Contact Me

Please use the comments box below or email me at to contact me, it would be great to hear your stories, your local history information, or comments and suggestions.


42 Responses to Contact Me

  1. Michelle says:

    Hi Chris,
    What a brilliant website – I too have been bitten by the bug after watching The Secret History of Our Streets recently.

    Myself and my parents live on Morat Street and I have been struggling to find any real info about it yet. We were told by an elderly lollipop man back when I was a child (and attended Reay School) that Morat Street used to be a red light area (I’m now not sure how true that is after looking on Charles Booth’s map!) and that Reay School was built on the site of an old pub that had been bombed – this probably is true as looking at Holland Street’s photograph from 1911, the infant playground looks like it also covers where the Dairy was as well.

    So far I’ve been trying to find out details of when Morat Street was built and if they were purpose built as flats. I haven’t found anything about them until a photograph of the street in 1910 ( .
    Voting information shows that the bottom flat in our house lived a man called Charles Harman & the top flat a man called James Traynor but no dates and no information on a middle flat.
    Then the 1911 census shows that in the top flat, where my parents live today, James William Traynor aged 27 lived with his wife & 4 children (one born, I believe, in the flat!) and that he was a music hall artist – this made me very excited due to Lambeth being a famous area for Music Hall in that time period – sadly so far I have not managed to find any further mention of him. I believe that he may have died in 1934 aged 50, no longer living in Morat Street but in Hackford Road, married to another lady and leaving her an inheritance of £50. However, I am very new at this so I could be wrong!
    Have you had much luck looking into Morat Street’s history? Also, any tips on how I could carry on the search for James Traynor?

    • Hi Michelle
      I also live on Morat St…since me on if you fancy meeting up for a chat about street history i have lots 🙂


    • Rowena Grant says:

      James Traynor was my great grandfather. He lived in 31b Morat Street Brixton at the time of the 1911 census with his wife Isabell and children Edward, Louise (recorded as Louisa at that time) my grandmother, George and James. James Snr was 37 not 27 in 1911. Young George, then aged 5, became an Olympic athlete My great grandmother Isabell was a Tiller girl or a Bluebell girl, and a music hall artiste. She and James Traynor divorced, and the family were sadly embittered. She outlived her daughter (who died in 1965) by a few years. My grandmother Louise (Louisa) worked in the theatre and travelled about, often leaving my mother with her not much-loved grandmother Isabell. My mother (Jill Traynor) also went into the theatre, working with Sir Donald Wolfit in his repertory theatre company. Nobody rich and famous, I’m afraid. Can’t give you much more at this time, I’m just starting on my family history voyage!

  2. Ron says:

    Hi Chris,

    Interesting project. Maybe compliments our little project and we could add a link to our directory/ links page.


  3. Brenda Kirsch says:

    Great site Chris. Apologies if I have missed a reference, but do you know ‘London Belongs to Me’ by Norman Collins, recently reprinted as a Penguin Classic? It’s set in the Oval area at the start of the war and gives an interesting contemporary feel of life in the area (and London) at the time – worth a read!

  4. Lucy says:

    This is a really interesting website – many thanks for putting this together.
    With best wishes, from a Hackford Road resident

  5. G says:

    Love your website. So interesting and giving. Thank you so much. From a Crewdson Road resident.

  6. dave farren says:

    Chris you have created a gem with this site. I grew up in the area, living in Chrysell road from the age of 3 -14 during the 1960’s and early 1970’s until our house was condemned and we ‘emigrated’ to Milton Keynes.

    Christchurch was my primary school and I have so many happy memories there although as the years have gone by they are fading. I then went to the London Nautical until we moved. I have been back a few times and Brixton rd and around the Oval is much the same as my memory will allow me to remember. Chryssell Road was demolished and is now a different lot of housing altogether and is very nice. I often wonder what would have been different for my family had we stayed as mum and dad would not have moved unless we had to but in the early 70’s it was a tower block or nothing.

    Our house had terrible damp and the basement used to flood every winter. I suppose the house was, in modern terms, uninhabitable. This must have been because it was situated right on where the old river used to run. But like I say this site has brought a flood of memories back and I will return to it often.

  7. william pickley says:

    Hi Chris, I used to live in Chrysell Road at number 3. It used to be an old coachhouse. Opposite our house was a garage that was used by London Cabs, also next to this was a printing firm called Baynards Press. I went to Cowley Road Primary School and then to Stockwell Manor secondary school.

    • Ricky says:

      Hi Dave and William, I lived on the Church manor estate and remember Chrysell rd before it was demolished. Can either of you remember Blackwell St as it was off of Chrysell rd and farrar rd. My mother lived in Blackwell St but I can’t find it on a map despite being able to find farrar rd.

      • Chris says:

        Hi Ricky,

        I have sent you an email with some maps attached. Blackwell Street was originally called Baker Street and features on maps with this name up until around 1936. Between 1936 and 1939 the name was changed to Blackwell Street.

        Kind regards,


  8. marian byford/wood says:

    I went to Durand Infant school and then the Reay school lived at no.54 – Remember the rag and bone man and the roundabout on a cart and if your lucky a present of a gold fish in return for old rags – around 1950 onwards – anybody around that lived there during this time?

    • ALEX Richie says:

      Went to reay school from 1951 to 1957.
      Remember the girls-Rita Cade,Lynda Heggie,Ann Sherwood.
      Headmistress Miss West.Very srtrict,us boys were scared of her!

      Alex now 70 years young.

  9. Vince says:

    I lived in a prefab in Hillyard Street from 1949 to 1961. I was born in the prefab, I remember being told my Dad helped to build them when he was demobbed, I remember the rag and bone man and the goldfish he gave out.

  10. Jim Gardiner says:

    Hi Chris
    I lived at 7 Liberty street fom 1953 to 1969, there were six families living in our block and we lived on the ground floor. Opposite our house there was a place we called the wood yard where we kids used to hide in the piles of wooden pallets, which was when you look back was dangerous. Next to the wood yard was Freemans catalog factory. We used to play football in the road but had to be careful of the vans coming from freemans. Our nextdoor neighbour was a Mrs or Miss Rose who had lived there for a long time. Other families I remember were
    then McGeevers, the MacDonalds, Mrs Thomas, the Hargreaves, the Hitchcocks and several more.
    I went to Christchurch primary and junior school followed by Stockwell Manor comprehensive school.
    I went back to liberty street recently and found it had changed beyond recognition, it had gone up market with gated accomodation where the woodyard used to be. I doubt if any of the people who lived there when I was there would be able to afforded to live there now.
    I think a lot was spent on renovating the area after the Brixton riots but not for the benefit of the people who lived there then. It is now a very expensive street to live in and most of the original tennents who rented them have been replaced by a far wealthier person

    I went to Christchurch primary and junior school and then onto Stockwell Manor comprehensive school

  11. I’ve mislaid my copy of Kelly’s Directory for 1-3 Brixton Road circa 1930, so a Google search fortuitously revealed your website. I’m working on a book on Captain Marendaz, car builder, who was based at this address 1926 to 1932, but wanted to check a few details of the various occupants. I have a lot of information and photographs and various references which I’d be happy to share with you. I’d be interested to know if you have any details on the construction of the building itself, one of the first reinforced concrete buildings. I own two cars that were built on this site.
    Any help gratefully received. Regards Graham

  12. Janet Parsons says:

    I lived in Blackwell St until 1960 when we had to move to Nunhead as the houses were being demolished. I went to the Reay School and Hackford Road.
    We lived at no.25 and my grandfather at 27. Our name was Tuck and lived opposite the sweetshop, and I remember mr and mrs Harris, Mr and Mrs Nelson and others.
    Remember the shop, with milk delivered from the dairy behind the shop on the corner of Chrysell road and Blackwell street. The Baynard press was behind our house.
    We had a street party for the coronation . My mother worked at F T Pillivants Box makers in Cranmer Road. I was born in 1942 and left in1960. Janet Parsons.

  13. Mara says:


    This site is very interesting. I just moved in the north side of Brixton road and I would like to find an old photo where I can see the corner between Brixton road and Crewdson road. I have been looking for a while but I couldn’t find any, I’m thinking to make a print and hang it on the wall. Anyone can help me?

    Thank you

  14. Jayne smith says:

    Hi im trying to find photos of cowley infant school the head mistress was a miss white when she retired it was mr coleman

  15. ALEX Richie says:

    hi, used to sit on the steps of Perseverance pub around 1953 with a bottle of pop and packet of crisps while mum and dad inside

  16. Deborah Brown says:

    Hello, My father’s family lived in and around the Brixton Road. One of the stories from the early 1920s was of him visiting relatives who lived at the same address as appears in the Sherlock Holmes story of The Blue Carbuncle- 117 Brixton Road.
    He also recalled visiting on Sundays, when the front room was given over to an aunt and uncle rehearsing their levitation act. He was mightily impressed, but was only a small boy at the time. I would love to find out who they were. We think they had a performance booth on the Kent Coast. As children my brother and I considered that it must be an inherited ability, and spent hours trying to levitate things- and eachother.

  17. peter bake says:

    I went to the cowley infant school 1965-1969
    then the old beaufoy boys school before moveing to Stevenage in 1970
    went back to Brixton this year for the first time since 1970
    I am looking for desmond rafferty who want to cowley school in 1965-1969

  18. Liz Ford says:

    Thank you for all the painstaking research on your splendid site.
    We’re researching my 4x great grandfather, who died in Chapel Street, now Mowll St. in 1826. Believe he retired there, and the dates of its development on the maps you show tie in perfectly: making him a very early resident of the street.
    So thrilled!

  19. Anne (nee Hoskins) says:

    How fascinating to read all of the comments. I lived in Cowley Road from about 1965 until 1973, went to Cowley Road Infant & Junior School, then on to Stockwell Manor. We had to move as many of the houses were to be demolished. My mum also worked there as a ‘Woman Helper!!’ as her title was back then (Classroom / Teaching Assistant nowadays!!) I recall helping her deliver the 1/3 pint milk bottles to classrooms in the mornings…. Teachers I remember were Mrs Taha, Mr Murrow, Mr Macmurray (I think), Miss Eisemann and Miss Tobit… I do remember Mr Coleman when he was Head Teacher. I recently met up with a friend who used to live in the same road and also went to the same school; we went for a trip down memory lane – I couldn’t believe the transformation of the whole area – although good to see some of the familiar, old buildings too. I’ll have a look to see whether I have any old photos of the school to share as someone had previously been asking about this (although can’t promise). Great site 🙂

    • P roche says:

      I went to cowly know these teachers names we moved the same time when they renovated the housing on Brixton rd

    • Christine(nee Friskin) says:

      Wow, can’t believe all the interesting information on Brixton. I lived on Cowley Road up until 1974 and attended Cowley School up until 1974 when I then attended Priory Park Girls School in Stockwell which no longer exists. I believe it’s now turned into luxury flats. I think Mr Murrow was my teacher but I certainly remember Mr Coleman the headteacher.

  20. Kay Stiffkkaystiffay stiff says:

    Hello, I was at the Reay school in 1957. Our head master was Mr Walls. I was in class 2. We used to have stand under the clock in the main hall at home time if we had been naughty and wait untill a teacher came and let us go home.
    My classroom was the art room upstairs. We were never taken on outings or anything and I played truant a lot with a friend in Mowll street. We used hop off and go to the Braxton Astoria cinema. Happy days.!

  21. Mark Wood says:

    There was an iron foundry in Fentiman Road, about 100 yards from the junction with Clapham Road. It was in existence in the 1930s/40s when a great uncle of mine worked there. Imposing iron statues were placed at the entrance.

    Does anyone know anything about this place or have a photograph?
    Who was the owner?
    When did it close?

    • Kay Stiffkkaystiffay stiff says:

      The iron foundry was in Dorset Rd, just a few doors from Joe’s Cafe. I passed by there one day and saw the bust of
      Winston Churchill there before it was put on show for the public. The doors were open and they were just about to cover it up with tarpaulin. I lived on Richborne Terrace. I know Princess Margaret paid a visit there, I think to see it.
      Don’t know any more than that, three doors were usually kept shut…..the year about 1956.

  22. Pete caddick says:

    Hi just found your web site. After trying to find info about Cowley primary school. I’ve been trying to track down a curtain picture of our football team which won the league cup & went all season without losing a game in 1962-63. Our manager/Teacherwas Mr Gilford, some of the boys name’s were Duffy Westlake Howes Bruce Brockwell sorry if I have forgotten other name’s but I’ve been trying to find this picture for year’s now as I lost my one when moved away in 1964.

  23. Caroline Dale says:

    My grandmother lived at 28 Blackwell Street with her partner in the early 1960’s and I believe it used to be the sweet shop. Can anyone confirm that it’s not just heresay and is correct? And any clues as to what the name of the current street that has replaced that area of Blackwell Street, since I don’t live in the locality but would love to go back with my dad someday soon?

    • Paul says:

      Hi I’ve just seen this post – I don’t suppose you have any photos of Blackwell Street? I lived there from around 1958 to 1962

  24. Pat Davies says:

    Hi – I lived in Groveway, along with my friend Angela Scarborough. I attended Cowley Nursery, Infants and Juniors. Miss White was the headmistress and I recall Miss Morley, two lovely spinster ladies. Mr Coleman was my teacher. Miss Holden was the infants headmistress lovely gentle lady. I remember Mrs Johnson (think that’s correct spelling – dinner lady and a bit scary). My friends were Kim Leach, Tina Daly and Carol Vaughan and we all went on to Stockwell Manor School 1967. My schoolfriend Jennifer McGusty lived in Morat Street. I was a regular visitor to the newsagents in Hillyard Street and remember the owner Les. Have wonderful memories of Stockwell and Brixton.

    • Gwendoline George says:

      Hello Pat I went to cowley school Mrs Johnson was a neighbour when I lived in Brixton Road. I went on to stockwell manor I remember you. I remember loads of people. I’ve lived in sussex for nearly 40 years.

  25. Jane Olorenshaw says:

    Hi! What a great find and thanks for all the work you’ve done!

    My grandma’s older brother, William Thomas Ford, was born in 1865 at 6 Chapel Row, Chapel Street. I found Chapel Street on a Gall & Inglis map published around 1899 at a guess, and I worked out from a current A-Z that it was renamed Mowll Street, rather than being bombed or built over, which is quite a bonus. I can’t see where Chapel Row would have been, however, as isn’t shown on the old maps, but perhaps it was a tiny alley off the street. And now of course it’s gone – under Christ Church probably.

    Ford is hardly an unusual surname, but I’d love to know if it’s a coincidence or not that Liz Ford wrote, on 17 November 2017: “We’re researching my 4x great grandfather, who died in Chapel Street, now Mowll St. in 1826.” If he was a Ford too, could Liz and I be related?!

    William Thomas Ford’s parents were Richard Ford and Eliza Ford formerly Judd. I think his wife was Sarah Lilian, but I think she was known as Lil. His sisters were Edith Blanche and my grandma Minnie Laura, who became Mrs Garden, but of course the Ford name could only have been passed on by either William or his younger brother Sidney Charles – my mum’s uncle Sid, born 1875. I’m new to this family history lark, so I haven’t got very far. But William and Lilian’s children were Reginald, Gladys and Bert (Bertram, I believe).

    Is there any chance you could put me in touch with Liz Ford in case she recognises any of these names, and to see if she’s interested in following it up? Thank you!

  26. Dee says:

    It’s great to find this site as I’ve been looking for information on Cowley school for a while and found nothing. Me and my siblings all attended the school, I attended between around 1970-1977, then went onto Stockwell Manor. We lived on and around Brixton Road including the Angell Town Estate until 1985. I remember Mr Coleman, the distinguished looking headteacher, who was then followed by Mrs Smith who we also did sewing with. I remember my teachers Ms Tobit who was quite a fearsome RE & music teacher, Mr Mahil, a Sikh gentleman, Ms Squires a Canadian lady, Ms Robinson, my infant teacher Ms Clark an American lady. My sister’s teachers Mr Mansell-Jones and Ms Taha. My favourite helpers were Ms Hoskins and Ms Williams. Ms Crumpet was also a helper and a little old lady who handed out the toilet roll which was like tracing paper. I also remember Ms Bailey, Mr White and Ms Paradise and Mr Murrow. I have so many memories of my early school days there- thanks for this website and the opportunity to join in sharing some of them.

  27. Bev Joicey says:

    Bit old for this website being as I went to Cowley Road school from about 1948 to 1953 so nothing written here rings any bells. Our Headmistress was a Mrs Henderson but cannot remember names other staff – no date well and truly ‘passed on. Living in Wiltshire Road, I and friends (Barry Dancey, Michael Adamson, living in Crowhurst Rd and Reggie Trim, lived above United Dairies, Loughborough Rd but, sadly killed in road accident) would walk to school along Brixton Road – hard to imagine children doing that now.

  28. gwen george says:

    I went to cowley junior school, cowley road from 1961-1967. I then went on to stockwell manor comprehensive in 1967-1972. I lived on gosling way in the flats along the brixton road. If anyone remembers me or my brother can they get in touch please. I was gwendoline george now just gwen george and my brother is steven. Thank you.

  29. Hilary Challis says:


    Great website – found it by Googling Frederick Eavestaff Professor of Music – who lived at 128 Brixton Road – and linked to your article about him. Wanted to know more about him and thank you!!

    NB though – the Percy Neanne and wife at the same address is (distant relation, hence my interest) Inspector Percy George Neame who in 1867 founded the Metropolitan Police ‘Crime Museum’ coined the ‘Black Museum’ by the media of the day. Margaret Maud Neame was his second wife who died in 1900. Three months later, aged 63, although he claimed he was 58, he married for a third time to his paternal cousin’s daughter Ada Neame. He retired on pension on 1st January 1902.
    By now living at 83 Stockwell Park Road, Stockwell, on 7 June 1902, he committed suicide there, “by blowing out his brains at his London residence.” (Police Review and Parade Gossip June 13 1902.) It seems that, after his retirement, matters came to light that needed an explanation, and he was summoned to the office of the new C.I.D. Commissioner, Edward Henry, to explain “certain irregularities” . Instead of attending, he telegraphed that he was in “acute despair.” As a result of his non-attendance, 2 officers of the Yard visited his residence, but “before they obtained admittance, the Ex-Superintendent took his own life.” According to the South London press (June 14 1902), he was unable to account for monies seized from Gaming Houses.
    .. His Probate shows that he left effects of a mere £80.

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