Streatham’s History Makers

Streatham and its surrounding areas have been home to numerous people who have left their mark on history, albeit in the arts, science or enterprise and yet only two, the comedian and actor, Tommy Trinder and composer, Sir Arnold Bax, have blue plaques to mark where they lived.

So why not download your Google map or grab the A-Z and take a stroll past where some of our more prominent residents spent part of their lives?

Let’s start with the easy ones. Tommy Trinder was born at 54 Wellfield Road and Sir Arnold Bax, a composer, born 1883, whose works include choral, chamber and orchestral music, lived at 13 Pendennis Road (originally known as Heath Villa, Angles Road).

Actor and director, Simon Callow, lived at Pinfold Road and the Queen’s dressmaker, Sir Normal Hartnell, grew up above the Crown and Sceptre pub on Streatham Hill where his parents were the publicans. Roger Moore and his first wife, Doorn Van Steyn, lived at 16 Buckleigh Road when they first married. It was her parents’ home.

Archaeologist and academic, Rupert Bruce-Mitford, who published the definitive multi-volume work on the Sutton Hoo ship burial, was born at 1 Deerhurst Place. The ship burial is now the subject of a film, ‘The Dig’, starring Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan.

Nobel Prize winning author V.S. Naipaul, spent a couple of years at 81a Wyatt Park Road, where he wrote ‘A House for Mr. Biswas’, whilst Raymond Chandler, the US-born detective writer, lived for several years at 35 Mount Nod Road.. Another writer, Joyce Lankester Brisley, creator of the children’s Milly-Molly-Mandy stories, occupied 108 Lewin Road, whilst further along the road, number 90, was home to Victorian poet, novelist and dramatist, Robert Buchanan. His plays include ‘Rath Boys’ and ‘The Witchfinder’.

Acclaimed artist, Graham Sutherland, whose celebrated ‘Christ in Glory’ tapestry was commissioned for the new Coventry Cathedral, was born at 8 Pendle Road.

Arthur Anderson, founder of the P&O shipping line, who went on to be become an MP, lived at Norwood Grove, then known as Streatham Grove, part of Greater Streatham Common. It now falls under the auspices of Croydon Borough Council.

If you are interested in discovering more about Streatham, the people who have to shape it, and continue to do so, then The Streatham Society is a good port of call ( You can also download a couple of interesting literary walks from their website.