A Brief History of THE STREATHAM HILL

Streatham Hill’s history reaches back to Roman times, and the main feature of the area is the High Road, a Roman road which established Streatham as a place.  Its name was given by Saxon settlers during the 5th century, meaning “the settlement by the road”. The summit of Brixton Hill is the probable location of "Brixistane", the marker stone for the meeting place of the Brixton Hundred in Saxon times

Streatham Hill land was used throughout medieval times and known for its valuable woodland, which was mainly coppiced. The main wooded area was Bossheleswood, later called Brixton Causeway Coppice, which covered the north of Streatham Hill, while Leigham Wood covered the southern part, almost as far as Woodbourne Avenue.

In the 1770s, house building began by New Park Road. Some of this early building can still be seen just north of the Telegraph Pub. It wasn’t until the early 19th century that Streatham Hill received its first planned suburban developments with the building of the Paragon and a new road, Streatham Place, which soon became a thoroughfare of houses and shops. Most of this early house building has now been lost. 

Large mansions were built along Streatham Hill from 1833 to 1846. When Streatham Hill Station opened in 1856, the area became ‘commuter land’, and developers responded by building the Telford Park and Tierney Road Estates in the 1870s.  The Streatham Omnibus and a tram service to Streatham Hill arrived by 1900, and from then on continuous development shaped the area into the townscape of today. In the mid-1920s, the west side of the road was redeveloped with large residential blocks, shops and places of entertainment that gave Streatham the title ‘Entertainment Centre of South London’ in its heyday.

With its wealth of live music venues, restaurants, and independent shops and businesses, Streatham may yet regain the title!

Photo of the Streatham Hill Theatre after World War 2 V1 flying bomb damage.

Streatham Hill Theatre after being hit by a WW2 V1 flying bomb.

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