Rowena Crescent, SW11

Place Name

Alfred Heaver developed most of the Falcon Park estate between 1879 and 1881, at a time when the United Kingdom was busy extending its rule by suppressing native peoples in the name of Queen and Empire. Such patriotic zeal was reflected in many street names across the capital but here we see Afghan Road, Khyber Road and Candahar Road. Added to this list was one Zulu Crescent, the original name for this street. The Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 began with the British making insulting demands of the Zulu king, Cetshwayo. The demands were rejected and the British Army moved in to subdue them. Although outnumbered the British had superior weaponry, that however was not enough to save them at the Battle of Isandlwana, the opening battle between the two nations. This was followed, shortly afterwards, by the Battle of Rouke’s Drift, in which a small force of British soldiers held out in the face of overwhelming numbers of Zulu warriors. This act of bravery and the eventual success of the British against the Zulu nation, inspired Heaver to name the road Zulu Crescent. However, within a few years of moving in the residents petitioned the Metropolitan Board of Works for it to be changed. According to British Heritage’s Survey of London because the name “may have proved strong meat for nervous locals, for it was toned down to Rowena Crescent in 1883.” Although, why Rowena is uncertain.

 12 total views,  1 views today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *