Streatham’s Famous People

Streatham's Famous People

You probably thinking “Brad Pitt … in Streatham?” … but bear with us! In our last post, we discovered that a Prime Minister was based in Streatham Park back in the 18th Century and Sir Henry Tate, founder of The Tate Gallery and synonymous with the Tate & Lyle sugar empire, also lived here. Continuing with our famous ‘Streathamites’ theme, we now take a look at some of the other famous, influential or important people who lived, worked, or were born in Streatham. As it turns out, it’s quite a long list with some very illustrious names  — and yes — the list genuinely includes Mr Pitt! Take a look:

Famous ‘Streathamites’

Simon Callow was born at Pinfold Road in Streatham in 1949Streatham was the birthplace, home or workplace of a huge number of famous people. Just a few include:

Sarah Beeny, the TV presenter and entrepreneur, lived for a while in Streatham before moving to Somerset.

John Torode, the co-host of MasterChef, lived in Streatham.

Simon Callow, the actor famous for films like Four Weddings & a Funeral, was born at Pinfold Road in Streatham in 1949.

Henry Robertson Bowers, one of the explorers on the ill-fated Terra Nova exploration of the Antarctic with Scott of the Antarctic, lived in Streatham and attended Streatham High School for BoysHenry Robertson Bowers, one of the explorers on the ill-fated Terra Nova exploration of the Antarctic with Robert Falcon Scott (better known as Scott of the Antarctic), lived in Streatham and attended Streatham High School for Boys in Pinfold Road.

Super-model Naomi Campbell was born in Streatham in 1970Super-model Naomi Campbell was born in Streatham in 1970, the maternal daughter of a professional dancer, but never met her father.

Rapper ‘Dave’ Orobosa Omeregie, also known as ‘Santan Dave’, was born in StreathamRapper ‘Dave’ Orobosa Omeregie, also known as ‘Santan Dave’ was born in Streatham and has since scored several top-20 records and a number 1 single, as well as winning several high profile awards. One of his top ten singles was even called ‘Streatham’.

Actor Peter Davison was born and raised in Streatham, attending Granton Primary School and later, of course, becoming Doctor Who and starring in many successful films, TV productions in theatre and on radio.

The fashion designer John Galliano lived in Streatham from the age of sixThe fashion designer John Galliano lived in Streatham from the age of six, until moving later to Dulwich and subsequently other parts of London.

Edward Stanley Gibbons, founder of the now famous Stanley Gibbons stamp catalogue used by most philatelists, lived in later life at Stanhope Road in Streatham.

Eddie Izzard used to host a comedy club at the White Lion pub in StreathamComedians Eddie Izzard and Paul Merton both have links to Streatham. Eddie used to host a comedy club there, in the White Lion pub. Apparently he often practised his lines when walking around Streatham Common.

007 Actor Roger Moore lived in Streatham when he was just 18007 Actor Roger Moore lived in Streatham, with his then wife Doorn Van Steyn and her family, when he was just 18.

Those who remember TV’s Ready Steady Go from the 60s will remember one of its co-presenters, Cathy McGowan, was also from Streatham.

Ken Livingstone was born at 21 Shrubbery Road, StreathamKen Livingstone was born at 21 Shrubbery Road, Streatham, in 1945 and also later attended the Philippa Fawcett Teacher Training College there. He was an MP, leader of the GLC, and later Mayor of London.

The actor and presenter David Harewood MBE also lives in StreathamThe actor and presenter David Harewood MBE, also lives in Streatham. He is most famous for his role as a CIA operative in the popular American series Homeland.

Brad Pitt filmed a fight scene, for the movie Snatch, at Caesar's Nightclub at 156 Streatham HillEven Brad Pitt has connections to Streatham! He was filmed during a fight scene for the movie Snatch at what was then Caesar’s Nightclub at 156 Streatham Hill.

Previously, of course, Caesar’s Nightclub was known as The Cat’s Whiskers, hosting such legendary names as Glen Miller, Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Rod Stewart, The Small Faces, Audrey Hepburn and The Rolling Stones. Apparently the Krays also frequented the club and Ruth Ellis, the last female to be hanged in the UK, also apparently worked there circa 1948. The venue was also the site of the first Miss World contest. Sadly the building no longer exists. It had originally been opened as The Locarno Dance Hall and was opened by Billy Cotton, the famous band leader, back in 1929. Check out the Pathé video below, which was filmed at the location in 1938.

Bill Wyman, the bassist of The Rolling Stones, worked for a diesel engineering company at Streatham HillSpeaking of The Rolling Stones, Bill Wyman, their bassist, worked for a time as a storekeeper and progress clerk. He earned £11 per week at John A. Sparks, the diesel engineers at Streatham Hill.

Actress June Whitfield was born in Streatham in 1925 and attended Streatham Hill High SchoolJune Whitfield, the actress, was born in Streatham in 1925 and later attended Streatham Hill High School.

The notorious madame Cynthia Payne held her infamous ‘parties’ in Streatham at 32 Ambleside Avenue.

Tommy Trinder was born at 54 Wellfield Road, Streatham, in 1909Famous comedian Tommy Trinder was born at 54 Wellfield Road, Streatham, in 1909. Many will remember him for his catchphrase, “You lucky people!” from the pre- and post-WW2 era.

John Major lived at Streatham, at Primrose Court, in 1969Another former Prime Minister, John Major, also lived for a time in Streatham with his wife, Norma, at Primrose Court. He had bought the property in 1969.

There are many more famous people who have close links to Streatham, including more TV personalities, presenters, comedians and many important historical and military figures. We hope our snapshot above highlights just how important Streatham has been to the historical, political and cultural background of south east London and indeed to the UK as a whole. Discover more famous people from Streatham here.

Little Cedars: a Famous Nursery in Streatham!

Little Cedars Nursery is in Streatham, near Tooting, Furzedown & BalhamAre you looking for outstanding nurseries near Streatham, Streatham Common, Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Furzedown, Tooting or Balham? If so, we’d love to show you and your little one(s) around the nursery here in Aldrington Road, SW16. Places are limited for this high quality childcare setting, so please get in touch while there’s still some availability. We offer weekday childcare for babies and children up to five. Interested? Please choose a button:

Photo Credits: Main image: by Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service, CC BY-SA 2.0. BP Signature on main image: reproduced by Gatoleiteiro, CC BY-SA 4.0. Simon Callow: by Ash, CC BY-SA 3.0. Henry Robertson Bowers: by Bowers, H. R. (Henry Robertson), 1883-1912, Public domain. Naomi Campbell: by Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 4.0. Santan Dave: by SamuelWren98, CC BY-SA 4.0. John Galliano: by SALLIANCE, CC BY 3.0. Eddie Izzard: by Giuseppe Sollazzo, CC BY-SA 2.0. Roger Moore: by Allan warren, CC BY-SA 3.0. Ken Livingstone: by World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0. David Harewood: Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV, CC BY-SA 2.0. Brad Pitt (small photo): by Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0. Bill Wyman: by Jacco Barth, CC BY-SA 2.0. June Whitfield: by Slapstick Festival, CC BY 2.0. Tommy Trinder: by Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer, Public domain. John Major: Attributed to PFC Tracey L. Hall-Leahy, Public domain.

Streatham’s Surprising History

Streatham's Surprising History

Streatham has a long and interesting history stretching back almost 1000 years. On taking a look, we came across some interesting facts that we thought we’d share:

The Meaning of Streatham

Streatham was called Estreham at the time of the Doomsday Book (1086). The name meant The Hamlet on the Street, which was a throw-back to it lying on the path of an important Roman trade route, explained below.

The Roman Road to the South Coast

Streatham lies on the Roman Road to the South Coast

Image: Harper, Charles G. (Charles George) / Streatham Common

Streatham, as it’s known today, lies directly on the “The London to Brighton Way”, which marks the route of an important Roman road that stretched all the way from London (Londinium back then), through Streatham, Croydon, Caterham, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill and Hassocks (then the site of a large Roman cemetery) to the south coast. It ended up somewhere between Portslade and Brighton. It’s highly likely that, during Roman times, the southern-most arrival point was at an important port, possibly then known as Novus Portus, but which has long since been lost to the sea. This route from Streatham to the south coast eventually influenced the route of what is now the A23 – an incredibly important route today.

Streatham was in Surrey

It may be a surprise to learn that Streatham used to be in Surrey. Subsequently, in 1889, it became part of the County of London and then later, in 1965, part of Greater London. Now, of course, it’s mostly part of the London Borough of Lambeth with a few parts of it extending into the London Borough of Wandsworth.

Streatham’s Springs & Wells

Streatham has several wells & natural springs

Image: Nicky Johns / Rookery Well, Streatham

Streatham boasts its own natural springs, first discovered when a farmer was ploughing a boggy field. Places like Wellfield Road are, indeed, so named because of their important position along the main route from the village to one of the busier natural springs. Another spring was located at the southern side of Streatham Common in the spot now known as The Rookery. These Streatham Wells, first became popular during the 18th Century. Although not pleasant to taste or smell, the spring water was believed to be good for health and soon the surrounding area began to be gentrified due to the popularity of the spa. Wealthy London merchants were attracted into the area from places like the City and soon many had what were then country residences in Streatham, this period being before the advent of the urbanisation of the area.

Prime Minister, William Petty (Lord Shelburne)

Image: Jean-Laurent Mosnier.

Streatham Park, the Prime Minister & the Peace Treaty of 1783

Streatham played its own part in the securing of peace, which ended the American War of Independence. The Prime Minister between 1782 and 1783 was Lord Shelburne. He leased Streatham Park (then a Georgian country mansion) at that time, using it as the venue for early peace negotiations during this time. Ultimately, he succeeded in reaching a peace agreement in Paris via the Peace Treaty of 1783. The treaty was designed to encourage close economic ties between Britain and the United States, an aim that remains important to this day.

Links to the Tate Sugar Empire

Stained glass above the main entrance to Streatham Library

Image: Tristan Forward / Stained glass above the main entrance to Streatham Library

Another large historic property in Streatham, this time one that still survives today, is Park Hill, located in the northern part of Streatham Common. At one time, this was owned by Sir Henry Tate. The name may ring a bell with those who are familiar with the Tate Gallery, for which he was the founder. More popularly, though, the Tate name will remain forever synonymous with sugar, e.g. via Tate & Lyle sugar packets that, for a long time, could be seen in kitchens throughout the world. The enormous wealth that the Tate family accrued filtered down, in part, to Streatham, which benefited from £5,000 funding to build Streatham Library. Many other libraries across South London were also funded by Sir Henry.

Park Hill later became a convent, following Sir Henry Tate’s death in 1899, and much later was refurbished for use as private housing.

The UK’s First Supermarket

Did you know that Streatham was the site of the UK’s first supermarket? This makes total sense because, back in the 1950s, Streatham boasted the busiest and longest shopping street in the whole of South London. It was Express Dairies who opened the 2,500 square foot store, right back in 1951.

Lightning Strikes Not Once But Twice!

St Leonards Church, Streatham

Image: Robert Cutts / St Leonard’s Church, Streatham

Some say that lightning never strikes the same place twice, but they’re wrong —St Leonard’s Church in Streatham has received multiple strikes! The first time was in 1777 when the bell tower was struck. Falling masonry even took the arms off an effigy of Sir John Ward, who had rebuilt the church back in the 14th Century. Then, in 1841, lightning struck again, causing what was then a wooden spire to burn down. It was later rebuilt, but this time in brick, as we can see today.

It’s amazing to think of there being almost a thousand years of history to Streatham, the home of Little Cedars Nursery. There is so much that has gone on in the area, one that used to be open countryside, for a short time a tiny hamlet and then much later the busy, urban area that we know today. Some of Streatham’s varied history has had a surprisingly wide impact stretching, no less than all the way to the American War of Independence and forming a key location in the peace negotiations that ended it — that’s incredible when you think about it.

We hope that this little spotlight on Streatham has been of interest. We certainly enjoyed researching it.

Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

Little Cedars is one of the best nurseries you’ll find in the area around Streatham, Streatham Common, Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Furzedown, Tooting or Balham. If you need a high quality nursery place for a baby, toddler or under-five child in the London SW16 area or nearby, do get in touch while space remains available. We’ll be delighted to tell you more and to show you and your little one around: