Hidden London

Streatham Vale

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Lambeth

The south-westernmost part of Streatham, formerly known as Lower or South Streatham, but once a corner of Mitcham. For several centuries there was little here but fields, the River Graveney and a track connecting Mitcham with Norwood. The route was often used by gypsies, who had camps in both villages. The Greyhound Inn, established around 1730, became a popular resting place for these travellers. The opening of Greyhound Lane station in 1862 barely stirred this remote spot and the lane remained a muddy track for several decades more. In 1875 the station was renamed Streatham Common and half of Greyhound Lane became Streatham Vale. The first houses appeared on Eardley Road and a handful of industries set up shop, bringing local employment opportunities. Suburban development abruptly got underway from 1922 as the Streatham Vale estate took shape. Two private building firms shared most of the work, RH Miller laying out Abercairn Road and its offshoots, while Wates of Norbury built eastwards from Streatham Vale to the railway line. In the three years from 1929 a profusion of amenities were provided and improvements made. Schools opened on either side of Streatham Vale; the Greyhound Inn was rebuilt; the Graveney was culverted to prevent flooding; Streatham Vale Park was laid out on the site of an abandoned brickworks and the new parish church of the Holy Redeemer was consecrated. Streatham Park cemetery opened in 1920 on Rowan Road, some way from Streatham Park. The comic actor Will Hay was buried here in 1949. The cemetery has a variety artists’ section dedicated to lesser-known performers from the music hall era. An adjoining Jewish burial ground opened in 1932.

The dishes of Streatham Vale
Streatham Vale
The River Graveney traverses Streatham Vale in a culvert

Postal district: SW16
Further reading: ICA Isaac, Vale Vistas: The Story of Streatham Vale and its Parish Church, Victoria, 1982

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

 
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