I spent my childhood at Brixton Hill and, together with a childhood mate who lived in Blenheim Gardens, used to frequent the old mill and play there. Of course, it was all overgrown and dilapidated then.
As a boy I remember an old white milestone beside a traffic light pole at the top of Brixton Hill opposite New Park Road. A little further on opposite the Telegraph pub were two cobbled streets housing stables, one named Cowpers Row. Roupell Park Estate now occupies the area.
Immediately behind Streatham Hill on Christchurch Road (a blue police box used to stand there) I remember a cobbled area which used to be an inn long ago where they changed the mail coach horses. The inn suffered bomb damage during WW2.
On the far side of Brixton Hill a little way up, opposite Blenheim Gardens, were some big houses which lay back from the road, called Raleigh Gardens. Whether or not the story is true, I was told it was there that Sir Walter Raleigh laid his cloak down.
I went to New Park Road School, now Richard Atkins. Next to it on the corner of Lyham Road was a church, now demolished. I can’t remember its name. I was a choirboy there.
Other trivia which may be of interest are: Phyllis Calvert, a 1940s film star, used to live in Blenheim Gardens. Naughton and Gold, comedians I think, used to live on the corner of New Park Road and Lexton Gardens. Thornes Coaches were situated close to Jebb Avenue and offered trips to the seaside, along with Orange Coaches situated opposite St Matthew’s Church in Effra Road.
The old Clifton Cinema was on Brixton Hill between Josephine Avenue and Arodene Road, and I remember an underground air raid shelter (WW2) on the corner of Streatham Place and Brixton Hill.
Living next door to me back then was a very old lady, who told me that, as a girl, she used to walk over the fields down to the River Effra for picnics in summer. How times have changed!”