Brixton is a district of south London, England, within the London
Borough of Lambeth. The area is identified in the
London Plan as one
of 35 major centres in Greater London.
Brixton is mainly residential with a prominent street market and
substantial retail sector. It is a multiethnic community, with a
large percentage of its population of Caribbean descent. It lies
within Inner south
London and is bordered by Stockwell, Clapham,
Tulse Hill and Herne Hill. The district
houses the main offices of the
London Borough of Lambeth.
Brixton is 2.7 miles (4.3 km) south-southwest of the geographical
Lambeth North Underground station.
1.1 Until the mid-20th century
1.2 1948: The Windrush generation
1.3 1980s: Riots after police actions and Scarman Report
1.5 JayDay Cannabis Festival
2 Transition Town
3.1 Housing estates
3.2 Victorian buildings
6 Religious sites
6.2 Christian churches
7 Policing, drugs and crime
7.1 Operation Swamp
7.2 Gang culture
7.4 Brian Paddick
7.5 Gun crime
8 In popular culture
8.2 Film and television
8.3 Video Games
9.3 National Rail
9.4 Road Network
9.5 Cross River Tram
10 Notable people
12 External links
Ashby's Mill, Brixton, also known as
Brixton Windmill in 1864
A map showing the
Brixton ward of
Lambeth Metropolitan Borough as it
appeared in 1916.
Until the mid-20th century
Brixton is thought to originate from Brixistane, meaning the
stone of Brixi, a
Saxon lord. Brixi is thought to have erected a
boundary stone to mark the meeting place of the ancient hundred court
of Surrey. The location is unknown but is thought to be at the top of
Brixton Hill, at a road known at the time as Bristow or Brixton
Causeway, long before any settlement in the area.
Brixton marks the
rise from the marshes of North
Lambeth up to the hills of Upper
Norwood and Streatham. At the time the
River Effra flowed from its
Upper Norwood through
Herne Hill to Brixton. At
river was crossed by low bridges for Roman roads to the south coast of
Brixton Road and
Clapham Road. The main roads were
connected through a network of medieval country lanes, such as Acre
Lane, Coldharbour Lane,
Brixton Water Lane and Lyham Road, formerly
Black Lane. It was only at the end of the 18th century that villages
and settlements formed around Brixton, as the original woodland was
gradually reduced until the area was covered in farmland and market
gardens known for game and strawberries.
The area remained undeveloped until the beginning of the 19th century,
the main settlements being near Stockwell,
Brixton Hill and
Coldharbour Lane. With the opening of
Vauxhall Bridge in 1816,
improved access to Central
London led to a process of suburban
development. The largest single development, and one of the last in
suburban character, was Angell Town, laid out in the 1850s on the east
Brixton Road, and so named after a family that owned land in
Lambeth from the late 17th century until well into the 20th.
One of a few surviving windmills in London, built in 1816, is just off
Brixton Hill and surrounded by houses built during Brixton's Victorian
expansion. When the
London sewerage system was constructed during the
mid-19th century, its designer
Sir Joseph Bazalgette
Sir Joseph Bazalgette incorporated
flows from the River Effra, which used to flow through Brixton, into
his 'high-level interceptor sewer', also known as the Effra
Brixton was transformed into a middle class suburb between the 1860s
and 1890s. Railways linked
Brixton with the centre of
London when the
Chatham Main Line
Chatham Main Line was built through the area by the London, Chatham
and Dover Railway in the 1860s. In 1880,
Electric Avenue was so named
after it became the first street in
London to be lit by electricity.
In this time, large expensive houses were constructed along the main
roads in Brixton, which were converted into flats and boarding houses
at the start of the 20th century as the middle classes were replaced
by an influx of the working classes.
Brixton attracted thousands of new people. It housed the
largest shopping centre in
South London at the time, as well as a
thriving market, cinemas, pubs and a theatre. In the 1920s, Brixton
was the shopping capital of
South London with three large department
stores and some of the earliest branches of what are now Britain's
major national retailers. Today,
Brixton Road is the main shopping
area, fusing into
Brixton Market. A prominent building on
Street (at 472–488
Brixton Road) is Morleys, an independent
department store established in the 1920s.
The Sunlight Laundry, Brixton
On the western boundary of
Clapham stands the Sunlight
Art Deco factory building. Designed by architect F.E.
Simpkins and erected in 1937, this is one of the few art deco
buildings that is still owned by the firm that commissioned it and is
still used for its original purpose.
Brixton area was bombed during World War II, contributing to a
severe housing crisis, which in turn led to urban decay. This was
followed by slum clearances and the building of council housing. In
the 1940s and 1950s, many immigrants, particularly from the West
Indies, settled in Brixton. More recent immigrants include a large
Portuguese community (see Little Portugal) and other European
Brixton also has an increasingly ageing population, which
affects housing strategies in the area.
1948: The Windrush generation
See also: Windrush generation
Empire Windrush which brought immigrants from the Caribbean to
Tilbury in 1948.
Windrush Square street sign
The first wave of immigrants (492 individuals) who formed the British
African-Caribbean community arrived in 1948 at
Tilbury Docks on the
Empire Windrush from
Jamaica and were temporarily housed in the
Clapham South deep shelter. The nearest Labour Exchange (Jobcentre)
was on Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, and the new arrivals spread out into
Many immigrants only intended to stay in Britain for a few years, but
although a number returned to the Caribbean, the majority remained to
settle permanently. The arrival of the passengers has become an
important landmark in the history of modern Britain, and the image of
West Indians filing off its gangplank has come to symbolise the
beginning of modern British multicultural society. In 1998 the
area in front of the Tate Library in
Brixton was renamed "Windrush
Square" to mark the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the
1980s: Riots after police actions and Scarman Report
Main articles: 1981
Brixton riot, 1985
Brixton riot, and Scarman
Atlantic Road, August 2007
Brixton was the scene of riots in April 1981 at a time when Brixton
underwent deep social and economic problems—high unemployment, high
crime, poor housing, no amenities—in a predominantly
African-Caribbean community. The
Metropolitan Police began
Operation Swamp 81 at the beginning of April, aimed at reducing street
crime, largely through the repeated use of the so-called sus law,
which allowed police officers to stop and search any individual on the
grounds of mere "suspicion" of possible wrongdoing. Plain clothes
police officers were dispatched into Brixton, and within five days
almost 1,000 people were stopped and searched under this law.
There was intense local indignation at this, since the vast majority
of those stopped by the police were young black men. The riot resulted
in almost 279 injuries to police and 45 injuries to members of the
public, more than a hundred vehicles were burned (including 56
police vehicles), and almost 150 buildings were damaged, with 30
burned. There were 82 arrests. Reports suggested that up to 5,000
people were involved in the riot.
1981 Brixton riot
1981 Brixton riot the Government commissioned a public
inquiry into the riot headed by Lord Scarman. The subsequent Scarman
report was published in November 1981 and found unquestionable
evidence of the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of 'stop and
search' powers by the police against black people. The report made a
number of recommendations and led to a new code for police behaviour
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the creation of an
independent Police Complaints Authority in 1985. The 1999
Macpherson Report, an investigation into the murder of Stephen
Lawrence, found that recommendations of the 1981
Scarman report had
been ignored and concluded that the police force was "institutionally
1985 Brixton riot followed the police shooting of a local black
woman, Dorothy 'Cherry' Groce, after the police had entered her house
looking for her son Michael Groce. Although the
subsequently saw pioneering community policing initiatives, the
continued death of young black men in police custody (and in one case
the death of a man pointing a fake gun at people) coupled with general
distrust of the police led to smaller scale protests through the
The 1995 riots were initially sparked by the death of a black man
(Wayne Douglas) in police custody and occurred in an atmosphere of
discontent about the gentrification of Brixton.
Former Prime Minister John Major's own childhood roots in
used in a campaign poster during the Conservative Party's 1992
election campaign: "What does the Conservative Party offer a working
class kid from Brixton? They made him Prime Minister."
Electric Avenue, inspiration of the
Eddy Grant single, part of Brixton
Market, and site of the 1999 bombing
On 17 April 1999 neo-nazi bomber
David Copeland planted a nail bomb in
Electric Avenue, which exploded on a market day by the Iceland
supermarket at the junction with
Brixton Road (
Brixton High Street).
Copeland was sentenced to six concurrent life sentences in June 2000.
Brixton bombing is reported to have targeted the black community
in Brixton. Copeland also bombed Brick Lane, the heart of East
London's Bangladeshi and Asian community, and the Admiral Duncan pub
in Soho, London, frequented predominantly by the gay community. The
BBC reports that Copeland intended to ignite a race war across Britain
with his bombing campaign. A 2009 play about the events, The First
Domino, was written by one victim in the
JayDay Cannabis Festival
From 2001 to 2004,
Brockwell Park hosted the annual Cannabis Festival,
or JayDay, organised by the Cannabis Coalition. The police reportedly
maintained a low profile, tolerating the smoking of cannabis.
In 2005 the
London Borough of Lambeth
London Borough of Lambeth rejected the application for a
further Cannabis Festival on the following grounds:
Lambeth Council supports freedom of speech and the right to
take part in a legitimate campaign, the council cannot condone illegal
activities such as cannabis use and drug pushing – both of which
have taken place at a previous festival held by the Cannabis
Coalition. Indeed council officers monitoring the event in the past
were approached by drug dealers who offered them drugs."
There is debate regarding whether Brixton's recent renaissance is
regeneration or gentrification. Some believe the area has slowly
undergone a process of gentrification since the 1990s and has resulted
in many wealthy middle-class people taking advantage of the area's
location and the thriving
Bohemian art scene. However, others argue
that the area is undergoing exciting regeneration. In
Brixton has hosted a regular farmers' market on Station
Road, as well as Pop-up restaurants and pop-up shops. New art
galleries, delicatessens, bars, cafes and vintage clothing stores,
particularly in and around
Brixton Village Market have also opened,
which some believe is gentrifying the area in a similar way to that in
Brixton was awarded The Great Neighbourhood Award 2013 (covering the
UK and Ireland) by The Academy of Urbanism.
In April 2015, a Reclaim
Brixton protest was held by local residents
Brixton was one of the first inner-city based 'Transition Town'
projects in the UK.
Brockwell Park hosts the now annual Urban
Green Fair, first held in summer 2007.
Brixton Pound was first trialled at Transition Town Brixton's
"Local Economy Day" on 19 June 2008. It was then launched on 17
September 2009 by Transition Town Brixton. The
Brixton Pound is a
local currency that is available as an alternative to the pound
sterling. The first trading day of the
Brixton Pound was on 18
September 2009 with 80 local businesses accepting the currency.
Other towns in the UK that use their own currency include Bristol,
Totnes in Devon, Stroud in Gloucestershire and Lewes in Sussex.
Brixton Pound aims to boost the local economy and build a mutual
support system amongst independent businesses by tying local shoppers
to local shops and by encouraging local shops to source goods and
services locally. The notes are available in B£1, B£5, B£10,
and B£20 denominations and depict local celebrities such as the
Olive Morris and the environmentalist James
Lambeth Council has endorsed the project, which the New
Economics Foundation helped to develop.
On 29 September 2011, the
Brixton Pound launched an electronic version
of the currency where users can pay by text message.
Reverse of the B£10 note
A second issue of the paper currency was launched, featuring a new set
of well-known people with
Brixton connections: On the B£1, the Black
Cultural Archives founder Len Garrison, on the B£5, NBA basketball
Luol Deng (the reverse was inspired by the Evelyn Grace
David Bowie on the B£10 and
World War II
World War II secret agent
Violette Szabo on the B£20.
The reverse of the notes, designed by a
Brixton creative agency This
Ain't Rock'n'Roll, feature notable local landmarks such as the
Stockwell Skatepark, public art on Electric Avenue, Nuclear Dawn (one
Brixton murals), and the Stirling Prize-winning Evelyn Grace
Academy. All four notes feature a design motif inspired by Coldharbour
Southwyck House (or "Barrier Block").
In 2015, to celebrate the
Brixton Pound's fifth anniversary, the
Turner Prize-winning artist
Jeremy Deller was commissioned to design a
limited-edition B£5 note. It was described as "psychedelic and
political", with the front featuring bright colors and the back with a
quotation from Karl Marx’s
Das Kapital ("Capital is money, capital
is commodities...By virtue of it being value, it has acquired the
occult ability to add value to itself. It brings forth living
offspring, or, at the least, lays golden eggs.")
The Loughborough Estate in the east of the area
Brixton is home to six large housing estates:
Stockwell Park Estate
Brixton Roads respectively; Myatt's Fields South and
North off Vassall Road; Angell Town off
Brixton Road on the boundary
with Camberwell; Loughborough in the centre of Brixton; Moorlands
Estate, situated off Coldharbour Lane; St Matthew's, located in the
Brixton Hill and Effra Road;
Tulse Hill Estate a little
further south of St. Matthews. The six estates account for a large
part of the
Estates like the
Stockwell Park Estate and the Angell Town Estate were
originally designed to accommodate high-level walkways which were
envisaged to link the whole of Brixton. The ground-floor garages of
these estates have proved to be a major security problem. The
Somerleyton Estate is dominated by
Southwyck House (known locally as
"Barrier Block"), a large horseshoe-shaped brick and concrete 1970s
structure that backs onto Coldharbour Lane. The 176-apartment block
was originally constructed in this shape to provide a noise barrier
against Ringway 1, a proposed inner-
London motorway that was planned
to pass through
Brixton and Camberwell, later abandoned.
Brixton in 1889, showing Coldharbour Lane, Angell Town and
Loughborough Road. Published in Life and Labour of the People in
London by Charles Booth. The red areas are "middle-class, well-to-do"
and the yellow areas are "upper-middle and upper classes, wealthy".
Some housing estates have been linked with urban decay and crime. New
gates and iron bars have been constructed for the Loughborough Estate
around Loughborough Road and Minet Road in response to a number of
murders around the estate. The Loughborough Estate is home to more
than 3,000 families and a mix of 1940s low-rise buildings and
1960s/1970s tower blocks and houses. Problems of urban decay have
been reported around Loughborough Junction, the catchment area for
Loughborough Estate, the Angell Town Estate and the Moorlands
Brixton still features some grand Victorian housing. As bridges
were built across the
Thames in the early 19th century those working
in the City of
London and the
London West End moved to south London.
The earliest built development was in Washway, now
Brixton Road. With
the enclosing of the Manor of Lambeth, owned by the Archbishop of
Canterbury, in 1806 and the opening of
Vauxhall Bridge in 1816
development of terraced houses and detached villas started to line the
main roads. St Matthew's Church in the centre of
consecrated in 1824, indicating a sizeable population by this time.
The Rush Common enclosure stipulations dictated that the large
terraced and detached houses that were built along the main roads were
set back from the road, allowing for generous gardens. The windmill
was erected in 1816 by John Ashby on
Brixton Hill and the
of Correction, later
Brixton prison, was established in 1819.
Scotch bonnet peppers imported from the Caribbean on sale at Brixton
Market. The peppers are a key ingredient of "Jerk" dishes (Caribbean
With the arrival of the railway in
Brixton in the 1870s a building
boom set in and
Brixton developed into a major shopping centre. The
first purpose-built department store, Bon Marché, was opened on
Brixton Road in 1877 and
Electric Avenue was one of the first shopping
arcades to have electric lighting. The now famous
Brixton Market began
in Atlantic Road and was moved to Station Road in the 1920s to ease
Brixton Market is open every day, selling a
range of Afro-Caribbean products and reflects other communities in the
local area with Indian and Vietnamese supermarkets and South American
butchers amongst the shops and stalls.. London
Farmers' Markets opened a farmers market on
Brixton Station Road in
September 2009. It is open every Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm.
Brixton Academy Mural, 1982
After the riots in 1981 a series of murals were funded by the council.
The murals portray nature, politics, community and ideas. The
surviving murals include the
Brixton Academy Mural (
Walk) by Stephen Pusey (1982) showing a mixed group of young people,
intended to portray the natural harmony that could be found between
children of mixed backgrounds in the local schools.
The Ritzy Cinema
The Ritzy Cinema, Coldharbour Lane, is a formerly independent cinema
now owned by Picturehouse Cinemas. The building was designed as the
Electric Pavilion in 1910 by E. C. Homer and Lucas, one of England's
first purpose-built cinemas.
Brixton has a significant clubbing and live music scene. Large venues
Electric Brixton and Mass at St Matthew's
Church. A range of smaller venues such as The Prince Albert, The
Prince / DexClub, The Windmill, The Dogstar, Jamm, The Telegraph, Plan
B, Hootananny, The 414, The Effra Tavern, Upstairs at the Ritzy, and
The Grosvenor are a major part of London's live music scene. The
Brixton Splash is an annual one-day street party held since 2006. The
event is community run, showcasing local talent and celebrating the
cultural diversity and history of Brixton.
Brixton is also home to a 1970s purpose-built skatepark, named
Stockwell Skatepark.
Brixton Synagogue at 49 Effra Road opened in 1913 and closed in 1986,
with the congregation then amalgamating with the nearby Streatham
Synagogue. The front of the building still exists.
St Matthew's Brixton
Brixton lies within the Anglican Diocese of Southwark. The grade
II*listed St Matthew's Church, located on
Brixton Green, was built in
1822 by the architect C. F. Porden in the Greek Revival style. It
is one of the "Waterloo churches" built to celebrate Britain's victory
at the Battle of Waterloo. St. Saviour's Church was a location filming
site of Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1955,
identified in the film as Ambrose Chapel.
The 1868 parish church of St Jude, located on
Dulwich Road, was
designed by the architect John Kirk of Woolwich. It closed in 1975,
and the parish merged with St Matthew's. The church building is today
used as business premises by a publishing company.
Christ Church on
Brixton Road is an
Art Nouveau and Byzantine-style
Grade II*listed building built in 1902 by Beresford Pite, and St
Paul's church on Ferndale Road was originally built in 1958 as a
Seventh-day Adventist church by John Soper.
Corpus Christi Church in
Brixton comes under the remit of the Roman
Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark.
The Masjid ibn Taymeeyah, or
Brixton Mosque and Islamic Cultural
Centre, is located in Gresham Road, close to
Brixton Police Station.
The mosque has facilities for both men and women and space for 400
worshippers during prayer. Opened in 1990 it is one of the oldest
mosques in South London. The mosque provides religious, social and
financial support to its members.
The mosque made international headlines when it was reported that
Richard Reid, the so-called "shoe bomber", had attended the mosque.
Abdul Haqq Baker, chairman of
Brixton Mosque, told the BBC that Reid
came to the mosque to learn about Islam but soon fell in with what he
called "more extreme elements". Zacarias Moussaoui, who was
convicted of conspiring to kill citizens of the USA as part of 11
September 2001, terrorist attacks, made his initial steps into radical
Brixton Mosque, where he met Reid, though he was
expelled from the mosque after he turned up wearing combat fatigues
and a backpack, and pressured the cleric to give him information on
joining the jihad. Abdullah el-Faisal, a radical Muslim cleric who
preached in the UK until imprisoned for stirring up hatred and later
Jamaica in 2007, was associated with the
and began preaching to crowds of up to 500 people, but was ousted by
Salafi administration in 1993. Afterward, he gave a
lecture he called The Devil's Deception of the Saudi Salafis, scorning
Salafi Muslims (especially the members of the
calling them hypocrites and apostates (takfir).
Brixton was a site of a conference after the
London bombings, at which
local Muslims condemned all use of terror and indiscriminate killing.
Footage of the conference was included in a six-part ITV series called
Mosque. It included local Muslims talking about the discrimination
they face from people not able to differentiate between Muslims and
terrorists, and the local
Brixton community, on the whole, is
described as welcoming towards Muslims.
Policing, drugs and crime
Main article: 1981
Before the 1981 riot was the centre of "Operation Swamp 81" aimed at
reducing street crime mainly through the heavy use of the so-called
sus law, which allowed police to stop and search individuals on the
basis of a mere "suspicion" of wrongdoing. Plainclothes police
officers were dispatched into Brixton, and in five days almost 1,000
people were stopped and searched. The local community was not
consulted about the operation and tensions between the black community
and the police on the streets of
Brixton reached breaking point. Local
residents complained about young, inexperienced police officers being
sent on the streets, provoking confrontation.
Main article: Yardies
The Independent reported that around 200 "hardcore Yardies"
are based in Lambeth, some operating as members of "Firehouse Posse"
or Brixton's "Kartel Crew".
Yardies were historically associated
with Jamaican immigrants and had a recognised stronghold in Brixton.
Brixton were referred to as "Little Tivoli" after "Tivoli
Gardens", a notorious "garrison community" in
Jamaica ruled by
gunmen. In 1999 a scandal broke over Metropolitan Police
detectives allowing two known Jamaican
Yardies to stay in Britain as
an intelligence tool. Eaton Green, one of the Yardies, escaped bail in
Jamaica in 1991 and settled in Brixton, dealing in crack cocaine.
Three months later Green was arrested by a
Brixton constable, Steve
Barker, and became a paid informer. Green provided intelligence about
Yardie activity for two years, continuing the use of firearms and the
dealing of crack throughout this time.
Several gangs are headquartered in the
Brixton area. The "Murderzone"
(MZ) gang, which is involved in illegal drug dealing, hail from the
Somerleyton Estate. The "Poverty Driven Children"/"Pil dem crew"
(PDC) are located in the Angell Town and Loughborough Junction
area. "Organised Crime" (OC), a gang linked with various
shootings and an ongoing rivalry with the
Peckham Boys, are based in
the Myatts Field Estate. "Guns and Shanks"/"Grind and
Stack"/"Grip and Shoot" (GAS) is located mainly in Angell Town.
In 2011, five of the most prominent members of the GAS Gang —
Ricardo Giddings, Helder Demorais, Jamal Moore, Shaquille Haughton and
Kyle Kinghorn — were sentenced to a total of 76 years in prison for
the murder of rival gang member, fifteen-year-old Zac Olumegbon.
Members of local gangs are mostly in their late teens or early 20s,
with gang leaders usually being childhood friends. Brought up in some
of London's poorest areas some gang members reportedly move from house
to house on an almost nightly basis, making it hard to track them.
According to the Metropolitan Police, these youth gangs are far from
organised criminal masterminds; however, they continue to evade the
police and have been responsible for numerous offences of homicide.
Operation Trident officers stated that it is a "struggle" to persuade
local people to testify, because of fear of reprisals. Trident
officers stated that some gang members were "inept at handling
powerful guns", and that gangs have machine guns, 9 mm. According
to the detective many of the deactivated guns are shipped in from the
Balkans and then reactivated.
Some media commentators persistently call
Brixton "the drugs capital
of London". Val Shawcross, Labour representative on the London
Lambeth and Southwark, runs a "
Brixton Drug Crime"
campaign and she states on her website:
I have been raising the disgraceful state of
Brixton and the existence
of an open drugs market in the centre – with the Council, Mayor and
the Metropolitan police... The police, the Drugs and Firearms Unit and
Transport Operational Unit officers have been undertaking long-term
surveillance of the area (
Brixton Town Centre) culminating in a
three-day operation at the end of June to arrest those dealing Class A
drugs... The police will be carrying out continuing covert operations
Brixton and patrolling with drug detection dogs. This is a
long-term crackdown with the aim on cleaning the dealers out of
Brixton.(retrieved July 2008)
For many decades,
Brixton has had a reputation for cannabis use and
the BBC has quoted a local resident as saying "People have always
smoked cannabis in
Brixton – everyone knows that, people have walked
down the street smoking spliffs for years." This reputation was
amplified by the "softly softly" police approach to cannabis that was
Brixton in 2001 to 2005. Concerns were raised about "drug
tourism" to the area. The "softly-softly" pilot occurred in the
context of a wider debate in Britain about the classification of
cannabis. Despite the pilot being stopped and replaced by a "no deal"
Metropolitan Police was in favour of a reclassification of
cannabis from class B to class C. Cannabis was officially reclassified
in Britain from a class B down to a class C drug in early 2004. In
January 2009 the UK government reclassified cannabis back to a class B
Brixton became subject of newspaper headlines due to the
implementation of a pilot cannabis programme, also known as the
"softly softly" approach, initiated by Brian Paddick, then Police
Commander for the
London Borough of Lambeth. Police officers were
instructed not to arrest or charge people who were found to be in
possession of cannabis. They were instead to issue on-the-spot
warnings and confiscate the drugs. Although Paddick is credited with
the idea, the pilot programme was sanctioned by the Commissioner of
Police of the Metropolis, Sir John Stevens. Paddick asserts that he
implemented the policy because he wanted his officers to deal with
cannabis quickly and informally so that they could concentrate on
heroin and crack cocaine offences, and street robbery and burglary,
which were affecting the quality of life in
Lambeth to a greater
extent. The pilot was ended December 2005 and was replaced by a
so-called "no deal" policy on cannabis in
Brixton following complaints
about increasing numbers of dealers openly selling the drug.
Paddick was a sergeant on the front line during the 1981 Brixton
riot, an experience which shaped his attitudes about
confrontational police action and strengthened his belief in community
policing. In December 2000 he was appointed Police Commander for
London Borough of Lambeth
London Borough of Lambeth where he worked until December 2002,
fulfilling his ambition of becoming head of policing in Brixton.
Paddick gained much support from the local community for his approach
to policing and addressed a rally in his support in March 2002,
leading Dominic Casciani from the BBC to comment:
If someone had said just five years ago that black, white, young and
old, straight and gay, liberal and anarchist would all be standing
together giving a standing ovation to a police commander in Brixton,
people might have said they had smoked one spliff too many.
In June 1998, gun crime in
Brixton was reported on widely in
connection with the linked murders of Avril Johnson and Michelle
Brixton and Stratford respectively. Both women were shot in
their respective homes in separate, but connected, attacks; in
addition, both victims were shot in the head. In 2008 Tony
Thompson, a former Time Out news editor, reported that "Gun crime
began to escalate following a series of
South London gang executions
in the late 1990s." Thompson states that "Previous Met operations were
seen as putting down the black community. Trident, from the start, was
intelligence-led and had strong links with the black community."
In 2001 the
Metropolitan Police raised concerns over rapidly
increasing gun crime in London. At the time
Lambeth had the highest
rate of robberies in London. In July 2001 two armed police officers
shot dead black 29-year-old Derek Bennett in Brixton, Angell Town
Estate, after Bennett brandished a gun-shaped cigarette lighter. The
verdict of the subsequent inquest ruled that Bennett had been
"lawfully killed", the verdict was upheld in a subsequent
In December 2004 Operation Trident officers and armed officers were
Lambeth police in a number of stop and search operations
targeting "suspected gunmen or vehicles that have been associated with
firearms" and called "Operation Trident Swoop" by the police. The
Metropolitan Police hoped that "the searches will deter suspects from
carrying weapons and prevent shootings taking place, as well as
possibly recovering weapons and leading to arrests."
Superintendent Jerry Savill,
Lambeth Police has responsibility for
policing in the
Brixton area, stated:
This operation is aimed very specifically at people we have
information to suggest may be involved in gun crime or other offences.
We want to send out a very clear message to those who carry guns in
Lambeth, don't. It is time to stop the vast majority of people in this
borough feeling afraid to be on the street and make it the gunmen who
are fearful of their community helping the police to arrest them.
In September 2006
Brixton was the scene of a widely reported shooting,
involving two boys being shot in the packed McDonald's on Brixton
In 2007 firearm offences rose by 4 per cent in London, totalling 3,459
"gun-enabled" crimes, including 30 gun murders of which nine victims
were aged 18 or under. A series of gun crimes in the Brixton, Clapham
and Streatham, including the Murders of three boys in one week, lead
some media commentators to call the area "gun capital".
In popular culture
Electric Avenue, the street that gave its name to Eddy Grant's 1982
David Bowie's mural painted by James Cochran in his hometown of
Brixton features his character Aladdin Sane. The mural became a shrine
to Bowie after his death.
Brixton in song started with the release of "Whoppi
Laurel Aitken in 1968 and "
Brixton Cat" by Dice the Boss in
1969. This was later followed in August 1975 by a popular novelty song
written and sung by Geraint Hughes and Jeff Calvert (who billed
themselves as "Typically Tropical"): two white men who told the story
Brixton bus-driver "going to Barbados" with "Coconut Airways" to
escape the rain of London.
The 1979 punk song "The Guns of Brixton" by the Clash deals with law
enforcement violence in Brixton. Written by the group's bass player
Paul Simonon, who grew up in Brixton, it had a strong reggae
Sex Gang Children, a post-punk band who are attributed with pioneering
the goth movement, were formed and based in
Brixton in the early
Andi Sex Gang
Andi Sex Gang lived in
Brixton for many years.
Before a Jam gig, well-known punk band the Misfits were involved in a
fight and thrown into
Brixton Prison, which led them to write their
Big Narstie, rapper
Eddy Grant's 1982 album
Killer on the Rampage
Killer on the Rampage contains his hit song
"Electric Avenue", a reference to the well known shopping street in
central Brixton, which was one of the first in the UK to have electric
street lighting installed (when Brixton's character was very
different). The song evokes images of poverty, violence and misery but
also celebrates the energising vibe of the area.
Simple Minds mention "Get out of Bombay... go up to Brixton" in their
1984 song 'Up on the Catwalk'.
The song "Journey to the Centre of Brixton" by R.O.C.
The song "Brixton, Bronx ou Baixada" by Brazilian rock-reggae band O
Rappa, tells about social differences.
The song "And God Created Brixton" features on the
Carter USM album A
World Without Dave. It mentions many of the most famous landmarks in
the community including the Ritzy cinema and the prison.
The subject of Maxi Priest's 1990 hit song "Close to You" is from
Amy Winehouse's song "Me and Mr Jones" features a reference to
California punk band Rancid wrote a song called "Brixton" that
appeared on the Rock Stars Kill compilation, and later on B Sides and
The electronic band
Chase and Status collaborated with
Cee-Lo Green on
Brixton Briefcase, which features on the album No More
In the track "Buckingham Palace" on rapper Canibus' 1998 debut album
Brixton is mentioned in the lyrical line "From
Clapham Common, my lyrics invade Europe like Josef Stalin, I murder
Robbie Williams mentions "moving bricks to Brixton" in his 2012 song
Film and television
Director Richard Parry's 2001 film South West Nine (SW9), whose name
refers to the postcode covering much of central Brixton, was shot
here. Confusingly, this postcode is officially that of
although the northern part of
Brixton falls within the boundary –
whereas SW2 (the
Brixton Hill sorting office) also covers Tulse Hill
Streatham Hill and
Sarah Manning, a fictional character from Orphan Black, the BBC
America Series, was from Brixton.
In the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, one of the fictional
co-directors listed is Reg Llama of Brixton.
The location of the third games, the sequel to
Watch Dogs 2
Watch Dogs 2 is set to
Brixton in an update of the game which revealed a cutscene.
Brixton is served by
London Buses routes 2, 3, 35, 37, 45, 57, 59,
109, 118, 133, 137, 159, 196, 201, 250, 322, 333, 345, 355, 415, 417,
432, P4, P5, N2, N3, N35, N109, N133 and N137.
Brixton tube station
Brixton tube station entrance
The nearest station is
Brixton on the Victoria line.
Map of rail & tube lines passing through Brixton
The nearest station is
Brixton for Southeastern services towards
London Victoria and Orpington.
Brixton is located on several main roads. The A203, A204 and A2217
links the area to
Vauxhall Bridge and the A23
runs through the area from the north to the south.
Brixton was due to
be a major interchange of the South Cross Route, part of the London
Ringways plan, which was cancelled in the 1970s.
Cross River Tram
London proposed to build the
Cross River Tram
Cross River Tram from
Camden Town to
Brixton via central London, but this project was
abandoned in 2008 due to lack of funding.
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Main article: List of people from Lambeth
Former Prime Minister John Major
Poet Linton Kwesi Johnson
Three people who have lived in
Brixton have blue plaques marking their
Havelock Ellis, pioneer sexologist lived at Dover Mansions on
C. L. R. James, the writer and black political activist, lived in
Railton Road, above the offices of Race Today.
Dan Leno (1860–1904), an English music hall comedian famous for his
drag acts (56 Akerman Road).
Other notable people with
Brixton connections include:
David Bowie was born at 40 Stansfield Road, Brixton.
Ken Livingstone grew up and lived for many years
Former British Prime Minister
John Major spent part of his childhood
in a two-room flat off
Coldharbour Lane living with his father, former
Music Hall performer Tom Major-Ball. Although now in Brixton,[dubious
– discuss] the address at the time was in
Camberwell prior to a
minor boundary change. He then moved to a house on Burton Road, having
been born in Worcester Park, Sutton. He began his political career as
Lambeth Councillor while still living in the area.
Musician David Bowie
Max Wall, comedian and music hall performer, was born in Brixton.
Freddie Davies, the "parrot-faced" comedian and actor, was born in
Brixton in 1937.
Poly Styrene, the singer of the band X-Ray Spex, was born in Bromley
in 1957 but grew up in Brixton.
Danny Williams, heavyweight boxer, was born in Brixton
Paul Simonon and Mick Jones of
The Clash are both from Brixton.
Drum and bass
Drum and bass producer
Dillinja is from Brixton.
Daniel Mulloy was born in Brixton.
Alabama 3 were formed in Brixton.
Linton Kwesi Johnson
Linton Kwesi Johnson the poet is a long-time
House music duo
Basement Jaxx formed in Brixton.
EBK, long-term resident of Brixton
Fruitbat of power-pop punk band
Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine
Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine was
Joe Cornish, presenter of the BBC production Adam and Joe in the
1990s, and current comedy radio presenter on BBC6 Music with Adam
Bradley McIntosh, member of pop group S Club 7.
Sharon Osbourne, wife of
Ozzy Osbourne and daughter of Don Arden, was
born in Brixton.
Mike Skinner of the band "The Streets" moved to
Brixton c. 2000 to
pursue his recording career. Some of his songs are about living in
Skin, singer of the band Skunk Anansie, grew up in Brixton.
Stereo MC's, acid jazz/club dance group, was formed and is still based
Novelist Martin Millar lived here, and most of his novels are set in
and around Brixton.
Environmentalist James Lovelock, famous for proposing the Gaia
hypothesis, was born and spent his childhood in Brixton.
Frank Reginald Carey, Second World War fighter ace, was born in
Jo Self, artist, long-term resident of Brixton.
Iwan Thomas, Olympic athlete.
Nyron Nosworthy, professional footballer
Shivani Kapoor, Indian model
In the musical comedy Leave it to Jeeves,
P. G. Wodehouse
P. G. Wodehouse revealed
that his iconic manservant
Jeeves grew up in Brixton.
Several members of the So Solid Crew.
Big Narstie, rapper
Luol Deng, player for the American basketball team Miami Heat, lived
and played in Brixton.
Alex Wheatle, novelist.
Lisa Maffia, singer and TV personality, was brought up in Brixton.
Bunmi Mojekwu, actress.
James Dagwell, journalist and former BBC News presenter, lived in
La Roux (Elly Jackson), musician, was born and raised in Brixton.
Hew Locke, contemporary artist, a resident of more than 20 years, has
Brixton and its market as an influence on his work.
Mooji, spiritual teacher, lived in Brixton
Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth, of the Jacobites shared a house on
Norwood Road, Brixton, in the early 1980s.
Danny Kirwan of the band
Fleetwood Mac was born and raised in Brixton.
Brixton is made up of five wards with an average population of
around 15,500 http://www.urban75.org/brixton/info/facts.html
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Brixton,
Urban75: A resource of
Brixton information, features, articles,
contemporary photography and "
Brixton then and now" comparisons
London Borough of Lambeth's Draft
Brixton Conservation Area Statement
Places adjacent to Brixton
London Borough of Lambeth
Black Cultural Archives
The Chocolate Museum
Florence Nightingale Museum
Imperial War Museum
London County Hall
Lower Marsh Market
The Old Vic
Oval Cricket Ground
Royal National Theatre
Royal Festival Hall
Queen Elizabeth Hall
South London Theatre
White Bear Theatre
Myatt's Fields Park
Streatham Vale Park
Vauxhall Spring Gardens
Dulwich and West Norwood
Tube, rail, and
Clapham High Street
Norbury railway station
Grade I and II* listed buildings
Areas of London
Central activities zone
Holloway Nags Head
Kensington High Street
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Elephant and Castle
Isle of Dogs
Lists of areas
Barking and Dagenham
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Kingston upon Thames
Richmond upon Thames
Canley (borough) (The Bill: TV soap)
Charnham (suburb) (Family Affairs: TV soap)
Gasforth (town) (The Thin Blue Line: TV series)
London Below (magical realm) (Neverwhere: TV series, novel)
Walford (borough) (EastEnders: TV soap)
London Plan 2011, Annex Two: London's Town Centre Network –