Caldwell Street was originally called Holland Street.
A lost high street, as well as residential properties this street was once teeming with shops, a coffee house, a pub and traders of all professions. There now stands a five a side pitch, the Caldwell Gardens estate and some inoffensive new-builds, only a small section of the original street remains on the western side (the part on the right of the picture above) and a tiny cottage on the far eastern end by Brixton Road.
This street was renamed Caldwell Street at some point after 1929 and before WW2 ( I only have Kelly’s directory up to 1929 however I do plan to do more research into this name change) It is likely that Caldwell Street was named after William T Caldwell, a local doctor however I cannot be sure. Holland Street took it’s name from a much older source, Henry Richard Vassall, the third Baron Holland who in 1800 owned this entire patch of Lambeth which was then called Lambeth Wick. More can be found about Henry Vassall and his predecessor’s here.
Holland Street and the surrounding streets were hit several times with bombs in WWII and rather than patch up this war-worn array of old businesses Lambeth Council flattened everything east of Hackford Road and there now stands the Caldwell Gardens estate, it’s sections named after Greek gods, all rather bizarrely except Jessie Wood Court. You would have no idea that on this street where a Londis is the only shop that this was the local high street for residents of this area for well over a hundred years.
Caldwell Street in photographs…
Caldwell Street (then Holland Street) in 1920…
Copyright © London Borough of Lambeth/ Lambeth Archives
The modern photograph shows roughly the same scene as above as it is in today. You can see that that the houses on the right look almost unaltered apart from the garden railings.
21-31 Caldwell Street in 1967 – to the far right you can see the Lord Holland pub.
The modern photograph shows roughly the same scene today, all of the houses and the pub are gone.
One tiny remaining clue of the street’s previous name is on the faded hand painted sign on the corner of Hackford road, see below.
It’s nice that there are these little clues to the past dotted about here and there.
Above – The Rehabilitation Day Centre and Old Peoples’ Lunch Club 1976 which stood at the Clapham Road corner of Caldwell Street. See below for an image of the same spot in 2013.
Caldwell Street On Maps…
The map above is “Laurie and Whittle New Map of London with its Environs, including the Recent Improvements from 1809″ it is clear that the space between Clapham Road and Brixton Road is empty and so Holland Street (now Caldwell Street) was not built at this point, the area was predominantly rural at this time.
The map above is “1820. Pigot & Co.’s Metropolitan Guide & Miniature Plan Of London c1820″ and although unlabelled Caldwell Street is clearly visible, intersected by what was to become Hackford Road. Exactly when Holland Street (now Caldwell Street) was built is unclear however it must have been at some point between 1809 and 1820 from looking at the two maps above.
The above image is from a map produced a year after Crace’s Plan of London in 1837 and is called ‘Carys-New-Plan-Of-London-And-Its-Vicinity’ It is the earliest map that I have found that shows this street labelled as Holland Street.
The above image is from a map produced to show the various Lambeth Wards in 1876.
Charles Booth’s Map of London Poverty research took him to Holland Street in 1895. See below for how he graded this street…Although it might look a bit more like pink in this print checking his notebooks Booth actually colour coded Holland Street as ‘Purple”, see the key here: For more on how our area was graded on the Poverty maps click here.
The above image is from another map produced to show the various Lambeth Wards, this time in 1918. The open space that was on maps above south of Holland Street is now filled by Liberty Street, Morat Street, Isabel Street and Cranworth Gardens.
The lost businesses of Caldwell Street…
For more information on Caldwell Street’s commercial history head over to the the ‘Historical Local Businesses’ section of the website, I have produced a page that describes Caldwell Street’s (then Holland Street) entries in Kelly’s Business Directory 1881 along with additional Census information – click here to visit that section.
At the far end of Caldwell Street, just before Brixton Road stands Holland Cottage. A unique detached dwelling built using old stock bricks from a derelict Jacobean Cottage. There were once a whole row of similar cottages that ran along Caldwell Street, Holland Cottage is all that remains. The property is just as unique inside as it has an excavated Jacobean well in the lounge which is covered by a reinforced plate glass hatch, the owners have converted this into a flood-lit wine cellar.