Croydon is a town in South London, England, located within the London Borough of Croydon to which it gives its name. It is situated south of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 11 metropolitan centres in Greater London.
Croydon is located on the natural transport corridor between London and England's south coast, just to the north of two gaps in the North Downs, one followed by the route of the A23 Brighton Road from Purley to Merstham and the other followed by the A22 from Purley to the M25 Godstone interchange.
Historic counties of England a part of Surrey, at the time of the Norman conquest of England Croydon had a church, a mill and around 365 inhabitants (as recorded in the ''Domesday Book'' of 1086). Croydon expanded during the Middle Ages as a market town and a centre for charcoal production, leather tanning and brewing. The Surrey Iron Railway from Croydon to Wandsworth opened in 1803 and was the world's first public horse-drawn railway, which later developed into an important means of transport â€“ facilitating Croydon's growth as a commuter town for the City of London and beyond.
In the early 20th century, Croydon was an important industrial area, known for metal working, car manufacture and its airport. In the mid 20th century these sectors were replaced by a retailing and service economy, brought about by massive redevelopment which saw the rise of office blocks and the Whitgift shopping centre. Croydon was amalgamated into Greater London in 1965. Road traffic is now diverted away from a largely pedestrianised town centre, but its main railway station, East Croydon railway station, is still a major hub within the national railway transport system. The town is expected to have its urban planning changed as part of Croydon Vision 2020.