Early Brixton Settlements
1648 - Brixton Hundred - 1648. Source: Lambeth Archives
"Brixton" is thought to have been derived from "Brixistane" - the stone of Brixi. A Saxon lord, Brixi is thought to have erected a boundary stone at the top of Brixton Hill, to mark the meeting place of the ancient Brixton hundred court of Surrey. In the Anglo-Saxon period (from 410 - 1066AD) Surrey was divided into 14 "hundreds", which continued until Victorian times. The Surrey hundreds were: Blackheath, Brixton, Copthorne, Effingham Half-Hundred, Elmbridge, Farnham, Godalming, Godley, Kingston, Reigate, Tandridge, Wallington, Woking and Wotton. Read more about the the story of the name of "Brixton" by our Brixton Society's, Ken Dixon (1991).
In early 18th century the area was covered in woodland / marshes. At Brixton, the Effra river was crossed by Roman low bridges for Roman roads to the south coast - now Brixton Road and Clapham Road. A network of medieval country lanes, such as Acre Lane, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton Water Lane and Lyham Road (formerly Black Lane) were created. At the end of the 18th century, the original woodland / marshes were gradually covered by farmland, villages and settlements formed around Brixton. Apparently the area was well known for its game and strawberries.
Brixton Causeway (also known as Bristow Causeway) was one of the earliest place names recorded in Brixton. The name Causeway suggests it was a raised road or track across low or wet ground which ran from Brixton Hill to Brixton (part of the a Roman Road, the London to Brighton Way). During the early 18 c, there was only a small settlement in the area. A newspaper report of 1730 records it as a site of gallows: 'The Bodies of Blewit and Burnworth, who were hang'd in Chains in St George's Fields for the Murder of Mr Ball, were on Wednesday taken down, and one of 'em was hung up on the old Gibbet on Bristow (Brixton) Causeway; and the other on Kennington Common, on the Gibbet where Berry, (one of the same gang) now hangs." See Lambeth Archives
Brixton in the 1800s - 1830s
1800 - Brixton. Source: theundergroundmap.com
- 1806, UK Parliament - By the the Rush Common Act 1806, Rush Common was designated a protected open space and common land in Brixton - a triangle bounded by: Brixton Hill, Effra Road and Josephine Avenue. Moroever, the the Rush Common Act 1806 stipulated that 'no Buildings or Erections above the Surface of the Earth' should be erected upon Rush Common within 150 feet of the London to Croydon Turnpike Road'.
- 1807, London - The first recorded public street lighting powered by gas occurred in Pall Mall, London, on 28 January 1807. Source: The London Gasketeers. By 1810, I would have hoped Brixtonians would have had gas street lighting when Effra Road was constructed.
- 1810, Effra Road - Effra Road in Brixton was built in 1810 on land near Effra Farm and the river Effra. Here begins the history of my Victorian Terrace building! Opposite Effra Road lay Rushey Green (aka Rush Common) - the name suggests the land there was marshy, see the Brixton map of 1824.
- 1816, Brixton - Brixton Windmill (22 Blenheim Gardens) was built in 1816. It was leased to the Ashby family the following year until 1934. The Ashby family were millers who produced stoneground wholemeal flour and the mill became known as Ashby's Mill. Brixton Windmill is the only remaining windmill of 12 that stood in the Lambeth area.
- 1816, London - The opening of Vauxhall Bridge in 1816 was the catalyst to Brixton's growth and terraced houses and detached villas soon lined the main Brixton road.
- 1820, Brixton - Brixton prison (Jebb Ave, Brixton Hill) was built in 1820 and opened as the Surrey House of Correction, Brixton Prison which was intended to house 175 prisoners.
- 1820, Effra Road - The George Canning public house on 95 Effra Road (now Hootenannys), at the junction with Brixton Water Lane was pouring pints. The pub was rebuilt in 1896.
The George Canning public house at the junction of Effra Road and Water Lane. Source: Lambeth Council
- 1824, Brixton - The Trinity Asylum for Aged Persons was founded in 1822 by Thomas Bailey, a cut-glass manufacturer of the City of London, who lived in Bethal House, Brixton. The Trinity Asylum opened in 1824 on 28 Acre Lane, Brixton and accommodated 12 poor elderly women who were members of the Church of England and were between 57 and 67 years of age. It is now known as Trinity Homes, run by a charity of the same name and continues to provide accommodation for both men and women aged 57 years or over, who are members of a Christian denomination. Find out more
1824 - St Mathew's Parish, Brixton. Source: Lambeth Archives
- 1825, Brixton - An ornate mausoleum was erected at the junction of Brixton Road, Effra Road and Brixton Hill by Henry Budd in 1825 for his father Richard Budd (1748-1824) who had worked ... in the stock exchange. Find out more
- 1832, Brixton - In 1832, The Lambeth Waterworks Company, a utility company which supplied water to parts of south London, purchased 16 acres (65,000 m2) of land in Brixton and built a reservoir and works on Brixton Hill, by Brixton Prison, which became the company's main distribution station. Find out more
- 1836, Brixton - 16 Almshouses were built on Ferndale Road, Brixton in 1836. It was one of three sets of Almshouses built on the Ferndale Road site, which originated in 1834 when land was purchased in Brixton to provide houses for poor freemen and others of the City of London from donations by a group of City businessmen to celebrate the passing of the 1832 Reform Bill, which basically gave the vote to middle class men. With mounting debts, the site to be passed by the trustees to the Corporation of London in 1848 forced. Find out more.
Brixton in the 1840s - 1850s
1840 - Brixton / Effra Farm map. Source: Lambeth Archives
1841 - Brixton & Effra Road 1841 map Source: Lambeth Archives
- 1841, Brixton - By 1841, Brixton had a population of 10,175. Source: Lambeth Council
- 1853, Brixton - The graveyard surrounding the St Mathew's Church was closed to new burials. It was thought that burying people in the middle of a populated area might have been one of the causes of the cholera epidemic. (Holy, Moly - now, I know this I don't feel right, walking on the grass there!)
- 1854, Brixton - the City of London Freemen's Orphan School, Brixton was opened in 1854, on Ferndale Road for "the maintenance and the religious and virtuous education of orphans of Freemen of the City of London". The City of London Freemen's Orphan School was paid for by the Corporation of London. It accommodated about 100 girls and boys, making it one of the oldest co-educational independent schools. The grand City of London Freemen's Orphan School was enlarged in 1863, but relocated to Ashtead Park in Surrey in 1924 while the buildings on Ferndale Road were demolished. Images Lambeth Archives: City of London Freemen's Orphan School, Brixton and City of London Freemen's Orphan School Plan
- 1855, London - The first six Pillar boxes in London were installed on 11 April 1855.
- 1858, Brixton - Brixton Police Station (367 Brixton Road) was built in 1858 to the designs of Charles Reeves, a Metropolitan Police Surveyor. FYI The Metropolitan Police was founded by Sir Robert Peel in 1829. Brixton Police Station was extended in 1909 and demolished and rebuilt in 1959.
Brixton Police Station at No. 367 Brixton Road - built in 1858. Source: Lambeth Council