where we live.
As current MORA representatives we continue to uphold the Association’s original aspirations. Decisions by authorities don’t always go our way, despite what we believe are valid arguments. However, we feel our presence can, to some extent, hold them to account.