Procol Harum

the Pale

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Procol in Croydon 2002

A pictorial guide to the purlieux

This page presents some Croydon pictures that should be helpful to people staying at Jury's Inn, the Palers' Base Camp, and for those attending the ticket-only BtP events, the Palers' Fair and 'One More Toast', which are now sold out. It also repeats some of the information from the hotel booking page: Palers have booked almost 120 room/nights through BtP, but we have no more reserved accommodation now so please contact the hotel direct if you are a late booker.

Jury's Inn is on Wellesley Road, Croydon, CRO 9XY [map].

It lies directly opposite the famous Whitgift Centre, which is the landmark to ask for if you happen to be lost.

The Whitgift Centre offers excellent shopping and eating-out facilities (see next picture) which could be handy if you are travelling with someone who doesn't want the weekend to be a non-stop 100% Procol experience …

Car-parking: the nearest car-park to the hotel lies a couple of blocks north of the Whitgift Centre.

Park your car and get a ticket, for which you pay on leaving. Ignore the frightening hourly tariff : Jury's residents can hand this ticket in at reception and get a 70p replacement … and that's all you pay, however long you park for.

There's a pedestrian subway from the Whitgift Centre directly to Jury's pavement. Don't risk trying to cross the road any other way!

Two views of the Jury's exterior. It's a brand-new hotel yet the apostrophes seem to have fallen off already J

The view from higher floors of Jury's extends beyond the cityscape to some little patches of the Surrey countryside.

Jury's dining-room looks out on to the main road and has plenty of natural light, so no-one will be able to remain unaware of that swirly purple carpet.

Breakfast and newspapers are available in this region adjoining the dining room on the ground floor.

There's a choice of continental breakfast or cooked English breakfast, with generous helpings.

As well as the above eating-places the ground floor has two other regions that will no doubt become suitably infested with Procol Harum fans … here we see two such specimens, loafing on one of the sofas in the immediate reception area, with the 'Pub' behind them.

The next two pictures show the inside of the 'Pub' area, which has been subdivided into various crooks and nannies.

It's eccentrically furnished with artefacts of yore including a copper kettle and (aptly for Procoholics) a typewriter of suitably tormented aspect.

This is probably the area to head for once you've checked in, if you want to make immediate contact with other Palers.

Procol fans seem for some reason always to gravitate towards the bar.

The Palers' Fair and 'One More Toast' will both take place on 25 May at the Fairfield Halls, the same building where Procol Harum are playing in the evening.

To get from basecamp at Jury's to the Fairfield Halls, walk south down the main road – past Croydon College – for exactly five minutes. Should it happen to be raining you could use the city's tram network.

Palers who visited Manchester last year may get the idea that all British cities have tram systems. Sadly, this ain't so.

Procol fans approaching the Fairfield Halls; the building houses a concert hall and the Ashcroft Theatre.

The complex was opened forty years ago by HM the (Late) Queen Mother, and though the outside looks a little 'tired', it's pretty nice within.

It also houses a nice café (see right) and a public bar and good restaurant.

Palers will have no need to leave the building between 3 pm (start of Palers' Fair) and 1 am (end of Champagne Reception): any gaps can be filled by eating and drinking in situ.

Here the very helpful Catering Manager, Gary B, surveys his domain.

Fairfield have Procol Harum listed on their main poster, and the gig is advertised in rotation on their foyer TV display.

They also exhibit this sign in the Box Office, reminding patrons that 'Gary Brooker will not be appearing with Bill Wyman, as advertised in our May Diary' … the Rhythm Kings play Croydon very close to the Procol date.

It was hard to get decent pictures of the Fairfield concert auditorium in the available light, but you may be able to gather something of what is in store: note one fan already test-driving the seat he is renting for 25 May.

The Palers' Fair and 'One More Toast' take place on the fourth floor at Fairfield: usefully, there are lifts ('elevators')!

Here's the view from the Terrace Lounge, which BtP has hired.

Not very sunny: sorry

Spot Linda and Jens ...

The Terrace Lounge, which BtP has hired, is shown above (it's set out for some other function at the moment, of course). On the left is the terrace, which will offer night-time views and fresh air (and, presumably, a haven for smokers if there are any). On the right is the indoor part of the room: the private paying bar will be open all the time we are in residence, afternoon and evening: it's out of sight behind those velvet drapes at present.

The Champagne Reception falls exactly on the 35th anniversary of A Whiter Shade of Pale's first topping the charts.

As well as raising a toast to Procol Harum we will be raffling this 'One More Toast' tee-shirt – which reprints the first-ever printed mention of the famous song – and which was signed by all members of the band during Matthew Fisher's wedding celebrations in Croydon on 3 May.

Spot the torso ...

To get to Croydon by road: Croydon is on the A23, the main route south out of Central London. London's Orbital motorway, the M25, also provides convenient access. Jury's Inn and the Fairfield Halls lie on the A232 in Central Croydon. 'Buses coming into Croydon are within easy walking distance.

To arrive by rail: there are excellent rail links to Central London: it is just fifteen minutes from London Victoria. There are direct services from Croydon to the Midlands, the North West, Home Counties and the South Coast.

Access by air: London's Gatwick Airport is about 25 minutes' drive away. London Heathrow is also accessible via the M25 orbital motorway.

Using the tram: Croydon's fab new transport system passes right by the Fairfield Halls, and connects Croydon to Wimbledon, New Addington, Beckenham and Elmers End every few minutes.

So here's the area-map once again … and there are transport links here.

Procol Harum concert in Croydon: index page

More about The Palers' Fair and 'One More Toast'

More about
Palers' Basecamp

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