Part 1 – Where is it, when was it built and why the name Cranworth Gardens?

An introduction….

Cranworth Gardens is a leafy residential street comprising of 26 terraced mansion blocks. There is also one modern block at 139 to 144 called Elm Court which stands on a space cleared by a bomb hit, all blocks including Elm Court contain six flats. The street is a mixture of private housing either owner occupied or rented and some Peabody owned from number 25 to 75. The Peabody housing association bought 25 to 75 in the 1970’s, they are now slowly being sold off to private owners. Originally the street consisted of 25 mansion blocks however one of the two blocks that corner Southey Road was added as number 1a Cranworth Gardens at a later date, this building was built a year after Cranworth Gardens but in the same style.

Where is it?

Cranworth Gardens sits between Clapham Road to the west and Brixton road to the east and is covered by the postcode SW9. The street is in the Vassal Ward of the London Borough of Lambeth. This area was once called North Brixton and originally was part of Surrey.

When was it built?

Drainage plans and Kelly’s directory show that Cranworth Gardens was built over the period of 1899 to 1902 meaning that the flats are very late Victorian.

Above – Cranworth Gardens looking south in 1908

Why the name Cranworth Gardens?

Cranworth Gardens was originally called Ackworth Street when it was first built. It appears in Kelly’s Directory 1901 under that name and the original drainage records from the construction of the street also show it as Ackworth Street. It is unclear as to why the street was originally called Ackworth Street, from looking at maps Ackworth appears to be a place near Wakefield in Yorkshire. It could be that the company that built the street had some connection to this area. The street wasn’t completed until 1902, by this time it had been renamed Cranworth Gardens. As with the original Ackworth Street name the reason for re-naming the street Cranworth Gardens is lost in the mists of time. It may have some connection to Cranworth in Norfolk or it may have been to commemorate Baron Cranworth, a liberal politician.

Onto part 2 – Why was it built and what was there before?…

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