Originally called Leather Bottle Lane, this road dates back to mediaeval times linking the top of the Norwood Ridge to Norbury, Parchmore Farm and the farms around the junction of that road with Collier's Water Lane. By the time the change of name took place in May 1890, most of the southern side of the road had been built up.
Building of the street
Between Parchmore Road and Bensham Grove were the six Sussex Cottages (Nos.2-12), Swiss Cottage (22), Joy’s Cottages (24, 26) and another pair of houses, Nos. 36 and 38. The stretch from Bensham Grove to Osborne Road had Beulah Terrace (40-50, Surrey Cottages (54-60, Smith’s Cottage (62) and Reform Cottages (66-70). East of Osborne Road were Thornton Villas (72-98), the Leather Bottle Public House (100) and much further on, Spa Villas. On the north side were just the old cottage which has one time been the Leather Bottle Inn and the two pairs of houses: Claude and Dale Park Villas. In the 1880s, the old cottage was pulled down and in 1897 a pair of houses (72, 74) were erected to the right of Osborne Road.
However, it was the onslaught of development on the north side in that year which was to change the whole character of the road. Before that date the north side had just been an area of open land with the Beulah Brickworks situated well back from the road, now it was to become a continuous line of terrace housing interspersed with gaps for possible development further back. Unlike the growth of the south side which had taken nearly 60 years, the new housing, all 189 houses, many of them flats, was to arrive in just three years!
The first houses to be built were two terraces of flats (Nos. 173, a-1879, a; 181, a-189, a Virginia Terrace) between Ingram Road and Claude Villas with two more houses (169,170) added to the western terrace a year later. That was the same year that most building took place, the first terrace of eight (53-65), which included one flat (59a), being started early in the year past the western entrance to the Beulah Brickworks. Later in the year work began on a longer terrace of 14 houses and 13 flats (25-51,27a-51a) on the other side of that entrance as well as three more terraces further along the road. These comprised Nos. 67-79, 67a-73a); 95-107,95a-105 and 109-121,117a-121a). The following year the gaps between the existing terraces were filled in with Nos. 1-23 at the western end, 81-93,83aa-93a in the centre and 123-137,125a west of Springfield Road. 21 more houses and flats (139-167,141a, 145a, 149a-155a) were added to a third Virginia Terrace, Nos.12-17(157-167) so filling the stretch of road between Springfield and Ingram Roads.
1897 also saw new building taking place on the south side. This preceded the development of the Leather Bottle Lane Estate which had been laid out south of it in 1890. In 1897 a terrace commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee was begun east of the Leather Bottle Inn and next to Penrith Road. The first five houses (114-122) of Jubilee Terrace were joined a year later by six more (102-112). The next terrace to arrive was Winifred Terrace with its 12 houses (158-180). Nos. 1-6 were started early in 1899; the rest later that year. 1900 witnessed the building of Gladstone Terrace; William Gladstone, the former Prime Minister, had died in 1898. All eleven houses (182-202) were completed at the end of the year along with the first half of a pair, No. 136. No. 138 was built the following year, together with the last two terraces to be built in the road, Nos. 146-156 next to the pair of houses and 24 houses and flats(204-246) known as Fair View Terrace between Gladstone and Howberry Roads. In 1901 the Holy Cross Mission Church was built next to Swiss Cottage.
In January 1909 it was decided that Beulah Terrace which although it had been in Spa Road was in the Upper Norwood postal district and so with that stretch of road was transferred to Spa Hill. In January 1912 the road south of Howberry Road was renamed Northwood Road.
This account was compiled by the late Ken Maggs in 2009.
Significant Street Buildings