BRIXTON, an ecclesiastical district, in the parish and union of Lambeth, E. division of the hundred of Brixton and of the county of Surrey, 4½ miles (S. S. W.) from London; containing 10,175 inhabitants. This is one of the most agreeable suburbs of the metropolis, and is divided into two parts, North Brixton and Brixton Hill. It consists principally of a line of road leading from Kennington to Streatham, upwards of two miles in length, on each side of which are ranges of neat and well-built houses, with others in detached situations surrounded by small shrubberies. Within its limits, also, is Tulse Hill, a gradual ascent from the church, declining a little towards the east, and returning near its greatest acclivity into the main road at Brixton Hill. On both sides are elegant villas and handsome cottages, the country residences of respectable families, commanding a fine view of the metropolis, and rich prospects over the adjacent country. Works on a very extensive scale have been formed for supplying the neighbourhood with water. On Brixton Hill stands the house of correction for the county, containing ten wards and ten day-rooms for the classification of prisoners; the treadmill, completed in 1821, was the first established.

The church, dedicated to St. Matthew, and consecrated in June, 1824, was erected pursuant to an act of parliament for dividing the extensive and populous parish of Lambeth into five districts, Brixton being one. It is in the Grecian style, with a handsome portico supported by four fluted columns of the Doric order at the west, and contains 1926 sittings, of which 1022 are free; the expense of its erection amounted to £15,192, and was defrayed by Her Majesty's Commissioners. The tower was struck down by lightning, April 24th, 1842. The living is a district incumbency; net income, £650; patron, the Archbishop of Canterbury. At Denmark Hill, in the district, is a chapel dedicated to St. Matthew. Holland Chapel, North Brixton, is a neat edifice, with a bell-turret; it was built in 1823, for Independents, but has for some years been an episcopal proprietary chapel. There are three places of worship for Independents, and one each for Wesleyans and Unitarians. The St. Ann's Society, for the maintenance, clothing, and education of children whose parents have been previously in more prosperous circumstances, was originally founded in 1709, and for nearly a century had only a day school in London for clothing and instructing thirty children of each sex from all parts of the kingdom. The first asylum which the society established was at Lavenham, in Suffolk, where twenty boys were admitted in 1794; this was subsequently removed to Peckham, in Surrey, and, in 1830, to the present building at Brixton Hill, erected for 150 children at an expense of £8000, of which £2500 were paid for the site. In 1838 the building was enlarged so as to admit 200 boys and 100 girls. It is a handsome edifice of brick, having a basement of stone, with a central piazza, from which rises a portico of four Ionic columns, supporting a triangular pediment, with a frieze and cornice continued round the building, which is also decorated at the angles with antæ of corresponding character; it occupies, with the grounds attached, more than two acres of freehold land. In Acre Lane is Trinity Asylum, for aged females, founded and endowed by Thomas Bayley, Esq., in 1824; the building comprises sixteen neat tenements. Mrs. Mary Bayley, his widow, has invested the sum of £2000 towards founding, in connexion with the above, an asylum for the education and maintenance of the orphans of gospel ministers and others. The Reform almshouses, erected from a fund raised by subscription, in commemoration of the passing of the Reform act, were intended to form three sides of a quadrangle: one range only, however, has been erected, containing 31 houses occupied by 60 tenants, behind each of which is an allotment of garden-ground.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.