Local historian John W Brown takes a stroll down Telford Avenue and discovers the homes of a popular comedy actress and a famous disc jockey.

Telford Avenue was laid out on the Telford Park Estate in 1878 and is named after Charles Telford, a city stockbroker.

He married Sarah Kymer, the sister of Maximilian Kymer the owner of the land on which the estate was developed and which formed part of Sarah's dowry.

Many of the surrounding streets, such as Bellasis, Criffel and Killieser Avenues, are named after places on the Kymer family estate in Scotland.

The large Victorian houses built in Telford Avenue were erected by the local firm of Sutton and Dudley. These houses were originally offered for rent at £50 plus a year, with properties available for purchase from £500 upwards.

To attract tenants and purchasers, advertising placards promoting the delights of the estate were placed on a small island that stood at the junction of the avenue and Streatham Hill.

Some fascinating old photographs of Telford Avenue appear in the book Streatham, published in the Images Of England series. These show the area in the years before the First World War when the houses here provided comfortable homes for the wealthy middle-classes of the day.

Probably the best known resident of this road is the actress Lynda Baron, famous for her roles as Norma Patterson in the ITV series Fat Friends; Nurse Gladys Emmanuel in the <a href="http://http://www.bbc.co.uk">BBC</a> television comedy programme Open All Hours; and as Lily-Bless-Her in Last Of The Summer Wine.

Linda moved to London when she was 16 and obtained her first stage roll in a panto chorus line. She quickly graduated to singing in cabaret shows and appeared in revue with Sheila Hancock and Kenneth Williams. This led to her participating in the hit 1960s TV show That Was The Week That Was and a two-year spell at the Talk Of The Town.

After raising a family in Bishop's Stortford she returned to London, first living in Camden, before moving to Telford Avenue.

In 1995 Linda switched on Streatham's first Christmas lights since the Second World War.

Another well-known former resident of Telford Avenue is the popular TV and radio personality David Jacobs. For many years he hosted the successful Juke Box Jury pop record revue show on <a href="http://http://www.bbc.co.uk">BBC</a> television.

David was born at 24 Telford Avenue, later renumbered number 42.

In recalling his boyhood in Telford Park, he tells of the times the comedian Bud Flanagan, of The Crazy Gang, used to arrive at his home early in the morning to give him a lift to school in his car.

Images Of England, Streatham, costs £10.98 including postage and packing and is available from Local History Publications, 316 Green Lane, Streatham, London, SW16 3AS.

January 20, 2003 13:30