Handforth Road

An Overview…

Handforth Road is a curved road that bends from Clapham Road to Brixton Road, it was built in 1890 and is almost entirely residential. The street was originally comprised of individual houses which must have been very spacious as they have almost all been converted into flats. 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.”

“In 1870 another John Wright, who was then owner of the estate, disposed of it in two parts. The northern part, between Prima Road and the present gardens of houses in Handforth Road, was sold to Philip Edward Sewell of Norfolk, civil engineer. The southern portion was acquired by Robert and Isaac Crewdson, and Handforth and Crewdson Roads were subsequently laid out across it.”

So at least we know who built the street, quite where they got the name Handforth from however is anyone’s guess, does anyone out there know?

The above image shows Handforth Road in 1921.

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

Handforth Road appears on Stanfords Map of Central London in 1897 (Above).

Charles Booth’s Map of London Poverty research took him to Handforth Road in 1895. The Map above is from 1898 and shows how Booth graded Handforth 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. Booth graded Handforth Road as ‘Pink’ which was ‘Good ordinary earnings’.

It is unclear as to exactly when the houses of Handforth Road were converted into flats.  Each individual block had it’s own quaint name although I am doubtful that the postal service still delivers based on these titles today.

Florence & Montagu house, each block had a name on the front, this theme continues for the whole street.


0 Responses to Handforth Road

  1. Neil says:

    As a point of information, having lived in two buildings on this street, I can tell you they weren’t built as mansion blocks. I think the names on the buildings (and only some are named) merely reflect a form of nominative gentrification: give your house a name, and it’s automatically fancier than one with only a number. The flats that are now within the buildings are very obviously converted from larger houses, and indeed a couple of the houses remain single-residence properties.

    (Excellent, interesting and informative blog by the way.)

  2. Nigel Ross says:

    I bought the top flat of 35, which is “Warwick House”. I tried an experiment, sending a letter to
    Warwick House, Handforth Road, SW9 0LL, but it never arrived.

  3. Chris Blackmore says:

    I lived on the first floor at number 9 back in the late 70s. As part of a flat share. Carol and Freddie Lane and their sons lived on the ground floor and David Grindrod (then of the RSC) now a very famous casting director lived upstairs. Whole street was then very down at heel as was The Oval in general. I left about 1980 and the landlord – Mr Abrahams – offered me a whole flat for £8,500 in the street. You would not buy one for that now.

  4. David Long says:

    I owned the top floor flat at No.41 in 1986-95 but was never able to discover anything about its name – Urmston House – or much about Bugatti’s showroom and workshops at 1-3 Brixton Road.

  5. Jacquie says:

    I lived on the ground floor of number 17 Handforth Road in the early 70’s. I was a student like so many of the flats occupants of that time. They were cheap flats and unscrupulous landlords did well out of hard up students as maintenance was minimal. The area was pretty run down but home for a couple of years. Still I think it was easier from my generation then now. Probably not student flats today ?Ah Nostalgia!

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