Goodbye, Streatham


 ‘Mr.Thrale’s House’, Streatham Park, situated off Tooting Bec Road, facing the common.The house was made famous by the family’s association with Dr.Samuel Johnson, who was a frequent visitor here between 1765 and 1782.

[image and caption courtesy of Ideal Homes, at]

Well, I’m packed and ready to leave Streatham tomorrow morning.  Then I’ll be winging my way back to Houston, which is just as rainy as England, only not so cold.

In the meantime, why don’t you look at the Wikipedia entry for the history of Streatham, described there as a ‘multicultural inner London suburb South of Brixton,’ and which had a few worthy visitors during the 1770s:

In the 1730s, Streatham Park, a Georgian country mansion, was built by the brewer Ralph Thrale on land he bought from the Lord of the Manor – the fourth Duke of Bedford. Streatham Park later passed to Ralph’s son Henry Thrale, who with his wife Hester Thrale entertained many of the leading literary and artistic characters of the day, most notably the lexicographer Samuel Johnson. The dining room contained 12 portraits of Henry’s guests painted by his friend Joshua Reynolds. These pictures were wittily labelled by Fanny Burney as the Streatham Worthies.

Streatham Park was later leased to Prime Minister Lord Shelburne, and was the venue of the negotiated peace with France that lead to the Treaty of Paris (1783). Streatham Park was demolished in 1863.

Not many traces of the fashionable spa-town remained where I was staying.  It was also amusing to see that Lord Thurlow, the beetle-browed, bullying, and unlovable attorney beloved by George III, had had an estate there, memorialized now only by an ugly apartment building, Thurlow Towers, down my street.


3 responses to “Goodbye, Streatham

  1. Kamille Stone Stanton

    Who knew Streatham had such a lively cultural life? I thought the nearby tv-friendly Battersea Dog’s Home brought all the glamor to the area, but clearly there is a longstanding tradition of it.

    I can see the forthcoming blue plaque now. “American scholar Dave Mazella stayed in this area while researching his work on 1771.” Bless the blue plaques.


  2. Sorry about the so-called “summer”. Hope you enjoyed the trip anyway!

  3. Dave Mazella

    Kamille, I can hardly wait to read my plaque! When do I get one?

    And if I’m not mistaken, I saw the Battersea Dog’s Home from the train a bunch of times, but never any dogs.

    I hope someday to be known as one of the latest of the “Streatham worthies.”


    Yes, I had a great time, despite the rain. The kids did, too, while they were with me.