Offley Road

An Overview…

Offley Road is a curved road that bends round from Prima Road to Brixton Road, it is mostly residential with some industrial buildings too. British History Online tells us that “Nothing is known about the early history of the land between Prima Road, South Island Place, Clapham Road and Brixton Road. The area formed a no-man’s land bounded by the Manor of Kennington and Vauxhall Creek on the north, by Vauxhall Manor on the west and by Lambeth Wick Manor on the east and south. It may perhaps be identified with 18 acres held by Robert Addison of St. Saviour’s, Southwark, butcher, who was presented in 1640 to the Court of the Commissioners of Sewers to scour the sewer which lay along his ground near Hazards Bridge. Hazards Bridge crossed Vauxhall Creek at the north end of Brixton Road.”

It is unclear exactly when Offley Road was built or why the name Offley was chosen.

The 1876 Ward map shows the area that Offley Road now stands on was once gardens, this is the case of much of the land on which our local streets stand on. Originally these gardens would have just been open countryside.

Offley Road appears on Stanfords Map of Central London in 1897 (above) so for now I can only indicate that it was laid out at some point between 1876 and 1897.

Charles Booth’s Map of London Poverty research took him to Offley Road in 1895. The Map above is from 1898 and shows how Booth graded Offley Road. The key to what the colours mean can be seen to the right of the image. For more information on Charles Booth and the classification of poverty see here.

Bombs & Pickles…

The gardens that belong to the houses on the West side of Offley road back onto an industrial space called Offley Works. I had not heard of this however a bit of researching led me to find this interesting article over on the Oval Partnership website. The Offley Works housed James Allen Sharwood’s pickle and chutney factory, introducing the nation to chutney, all from this factory. For photographs of the Offley Works site see here.

 66 Offley Road…

This building has served all manner of purposes, in the 1930’s it was a printers and then in the 1960’s it was the production site for Charlie Watkins ‘Copicat’ tape echo unit responsible for the reverb and echo effect that defines much of British 60’s music. 


One Response to Offley Road

  1. Mr J Shaw says:

    I’ve lived on Offley Road nearly 20years & have always understood that these house were built as part of the Belgrave Childrens Hospital which is now apartments at the end of the north side gardens, as homes for the Doctors Nurses and Surgeons. Do you think that this is the case? I recall that the hospital itself was built in 1897 at the same time or shortly before the houses.
    My understanding of the name Offley refers to the river Offley which is now flows under ground level.
    The Sharwoods pickle factory building was also a printing works for Christie’s Auction catalogues. I could find out the dates it existed there as I know people who worked there, coincidently a lady who lived on St Anne’s Place after the war. This lady was moved out (I think 1950’s or 60’s) as the buildings were to be pulled down but in fact they remained as they were until very recently.
    The information here is most fascinating, I would love to find out more.

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