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Streatham Common Lambeth

Streatham Common

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Streatham Common is ancient commonland that was once part of the Manor of South Streatham, which stretched from Norwood to Tulse Hill. At one time known as Lime Common, it was owned by the church from 1362, at the Dissolution of the Monasteries passing to the Dean and Chapter, and in 1862 to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. It was managed from 1866 by a Committee of Management of local inhabitants. In 1883 it was taken over by the MBW and an Act of Parliament ensured its protection in perpetuity, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners selling c.26.5 hectares to the MBW for £5. Trees were planted around the perimeter and part of the common was mowed, part allowed to become woodland. Most of the lower part was used as allotments during WWII with temporary housing erected around the perimeter. A picturesque landscape sloping from north to south, the upper edges are covered with trees, bracken, copses and gorse.
Previous / Other name: Lime Common, Lower Streatham Common, Streatham Common
Site location: Streatham High Road/Streatham Common North/Streatham Common South/Covington Way
Postcode: SW16
Type of site: Public Open Land 
Date(s): 1884
Listed structures:
Borough: Lambeth
Site ownership: LB Lambeth
Site management: Environment Directorate, Parks and Greenspaces Unit (Team Lambeth). Streatham Common Management Advisory Committee/Friends of Streatham Common
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities: Children's play area, paddling pool, Rookery Café, sports facilities, toilets, car park
Events: Numerous events take place: Streatham Kite Festival, dog shows, arts exhibition, walks, Fireworks
Public transport: Rail: Streatham Common, Streatham. Bus: 50, 59, 60, 109, 118, 159, 249, 250, 333, 417
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.;

Fuller information:

The common was once part of the Manor of South Streatham, tenants having common rights to gather fuel and graze cattle here. In 1086 at the time of Domesday Survey it stretched from Norwood to Tulse Hill, and was known as Lime Common. It was in the ownership of the church from 1362 when the Black Prince gave it to the Prior and Convent of Christ Church Canterbury. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries it passed to the Dean and Chapter and in 1862 to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The village at Streatham had prospered, partly due to its position midway between the Archbishop of Canterbury's palaces at Croydon and Lambeth. People settled here, as at Clapham, after the Great Fire of 1666, and it became a place of resort following the discovery of medicinal springs in 1659. By the early C19th the heathland was replaced by hayfields, farms and small holdings supplying London markets, with a cattle pond in the south-west corner and a silk weaving industry nearby from the 1820s.

Streatham Common was not enclosed and a Committee of Management of local inhabitants was set up in 1866 to look after it, in 1883 passing to the Metropolitan Board of Works, when responsibility was transferred under the Metropolitan Commons Supplemental Act 1884. In 1884 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners sold c.26.7 hectares (66 acres) to the MBW for £5, reserving pasturage and mineral extraction rights. The MBW planted perimeter trees, laid paths and mowed the grass on the western side while the eastern side was allowed to become wooded. In 1896 responsibility was transferred to the newly formed LCC and the common was enlarged to 27.54 hectares (68 acres). Later road widening of the A23 led to loss of land and housing estate land was given to compensate for this.

During WWII the lower part of the common was used for allotments and temporary housing was erected around the perimeter. Responsibility for the common passed from the LCC to the GLC and then in 1971 to Lambeth Council. It is now the largest area of native woodland in the borough and is important for wildlife; the last red squirrel in the borough was recorded here in 1946. It has important viewpoints and the site of a Beacon. The Friends of Streatham Common was set up with the aims of preserving, protecting and improving Streatham Common and The Rookery (q.v.), which is located adjacent to the common, and it is managed by Streatham Common Management Advisory Committee.

Sources consulted:

Marie Draper 'Lambeth's Open Spaces, An historical account', LB Lambeth 1979; Ian Yarham, Michael Waite, Andrew Simpson, Niall Machin, 'Nature Conservation in Lambeth', Ecology Handbook 26 (London Ecology Unit), 1994; 'A Brief History of the Common' on Friends of Streatham Common website
Grid ref: TQ305709
Size in hectares: 26.12 (23.93 registered common
On EH National Register : No
EH grade :
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
Yes: Common (CL28)
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: Yes
Conservation Area name: Streatham Common
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: Yes - Borough Importance I
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: Yes
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation: Common

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