Fifties Pin-up Girl Now Lives in Streatham

Pearl Newman, now in her 90s, was a professional actress from the 1940s and 50s. From her publicity photos, she was quite the looker in her day, billed as ‘the attractive girl with the attractive smile’.

Pearl was born in Central London but retired to Streatham some years ago. She now lives within a stone’s throw of the Beacon Bingo Hall, which she remembers as Streatham Hill Theatre. Pearl appeared in a number of roles there during the 1950s, including Principal Boy in the Christmas pantomime ‘Humpty Dumpty’, which played from Boxing Day through January in 1952-53 and 1954- 55.

Living in Marylebone, Pearl particularly remembers getting the 159 bus to just outside the stage door at the Streatham Hill Theatre, ready for rehearsals or the show. She finished so late there was just time to get the last bus back home each night.

Pearl took roles in Rep across the country including venues as far apart as Bournemouth and Scotland. She gave up acting to marry and have a family.

Adventurous into her 80s, Pearl spent some time in Corfu, where she lived with her daughter and Greek extended family before practicalities dictated that she return to London eventually to settle in a Jewish community sheltered housing scheme in Streatham.

When we met Pearl towards the end of last year she was very much hoping to pay a visit to the theatre and relive some old memories. Although a spell of ill-health has put this on hold for a while, we’re hoping this will happen in the warmer weather.

The photos show Pearl in her role as Principal Boy in ‘Humpty Dumpty’, at Streatham Hill Theatre,  more publicity shots of Pearl in the 1950s and Pearl as she is today – still elegant.


Memories from Both Sides of the Classroom, a Teacher Remembers her Schooldays, 1970s to Present


  • Karen Hadfield, 48, remembers school life from both sides of the playground!

Q: When did you move to Streatham and where have you lived?

I moved to Streatham as a baby, first to a shared house with my mum on Gleneldon Road, then to Mount Ephraim Road and finally to Adare Walk on Leigham Court Road. My mum still lives there. After a time at Art College and in Wales, I returned to Streatham around 1990 or 1991 and lived with my sister in Moorefield’s Court, Aldrington Road in Furzedown. I then moved to Manville Road in Tooting Bec and finally back to Streatham Vale, where I live with my husband and family.

Q: Do you have memories of your life in Streatham?

When I was seven I had a car accident on Knollys Road, and was in St. Giles Hospital for 8 weeks. My parents were separated and my mum worked all day so we had to take ourselves to school. In those days, lots of small children walked together, joining the group as it passed by their road. A boy was chasing me, so I ran into the road and a car hit me. The next thing I remember is waking up in hospital, being taken down a corridor, through the plastic flap doors, assuring my mum I was going to be alright.

Not long after the accident I remember my little sister walking ll the way home from Knollys Road by herself. I think her childminder lived on that road. She was only around 3 or 4. She must have crossed at least two roads!

My memories of Adare Walk include children climbing on the cheery trees and destroying them, but also Fred Tribe the caretaker turning on the lights in the evening and John the milkman who whistled as he ran up and down the stairs.

I went to Sunnyhill School. In summer, walking home from school, we always used to do the flower trail down Culverhouse Gardens, picking flowers from the gardens and scattering the petals on the ground.  We ran away when we were apprehended!  Sometimes we walked down Streatham High road, going in and out of the shops, and sometimes we went along Valley Road, climbing on the walls. When I had my daughter, mum looked after her. She walked early and when she was about one, she always wanted to close all the gates down Gardens. It reminded me of the flower trail.

The Genevieve pub was next to the ABC Cinema. We used to go to the Saturday morning pictures and eat sherbet fountains and bags of puffs – savoury snacks like hollow macaroni.

On the corner of Leigham Court Road and Culverhouse Gardens, there used to be an abortion clinic, and people used to protest outside.

Q: What do you remember about your school days?

Miss Milford was the head teacher of Sunnyhill School. She had lots of dogs – they had curly coats and could have been Airedales. One was called Zebedee. When Miss Milford gave us lifts to sports events, we had to share the car with the dogs!

Miss Robbins had a Red Setter that she used to bring into school. Miss Baskerfield used to give you sweets in assembly on your birthday.

Now there are new buildings and fancy stuff in the playground, but then there used to be a hut which was Mr Crandon’s classroom. Mr Crandon had an old-fashioned care, and he was very scary, with purple lips and a bald head. Mr Kingston was tall, strong and softly-spoken and commanded respect.

We used to play American Jumps under the rain shelter near the toilets. We used to sing a song, “American Jumps, American Jumps, American Jumps for me! Up in the sky, ever so high, One, two three!” On three, people standing on benches would lift the person coming through and then they would jump down to the floor to go through to be lifted themselves.

We also played two-ball against the wall, to the tune of ‘Knees Up Mother Brown’. The variations were two hands; unders; upsies; overs; clapsies, bouncies and one hand. We used to sing, “Two hands Mrs Brown! Two hands Mrs Brown! Two hands , two hands, two hands, two hands , two hands Mrs Brown!”

Marbles was a big game. We used to play it on the drain tops, and it was tactical. The rules varied according to the pattern on the top of the drain. Sometimes people came along and tipped up all the marbles, shouting, “Scramble”! The marbles went all over and you could keep however many you could grab. There were lots of different types of marble, and they all came in two sizes: standard and large. The ordinary ones were clear with a cat’s eye in the centre but there were also cheaters: opaque with ribbons of colour; chinas: one colour opaque; squids: clear with swirly ribbons of colour; ball bearings: metallic; and clear.

Another popular game was British Bulldog.

Q: What was it like as a teenager in Streatham?

There was a youth club in Adare Walk in the late 70s, early 80s. I remember going to the Cat’s Whiskers which became The Studio and then Caesars.

Q: Did you ever work in Streatham?

When I was about 17 I had an evening paper round, delivering the Guardian in Stockfield Road and Hitherfield Road. The route had a very steep hill and I always getting my fingers trapped in letter boxes or nipped by dogs! I kept trying to find ways to speed up the delivery process; folding all the papers first or holding two papers in one hand; but they never worked and it was always horrible!

I also taught at Woodmansterne School. When I left, the atmosphere had become difficult and we were under lots of pressure, but almost up until then it was brilliant. My fondest memory is my first class. The parents were so supportive. My first assembly was based on the story ‘Handa’s Surprise’, with special music and movement to denote each animal. Another memory is when the teachers did Teacher Idol. The staff at that time were amazing – quite a special gang. When I was in the nursery, Anne Morgan and another teacher came in to do storytelling and brought props to help the children act out the stories. I remember they did ‘Cat on the Mat’ and My Dad Bakes’. After they’d gone, they left all the props for the children to play with. The children were still totally caught up in the stories and carried on acting them out. It was wonderful to see.

Other happy times were when we built an igloo in the snow and when the city farm came. When Liz the music teacher retired, we all sang a medley of songs for her, including Elton John’s “Your Song”, her favourite.

Q: Do you remember any particular events in Streatham?

In 1977 there was a Silver Jubilee party at the Adare Centre. Mum bough special Jubilee material from Pratt’s and made me and my sister a dress each. Mine was red and my sister’s was blue. We had special Jubilee socks too, and red, white and blue ribbons in our hair. Sunnyhill School gave each pupil a mug, but ours didn’t last!

Q: Do you have memories of shopping in Streatham?

On the left at the top of Leigham Court Road there was Busby’s that sold trendy clothes. My brother used to go there. Then there was Fred’s the butchers, which he ran with his son Derek. They also had a little fruit and veg place near where the toilets are. I’ve known the Dorchester Cafe all my life. Miriam used to have bright red hair, and her husband Carl used to be huge – he’s lost a lot of weight. Their daughter had all the latest stuff.

In Woolworth’s there were mountains of sweets. I took a sweet because I’d seen someone else do it, but an old biddy spotted me and sad, “You’d better put that back!” Too late – iit was already in my mouth!

Pratt’s was the most wonderful place. I remember my mum buying Jonelle soap powder and detergent there. You could by electrical stuff and mum used to spend ages looking at catalogues and dress patterns. A lady called Susie worked on the pattern counter. Twins worked in the haberdashery and material department, and there was another lady with immaculate make-up who had only one leg and used crutches. There was an entrance on Prentis Road, near the toys and carpets. When my little sister was born, Mum bought all her baby clothes at Pratt’s and all our school uniforms. It wasn’t compulsory, but Mum liked us to wear it. For a treat, Mum would buy us clothes from the Country Casuals shop in Pratt’s. I remember she bought me two pleated skirts.

It wasn’t like now, we used to do our shopping all over Streatham, at lots of little shops. Down Shrubbery Road, there was a little oriental shop, where we bought our rice.

Westbury’s was run by two brothers. The elder was called Big Ron. They’re still around today. There was a chemist, a mini-mart, and a fashion boutique. We used to buy canned drinks at the mini-mart as they were 1/2p cheaper than other places. One day, I was with my mum and sister and my mum was looking at handbags. She got talking to Ron, but then said her goodbyes and started to leave the shop. I saw Ron looking at Mum funny because she still had the handbag on her arm. It was a really awkward moment – even though Mum had known Ron a long time, he still thought she was trying to steal the bag!

Q: Do you have any stories about famous residents of Streatham?

Shaw Taylor lived in The High and he used to talk to my brother about football. I used to see Floella Benjamin on the High Road, and Roy Hudd lived near Mount Ephraim Road.

Q: And what about now?

The High Road is a lot grubbier now and very fragmented. When my youngest sister was born, I was 13 and I went down the High Road with the big Silver Cross pram with the shopping underneath and I always saw lots of people I knew. Now no-one really knows their neighbours.

Then everyone was scared that if they did wrong, people would go and tell their mum! My brother took something from Woolworth’s for a dare, and the assistant saw him and said that if he didn’t put it back and tell his mum what he’d done, she would call the police! My brother was so scared; he went straight to tell our mum, who was furious!

Cigarettes, Wine and Magazines … ‘Sutha’ Remembers her Time as a Shopkeeper in Streatham


  • ‘Sutha’, who wants to remain anonymous, remembers her time as a shopkeeper in Streatham

Q: Why did you move to Streatham?

We moved to Streatham from Tooting in 1996 to be nearer to our newsagents and off-licence on the High Road.

Q: Did you work in Streatham, if so can you tell us about it?

I helped my husband in the shop. In 1986 when we bought the shop Streatham was a nice area. Our customers were mainly White and Asian. It was a perfectly fine area. We were the only small shop selling cigarettes and bus passes. We were happy.  Then one day our landlord wanted to increase the rent. I told him we couldn’t afford it. So we decided to apply for a licence for an off-licence and the landlord said he would increase the rent anyway. Then he refused to let us run the off-licence so we had to throw away all the stock that we’d bought!  Then the landlord died and his son took over. He was much better. We approached the son about the idea of an off-licence. He agreed and even reduced the rent! Later on we bought the shop leasehold. That was when interest rates were so high – we paid 18%!

My husband came from rural India so his English wasn’t so good but he was very good at maths. He didn’t get to go to college in India because he had responsibilities at home and had to work. When he came to England I suggested he learnt how to do accounts. He did a short course. Then he did computing. Shop work suited him.  We took a loan of £45,000 to get the stock to set up the shop.

By the time we had been here 2 or 3 years things started to get bad. Children began to hang around the shop and try to steal magazines and chocolates. Some threatened us as they wanted cash from the till. The worst time was the early morning from 7.30 to 9.00 and the afternoon from 3.00 to 4.30. I used to go to the shop to help my husband as he couldn’t risk being on his own because of the groups of school children. We also had to be careful not to sell them cigarettes under-age. In the end we sold the shop in 2000 as it was getting too difficult.

Q: Do you have memories of shopping in Streatham?

The area was good when Pratts was there. I remember going to Pratts. It was a nice store. When they moved out the area was going down. When house prices started rising in Brixton it became a safer place again. Tesco’s has changed the map again.

A Personal Memory of Streatham Hill Theatre


  • Charlotte Mackie, daughter of the renowned and prolific director, playwright and screenwriter Philip Mackie, who wrote many series for television in the 1960s and 1970s including ‘Raffles’ and ‘The Cleopatras’.

Charlotte Shares a Memory of Streatham Hill Theatre

My father put on two of his plays, ‘The Whole Truth‘ and ‘The Key of the Door’, at the Streatham Hill Theatre in the 1950s. When ‘The Key of the Door’ was showing, each programme contained a key. The correct key opened a box at Kennard’s department store, Croydon, (now, I believe, Debenhams) and won a box of whisky.

I believe the Key of the Door was shown in 1956 when our family was living in Hampstead Garden Suburb, shortly before we moved to Gloucestershire. I do remember as a small child watching my father at rehearsals (maybe for one of these plays) when he kept asking an actress to say her lines over and over again – I couldn’t understand why!

Later he became successful as a TV drama writer, and I believe the last production of ‘The Whole Truth’ was by an amateur drama group in Guildford in the 1960s, or maybe it was The Key of the Door?

The Whole Truth was made into a film starring Stuart Granger – not sure how successful it was.

‘Steeped in Streatham’, 1960s to Present


  • Bridged Hall, 54, was born in South Africa but has lived almost all her life in Streatham and is very active in local projects and organisations. “When I stand at the top of Streatham Common, near the wild area, I think ‘This is my land!’”.

Q: When did you come to live in Streatham?

I moved to Streatham when I was about two, when my parents split up. My mother returned to the UK to live with her family in Streatham and my father stayed behind in South Africa. We started in Midhurst Avenue near the ABC Cinema; then we moved to Oakdale Road, off Valley Road, then Rutford Road, followed by Babington Road near St. Leonard’s Church, Norfolk House Road, and now Wavertree Road, Streatham Hill.

Q: What are your memories about your life in Streatham?

I lived with my mum and step-dad and two brothers in a flat in a house on Rutford Road and my grandma, aunt and uncle lived in the downstairs flat in the same house.

I grew up on Streatham High Road, spending dividing my time between the Swimming Pool and the Ice Rink, Streatham Common, and the two cinemas, the Odeon and the ABC. I went to Sunnyhill Road Primary school, but went to secondary school in Battersea. Sunnyhill Road School took us to the Ice Rink for skating lessons.

The mews on Gleneagle Road was still used for keeping horses and a friend of mine used to ride from there.

There was a Sea Cadets’ training ship, T.S. Onslaught, at the Jehovah’s Witness Hall on the corner of Rutford Road. My step-father was an Officer there, but they did not take girls, so I had to go to Tooting!

My aunt, Jean Maclennan, nee Juff, used to run a Drama Group called Reactors which put on plays at Knights Hill Youth Club. She had been an actress and a director in South Africa. My first play for Reactors was ‘Noah’s Ark’ and I played a lamb! Reactors used to meet at our home in Rutford Road and Oakdale Road. One of my earliest memories is of being chased down the hall by someone dressed as a monkey, bowling a coconut! My mum met my step-father at Reactors. The group ran until the end of the 80s.

I got married at St. Leonard’s Church.

Q: Did you attend any events in Streatham?

It’s my impression that there are far more events in Streatham now than there used to be. I do remember attending the firework displays on Streatham Common when my son was small.

The Rev. Lisa Wright, my son’s paternal grandmother, was a priest at St. Leonard’s. She was also the head of the creative department at Pimlico School and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe. She has put on plays at St. Leonard’s including devised versions of ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

Q: What are your memories of shopping in Streatham?

Mum used to send me from Rutford Road to the grocers near the traffic lights at Streatham Station for a loaf of bread. My step-grandma used to work in the sweetshop next door. In Hopton Parade, where Morrison’s is now, a guy called Peter used to have a sweetshop. He used to sell ‘dirty’ magazines which he kept on the top shelf and put in a paper bag when he sold them.

My mum was a baby minder; she had four 2-year olds, mu brother who was five, and a baby. When she went into Wallis’s Supermarket, where JD Sports is now, with her enormous pram and six children, all of whom looked as different from each other as they possibly could, she got some very strange looks.

On Saturday mornings I used to go shopping with my grandma and her trolley. We used to shop at Courtauld’s and Kennedy’s delicatessen, and visit the greengrocer’s which was where the bridal shop now is, opposite Morrison’s. I worked there for a short time while I was still at school. After shopping, we’d end up in the Astoria Cafe, now the Life Cafe, and Gran would buy me a Knickerbocker Glory!

On Streatham High Road, W.H. Smith’s was on the corner, where Maplin’s is now. C and A was where W.H. Smith is, and before that, the shop was Sharman’s, the ‘posh’ department store.

On one corner of Hopton Road there was a fish-and-chip shop and on the other corner was the Johnnie Walker building. I think it was a jeweller’s, it’s flats now. We always used to visit the fish shop after swimming, almost every night. In the same parade of shops was an ice-skate shop, and I used to walk from home in Rutford Road to the ice rink in my skates!

Later, when I lived in Babington Road in the 80s, I remember pushing my son around Safeway’s in my brother’s old big ‘proper’ pram.

Q: Did you work in Streatham?

When I was a child, my mother worked as a Personal Assistant in the offices above what is now Beaumont Beds on the High Road.

My aunt worked as a bookkeeper in the London Post Office Telephone Exchange on Gleneagle Road, in the building which used to be the old Streatham Town Hall.

When I was 16, my step-father worked in the Bowling Alley.

After working in the greengrocer’s I started at Woolworth’s at the age of 15, in the mid-70s. At first I worked in the deli counter, where old ladies came to buy two slices of ham and cheese. I still have a ceramic dish that had pate in it; we were allowed to take them home.

Then I was promoted to my own aisle – ladies’ sanitary ware!

I have worked in Lambeth Mediation Service on Barrhill Road, and also co-ordinated the ‘Hands-Off our Common’ campaign to prevent a temporary ice-rink being built on Streatham Common. I was one of the founders of ‘Sustainable Streatham’. I am now campaigning around the Library and am one of the leads of the Friends of Streatham Library.  My husband also works in Streatham.

Q: Do you have any memories of famous people?

When we used to drive past New Park Road on the way to Balham, my step-father always said, “Roy Hudd lives round here”. Roger Moore lived in Wavertree Court on Wavertree Road. (He also lived on Buckleigh Road in South Streatham when he was married to Rosemary Squires). I often used to see Shaw Taylor – he was always on the High Road.

Q: Do you have any memories of transport in Streatham?

I used to go to school on the 49 bus, from outside the old bus garage (the one pulled down to make way for the most recent old one!). I used to walk to the bus stop through the grounds of Coventry Hall, an old convent, now a council estate.

The 49 was a Routemaster and when I used to come home from school, I used to stand on the platform and hang off the handrail as the bus swung round the corner into the dip near St. Leonard’s Church.

The 159 went everywhere! I remember when the last 159 Routemaster service ran, and I really miss travelling to the West End on it.

We often used to go to Croydon or to Brixton Market on the 109, so all our journeys started at the bus garage.

Q: Are there any places in Streatham that are special to you?

When I was a child, the two safest places for me were Streatham Common and the Swimming Pool, so I feel very troubled to have seen my pool ‘torn down’.

I had quite a troubled childhood and I used to go to Streatham Common to get away from it all. The Rookery is one of the nicest places on the planet. I supported the movement for the community garden and dot money for a fruit garden. In the Rookery there is a bench, originally to “the love of my life” Anne from Stan Deadman and now dedicated to both of them. When I die, I want a bench in the Rookery!

Q: Do you ever think of leaving Streatham?

The strength of community in Streatham brings tears to my eyes. I expect to leave Streatham in a box and either go to West Norwood Cemetery or have my ashes scattered on Streatham Common.

Please Feel Free to Comment!

This is just a reminder – we really appreciate all comments and contributions, so if anyone’s personal memories strike a chord with you – you share their memories or you don’t remember things in the same way, please let us know about it and become part of the story of Streatham that we’re going to tell when Streatham Library reopens at the end of March!.

Streatham Timeline

We’ve prepared this timeline of Streatham events and historical figures to help interviewees in recalling their memories.

Year Event
1811 Jane Austen visited her friend Catherine Hill at Streatham Rectory in Tooting Bec Gardens.
1864 William Dyce died, buried in St Leonard’s Church. Architect of Dyce Fountain
Early 1880s ‘Tin Tabernacle’ built in Streatham, as a mission outpost for Immanuel Church. Extant in 2007, intact but encased in brick on junction of Eardley Road and Besley Street
1874 Vincent Van Gogh sketched Streatham Common on a walk from his lodgings in Kennington
1886 Streatham Working Men’s’ Club founded on Eardley Road, near the railway bridge
1888 Metropolitan Board of Works replaced by London County Council. Streatham was part of a district board called the Wandsworth Union.
1896 C B. Fry (famous sportsman and King-elect of Albania) and the Maharajah of Nawanagar both elected members of Streatham Cricket Club.
1888, 1891 Ripper murder connections in Streatham
1891 Tate Library opened to the public, April 17th
1891 First edition of the ‘Streatham News’ published
1896 First  London to Brighton car run for the London Motor Car Club, which became the London to Brighton Veteran Car Rally
1897 Streathamites celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria with a huge bonfire on Streatham Common.A crowd of over 20,000 saw the bonfire lit at 10pm on June 22nd. This was followed by a firework display.
1899 Streatham Free Libraries Act passed, December
1900 Metropolitan Boroughs created. Streatham part of Wandsworth
1903 Graham Sutherland, artist, born in Streatham..Died 1980.
1903 On May 1st, the Stock Exchange held their first London to Brighton Walk, from Westminster Bridge to the seafront. The winner received a gold medal valued at 10 guineas. The next walk took place in 1912, run by the Stock Exchange Athletic Club.
1904 Dennis Wheatley’s family moved to Streatham Hill. In 1910 they moved to Friar’s Croft, 1 Becmead Avenue (residence of the Rector of Streatham) and in 1914 to Clinton House, 1, Palace Road.
1907 Raymond Chandler’s family lived briefly in Mount Nod Road. Chandler was working at the Admiralty.
1908 First London Olympics. Gold medals won by Joe Deakin of 21 Hitherfield Road (three miles team race) and Stanley Bacon of 76 Christchurch Road (middleweight freestyle wrestling). Joe Deakin was still living in Hitherfield Road when he died in 1972 aged 93.John James Webster designed the first Olympic stadium while living in Streatham
1908 First Sainsbury’s store in Streatham, between Amesbury and Barcombe Avenues
1909 Buster Crabb (war hero and spy) born at 4 Greyswood Street
1909 Tommy Trinder, comedian, born at 54 Wellfield Road
1910 Dame Edith Evans made her stage debut as Viola in a Streatham Shakespeare Players’ production of Twelfth Night at Streatham Town Hall (now Geneagle Heights)
1910 Namba Roy born (black artist and writer, lived in Streatham Hill more than 20 years). Died 1961
1910s to 1930s Dovey and Benfield families grew up in Penrith Street
1912 The Titanic sank, over 14th, 15th April. Laura Francatelli of Strathbrook Road, travelling with her employer Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and his wife, was the only survivor from Streatham. Three other Streathamites lost their lives.
1912 Lt. Henry Robertson “Birdie” Bowers died on his return from the South Pole with Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition. As a boy Bowers lived on Pathfield Road and attended Streatham High School for Boys on Pinfold Road.
1912 Streatham-born Lt. Belgrave Ninnis, a member of Sir Douglas Mawson’s 1911 Australian Antarctica expedition died on December 14th.
1912 Stanley Gibbons, stamp dealer, lived in Streatham for a short time before his death.
1912 Streatham Police Station built.
1914 Joyce Lankester Brisley, author of Milly-Molly-Mandy stories, moved to 108 Lewin Road
1915 The Streatham War Hospital Supply Depot was based at Hill House on Streatham Common North. It was staffed by volunteers who produced medical supplies.
1916 Sir Hiram Maxim, the American-born inventor of the Maxim automatic machine gun, pioneer aviator and designer of fairground rides(!) died at Sandhurst Lodge, 382 Streatham High Road (site of the old ice rink).
1916 Streatham-born Arnold Spencer Smith, a member of the Ross Sea Party of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-17 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, died on March 9th.
1918 Horace Marshall, Lord Mayor of London, living at The Chimes, Streatham Common.
1919 Mary Rudge, champion of the first Ladies’ International Chess tournament, held in London in 1897, died at the British Home, Streatham (now the Home for Incurables).
1920 Woolworth’s opened in Streatham
1920s to 1980s Artists James Edward Moore (father) and Paul and John Harrington Moore (sons) active in Streatham
1920 Architect Ernest George died aged 82. In 1879 he designed the Beehive Coffee House (now solicitors) next to Sainsbury’s. Also the Royal Academy of Music in Marylebone Road.
1922 Streatham War Memorial unveiled by General Sir Charles Munro. It was erected in the grounds of ‘The Chimes’, a large house used as a social club for ex service men and women. In 1944 ‘The Chimes’ was damaged by a V1 flying bomb and demolished.
1922 Ernest George, noted architect who lived most of his life in Rycroft Road, died.
1923 Col. Lewis Newton, step father of Dennis Wheatley, Lord Mayor of London, lived at Friar’s Croft, 1, Becmead Avenue and Clinton House, 1, Palace Road
1924 Streatham Rotary Club founded
1925 First Steiner Waldorf School in the English-speaking world opened at 94-98 Leigham Court Road. The school was evacuated to Minehead during World War II and never returned to Streatham.
1925 June Whitfield born in Streatham
1925 Edith Lowenstein, potter, born in Streatham. Died 2005.
1925 Professor John Roberts born, Streatham Hill (childhood memories)
1926 Horatio Frederick Phillips, early aviation pioneer, died. He lived in Streatham 1902-3
1927 Streatham Baths opened. Closed 2009as unsafe. Demolished 2011 to make way for the Streatham Hub development.A time capsule was buried under the foundation stone and unearthed during the demolition.
1927 Aircraft runway was built on Streatham Common by the Air Defence of Great Britain Command. to allow for possible emergency aircraft landings. One such landing had apparently happened before the runway was built and one in November 1933. Other landings took place in the 1930s on Clapham and Tooting Bec Commons.Common now used as an emergency landing site for the Air Ambulance.
1930 Monday June 30th, Streatham Odeon opened with ‘Paris’ starring Jack Buchanan
The United Dairies in Valley Road was the most up-to-date plant in the UK.
1930 Isidore Gunsberg, chess master, died at his home in Woodfield Avenue.
1931 Death of Evacustes A. Phipson, celebrated artist who painted Streatham in the 1910s and 1920s.
1931 Streatham Ice Rink opened. ’Eat ‘em Raw!’ Over 3,000 people attended the opening in February. Closed December 2011
1932 Brenda Hargreaves’ memories of Hitherfield Road School
1933 Dyce fountain moved to Streatham Green
1934 Dunraven School built
1937 The High development built on Streatham High Road, typical of many Art Deco buildings in Streatham dating from the 1930s.
1938 South Streatham affected by an earthquake, June 11th
1938 Peace Peal rung at St. Leonard’s Church on October 8th to mark Neville Chamberlain’s return to England on September 30th from his meeting with Hitler when he declared “Peace in our time” at Heston Airport.
1938 Regal Cinema opened on November 14th (ABC from 1960, Canon from 1977, ABC in 2000). Closed 2000
1939 Romantic author Ethel M. Dell died. She was born and grew up in Streatham.
1940s Yvonne Watkins grew up in Streatham with fond memories of the shops on the High Road
1940 On the night of the 29th of October during the height of the Blitz, a bomb fell at the rear of St. Leonard’s Church damaging the building and destroying many graves. A clear area in the graveyard marks the spot to this day.
1940 On the night of November 10th, a high explosive bomb dropped on the corner of Streatham High Road and Gleneldon Road, wrecking the building on the Southern side of the junction/
1941 Sussex House School closed (corner of Ambleside Avenue and Tooting Bec Gardens) and became HQ of Air Cadets
1942 Bert Barnhurst’s  memories of Hitherfield Road School
1943 A number of bombs were dropped on Mount Earl Gardens estate. None exploded.
1944 In June a V1 flying bomb destroyed 6 houses in Lanercost Road and damaged houses in Christchurch Road. Six people were killed.
1946 One of the last sightings of a muffin man with a tray balanced on his head, on the corner of Conifer Gardens and Gracefield Gardens.
1948 Memories of Streatham Locarno
1940s Immanuel Young People’s Fellowship formed, attached to Immanuel Church, Streatham Common
1950 The Gaumont Picture Palace (later the Megabowl), took part in the film ‘Dance Hall’ starring Petula Clark’ as the Chiswick Palais Dance Hall. The leading song in the film was sung by musical star Hy Hazell, who grew up in Streatham. I remember her from ‘CrackerJack’ in the 1960s!
1950-2010 Detailed childhood memories by John Hillier
1950s Wendy Richards’s family ran the Park Tavern in Mitcham Lane (later the Samuel Johnson
1950s Heyday of Streatham Hill Theatre, with performances by Arthur Lowe, Warren Mitchell, Jack Warner, Sean Connery
1950s Boynes Confectionery Works, employed 50 women to produce 50,000 sugar mice a week!
1950s Memories of Fenstanton Primary School
1950s Memories of Ernie Dickinson’s greengrocery delivery round, , from his shop in Sunnyhill Road
1951 “The Outlaw” starring Jane Russell shown in Streatham. Jane adopted baby Tommy Kavanagh from a Stockwell couple who moved to the Sackville Estate, Streatham in 1955. Jane Russell visited the couple in Streatham in 1959.
1951 Lambeth Tenants’ Horticultural Society formed (became Lambeth Horticultural Society in 1964).
1952 Josephine Tey (Elizabeth MacKintosh) author of ‘The Daughter of Time’ died in Streatham.
1955 Salomon Van Abbe, artist and book illustrator (illustrations and dust covers for Leslie Charteris, John Galsworthy, Anthony Buckeridge et al. died.His brother Joseph, illustrator for Enid Blyton also lived in Streatham. Both were members of Streatham Art Society.
1955 November: Lena Horne, singer, her husband and Val Parnell selected a Pekinese dog, ‘Lila of Eloc’ from Lucy Cole, 109 Sunnyhill Road. Lily Cole was a highly regarded breeder.
1956 Memories of the Leigham Court Hotel
1957 Streatham Quaker Meeting first held at Redlands Way on Roupell Park Estate
1957 Jimmy Edwards appeared in the pantomime ‘Puss in Boots’ at the Streatham Hill Theatre.
1959 The last herd of cows disappeared from the part of Streatham Common now occupied by Bishop Thomas Grant School.
1960 Former Prime Minister John Major played cricket for the Streatham Colts.
1960 Frankie Howerd and Helen Cotterill appeared in ‘Cinderella’ shortly before Streatham Hill Theatre closed in
1962 The ‘Streatham Hill’, a cargo freighter carried a cargo of 80,000 sacks of Cuban sugar bound for the USSR. When the ship was diverted to Puerto Rico for maintenance, the sugar was put in storage and was found to have been poisoned, presumably by the CIA!
1962 Donald McGill, the comic postcard king, died at his home in Christchurch Road
1963 Actor Wilfrid Brambell attended the crowning of the Streatham Common Carnival queen
1965 Greater London Council created. Streatham split between Wandsworth and Lambeth. The borough of Croydon was taken from Surrey. The river Graveney forms the boundary between Lambeth and Croydon.
1966 Thieves broke into Dulwich Picture Gallery in December and stole 8 valuable paintings, including two Rembrandts, worth a total of £2.5m ( a larger theft than the Great Train Robbery of 1963!).A midnight tip-off 3 days later led three of Streatham’s finest from Streatham Police Station to the Rookery Gardens, where five of the missing paintings were recovered wrapped in old newspaper and hidden in the undergrowth! The other three paintings had already been found.
1966 Magdalen Hospital, opened as a ‘home for fallen women’ Streatham Hill in 1868, closed
1967 First annual Brockwell Park Flower Show held in July. This became the Lambeth County Show.
1971 Stevie Wonder with guests Mac and Katie Kissoon appeared in concert at the Odeon.
1973 St. Bartholomew’s amateur orchestra formed.
1975 In May a fire gutted St. Leonard’s Church and destroyed many old records.
1980s Two members of the Special Operations Executive, who waged war behind enemy lines, lived in Streatham. Lillian Rolfe and Sybil Hepburn (pen name) who died in the 80s.
1983 Smith Meters closed their Rowan Road factory. Their main area of manufacturing was gas meters, but siring the war they millions of precision instruments, bomb parts and fuel tanks for aircraft.
1987 Great Storm hit Streatham (October)
1995 Unigate Wood declared a Local Nature Reserve, managed by Lambeth Council
2003 William IV pub closed, after around 320 years and rumoured visit of Dick Turpin
2007 Streatham Stories, 16 stories about the lives of Streatham people came out of Streatham Festival 2007
2009 300th Anniversary of the birth of Samuel Johnson
2009 Bedford Park Hotel closed. Built in 1882, it replaced an old Tudor tavern, the Five Bells, opposite Streatham Green.
2010 Keith Hill, MP for Streatham from 1992 and Streatham resident, resigned to become Chair of Lambeth Living
2010 150th birthday of Leigham Arms
2010 Poem about allotments in Valley Road
2010 Monday, September 20th, serious fire at Arriva Bus Garage, Streatham Hill. This was originally an LCC tram shed built on the site of Aspen House, occupied by Dennis Wheatley’s grandfather from 1879-1916.
2010 Centeneries for three Streatham shops: Shacklock’s the Chemist, E and A Wates, Furnishers, Rogers, Linens and Curtains, who have occupied 77/79 Streatham High Road all this time
2011 The ‘Streatham News’, Streatham’s oldest local paper, renamed the ‘Lambeth Post’.
2011 Dairy Crest Diaries closed on September 4th, bringing to an end 150 years of dairying in Valley Road.
2012 Sunday 25th March, the Streatham Society presented a plaque to Lewin Road Baptist Church commemorating its association with the family of “Birdie” Bowers.
2012 Restoration work on the Arts and Crafts houses at 13-14 Streatham Common North were completed. Both houses were damaged by a V1 flying bomb in 1944. The houses were designed in 1891 by Sir Edward Guy Dawber.
2012 150th anniversary of Streatham Common Railway Station (built in 1862 as Greyhound Lane Station).
2012 South London Press moved out of their building on Leigham Court Road. It has been the newspaper’s head office since it was built in 1935 to 1939.
2012 Bicentenary of Ripley House, 10 Streatham Common South
2012 October 5th marked the centenary of the unveiling of the King Edward VII Memorial Clock on Streatham Library.
2013 Streatham Theatre Company founded.
2013 On January 22nd, Lambeth Council formally registered the Streatham Common Nature Reserve, which takes in 13.8 hectares of the Common and the Rookery.
2013 On March 23rd, Streatham Common Nature Trail opened
2013 100TH Anniversary of the opening of the Rookery Gardens, acquired by London County Council for public use in 1912.
2013 Streatham Hub development almost complete. The Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre and Tesco Extra opened to the public on November 18th. The flats will open in early 2014
2013 Bi-centenary of St. Leonard’s Church of England Primary School

‘Playing with Sugar’ – What You Should Know as a Contributor

In order to create a successful show that thoroughly involves the local people of Streatham, we really need and value all contributions. However, just to make it clear, we make no guarantee that the contributions made here will be used in the show as the STC project team’s decision on included material is final. By allowing your reminisces to be included in this blog and by giving your comments, you have signed over the Intellectual Property (IP) rights of the material to STC. You have also given your permission for material to be used in the show and publically displayed in the exhibition.

Streatham Theatre Company launches blog for special projects

Welcome to Streatham Theatre Company’s Blog

If you’re looking for information about our company and our events, please visit our website

This is our blog which we will use for some of our special projects.

The first such project is Playing with Sugar ( a devised work for the reopening of the renovated Streatham Tate Library and Tudor Hall.