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.