The Club was started in 1956 by a mixture of players from rugby playing schools and those who had never played before to form Shirley Wanderers RFC.

After seven years as a wandering side, it opened its clubhouse on the present site in 1963 leasing three pitches from the City of London Corporation. Despite a serious fire in 1974 the clubhouse, gym and training facilities have steadily improved. This is due to the support of players and members, to the extent that Croydon boasts one of the most spacious and atmospheric amateur rugby club facilities in the Kent/Surrey area.

In 2003 members of Shirley Wanderers RFC welcomed Old Croydonians RFC to join them to form the present Croydon RFC. Old Croydonians (formed in 1924) survived the War Years raising a team to play Selhurst Grammar School in the 1943-44 season. The club became "open" and Old Croydonian sports club was founded. With the closure of Selhurst Grammar School the club lost its regular supply of new young players and therefore relied on attracting players from other clubs, young men relocating to Croydon for employment and those from non-playing rugby schools.

Croydon RFC currently retain two of the old pitches leased from the City of London Corporation and in 2005 the main pitch and training area, leased from Thames Water PLC, was re-laid and drained providing Croydon with one of the best floodlit playing surfaces in Surrey and South London. Thanks to the generosity of club member Peter Cook, who provided for the floodlights, this pitch has already hosted several inter-county U16 and U18 evening matches.