The Streatham Society
Local Heritage Policy
Our past is around us. In Streatham, we have an environment of history and heritage. Much of this is seen in our built environment which defines Streatham as a place. In addition, there are our open spaces, the commons of Streatham, and our village green. These places are integral elements in Streatham’s long history, which extends back many thousand of years. Our buildings, streets and open spaces encourage and give people a sense of place and community and give social cohesion and a cultural identity to Streatham.
1. History, Heritage and Value.
Streatham was until modern times a parish of Surrey. The origins of Streatham can be traced back to the Roman period, when a road was built from London to the South coast. The name Streatham, which in Anglo-Saxon means the ‘settlement by the road’, was applied to a large area covering a number of Saxon faming estates. These eventually became the basis for the creation of the parish of Streatham, centred on the parish church of St. Leonard, and which by the Middle Ages included the villages of Balham and Tooting Bec. The parish found its wealth through agriculture, which was the economic mainstay until the 19th century. This period was to see the gentrification of the local countryside and the eventual transition of Streatham from a rural Surrey parish to a metropolitan suburb of London.
This was accomplished through the arrival of the railways and tram, and with the building of numerous residential estates and commercial premises. This process of transformation continued at various speeds until the beginnings of World War II in 1939. This has resulted in a townscape of architectural merit and reflective of the suburban history of Streatham and of the people who became its residents.
Streatham Common and Tooting Common are our main Open Spaces. There is also Streatham Green, St. Leonard’s Churchyard and Glebe and an abundance of dispersed public and private garden areas, including local nature reserves and woods. These places support a rich diversity of trees, shrubs, fauna and flora and are integral to our local natural environment. The commons are remnants of the historic Surrey countryside and places which have played a central role in the history of Streatham and represent our prime heritage sites.
2. Area and Boundaries
Historically Streatham had been administered by the Manorial Courts and by the Parish Vestry. In 1855, Streatham was redefined for administrative purposes to meet modern circumstances. The detached part of Streatham, commonly known as Knight’s Hill, was separated from the parish and transferred to Lambeth. This date also saw a partial separation of Tooting Bec and Balham from Streatham with the creation of two new parishes. Later in 1918, these two areas were established, along with Streatham, as individual parliamentary seats.
Today Streatham is an integral part of the London Borough of Lambeth. Prior to local government boundary changes of 1965, Streatham had been a component part of the adjoining Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth. On transfer to Lambeth, the area of Streatham was reduced by the retention of Furzedown, Upper Tooting and most of Balham by Wandsworth Council.
The boundaries of the parish, as defined by the Streatham Tithe map of 1840, still delineate much of Streatham for local government and cultural purposes. Recent boundary changes, undertaken in 1974 and 1983, have seen the extension of Streatham beyond its traditional boundaries into Clapham, Brixton and Tulse Hill, resulting in the formation of the present Streatham parliamentary constituency.
The area of Streatham as presently delimited by the Streatham Society for cultural and local heritage purposes is constituted by the following Lambeth Council wards, which in their majority have boundaries contiguous with those of the ancient parish. These are:
St Leonard’s; Streatham Hill; Streatham South and Streatham Wells.
The Society will also concern itself to a limited extent to adjoining wards.
1.To raise the awareness and appreciation of the natural and built environment of Streatham and to maintain the value of our local heritage.
2.To be involved in the protection, promotion and furtherance of our shared local history and heritage.
3.To openly provide and share information and interpretive material about Streatham’s history and heritage through publications, exhibitions, lectures, heritage walks and other related activities.
4.To advise, liase, co-ordinate, work with, or be in partnership, when and where necessary, in the development of local heritage plans and/or policies of national or local organisations that share our common aim.
5.To represent the interests of this policy on local community committees, advisory panels and at relevant meetings and conferences.
6.To promote the official listing and recording of buildings and structures of historic interest and places of environmental and archaeological value.
7.To maintain a local list of buildings, areas and places of architectural, historic and environmental interest.
8.To encourage the establishment of new local Conservation areas and Nature Reserves.
9.To work with and encourage the London Borough of Lambeth in the listing of local buildings in accordance with PPG 15 - Planning and the Historic Environment and in accordance PPG 16 - Archaeology and Planning.
10. To be vigilant with regards to the protection of listed buildings and local conservation areas.
11. To engage with other Local History/Heritage organisations or groups in the pursuit of common aims.
12. To be watchful of our local history and heritage on behalf of the people of Streatham.
13. To direct this policy, in the absence of other similar local heritage policies, to those areas of Streatham parish which were separated from Streatham in 1965. These areas being Upper Tooting (Tooting Bec), Balham and Knight’s Hill, as enclosed and defined by the 1840 Streatham Parish Tithe Map.
14. To follow the best practices in pursuit of our aims.
4. Future Heritage
1.To be aware of contemporary developments in Streatham that may have future heritage value.