infobox UK place
country = England
map_type = Greater London
region= London
official_name= Streatham
latitude= 51.4279
longitude= -0.1235
london_borough= Lambeth
constituency_westminster= Streatham
post_town= LONDON
postcode_area= SW
postcode_district= SW16
dial_code= 020
os_grid_reference= TQ305715

Streatham IPA| ['strɛtəm] is a place in the London Borough of Lambeth in the United Kingdom . It is a multi-ethnic inner London suburb situated south of Brixton. Streatham is 5.5 miles (8.8 km) south of Charing Cross.


After the departure of the Romans, the road remained an important trackway. From the seventeenth century it was adopted as the main coach road to Croydon and East Grinstead, and then on to Newhaven and Lewes. In 1780 it then became the route of the turnpike road from London to Brighton, and subsequently became the basis for the modern A23. This road (and its traffic) have shaped Streatham's development.

Streatham's parish church, St Leonard's, dates back to Saxon times, although only the mediaeval tower remains in the present church. The mediaeval parish covered an extensive area, including most of modern Balham and parts of Tooting.

Streatham appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as "Estreham". It was held by Bec-Hellouin Abbey (in Normandy) from Richard de Tonbrige. Its domesday assets were: 2 hides and 1 virgates; 6½ ploughs, convert|4|acre|m2 of meadow, and herbage. It rendered £4 5s 0d. [ [ Surrey Domesday Book] ]

The village remained largely unchanged until the 18th century, when the village's natural springs, known as Streatham Wells, were first celebrated for their health giving properties. The reputation of the spa, and improved turnpike roads, attracted wealthy City of London merchants and others to lay out their country residences in Streatham. Few of these large houses still remain, as the area was rapidly urbanised as London expanded.

Streatham Park or Streatham Place

In the 1730s, Streatham Park, a Georgian country mansion, was built by the brewer Ralph Thrale on land he bought from the Lord of the Manor - the fourth Duke of Bedford. Streatham Park later passed to Ralph's son Henry Thrale, who with his wife Hester Thrale entertained many of the leading literary and artistic characters of the day, most notably the lexicographer Samuel Johnson. The dining room contained 12 portraits of Henry's guests painted by his friend Joshua Reynolds. These pictures were wittily labelled by Fanny Burney as the Streatham Worthies.

Streatham Park was later leased to Prime Minister Lord Shelburne, and was the venue for early negotiations with France that lead to the Peace Treaty of 1783. Streatham Park was demolished in 1863.

Park Hill

One large house which survives is Park Hill, on the north side of Streatham Common, rebuilt in the early 19th century for the Leaf family. It was latterly the home of Sir Henry Tate, sugar refiner, benefactor of local libraries across south London, and founder of the Tate Gallery at Millbank.


Development accelerated after the opening of Streatham Hill railway station on the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway in 1856. The other two railway stations followed within fifteen years. Some estates, such as [ Telford Park] to the west of Streatham Hill were spaciously planned with facilities such as tennis clubs. Despite the local connections to the Dukes of Bedford, there is no link to the contemporary Bedford Park in west London. Another generously sized development was Roupell Park, the area near Christchurch Road promoted by the Roupell family. Other streets adopted more conventional suburban layouts. There is now a mixture of buildings from all architectural eras of the past 200 years.

The inter-war period

Between the First World War and the Second World War Streatham developed as location for entertainment, with Streatham Hill Theatre (now a bingo hall) [] , three cinemas, the Locarno ballroom (now Caesar's nightclub) [] and Streatham Ice Rink [] all adding to its reputation as "the West End of South London". With the advent of electric tram services [] it also grew as a shopping centre serving a wide area to the south. In the 1930s large numbers of apartment blocks were constructed along the High Road. These speculative developments were not initially successful. They were only filled when émigré communities began to arrive in London after leaving countries under the domination of Hitler's Germany.

Retail decline and recovery

In the 1950s Streatham had the longest and busiest shopping street in south London. Streatham was the site of the first Waitrose supermarket, which opened in 1955. However a combination of factors led to a gradual decline through the 1970s and a more rapid decline in the 1980s. These included long term population movements out to Croydon, Kingston and Sutton; the growth of heavy traffic on the A23 (main road from central London to Gatwick Airport and Brighton), and a lack of redevelopment sites in the town centre. This culminated in 1990 when the closure of Pratts - a department store, which had grown from a Victorian draper's shop, and had been operated since the 1940s by the John Lewis Partnership - coincided with the opening of a large Sainsburys supermarket [] [] [] 1 km south of the town centre.

More recently Sainsbury's opened a smaller 'Local' branch on the High Road, close to the site of the first J Sainsbury store in Streatham (opened in 1895). The company also has offices in Streatham. Other fairly recent additions, such as Argos, are located on the site of Pratts' (see above) but the retail recovery has been slow, and vacant space has been taken by a growing number of restaurants and bars.

Contemporary Streatham

Streatham is a place of contrasts, with middle class families occupying houses in leafy streets that fetch over £500,000 while there are large amounts of asylum seekers, predominantly from north and east African countries.

In September 2002, Streatham High Road was voted the "Worst Street in Britain" [ [ Britons name 'best and worst streets'] ] in a poll organised by the BBC "Today" programme and CABE. This largely reflected the dominance of through traffic along the High Road. On a positive note this was a catalyst for Lambeth Council and Transport for London's Street Management to start co-operating, and there is now a joint funding arrangement for ongoing streetscape improvements, although spending has been slowed because of TfL's budgetary shortfall.

Investment and regeneration had begun before the poll, with local amenity group [ The Streatham Society] leading a successful partnership bid for funding from central government for environmental improvements. Work started in winter 2003-04 with the refurbishment of Streatham Green and repaving and relighting of the High Road. In 2005 Streatham Green won the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association 'London Spade' award for best public open space scheme in the capital.

[ Streatham Festival] was founded in 2002. Now in its sixth year, it is a two-week festival with over 50 events held in an array of locations, from bars to churches and parks to youth centres, attracting over 3,000 people.

Famous Streathamites

The only official English Heritage blue plaque in central Streatham is on the childhood home of composer Sir Arnold Bax in Pendennis Road. Just within the modern boundaries of Streatham Hill, although historically it was in Norwood, there is also a blue plaque on the house in Lanercost Road where Arthur Mee the writer of Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopedia lived.

Perhaps because of its good late night transport connections to the West End, and the availability of apartments as well as family houses, Streatham and nearby Brixton Hill have attracted entertainers to live in the area since the days of Music Hall.

There is a Streatham Society plaque to the birthplace of comedian Tommy Trinder at 54 Wellfield Road. Others with local connections include actors Roger Moore, Simon Callow, Peter Davison, Nicholas Clay and June Whitfield, saucy seaside postcard artist Donald McGill and alternative comedians Eddie Izzard, Jeremy Hardy, Paul Merton and "housewives favourite" actor Neil Pearson.

Naomi Campbell, the archetypal supermodel, went to Dunraven Comprehensive School in Streatham and lived in the nearby Norbury part of SW16.

Also from the world of fashion Sir Norman Hartnell, dressmaker to the Queen, was born in Streatham. The Dior fashion designer John Galliano spent some of his youth in Streatham before moving to nearby Dulwich.

Aleister Crowley, later dubbed "The Wickedest Man In the World", spent his teenage years during the 1880s in Streatham at a house opposite the present ice rink.

Drum and Bass DJ Grooverider is from Streatham as is the first Mayor of London and former head of the GLC Ken Livingstone.

Cynthia Payne is a renowned "madam" who made the headlines in the 1970s and 1980s with her brothel in Ambleside Avenue, Streatham.

Afghan warlord Zardad Khan lived in Gleneagle Road, Streatham, before his arrest in 2003.
Siobhan Dowd the author lived in Abbotsford Road, Streatham (1960-1978).

Beryl Kingston, popular novelist, lived at Strathbrook Road, Streatham, from 1956 - 1980 and taught at what was then Rosa Basett School in Welham Road, and also at Sunnyhill Primary School.

Local Sport

*Streatham Redskins (ice hockey)
*Crystal Palace F.C.
*Dulwich Hamlet F.C.
*South London Storm (rugby league)
*Streatham-Croydon RFC
*There is an annual [ kite fair] on Streatham Common

Nearest places

* Balham
* Brixton
* Furzedown
* Mitcham
* Norbury
* Thornton Heath
* Tooting
* West Norwood
* Crystal Palace

Nearest railway stations

* Norbury railway station
* Streatham Common railway station
* Streatham Hill railway station
* Streatham railway station


There has been a Streatham constituency of the House of Commons since 1918, when it was carved out of the former Wandsworth constituency.


External links

* [ The Streatham Society - local amenity society with active local history group]
* [ The Streatham Festival - annual arts festival]
* [ St Leonard's Church - historic parish church]
* [ Sts Simon + Jude - Catholic parish church of Streatham Hill]
* [ Lambeth Landmark - Lambeth Council's online photographic archive]
* [ A history of Suburban Streatham - by Graham Gower]
* [ Images of Streatham on Lambeth Landmark]
* [ Telford Park Estate history]
* [ Streatham Park - description on - Thrale family history site]

The sites below are commercial but may provide information on Streatham based activities:
* [ is "an online community and news site for the Streatham area".]
* [ was "an online portal for people living and working in the Streatham area" - now dormant?]
* [ Streatham Art Studios - spaces occupied by artists]

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