A short history of Streatham
In the Domesday Book of 1086, Streatham appears as 'Estreham'. Up until the 18th century the village remained largely unchanged, as the natural springs called Streatham Wells, were first celebrated for their health giving properties. Because of the reputation of the spa and improved turnpike roads, wealthy City of London merchants and others were attracted to have country residences in Streatham. There are now only a few of these large houses left, because the area was rapidly urbanised as London expanded.
When Streatham Hill railway station opened, development accelerated and two other railway stations followed within fifteen years. Estates such as Telford Park to the west of Streatham Hill were spaciously planned with facilities such as tennis clubs. Roupell Park, the area near to Christchurch Road was another large development. There were more conventional surburban layouts for other streets.
Streatham became a location for entertainment between the First World War and the Second World war, as there was the Streatham Hill Theatre, three cinemas, the Locarno ballroom and the Streatham Ice Rink. It also grew as a shopping centre when electric tram services arrived. Large numbers of apartment blocks were built along the High Road during the 1930s and at first they were not successful.
Streatham had the longest and busiest shopping street in South London in the 1950s. The first Waitrose Supermarket opened in 1955 in Streatham. The area experienced a gradual decline in the 1970s and a more rapid decline in the 1980s due to a combination of factors such as long term population movements out to Croydon, Kingston and Sutton and the growth of heavy congestion on the A23.
Streatham is currently undergoing regeneration. Refurbishment to Streatham Green began in 2003 and it won the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association 'London Spade' award for best public open space scheme in the capital.