Fifty years after it was filled in, Thornton Heath Pond is once again flowing with water, thanks to a new water feature funded by Croydon Council's Smarter Croydon initiative.

The landmark site's original large, open pond, at the junction of the A23 and London Road by the Wheatsheaf public house, gave the area its name. In the 18th century it was an important watering place for cattle and horses along the busy London to Brighton Road.

In 1897 railings were put up around the edge of the pond to put a stop to numerous traffic accidents. This included the Brighton mail coach ploughing straight into the water in heavy fog in 1891. At the same time, an ornamental fountain was placed in the centre of the pond to mark Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, replacing the original fountain.

However, in 1953 the pond was filled in and turned into an ornamental garden with a small pool, following consultation with local residents. But due to sporadic incidents of vandalism, the decision was eventually made in 1975 to fill in the pool as well and it has remained so until today.

Thornton Heath Pond has long been a famous landmark within Croydon.

The site is also known as the location of the gallows during the 18th century where numerous convicted highwaymen were hanged for their crimes. For many of the borough's older residents, the area holds less dramatic, happier memories as a place where they would gather to paddle and fish as youngsters.

Pupils from Winterbourne boys' and girls' schools joined council leader Councillor Hugh Malyan and mayor Stuart Collins at the official unveiling of the new water feature on Friday. along with former Croydon mayor Wally Garratt who, as a local resident, has always had a personal desire to see water returned to the site.

Coun Hugh Malyan said: "Thornton Heath Pond is one of Croydon's most renowned landmarks. I am delighted that we havebeen able to restore a water feature to this site."