South West London

News, events, tips and advice on SW London

Archive for History

Abbeville Road: a local history


The popularity of the area fondly known as Abbeville Village is largely due to its close-knit, nostalgic feel coupled with excellent transport links and amenities. The beauty of the area surrounding Clapham Common lies in its delightful pairing of old and new, and when it comes to finding estate agents in Abbeville Village it is well worth asking not just about Clapham Common tube station proximity and schooling options but also about the rich seam of history which lies in the brickwork of every building.

As the obvious icon of the local area, it may surprise you to learn that Clapham Common originated as a reject! From its origins in the ninth century, the village of Clapham gradually grew and wilderness was slowly converted to farmland-with the exception of a large unkempt area which was left untouched due to poor quality soil. This scrubland is now far more fertile but more importantly has survived in all its greenery to become the present day Common around which Clapham as we know it has grown.

Abbeville Road itself first appeared as part of the Roman Road known as Stane Street, which had to take a detour from its route from London to Chichester due to a boggy stream. Until the mid 18th Century the area served as part of the grounds of the fine mansions lining Clapham Common, by then a hub for wealthy Victorians looking for clean air close to the city. Cheapening transport links gradually brought the middle classes to the area, paving the way for the Abbeville Road we know today.

What sets this street apart now as it did a century ago is its community feel and in the early 1900s Abbeville Village really came into its own with a splendid array of local businesses producing everything from bread to boots on site. Nowadays the stores here do a little more outsourcing and a few high street brands make their presence felt but by and large Abbeville Road is still a bastion of independent trade with many and varied small businesses preserving the legacy of Clapham’s busy history.

As the established local property experts in Wandsworth and Lambeth, the James Pendleton team are well known for their unparalleled knowledge of the local area. Drop in to their Clapham Common or Clapham South offices to learn more about the local area and if you have a viewing in SW4 don’t forget to ask your estate agents about Abbeville Road past and present.


Let the Games Begin!

The James Pendleton team were lucky enough to be out and about in Wandsworth and Lambeth on the penultimate day of the Olympic Torch Relay, and some of them were lucky enough to spot the torch on its way to Stratford!

Our Clapham Common office was in a prime Torch-spotting location, and manager Kelly Higgins managed to take some great snaps of the relay on its way through Lambeth, including this one:

Olympic Torch Runner at Clapham Common

After taking a right into Wandsworth the torch headed straight past our Battersea Park office, and both Derek our in-house photographer and CEO Lee James Pendleton managed to take some fantastic photos of the torch being carried past a jubilant crowd on the way to the River.  Here are a few of the best:

The Olympic Torch reaches Queenstown Road

The Olympic car passes our Battersea Park office

Excited crowds watch from outside the Battersea Park office as the torch is carried towards the river

Diamond Jubilee celebrations in South West London unfurl in style with James Pendleton Estate Agents


True to form, the weather remained steadfastly drizzly during the Diamond Jubilee weekend, but good cheer was in the air! As Wandsworth and Lambeth residents set up street parties and lined the river banks in anticipation of the largest floating pageant in history, James Pendleton Estate Agency was very proud to be involved in such an amazing event.

Being towards the start of the royal route, the Battersea Park area overflowed with visitors waiting to see the flotilla in its early stages. At James Pendleton Estate Agents’ Battersea Park office, the team joined in wholeheartedly with the celebrations, offering up home-made cupcakes and Jubilee balloons to local residents and tourists.

Away from the river the streets of South West London were awash with cake, Pimm’s and bunting as The Queen’s loyal citizens celebrated her Highness’ Diamond Jubilee in style. The borough of Wandsworth held more street parties than any other in the UK and James Pendleton helped to ensure that local events went off with a bang. The ‘Award Winning Estate Agents’ were a firm presence at parties in Clapham, Battersea and Wandsworth, supplying events on Collamore Avenue, Lysias Road, Burntwood Grange Road and Wakehurst Road with sponsorship, balloons and goodies.

The organisers of Wandsworth and Lambeth’s many street parties did an amazing job of bringing neighbourhoods together producing fantastic food and atmosphere, and above all giving community cohesion the publicity it deserves. The James Pendleton team can testify that a fabulous time was had by all as raincoats were donned, cupcakes demolished and neighbours united. Take a look at some of the photos captured by the team and their neighbours, and raise your glass of Pimm’s to 2012, a fantastic year for London!

The Battersea Park Jubilee Festival: Celebrating South West London


As many a South West London resident knows, Battersea Park will play host to a The Diamond Jubilee Festival on Sunday 3rd June 2012.  The festival promises to be a no holds barred homage to Britishness, celebrating and modernising national traditions from boot sales to big bands.

As our job is to scour South West London for key events and hot topics, we thought we’d use the festival’s time travelling theme to bring our readers the top generation-hopping events and destinations in Clapham, Wandsworth Town, Wandsworth Common, Balham and Battersea.  Read on for our reasons for loving London!


The Jubilee has encouraged local music, theatre and cinema groups across the UK to celebrate all things British.  In South West London the focus is on pearly kings, great British creatives, flights of storytelling fancy and a good pinch of tongue in cheek humour.

Wimbledon theatre will celebrate the life of Charles Dickens in A Dickens of a Life

White Rabbit’s amazing storytelling cabaret act comes to Battersea Park Road as part of the Wandsworth Arts Festival.

If you don’t get chance to meet real life Pearly Kings and Queens at the Jubilee Festival, they can be found at events across London including this community Thames boat party on 9th June!


Though the queen may not have been best pleased by the Sex Pistols’ take on the National Anthem back in 1977, we’re sure she’d concede that, in 2012, the punk movement has become as British a cultural institution as baked beans, and arguably more revolutionary.

Why not pay a visit to the exhibition of Punk vinyl records in Chelsea throughout June

A punk ukulele anti society playing at venues across London, you say?  Whyever not…


…unfortunately in London that wish can’t always be granted, but besides hopping on a fast train to the coast from Clapham Junction there are some delightfully tongue in cheek ways to bring the traditional British seaside holiday to the SW postcodes.

Bringing the summer spirit to Clapham Common, no summer is complete without South West Four.

If your sea legs need stretching, head out to Battersea Park lake to while away a summer’s afternoon

Get a taste of the seaside with Clapham’s finest Fish and Chips.


A combination of afternoon tea and ballroom dance, nothing sums up the romantic side of the United Kingdom like a traditional tea dance with a modern twist.  Battersea Park will host a jubilee tea dance their 1950’s bandstand on June 3rd, and we’ve found a few more for locals and visitors to make a day of.

Head to the Bedford in Balham for a raucous summer Swing Dance

For a gentler tea dance experience, head to Battersea’s beautiful period town hall on 29th May

Or for a tea dance with all the trimmings, book a place at the Waldorf hotel for big bands, formal dancing and afternoon tea combine dancing with afternoon tea at the Waldorf hotel.


An ever evolving British institution, the summery garden party has breezed back onto the social calendar after a few decades’ absence, bringing with it a haze of cotton printed dresses, Pimms and barbecue smoke.  This year, street parties up and down the country will offer up home-grown jubilee festivities, but for those who prefer full board to self-catering we’ve rustled up a few local garden gatherings. Let’s hope the rain stays away for these top summer parties!

A community expanding idea from the Eden project, coming to a garden near you

Balham’s Hildreth Street market will play host to a Jubilee vintage clothing extravaganza this June 3rd!

Clapham’s Gigalum bar promises to ‘bring Ibiza to London’


From real ale to roast dinners, the homely British pub is a true cultural institution and encompasses such timeless traditions as darts, battered board games and the humble pork scratching.  Here are a few of the best South West London watering holes:

Visit Clapham’s Windmill on the Common for a reminder of just how green South West London is.

Alternatively, take a look at this homage to this Battersea nod to the 1930s.

Finally, for fine ales and a view of the river head to The Ship in Wandsworth


Since the Queen’s coronation UK cities, and London in particular, have become fantastically diverse, and traditional rural-urban divides have dissolved.  In today’s London, market stalls offering farm and organic produce, handicrafts and bespoke products spring up beside supermarkets and sprawl along high streets.  We’ve found a few of the best in Balham, Battersea, Wandsworth and Clapham.

Northcote Road Market is a South West London stalwart known for selling a vast array of fresh produce, crafts and interesting bric a brac.

Visit Balham’s Hildreth Street for an authentic local market selling quality produce since 1903

Clapham’s Venn Street Market offers local fine foods, crafts and specialist plants, and feeds revellers at London festivals such as Field Day.

We hope our handy list has helped you plan your own Jubilee celebrations and given you yet more reason to explore South West London!

An online Mother’s Day in South West London

Happy Mother's Day!


To celebrate Mother’s day in a thoroughly modern fashion, we decided this week to celebrate the power of the parenting site in South West London and give a little hand to all mums in the area.

Clapham, Wandsworth and Battersea are well known family hubs, which isn’t at all surprising given the quality housing, exemplary schooling and wide range of amenities on offer here.  What is perhaps surprising is the ever growing and ever acknowledged power local parents have over changing and improving where they live.  A particularly powerful source of change and debate is the parenting forum.

With Mother’s Day 2012 this weekend, now is the perfect time to take a look at what parenting sites and the parents behind them do to strengthen South West London communities.

  • Business opportunities

Most parenting sites are set up as forums, which act as online noticeboards for local businesses.  The sites are also the perfect platform for parents to search for a recommended local decorator, nanny or face painter.  They also allow parent-and-child networking meetings and local initiatives such as mum2mummarket to introduce themselves to the community.

  • Creative ideas

Parenting sites facilitate conversation and encourage creativity. Mumsnet, Madeformums and Nappy Valley are full of suggested spare time activities, rainy day ideas and creative parenting tips.

  • Support groups

Mumsnet, Nappy Valley and other parenting sites host ongoing support forums on topics from domestic abuse to disability.  As parenting sites are divided by area, mums and dads can find a wide variety of services listed on their local area site.

Moreover, new parents and new arrivals to an area can actively engage with likeminded people at the click of a mouse.

In an age where community can be elusive, parenthood brings together people from all walks of life and gives them a cause for which to fight-the upbringing of their children in the best surroundings possible!

Have a wonderful Mother’s day!

South West London Icon in jeopardy? The uncertain future of Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station, Wandsworth

Battersea Power Station, Wandsworth

We took to the streets of Battersea in South West London this weekend to photograph the stunning industrial riverside panoramas the area has in abundance.

The wharf-side landscape of modern and period buildings is a rich and poignant one, the scenery telling the story of a region historically subject to huge and frequent change. A once heavily industrial area is now dominated by luxury apartments and award winning architecture.

Lodged incongruously amongst steel spires and glass turrets is the iconic Battersea Power Station.  Built between 1929 and 1953 and designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the brain behind the red telephone box, the site revolutionised power supply in the UK and is the largest brick building in London.

Quick fire technological advances and pollution concerns led the station to cease all production by 1983.  Since then, a tug of war has been taking place between developers keen to clear and rebuild on the site and those campaigning to protect and maintain the listed building.  Numerous plans for redeveloping the site have fallen through for a variety of reasons.

With the Olympic year upon us, the ecological concerns ever present and the debate still fresh, what will become of the station? 

Here are some of the rumours and plans currently connected with the site.

  1. 1.       Luxury apartments

Probably the most lucrative venture would be to demolish Battersea Power Station in order to build and sell luxury apartments on the site.  The region is highly desirable and there are numerous similar developments on the banks of the Thames.  However, the cultural and historical value of the site has led to widespread opposition to such ventures, and the Station’s Grade II* listed status prevents the site from being completely cleared.

  1. 2.       Affordable Housing

The space created by the station’s demolition would also in theory provide space for a large number of affordable homes, thus easing the strain of overcrowding in London.

  1. 3.       A state of the art football stadium

Chelsea FC are rumoured to be interested in purchasing the site and building a state of the art stadium with retractable roof.  The rumours are as yet unconfirmed, and it is also uncertain whether the station building would be retained or demolished.

  1. 4.       An iconic new rail terminus and shopping centre

Under a series of proposed extensions to the London Underground’s Northern Line, Battersea Power Station could become the terminus of a new extension of the line into South West London.  Under this scheme, the station building would be kept intact and redeveloped, and a local shopping and recreation centre would be created.

  1. 5.       A cultural centre

Reincarnations as a shopping centre, gallery, venue and cinema have all been mooted.  The Battersea Power Station Community has suggested a local hub comprising all of the above along with parkland and plazas.

  1. 6.       Allotments

A number of eco-friendly proposals have been made, including turning the space into a park, allotments or a renewable energy plant.

Can you suggest a new use for the emblematic South West London site?  Post your ideas here or on our Facebook or Twitter sites.