Life in ‘London’s steepest street,’ which residents say they often fall down

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

Residents living in “London’s steepest street” have said the route is so dangerous that they have fallen down it multiple times, and rat runners race down the road.

Fox Hill sits in Crystal Palace, straddled between the boroughs of Croydon and Bromley.

The road has become known as the “steepest street” in London among residents, with a sign warning people of the harsh 20 degree incline at the bottom.

A sign at the bottom of the hill warns residents of the steep incline (Picture: Joe Coughlan)

While there are some roads in London with a sharper incline, Fox Hill appears to be the city’s steepest residential street that’s dotted with homes along its length.

Iba Priato, 36, said she moved to Fox Hill five years ago. She said walking up the steep hill with her child in their buggy can be tiring, but it’s even more difficult when the road is slippery.

Ms Priato said: “What I noticed is in the winter, when it’s very cold in the mornings, it’s icy. I’ve actually fallen down it twice myself.”

She added: “Sometimes there’s a lot of leaves, so that’s slippery as well. There was a time when the council put some salt on, but you still need to be careful when it’s raining a lot. It’s dangerous in my opinion, especially for old people. I fell down it twice and I am young.”

Richard Bridge and his wife Philippa, both 64, said that living in a road managed by two separate councils can cause some issues to “fall in between the gaps”.

The couple have campaigned for years to add speed bumps to the road, but haven’t had any luck with either Bromley or Croydon councils.

Mr Bridge said: “There is one problem connected with the steepness which is that people tend to race down it. We would like there to be sleeping policemen and traffic control. It’s a rat run.”

Alex Booth, 67, has lived just off Fox Hill for nearly his whole life (Picture: Joe Coughlan)

Alex Booth, 67, has lived just off Fox Hill for nearly his whole life.

He said he walks up and down the hill nearly every day to go to the chemist and supermarket, and remembers when there were more Victorian houses in the road before they were knocked down in the 1960s and replaced with new builds.

Mr Booth said: “This is meant to be the steepest hill in London, I believe. It was steeper on one side than the other, and when they built all the houses, that made it a bit steeper. That’s what I can recall. They were built in 1969 when I was going to school.”

Labour councillors Ryan Thomson and Ruth McGregor, who represent the Crystal Palace and Anerley ward for Bromley council, said in a joint statement: “As local councillors, we have actively pushed for a 20mph limit to be introduced and other traffic calming measures to be explored in Fox Hill.

“Sadly, under the administration’s current policy, these requests were dismissed out of hand and it is something that we continue to fight for alongside a number of Fox Hill residents.”

They added: “In regards to concerns around the steepness of Fox Hill, we would be more than happy to host a consultation with residents to hear their concerns and explore where we may be able to support.

“We would encourage them to please contact us via our council email addresses – and – to arrange and discuss”.

Councillors representing the Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood ward for Croydon council were approached for comment, but had not responded at the time of publication.

Pictured top: Iba Priato, 36, moved to Fox Hill five years ago (Picture: Joe Coughlan)

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