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Streatham (St. Leonard)

STREATHAM (St. Leonard), a parish, in the union of Wandsworth, E. division of the hundred of Brixton and of the county of Surrey, 6 miles (S. by W.) from London; containing 5994 inhabitants. This parish, which derives its name from its situation near the great Roman road from London to Arundel, extends along the principal road to Brighton for nearly three miles, and comprises 2832 acres, of which 221 are common or waste. The houses, mostly modern, are well built, and the parish contains a number of villas and stately mansions, particularly in the neighbourhood of the common, between which and the lower part of the village was an ancient mansion of red brick, the residence, about half a century ago, of Lord William Russell. Streatham Park, where Dr. Johnson spent much of his time, was the seat of Mrs. Thrale, afterwards Madame Piozzi. The neighbourhood is richly wooded, and diversified with hills and valleys; and the air, which is considered particularly salubrious and invigorating, combined with other local advantages, has rendered the village the favourite residence of many opulent families. A mineral spring was discovered in 1660, which is still held in esteem, being highly efficacious in scorbutic eruptions, and in many other cases. The manufacture of silk has been introduced.

The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £18. 13. 9., and in the gift of the Duke of Bedford: the tithes have been commuted for £1200, and the glebe contains 1½ acre. The ancient church, with the exception of the tower, which is of flint and surmounted by a spire, forming a picturesque object in the landscape, was taken down in 1830, and handsomely rebuilt upon an enlarged scale in the later English style. On the upper part of Brixton Hill, about 100 yards to the east of the high road, is a church dedicated to Christ, which was consecrated Nov. 19th, 1841, and is in the Eastern or Byzantine style, with a campanile tower; the cost, amounting to £8000, was raised by subscription, aided by a grant of £1300 from the Church Commissioners. The living is in the Rector's gift. In Upper Tooting is another incumbency. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans; and four almshouses for aged women have been lately erected in the Elizabethan style, by a bequest from the late Mrs. Henry Thrale, of Streatham Park. Dr. Hoadley, Bishop of Bangor, was rector of the parish.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.