History of Croydon Judo Club

Established in 1951, and originally known as Croydon and District Judo Society, Croydon Judo Club has had many homes over the years, including a billiard hall in Wickham Road, The Gun Tavern, Church Street. For mats these brave souls used old mattresses, some times covered with canvas. Later for the Wellesley Road Dojo straw tatami were imported.

One of the individuals responsible for establishing Judo as a sport in this country, Mr. Gunji Koizumi was a founder of the Budokwai in London. Mr. George Edwards, the first chairman of the Croydon Club was also a member of the Budokwai. It was at his request that on April 3rd 1952 Koizumi, then National Judo Coach, held the first of many gradings at the club. The club was at that time training at the Croydon YMCA then situated on the High Street.

From the mid 50's the Club trained at 91 Wellesley Road, a property owned by Judo Ltd., who published the magazine' Judo' from this address. It continued to flourish into one of the three largest clubs, becoming a favorite haunt of the National players of the time. The officials and members from Croydon club joined with other clubs in formulating the early organisation of judo associations in the southern area and the country .

Croydon Council exercised a compulsory purchase order on 91 Wellesley Road in 1972 obtaining the building from Judo Ltd., as part of a road widening scheme. Mats were retrieved and the Club went into a series of temporary accommodation. First based in Heath Clark School, then into rooms at the Purley Way Open Air Swimming Pool, where the membership slowly rebuilt to a reasonable level.

In March 1980 the pool was closed, Council sold the site to Rockinghams as a garden center, and the Club moved back to Heath Clark School into hut 64. However the school itself closed in the summer of 1983 and Croydon College moved in. Judo was not in their scheme of things, and as another temporary measure Council moved the Club, this time into a smaller hut at Lanfranc High School. The club was then offered a plot of land by the Council, in nearby Wingate Crescent on which to build a Dojo. Unfortunately planning permission to build on this site was refused, this land being designated by the planning department as metropolitan open land.

In 1985 following this disappointment, and pressure by the members and friends, once again the Council moved the Club into temporary accommodation, this time at the Tavistock Center, 10 Tavistock Road, where once again the membership battled to regain numbers. 1999 saw the closure of the education unit on this site and the club was once again informed of the need to move. A temporary move to an old disused cafe/bar In Katherine Street, Croydon was made during the building of a brand new international standard purpose built dojo. Our move intoi the new dojo was completed in December 2005 and our agreement with Croydon Council means that this facility will be our home for the meet 30 years. The Club can now start to focus again to rebuild its membership and to provide top quality training. .

In spite of this somewhat nomadic existence the quality of player and standard of Judo has always been very high, from coaching grass roots, the disabled and special needs to competitive players. Taking an active part in all areas of the sport over the years Croydon players have become Squad Members at County, Area, National and Olympic level. Not to be outdone other members have become Officials to the same exacting standard in Refereeing, as Competition Officials, Examiners and in many other fields of the sport.