Battersea is a district of south west London, England, within the
London Borough of Wandsworth. It is located on the south bank of the
River Thames, 2.9 miles (4.7 km) south west of Charing Cross.
1.3 Railway age
1.4 Housing estates
3.1 Nearby places
7.1 Railway stations
7.2 Proposed stations on the
7.3 Former railway stations
8 In popular culture
9 Prominent people
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
See also: History of London
Historically a part of Surrey,
Battersea was centred on a church
established on an island at the mouth of the Falconbrook; a small
river that rises in
Tooting Bec Common
Tooting Bec Common and flowed underground through
London to the River Thames.
Battersea is mentioned in Anglo-Saxon times as Badrices īeg =
"Badric's Island" and later "Patrisey". As with many former parishes
beside major rivers some land was reclaimed by draining marshland and
building culverts for streams.
The original village nucleus is marked by St. Mary's Church, which is
on a site that has featured churches since the 9th century. (The
present church, which was completed in 1777, hosted the marriage of
William Blake and
Catherine Blake née Boucher in 1782; Benedict
Arnold, his wife,
Peggy Shippen and their daughter were buried in its
The settlement appears in the
Domesday Book as Patricesy, held by St
Peter's Abbey, Westminster. Its Domesday Assets were: 18 hides and 17
ploughlands of cultivated land; 7 mills worth £42 9s 8d per year, 82
acres (33 ha) of meadow, woodland worth 50 hogs. It rendered (in
total): £75 9s 8d.
The former parish of
Battersea included, in a detached part, a few
hundred acres at
Penge (and/or Crystal Palace).
The borough dates from the
London Government Act of 1899, and includes
the greater part of the original ecclesiastical parish of St. Mary
Battersea. Under the same Act Penge, formerly a hamlet of Battersea,
was constituted a separate urban district...the curious anomalies of
[Battersea's] local government led to its formation as a separate
urban district and its transfer to the county of Kent in 1900. Penge
was a wooded district, over which the tenants of
Battersea Manor had
common of pasture.
Before the Industrial Revolution, much of the large parish was
farmland, providing food for the City of
London and surrounding
population centres; and with particular specialisms, such as growing
Lavender Hill (nowadays denoted by the road of the same
name), asparagus (sold as "
Battersea Bundles") or pig breeding on Pig
Hill (later the site of the Shaftesbury Park Estate). At the end of
the 18th century, above 300 acres (1.2 km2) of land in the parish
Battersea were occupied by some 20 market gardeners, who rented
from five to near 60 acres (24 ha) each. Villages in the wider
Earlsfield (hamlet of Garratt), Tooting,
were separated by fields; in common with other suburbs the wealthy of
London and the traditional manor successors built their homes in
Battersea and neighbouring areas.
Battersea Power Station
Industry in the area was concentrated to the north west just outside
Wandsworth boundary, at the confluence of the River
Thames, and the
River Wandle which gave rise to the village of
Wandsworth. This was settled from the 16th century by Protestant
craftsmen – Huguenots – fleeing religious persecution in Europe,
who planted lavender and gardens and established a range of industries
such as mills, breweries and dyeing, bleaching and calico printing.
Industry developed eastwards along the bank of the Thames during the
Industrial Revolution from 1750s onwards; the Thames provided water
for transport, for steam engines and for water-intensive industrial
processes. Bridges erected across the Thames encouraged growth; Putney
Bridge, a mile to the west, was built in 1729, and
Battersea Bridge in
the centre of the north boundary in 1771. Inland from the river, the
rural agricultural community persisted.
Along the Thames, a number of large and, in their field, pre-eminent
firms grew; notably the
Morgan Crucible Company, which survives to
this day and is listed on the
London Stock Exchange; Price's Candles,
which also made cycle lamp oil; and Orlando Jones' Starch Factory. The
Ordnance Survey map
Ordnance Survey map of the area shows the following factories, in
order, from the site of the as yet unbuilt
Wandsworth Bridge to
Battersea Park: Starch manufacturer; Silk manufacturer; (St. John's
College); (St. Mary's Church); Malt house; Corn mill; Oil and grease
works (Prices Candles); Chemical works; Plumbago Crucible works (later
Morgan Crucible Company); Chemical works; Saltpetre works;
Foundry. Between these were numerous wharfs for shipping.
In 1929, construction started on
Battersea Power Station, being
completed in 1939. From the late 18th century to comparatively recent
times Battersea, and certainly north Battersea, was established as an
industrial area with all of the issues associated with pollution and
poor housing affecting it.
Industry declined and moved away from the area in the 1970s, and local
government sought to address chronic post-war housing problems with
large scale clearances and the establishment of planned housing. Some
decades after the end of large scale local industry, resurgent demand
among magnates and high income earners for parkside and riverside
property close to planned Underground links has led to significant
construction. Factories have been demolished and replaced with modern
apartment buildings. Some of the council owned properties have been
sold off and several traditional working men's pubs have become more
Battersea neighbourhoods close to the railway
have some of the most deprived local authority housing in the Borough
of Wandsworth. An area which saw condemned slums after their erection
in the Victoria era.
Aftermath of a
V-2 bombing at Battersea, 27 January 1945.
Battersea was radically altered by the coming of railways. The London
and Southampton Railway Company engineered their railway line from
east to west through Battersea, in 1838, terminating at the original
Nine Elms railway station
Nine Elms railway station at the north west tip of the area. Over the
next 22 years five other lines were built, across which all trains
from London's Waterloo and Victoria termini would as today travel. An
interchange station was built in 1863 towards the north west of the
area, at a junction of the railway. Taking the name of a fashionable
village a mile and more away, the station was named 'Clapham
Junction': a campaign to rename it "
Battersea Junction" fizzled out as
late as the early twentieth century. During the latter decades of the
Battersea had developed into a major town railway
centre with two locomotive works at
Nine Elms and Longhedge and three
important motive power depots (Nine Elms, Stewarts Lane and Battersea)
all situated within a relatively small area in the north of the
district. The effect was precipitate: a population of 6,000 people in
1840 was increased to 168,000 by 1910; and save for the green spaces
Wandsworth Common and some smaller
isolated pockets, all other farmland was built over, with, from north
to south, industrial buildings and vast railway sheds and sidings
(much of which remain), slum housing for workers, especially north of
the main east–west railway, and gradually more genteel residential
terraced housing further south.
The railway station encouraged the government to site its buildings in
the area surrounding
Clapham Junction, where a cluster of new civic
buildings including the town hall, library, police station, court and
post office was developed along
Lavender Hill in the 1880s and 1890s.
Arding and Hobbs
Arding and Hobbs department store, diagonally opposite the
station, was the largest of its type at the time of its construction
in 1885; and the streets near the station developed as a regional
shopping district. The area was served by a vast music hall – The
Grand – opposite the station (nowadays serving as a nightclub and
venue for smaller bands) as well as a large theatre next to the town
hall (the Shakespeare Theatre, later redeveloped following bomb
damage). All this building around the station shifted the focus of the
area southwards, and marginalised
Battersea High Street (the main
street of the original village) into no more than an extension of
Doddington and Rollo Estate.
Battersea has a large area of mid-20th century public housing estates,
almost all located north of the main railway lines and spanning from
Fairfield in the west to Queenstown in the east.
There are four particularly large estates. The Winstanley Estate,
perhaps being the most renowned of them all, is known as being the
birthplace to the garage collective So Solid Crew. Winstanley is
Clapham Junction railway station
Clapham Junction railway station in the northern perimeter of
Battersea, and is currently being considered for comprehensive
redevelopment as one of the
London Mayor's new Housing Zones.
Further north towards Chelsea is the
Surrey Lane Estate, and on
Battersea Park Road is the Doddington and Rollo Estate. East, toward
Vauxhall, is the Patmore Estate which is in close proximity to the
Battersea Power Station.
Other smaller estates include York Road, Somerset, Savona, Badric
Court, the Peabody Estate, Wynter Street Estate, Ethelburga Estate,
Kambala Estate and Carey Gardens.
See also: History of local government in London
Arms granted to the
Metropolitan Borough of Battersea
Metropolitan Borough of Battersea in 1955
A map showing the wards of
Battersea Metropolitan Borough as they
appeared in 1916.
The tradition of local government in
England was based on the Parish.
Population growth in
London during the 19th century demanded new
arrangements, and the
Metropolitan Borough of Battersea
Metropolitan Borough of Battersea was created in
1899, with the boundaries described above. It was in 1965 combined
with the neighbouring Metropolitan Borough of
Wandsworth to form the
London Borough of Wandsworth. The former
Battersea Town Hall, opened
in 1893, is now the
Battersea Arts Centre.
In the period from 1880 onwards,
Battersea was known as a centre of
radical politics in the United Kingdom.
John Burns founded a branch of
the Social Democratic Federation, Britain's first organised socialist
political party, in the borough and after the turmoil of dock strikes
affecting the populace of north Battersea, was elected to represent
the borough in the newly formed
London County Council. In 1892, he
expanded his role, being elected to Parliament for
Battersea North as
one of the first
Independent Labour Party
Independent Labour Party member of Parliament.
Battersea's radical reputation gave rise to the Brown Dog affair, when
in 1904 the National Anti-
Vivisection Society sought permission to
erect a drinking fountain celebrating the life of a dog killed by
vivisection. The fountain, forming a plinth for the statue of a brown
dog, was installed near in the Latchmere Recreational Grounds, became
a cause célèbre, fought over in riots and battles between medical
students and the local populace until its removal in 1910.
The borough elected the first black mayor in
London in 1913 when
John Archer took office, and in 1922 elected the Bombay-born Communist
Shapurji Saklatvala as MP for Battersea; one of only two
communist members of Parliament.
Battersea is currently divided into five
Wandsworth wards. The Member
of Parliament for the
Battersea constituency since 8 June 2017 has
been Labour MP Marsha de Cordova.
In 2009, it was announced that a new US embassy would be constructed
at Nine Elms. This development would also see the building of luxury
apartments in the area.
Battersea is a part of
London on the south bank of the River
Thames. Its northern boundary is the Thames, which runs first
north-east, and then east, before turning north again to pass
Westminster. The north-western corner is demarcated by Wandsworth
Battersea tapers south to a point roughly three miles
(5 km) from the north-eastern corner and two miles (3 km)
from the north-west. To the east are
Lambeth and Stockwell; to the
Wandsworth and Balham; to the south-east is Clapham; and to
Nine Elms and Stockwell
Wandsworth and Balham
Balham and Clapham
Some parts of
Battersea have become known for drug-dealing. The
Winstanley and York Road council estates have developed a reputation
for such offences and were included in a zero-tolerance "drug
exclusion zone" in 2007.
Battersea had a population of 73,345. The district was
White British origin, as against an average for
Wandsworth of 53.3%.
Battersea Dogs home (with gasworks alongside)
Clapham Junction station, Battersea
Asda supermarket next to and visible from
London Heliport, Battersea
Within the bounds of modern
Battersea are (from east to west):
Covent Garden Market, a major fruit and vegetable wholesale
market, resited from
Covent Garden in 1974. (Also considered by many
to be in Nine Elms).
Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station an iconic edifice designed by Sir Giles
Gilbert Scott, built between 1929 and 1939 (featured, with flying pig,
on the sleeve art of Pink Floyd's album Animals). There have been a
number of failed regeneration projects since the late 1980s. The
current proposals are to convert the disused shell into a mass
entertainments and commercial complex, with dedicated transport links
(a proposed extension of the
Northern line from
Kennington could be
complete by 2020).
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, formerly
Battersea Dogs Home and prior
to that the Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs, established in
Holloway in 1860 and moved to
Battersea in 1871. It is the United
Kingdom's most famous refuge for stray dogs. Also the main location
for ITV 1's Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs
Battersea Park, a 200-acre green space laid out by Sir James
Pennethorne between 1846 and 1864 and opened in 1858, and home to a
zoo and the
London Peace Pagoda.
Shaftesbury Park Estate, conservation area consisting of over a
thousand Victorian houses preserved in their original style.
Battersea Arts Centre, in the former
Battersea Town Hall
Northcote Road, a bustling and famous local shopping street with its
own market at the centre of the so-called Nappy Valley.
Clapham Junction railway station, by at least one measure –
passenger interchanges— the busiest station in the United
Kingdom and named after the neighbouring town of
Clapham although it
lies in the geographic heart of Battersea, SW11.
Arding & Hobbs building, completed in 1912, now occupied by
Asda supermarket, adjacent to
Clapham Junction station.
92 St John's Hill, Grade II listed building.
St Mary's Church, Battersea.
Benedict Arnold is buried here. Four
stained glass windows celebrate Arnold, William Blake, William Curtis
and J. M. W. Turner.
Sir Walter St John's School, now Thomas's day school, was founded in
1700. Parts of the present building date back to 1859.
Royal Academy of Dance, containing several studios and associated with
the University of Surrey.
London Heliport, London's busiest heliport, sited on the Thames a
half-mile north of
Clapham Junction station.
Price's Candles on York Road, was the largest manufacturers of candles
in the UK; now it has been converted into office space from which
Hanne & Co Solicitors firm operates.
Newton Preparatory School, in an Edwardian building (with modern
extension) formerly occupied by
Clapham College, Notre Dame School and
Raywood Street School.
Falconbrook Primary School, resides in a large Victorian building,
situated in the Winstanley Estate, Battersea. It is a ten-minute walk
Clapham Junction Station.
British Rail blue locomotive 13 March 1982 at
being one of the
British Rail Class 73 electro-diesels.
Clapham Junction, Europe's busiest railway station.
Proposed stations on the
Battersea tube station (a station on the
Northern line extension to
Clapham Junction (suggested Northern Line further extended from
Former railway stations
Battersea (closed 1940)
Battersea Park Road (closed 1916)
In popular culture
Battersea features in the books of Michael de Larrabeiti, who was
brought up in the area:
A Rose Beyond the Thames
A Rose Beyond the Thames recounts the
Battersea of the 1940s and 1950s; The Borrible Trilogy
presents a fictional Battersea, home to fantasy creatures known as the
Battersea is also the setting for Penelope Fitzgerald's
1979 Booker Prize-winning novel, Offshore. Kitty Neale's Nobody's Girl
is set in a fictional café and the surrounding
Battersea High Street
Market. Nell Dunn's 1963 novel
Up the Junction
Up the Junction (later adapted for both
television and cinema) depicts contemporary life in the industrial
Battersea provides the
backdrop for the real world scenes in the audio book and app series
Rockford's Rock Opera.
Michael Flanders, half of the 1960s comedy duo Flanders and Swann,
often made fun of
Donald Swann for living in Battersea. Morrissey
Battersea in his song "You're the One for Me, Fatty".
Babyshambles recorded the song "Bollywood to Battersea" for a 2005
charity album Help!: A Day in the Life.
The following people have lived, or currently live, in Battersea:
Ben Adams – musician from the group a1
James Aldridge – writer
Monie Love – mc and radio personality
L. S. Bevington – anarchist poet and essayist, was born and grew up
in a Quaker family on St Johns Hill.
Ronnie Biggs – thief who took part in the Great Train Robbery
Johnny Briggs – actor, best known as Mike Baldwin in Coronation
Kathleen Byron – actress
Emma Chambers – actress, known for her role as 'Alice' in "The Vicar
Adrian Chiles – television presenter
Brian Cox – physicist, host of science shows for BBC
Colin Douglas – stage and television actor
Nell Dunn – playwright
Howard Eastman – boxer
Pamela Hansford Johnson
Pamela Hansford Johnson - writer
Craig Eastmond – footballer
Freddie Foreman – criminal and associate of the Kray Twins, born in
Bob Geldof – singer and songwriter
Pixie Geldof – socialite and model
Graham Greene – writer, playwright, critic
Rich Hall – comedian
Harry Hill – comedian
G. K. Chesterton
G. K. Chesterton – writer
Simon Le Bon
Simon Le Bon – musician
Katie Leung – actress, best known as
Cho Chang in Harry Potter films
Kate Maberly – actress
Terry Manning – music producer
Noel McKoy – singer and songwriter
Buster Merryfield – actor, best known as Uncle Albert in Only Fools
Dannii Minogue – musician
Seán O'Casey – writer
John O'Farrell – writer
William Page – historian and general editor of the Victoria County
Rick Parfitt – singer with Status Quo
Polly Paulusma – musician
Mervyn Peake – author
Rupert Penry-Jones – actor
Debbie "MC Remedee" Pryce and Susan "Susie Q" Banfield of Cookie Crew
Gordon Ramsay – chef
Joely Richardson – actress
J.K. Rowling – author
Greg Rusedski – tennis player
John Scott – sociologist and Fellow of the British Academy
Peter Serafinowicz – comedian
George Shearing – Jazz pianist
Ed Sheeran – musician
Timothy Spall – actor
Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke
Donald Swann – musician – of Flanders and Swann
Gabriel Thomson – stars in My Family
Baroness Trumpington – member of the House of Lords
Paul Joseph Watson
Paul Joseph Watson – YouTube personality and radio host
Arthur Webb (co-operator)
Arthur Webb (co-operator) – Building Society Movement
Vivienne Westwood – fashion designer
William Wilberforce – prominent campaigner against the slave trade
Edward Adrian Wilson
Edward Adrian Wilson – English physician, polar explorer, natural
historian, painter and ornithologist
Bob Marley – reggae artist
Lionel Barber – Editor of the Financial Times
Ainsley Harriott – Chef
Derek Laud - political lobbyist and Big Brother contestant
Seax of Beagnoth
London Under London: A subterranean guide: Richard Trench and Ellis
Hillman: ISBN 0-7195-5288-5
Domesday Book for
Surrey Archived 30 October 2007 at the Wayback
^ a b Map Victoria County History, London, H.E. Malden (Ed), 1911
^ 'Battersea', The Environs of London: volume 1: County of Surrey
(1792), pp. 26–48.
^ a b c [H.E. Malden (editor) (1912). "Parishes:
Penge". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Institute of
Historical Research. Retrieved 4 November 2014. CS1 maint: Extra
text: authors list (link)
^ Booth's Poverty Map
London School of Economics archive. Retrieved 4
Battersea Profile Archived 29 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine.,
Wandsworth Primary Care Trust, citing Census 2001
^ Mark Blunden (20 February 2014). "
London housing estate where So
Solid Crew formed set for demolition".
London Evening Standard.
^ Mayor names London's first Housing Zones –
Clapham Junction to
Battersea Riverside zone Archived 25 October 2015 at the Wayback
^ a b c Chris Roberts, Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind
Rhyme, Thorndike Press,2006 (ISBN 0-7862-8517-6)
Special report: Class B for
Battersea (2007), pp.1.
Battersea – Hidden London".
^ Good Stuff IT Services. "Wandsworth". UK Census Data.
Northern line extension". tfl.gov.uk.
^ Delta Rail, 2008–09 station usage report, Office of the Rail
^ ""Rebels don't make jokes about how excellent it is to have bishops
in the House of Lords": An interview with John O'Farrell". The Croydon
^ "Literary Review – Fergus Fleming on Mervyn Peake".
literaryreview.co.uk. Archived from the original on 12 November
^ Name of
Asda store rekindles the ‘
Clapham or Battersea’ row –
London Evening Standard. Standard.co.uk (29 October 2010).
Retrieved on 24 August 2013.
^ "Timothy Spall: 'Turner had a god-given genius'". Telegraph.co.uk.
18 October 2014.
Battersea Past. Historical Publications Ltd., 2002.
Peter Mason, The Brown Dog Affair. Two Sevens Publishing, 1997.
Battersea Girl. Mainstream Publishing, 2006.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Battersea.
1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
London Borough of Wandsworth
Tooting Graveney and Upper Tooting)
Battersea Arts Centre
Battersea Power Station
Bridge Lane Theatre
De Morgan Centre
Covent Garden Market
Pump House Gallery
Theatre of the Dispossessed
Bridges and tunnels
Battersea Railway Bridge
Fulham Railway Bridge
Parks and open spaces
King George's Park
Tooting Bec Common
Rail and tube stations
Queenstown Road (Battersea)
Tooting (in LB of Merton)
Grade I and II* listed buildings
Areas of London
Central activities zone
Holloway Nags Head
Kensington High Street
King's Road East
Elephant and Castle
Isle of Dogs
Lists of areas
Barking and Dagenham
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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 –