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Streatham High Road, looking north from the junction with Mitcham Lane
|OS grid reference|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||SW2, SW16|
Streatham ( // STRET-əm) is a district in south London, England. Centred 5 miles (8 km) south of Charing Cross, it lies mostly within the London Borough of Lambeth, with some parts extending into the neighbouring London Borough of Wandsworth.
Streatham was in Surrey before becoming part of the County of London in 1889, and then Greater London in 1965. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.
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, today within Brighton and Hove. It is likely 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.The road is confusingly referred to as Stane Street (Stone Street) in some sources and diverges from the main London-Chichester road at Kennington.
After the departure of the Romans, the main road through Streatham remained an important trackway. From the 17th 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 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 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, 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.
The village remained largely unchanged until the 18th century, when its 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 build their country residences in Streatham.
In spite of London's expansion, a limited number of developments took place in the village in the second half of the nineteenth century, Streatham Vale sprung up to the South later still and the small parade of shops by Streatham Common Station has become known colloquially as Streatham Village.
Wellfield Road, which had previously been known as Leigham Lane, was renamed to reflect its role as the main route from the centre of Streatham to one of the well locations. Another mineral well was located on the south side of Streatham Common, in an area that now forms part of The Rookery, where it can still be seen and visited within the formal gardens.
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 led to the Peace Treaty of 1783. Streatham Park was demolished in 1863.
One large house that 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, including Streatham Library, 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 like 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. Three more parish churches were built to serve the growing area, including Immanuel and St Andrew's (1854), St Peter's (1870) and St Margaret the Queen's (1889). There is now a mixture of buildings from all architectural eras of the past 200 years.
After the First World War Streatham developed as a location for entertainment, with the Streatham Hill Theatre, three cinemas, the Locarno ballroom 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 blocks of flats 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. In 1932 the parish church of the Holy Redeemer was built in Streatham Vale to commemorate the work of William Wilberforce.
In the 1950s Streatham had the longest and busiest shopping street in south London. Streatham became the site of the UK's first supermarket, when Express Dairies Premier Supermarkets opened its first 2,500 square feet (230 m2) store in 1951; Waitrose subsequently opened its first supermarket in Streatham in 1955, but it closed down in 1963.
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, which had grown from a Victorian draper's shop to a department store operated since the 1940s by the John Lewis Partnership, coincided with the opening of a large Sainsbury's supermarket half a mile south of the town centre, replacing an existing, smaller Sainbury's store opposite Streatham Hill railway station.
Several recent additions, such as Argos, Lidl and Peacocks, are located in new retail spaces on the site of Pratt's but, in common with other high streets, retail recovery has been slow, and a substantial proportion of vacant space has been taken by a growing number of restaurants, bars and coffee shops.
In August 2011, Streatham was selected as one of the areas to benefit from Round 1 of the Mayor of London's Outer London Fund, gaining £300,000. Later, Streatham was awarded a further £1.6 million, matched by another £1 million by Lambeth.The money from this fund was spent on improving streets and public spaces in Streatham. This includes the smartening up of shop fronts through painting and cleaning, replacing shutters and signage as well as helping to reveal facilities behind the high street such as The Stables Community Centre. Streatham Library has also undergone a £1.2 million refurbishment. The Tudor Hall behind the library was brought back into public use as The Mark Bennett Centre providing a meeting and performance space. Streatham Skyline introduced new lighting to highlight some of Streatham's more attractive buildings and monuments with the aim of improving safety and the overall attractiveness of the area.
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In September 2002, Streatham High Road was voted the "Worst Street in Britain"in a poll organised by the BBC Today programme and CABE. This largely reflected the dominance of through traffic along High Road.
Plans for 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 between St Leonard's Church and the Odeon Cinema. In 2005 Streatham Green won the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association 'London Spade' award for best public open space scheme in the capital.
The poll was a catalyst for Lambeth London Borough Council and Transport for London's Street Management to co-operate on a joint funding arrangement for further streetscape improvements, which benefited the section of the High Road between St Leonard's and Streatham station, and the stretch north of the Odeon as far as Woodbourne Avenue. The section between Woodbourne Avenue and Streatham Hill station was not completed until 2015. Any further improvements north of Streatham Hill have been halted because of TfL's budgetary shortfall.
Streatham Festival was established in 2002. It has grown to a 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.
After several years of delay and controversy over phasing, construction started in the autumn of 2011 on the Streatham Hub - a major redevelopment next to Streatham railway station. The project was a joint development by Lambeth Council and Tesco. The project involved the demolition of Streatham Ice Arena, Streatham Leisure Centre and the former Streatham Bus Garage, and their replacement with a new leisure centre and a Tesco store with 250 flats above it. Streatham Leisure Centre closed in November 2009 due to health and safety concerns when part of the pool hall ceiling collapsed.Streatham Ice Arena closed on 18 December 2011, having celebrated eighty years of operation in February 2011. For two years a temporary ice rink was provided at Popes Road, Brixton.
In November 2013, the new Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre opened to the public.The leisure centre houses a 60 m x 30 m indoor ice rink with 1,000 rink-side seats on the upper floors, a six-lane 25 m swimming pool, 13 m teaching pool, four-court sports hall and a gym with 100 stations.
The jazz venue Hideaway continues Streatham's long entertainment tradition. It features live performances of jazz, funk, swing and soul music as well as stand-up comedy nights. It won the Jazz Venue/Promoter of the Year category in the 2011 Parliamentary Jazz Awards.
On 2 February 2020 at around 14:00 GMT, Sudesh Mamoor Faraz Amman attacked and injured two people using a machete on Streatham High Street in what police declared a terrorist incident.Alongside the machete, Amman was also wearing a vest with components made to look like improvised explosive devices. He was pursued by armed police and was fatally shot outside a Boots pharmacy.
Streatham High Road also was host to Cat's Whiskers which later became Caesar's nightclubin the early 1990s through to 2005, which closed to become the site of the newly developed block of flats with a Marks and Spencer supermarket and Starbucks.
Streatham is covered by Lambeth London Borough Council and lies within the parliamentary constituency of the same name.
In the 2011 census, Streatham, comprising the wards of Streatham Hill, Streatham South and Streatham Wells, was White or White British (55.3%), Black or Black British (24.1%), Asian or Asian British (10%), Mixed/multiple ethnic groups (7.5%), and Other ethnic group (2.2%). The largest single ethnicity is White British (35.5%).
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Among the people who were born, lived or worked in Streatham, or are otherwise associated with the area are:
Balham is an area in south London, England, mostly within the London Borough of Wandsworth with small parts within the neighbouring London Borough of Lambeth. The area has been settled since Saxon times and appears in the Domesday Book as Belgeham.
Battersea is a large district in south London, part of the London Borough of Wandsworth, England. It is centred 3.5 miles (5.6 km) southwest of Charing Cross and extends along the south bank of the River Thames. It includes the 200-acre (0.81 km2) Battersea Park.
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Brockley is a district and an electoral ward of south London, England, in the London Borough of Lewisham 5 miles (8 km) south-east of Charing Cross.
Clapham is a district in South West London, England, lying mostly within the London Borough of Lambeth, but with some areas extending into the neighbouring London Borough of Wandsworth.
Crystal Palace is an area in south London, England, named after the Crystal Palace Exhibition building, which stood in the area from 1854 until it was destroyed by fire in 1936. Approximately 7 miles (11 km) south-east of Charing Cross, it includes one of the highest points in London, at 367 feet (112 m), offering views over the capital. The area has no defined boundaries and straddles five London boroughs and three postal districts, although there is a Crystal Palace electoral ward and Crystal Palace Park in the London Borough of Bromley. It forms a part of the greater area known as Upper Norwood, and is contiguous with the areas of Anerley, Dulwich Wood, Gipsy Hill, Penge, South Norwood and Sydenham.
Kennington is a district in south London, England. It is mainly within the London Borough of Lambeth, running along the boundary with the London Borough of Southwark, a boundary which can be discerned from the early medieval period between the Lambeth and St George's parishes of those boroughs respectively. It is located 1.4 miles (2.3 km) south of Charing Cross in Inner London and is identified as a local centre in the London Plan. It was a royal manor in the parish of St Mary, Lambeth in the county of Surrey and was the administrative centre of the parish from 1853. Proximity to central London was key to the development of the area as a residential suburb and it was incorporated into the metropolitan area of London in 1855.
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Stockwell is a district in south west London, part of the London Borough of Lambeth, England. It is situated 2.4 miles (3.9 km) south of Charing Cross. Battersea, Brixton, Clapham, South Lambeth, Oval and Kennington all border Stockwell.
Tooting is a district in South London, forming part of the London Borough of Wandsworth and partly in the London Borough of Merton. It is located 5 miles south south-west of Charing Cross.
Lambeth is a London borough in South London, England, which forms part of Inner London. Its name was recorded in 1062 as Lambehitha and in 1255 as Lambeth. The geographical centre of London is at Frazier Street near Lambeth North tube station, though nearby Charing Cross on the other side of the Thames in the City of Westminster is traditionally considered the centre of London.
West Norwood is a largely residential area of south London within the London Borough of Lambeth, located 5.4 miles (8.7 km) south south-east of Charing Cross. The centre of West Norwood sits in a bowl surrounded by hillsides on its east, west and south sides. From many parts of the area, distant views can be seen, of places such as the City of London, Canary Wharf and Crystal Palace.
Lambeth is a district in South London, England, in the London Borough of Lambeth, historically in the County of Surrey. It is situated 1 mile (1.6 km) south of Charing Cross. The population of the London Borough of Lambeth was 303,086 in 2011. The area experienced some slight growth in the medieval period as part of the manor of Lambeth Palace. By the Victorian era the area had seen significant development as London expanded, with dense industrial, commercial and residential buildings located adjacent to one another. The changes brought by World War II altered much of the fabric of Lambeth. Subsequent development in the late 20th and early 21st centuries has seen an increase in the number of high-rise buildings. The area is home to the International Maritime Organization. Lambeth is home to one of the largest Portuguese-speaking communities in the UK, and is the second most commonly spoken language in Lambeth after English.
Trevor Keith Hill is an English Labour Party politician who served as Member of Parliament for Streatham from 1992 until 2010, as well as in a variety of Government roles as a Whip and a junior minister.
West Hampstead is an area in the London Borough of Camden in north-west London. Mainly defined by the railway stations of the same name, it is situated between Childs Hill to the north, Frognal and Hampstead to the north-east, Swiss Cottage to the east, South Hampstead to the south-east, Kilburn to the west and south-west, and Cricklewood to the north-west. The area is mainly residential with several small shops, restaurants, cafes, bakeries concentrated on the northern section of West End Lane and around West End Green. Notably voted Londons Best Gayborhood in 2022. It is served by three stations: West Hampstead on the Jubilee line, West Hampstead Overground station and West Hampstead Thameslink station. It is part of the Kilburn postal district (NW6).
Streatham is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2019 by Bell Ribeiro-Addy of the Labour Party.
Streatham High Road, some 1.8 miles (2.9 km) in length, is part of the main A23 road from London to Brighton, and is in the London Borough of Lambeth. It begins in the north at Streatham Hill railway station, being an end-on junction with Streatham Hill and continues south to Norbury where the A23 becomes London Road. Because Streatham existed in Saxon times, it is likely the road existed as early as 1068, when it is mentioned in literature.
Telegraph Hill is a largely residential conservation area bounded by Nunhead and Brockley and is an electoral ward just south of New Cross in the London Borough of Lewisham in southeast London, England.
Gipsy Hill in south London is a hilly neighbourhood spanning the southern parts of the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark characterised for its great views of the City of London and Dulwich.
St Leonard's Church is a Church of England parish church in the London Borough of Lambeth. It is a Grade II listed building and occupies a prominent position on the west side of Streatham High Road, at its junction with Tooting Bec Gardens and Mitcham Lane.