South of Merton – which we covered in our previous entry – is the London Borough of Sutton. If you were going to pick a place to live in London, Sutton would probably be close to the top of your list – with good school results, low crime rates and 91% satisfaction amongst residents – it was allegedly described by a government official as ‘the most normal place in Britain’.
Like many a London borough, it’s also got plenty of history – so we’ll take a quick look – from the Romans to the present day…
Archeological digs in the 1970s and 80s uncovered Bronze Age artefacts suggesting early habitation of the area, whilst other archeological work has proved Roman dwellings. But it was the Saxon ruler, Frithuwald of Chertsey -who first recorded the name Sudtone – or ‘south enclosure’ – sometime in the 7th Century. The Doomesday Book records Sutton village (which is considerably smaller than the area of the current borough) as having some 30 houses and 200 inhabitants.
Like many an outer London village, Sutton remained part of the status quo of the feudal system for some 5 centuries. That changed with construction of the London to Brighton Turnpike road in 1755 – which led to two Toll Bars and subsequently a whole host of service industries to serve the new routes. Travellers on the London to Brighton Stage Coach could stop for 9am breakfast at The Cock Hotel coaching inn.
The opening of Sutton Railway Station in 1847 was a likely catalyst for the more than doubling of the population in just 10 years – between 1851 & 61. Today the population of the Borough of Sutton is just shy of 200,000.
A look through notable people associated with Sutton reveals it’s a bit of a hotbed for performance talent. Notable locals, or past residents include: Joan Armatrading, Tracey Ulman, Sir Cliff Richard, Guitarist Jeff Beck, Rob Davis, Dave Mount and Les Grey of rock group Mud, Noel Coward, Katie Melua and Sir Harry Secombe.
Sutton might be regarded as one of the most normal places to live in Britain, but in 2015, it’s also pretty densely populated. Which means our self storage facility up the road in Wandsworth might come in handy – if you need extra space that is.