Roughly 5 miles from the centre of London lies one of the 35 major centres in the capital Streatham.
The name means hamlet in the street. The street in question is the London to Brighton Way, which is the modern Streatham High Road which runs through the town. Originally in the London borough of Wandsworth but due to GLC borough changes now lies in the majority if its part in Lambeth although part of it still lies in Wansdworth and a small part in the London borough of Merton.
Originally a small village until the 18th Century when springs were discovered, known as Streatham Wells, it quickly expanded and wealthy City of London merchants built their residences there and the area was rapidly urbanised. One of these large houses which survives to this day is Park Hill on the north of Streatham Common rebuilt early in the 19th Century for the Leaf family.
Development accelerated the expansion of the railways in the middle of the 19th century. The are is served by 3 railway stations, Streatham Common, Streatham and Streatham Hill offering excellent connection to Victoria and London Bridge which can be reached in around 15 minutes. The area offers excellent bus connections too, meaning that commuters can reach the West End, the City and beyond with half an hour .
It became known as the west end of South London as many actors lived in the area particularly Streatham Hill. During the inter war period the Locarno ballroom was built as a source of entertainment, which later became known as The Cats Whiskers and is now Caesar’ nightclub. The Streatham Ice rink is there until this day and next to it are the Streatham Baths. Along the High Street one could find Pratts stores a representative of the John Lewis Partnership.
Although the area went into decline in the 1980’s and 90’s, it is now a focus for regeneration for Lambeth council as many bars, trendy restaurants are opening in the area and because of the cosmopolitan nature of the area a lot of ethnic restaurants can be found there too.
Streatham is home to a few rugby and football clubs as well. Every 5th November Lambeth council organise a firework display to celebrate Guy Fawkes night. On the south side of the common lies The Rookery, a peaceful garden, which also houses a café .Share