The Streatham Society

The Streatham Society
And all about Streatham
The Streatham Society

The Streatham Society is a local organisation that represents a large community of residents in the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Wandsworth.

The purpose and aims of the Society are to raise the awareness and appreciation of the local area and to maintain and improve the quality of life for all who live and work in Streatham. The Society recognises and values the diversity of people living in Streatham and the multi-cultural nature of the community.

The Streatham Society website is a very interesting source of well researched and documented pieces of information all about Streatham. There are many pictures of old historical buildings that no longer stand as well as pictures of many famous past residents, many of whom will possibly surprise you. There are around 30 odd booklets (average price is about £7.00) which will bring to you a little piece of the history of Streatham. Publications can be categorised into (1) Heritage Trails; (2) Architecture and Buildings; (3) Histories; (4) Memories; (5) People; (6) Pictorial History and (7) Places. Order on line here.

The Society also conducts themed walks around Streatham with guides to point out all the places of interest that you've been walking past for years and had no idea held so many secrets. The walks have been developed with the support of Ramblers. Details are on the Society's Guided Walks page.

Information on the Society's monthly talks can be found here.

Your SVSU website is proud to bring you a brief summary (all 23 pages) of the the Society's Blog page. The odd SVSU "date of interest" has also been added. It features many dates that link people and events associated with Streatham. There are many others that didn't make the cut, they can all be found here. There are also around 12 months of archives as of March 2021 and a new anniversary date for something or someone is added very regularly.

The Society produces a quarterly newsletter. This carries various articles on local issues, such as planning, environment, heritage, regeneration, plus information about the society's meetings, events and publications. Back copies of the newsletter - definitely worth reading, full of quality articles, can be found here. Three of the more recent copies of the newsletter can be accessed through these links.
Spring 2020 Summer 2020 Autumn 2020

Streatham means "the hamlet on the street". The street in question, the London to Brighton Way, was the Roman road from the capital, Londinium, to the south coast near Portslade, now part of Brighton and Hove. It is probable that the destination was a Roman port now lost to coastal erosion, which has been tentatively identified with 'Novus Portus' mentioned in Ptolemy's Geographia.

After the Romans departed, the main road through Streatham remained an important route to the south. From the 17th century it was adopted as the main coach road to Croydon, and then on to Newhaven. 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) has shaped Streatham's development.

Streatham's first parish church, St Leonard's, was founded in Saxon times but an early Tudor tower is the only remaining structure pre-dating 1831 when the body of the church was rebuilt. The mediaeval parish covered a wider area including Balham and Tooting Bec.

Streatham appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Estreham. Domesday is Middle English for Doomsday and came into use in the 12th century. It was held by Bec-Hellouin Abbey (in Normandy) from Richard fitz Gilbert - aka Richard de Tonbrige. (fitz Gilbert was a Norman lord who participated in the Norman Conquest of 1066. He was styled "de Tonbrige" (Tonbridge) amongst other "names" from his land holdings.) Its Domesday assets were: 2 hides, 1 virgate and 6½ ploughlands of cultivated land and 4 acres (1.6 ha) of meadow and herbage (mixed grass and bracken). Annually it was assessed to render £4 5s 0d to its overlords.

Until 1889, the current area of Wandsworth was part of the county of Surrey. In 1855 the Wandsworth District of the Metropolis was formed comprising the parishes of Battersea (excluding Penge), Clapham, Putney, Streatham. Tooting Graveney and Wandsworth. Battersea was removed from the district in 1888. In 1900 the remaining district became the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth and Battersea became the Metropolitan Borough of Battersea.

The London Borough of Wandsworth was formed in 1965 from the former area of the Metropolitan Borough of Battersea and the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth, but excluding the former parish of Clapham and most of the former parish of Streatham which were transferred to the London Borough of Lambeth. (Many of us remember being dragged kicking and screaming from Wandsworth to Lambeth without moving home.) The areas to the west of Clapham Common in the current borough of Wandsworth are often incorrectly referred to as Clapham, but are in fact part of Battersea parish.

Until 1889, Surrey included the present-day London borough of Lambeth. When it drew the boundaries for the London boroughs, the government initially suggested that the Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth and the Metropolitan Borough of Southwark be merged into a new borough; the southern and eastern sections of the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth (including Clapham, Streatham and Tooting) would form another. South Shields town clerk R.S. Young was commissioned to make final recommendations to the government on the shape of the future London boroughs. (Was there no local who was capable of reviewing the boundaries of the boroughs in South London?) He noted that the Wandsworth council opposed the partition of its borough. (Obviously didn't protest vigorously enough.) However, Wandsworth's suggestion to merge Lambeth with the Metropolitan Borough of Battersea was rejected by both councils involved. Young believed that residents of Clapham and Streatham would be more familiar with Brixton than with Wandsworth, and recommended that a new borough be formed from the Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth and six wards and portions of two others from the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth.

SVSU Home Page