The Info List - Wimbledon Common

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WIMBLEDON COMMON is a large open space in Wimbledon , south-west London, totalling 460 hectares (1,140 acres). There are three named areas: Wimbledon Common, PUTNEY HEATH, and Putney Lower Common , which together are managed under the name WIMBLEDON AND PUTNEY COMMONS. Putney Lower Common is separated from the rest of the Common by about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometres) of built-up area of southwest Putney .


* 1 Wimbledon and Putney Commons * 2 Putney Heath * 3 Sports and recreation * 4 Legal disputes * 5 Keepers * 6 Popular culture * 7 Local geography * 8 Photo gallery * 9 See also * 10 References * 11 Sources * 12 External links


Wimbledon Common, together with Putney Heath and Putney Lower Common, is protected by the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Act of 1871 from being enclosed or built upon. The common is for the benefit of the general public for informal recreation, and for the preservation of natural flora and fauna. It is the largest expanse of heathland in the London area. There is an area of bog with unique flora. The western slopes, which lie on London Clay
, support mature mixed woodland . The Commons are also an important site for the stag beetle .

Most of the Common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest , and a Special Area of Conservation under the EC Habitats Directive . English Nature works with the Conservators on the management plan for the area. Wimbledon Common
Wimbledon Common
and Putney Heath are also a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation .

The Commons are administered by eight Conservators . Five of them are elected triennially and the remaining three are appointed by three government departments: the Department of the Environment , Ministry of Defence and Home Office . The Commons are managed by the Clerk and Ranger, supported by a Deputy, a Wildlife in fact the unmarked parish boundary with Putney Common runs right past it (line marked --- on the map). Here Robert Baden-Powell wrote parts of Scouting for Boys , which was published in 1908. Remains of the ditch between the two main ramparts of the Iron Age hill fort

In the 19th century the windmill was the headquarters of the National Rifle Association and drew large crowds each July. "These annual gatherings are attended by the élite of fashion, and always include a large number of ladies, who generally evince the greatest interest in the target practice of the various competitors, whether it be for the honour of carrying off the Elcho Shield, the Queen's or the Prince of Wales's Prize, or the shield shot for by our great Public Schools, or the Annual Rifle Match between the Houses of Lords and Commons." Eventually the headquarters were moved to ranges at Bisley .

Two broad, shallow pools, Kingsmere and Rushmere, lie near roads on the higher parts of Wimbledon Common
Wimbledon Common
and seem to be the result of gravel extraction. The more remote Queensmere is somewhat deeper, being impounded in a small valley.

Beverley Brook runs along the western edge of Wimbledon Common. The watercourse was the historic south west London boundary.

Near Beverley Brook and Warren Farm are two Local Nature Reserves managed by the London Wildlife Trust
London Wildlife Trust
: Farm Bog
and Fishpond Wood and Beverley Meads .

At the southern end of the common on the part used by the Royal Wimbledon Golf Club , but with a public footpath running through the middle, are the remains of an Iron Age hill fort known (in fact only since the 19th century) as Caesar's Camp. Though the main period of use as an oppidum seems to have been the 6th to 4th centuries BC, there is some evidence that it was indeed stormed by the Romans, probably in the Invasion of Britain by Claudius . It may have been taken by the Legio II Augusta
Legio II Augusta
under Vespasian in their push westwards in AD 44. It is possible the site was settled as far back as the Bronze Age , but it and the surrounding barrows were deliberately destroyed by John Erle-Drax in 1875.


The Horse Ride on the western side of Wimbledon Common
Wimbledon Common

Charles II reviewed his forces on Putney Heath in 1684; in May 1767, George III
George III
reviewed the Guards, and the Surrey Volunteers at the same spot in 1799. The 300th anniversary of the Queen\'s Royal Surrey Regiment was marked in 1961 when a tercentenary monument was unveiled and blessed on the heath. According to Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
, Charles II and his brother, the Duke of York used to run horses on the heath.

A stone and brick obelisk was erected on Putney Heath in 1770, marking the 110th anniversary of the Great Fire of London , to coincide with the invention of the Hartley fire plates by David Hartley , near a spot where his fireproof house was built. The obelisk, with ornately detailed foundation stone, is still standing and can be accessed via the car park adjacent to The Telegraph public house, off Wildcroft Road, SW15. The lower part of this house was repeatedly set on fire in the presence, among others, of George III and Queen Charlotte
Queen Charlotte
, the members of Parliament, the Lord Mayor, and the Aldermen. Since 1955 the obelisk has been a Grade II listed building. The adjacent Wildcroft Manor was formerly in the ownership of publishing magnate George Newnes , builder of Putney Library . In 1895 he was created a baronet "of Wildcroft, in the parish of Putney , in the county of London ".

Many duels were fought on Putney Heath. In May 1652, a duel between George, the third Lord Chandos, and Colonel Henry Compton ended with Compton being killed. On a Sunday afternoon in May 1798 William Pitt , the then Prime Minister, who lived in Bowling-Green House on the heath, fought a bloodless battle with William Tierney, MP. The house derived its name from the bowling-green formerly attached to it, and for more than sixty years (1690–1750) was the most famous green in the neighbourhood of London. "In the early days of George III's reign it was celebrated for its public breakfasts and evening assemblies during the summer season. It was occupied for some time by Archbishop Cornwallis previous to Pitt taking up his residence there. During Pitt's ownership the house had large rooms for public breakfasts and assemblies, was a fashionable place of entertainment". Nearly a century earlier the property was noted for "deep play". Pitt died in the house in 1806 from typhus. It was later owned by Henry Lewis Doulton, son of Henry Doulton of pottery fame. It was demolished and an art deco style residence rebuilt on the site in 1933. Nearby stands Bristol House, which owes its name to the Bristol family. James Macpherson , the translator and author of the Ossian\'s Poems , had a villa on Putney Heath. The heath near the Telegraph pub was also the venue for the September 1809 duel between Cabinet ministers George Canning and Lord Castlereagh .

Scio House was the last villa on Portsmouth
Road abutting the heath: it eventually became a hospital and was known as Scio House Hospital for Officers, Putney. It has since been redveloped as a gated community of 70 neo-Georgian homes divided into two streets.

Putney Heath is around 160 hectares (400 acres) in size and sits at approximately 45 metres (148 feet) above sea level. Because of its elevation, from 1796 to 1816 Putney Heath hosted a station in the shutter telegraph chain , which connected the Admiralty in London to its naval ships in Portsmouth
. This was replaced by a semaphore station, which was part of a semaphore line that operated between 1822 and 1847.

Thomas Cromwell
Thomas Cromwell
, 1st Earl of Essex, was born on the north side of the heath circa 1485. He became a statesman who served as chief minister of Henry VIII and an agent of Cardinal Wolsey
Cardinal Wolsey
. In the 19th century his birthplace was still a place of note. "The site of Cromwell's birthplace is still pointed out by tradition, and is in some measure confirmed by the survey of Wimbledon Manor... for it describes on that spot 'an ancient cottage called the smith's shop, lying west of the highway from Richmond to Wandsworth, being the sign of the Anchor.' The plot of ground here referred to is now covered by the Green Man public house."

The wilderness was for many years a noted rendezvous for highwaymen. In 1795, the notorious highwayman Jeremiah Abershaw – also known as Jerry Avershaw – was caught in the pub (now owned by Wandsworth brewery Young\'s , ) on the north side of the heath where Putney Hill meets Tibbet's Ride. After Abershaw's execution at Kennington, his body was hung in a chain gibbet on the heath, as a warning to others. The location on the heath is known as Jerry's Hill. It is viewable from the A3 near Putney Vale , slightly uphill from Putney Vale Cemetery where a number of famous people have since been buried or cremated. Abershaw frequented the Bald Face Stag Inn. The inn was later knocked down and became the KLG factory, founded by Kenelm Lee Guinness , part of the famous brewing dynasty and a noted early motor racer before developing highly reliable auto and aero spark plugs. The factory site is now occupied by an Asda
supermarket. Kingsmere

Above the hill peak of the A3 at Tibbet's Corner – on the A219 towards Putney – stands an ancient wood fence cattle pound opposite the Green Man, adjacent to two huge plane trees near the bus terminus. This simple wood fence structure, used historically to contain lost livestock, has been listed as a Grade II listed structure since 1983. A number of fine homes lined Putney Hill and the north face of the heath, west of the Green Man. All had semi-circular carriageway entrances and exits. These included Grantham House, the residence of Lady Grantham; Ripon House; Ashburton House; and Exeter House, occupied by the second Marquis of Exeter . Grantham House had a large fountain in its grounds between road and residence, while across the road on the heath was a large, shallow rectangular pond used for ice skating. Grantham House stood east of both Exeter and Ashburton houses, on the site of the present-day Hayward Gardens. The skating pond was filled in post-WWII. George Cokayne , author of peerage and baronetage publications, died at Exeter House in 1911. Nearby Gifford House was owned by J. D. Charrington of brewing fame; and Dover House was the seat originally of Lord Dover , afterwards of Lord Clifden .

With the development of transport routes for the growing financial sector, Putney Heath became highly desirable for City gentlemen in the 1890s, and they were initially known as "outsiders". Dover House was owned at the turn of the 20th century by the famous US financier J. P. Morgan . Social researcher Charles Booth classified the whole area of Putney Hill and West Hill, leading into Putney Heath, as wealthy or well-to-do. Despite a full array of places of worship, he said the area was noted for low church attendance with all denominations "struggling for the souls of pleasure-seeking Putney ... the middle class here are as indifferent as the poor elsewhere."

At the top of Putney Hill, the road taking that name veers off Tibbet's Ride at Putney Heath Lane (which was formerly known as Cut-Through Lane). Seven grand homes once lined the east side of this part of Putney Hill. It is now a no-through-road leading to Tibbet's Corner. Several of the mansions remain. The most southern of the homes was named Bath House, which included a keeper's lodge and large grounds. In 1926 it was opened as the Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases by the then Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII . The hospital was founded by malariologist Ronald Ross , who discovered that malaria was transmitted by mosquitoes. He won the 1902 Nobel Prize for his discovery. After his death and burial at nearby Putney Vale Cemetery in 1932, the financially strapped hospital was incorporated into the London School of Hygiene "> Cannizaro House
Cannizaro House
, now a hotel opposite Wimbledon Common
Wimbledon Common

In August 1730 (exact date unknown), a cricket match with important status was played on Putney Heath between Putney and Fulham , reportedly played for "50 guineas per side". It is the only known instance of a team called Putney and of a match at this venue, but the high stakes and the press coverage underline its contemporary importance.

Old Central School , situated in the south west of Wimbledon Common, provided a former pupils football team in the late 19th century which played on the common and used the "Fox and Grapes" public house as a changing room. At first called "The Old Centrals", this club later became Wimbledon F.C.

Putney Lower Common hosted Fulham F.C. 's home games in the 1885/1886 season.

The Richardson Evans Memorial Playing Fields, which form part of the Commons and are situated in Kingston Vale, provide football and rugby pitches for local schools and clubs. The grounds are currently home to London Cornish RFC , and was the training ground for Harlequins RL . It also hosts the annual National Schools Sevens rugby tournament. The grounds can also accommodate many different sports such as Australian Rules Football and Ultimate Frisbee.

Hampton and Richmond Borough Juniors FC (Colts section of Hampton MARGIN:0 4EM">DESTINATIONS FROM WIMBLEDON COMMON

Putney Vale , Richmond Park Putney Heath Southfields

Kingston Vale , Coombe , Richmond Park WIMBLEDON COMMON Wimbledon

Coombe , New Malden
New Malden
Raynes Park
Raynes Park
Wimbledon Chase



Windmill ">

An athlete from Belgrave Harriers trains near Rushmere *

Bluegate Pond *

Seven Post Pond

Near Windmill

Windmill Cafe

War Memorial

Rushmere Pond


Ranger's Lodge


* Wimbledon Manor House * List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Greater London


* ^ A B "Wimbledon and Putney Commons – The Commons". Wpcc.org.uk. 1 April 1991. Retrieved 27 December 2013. * ^ Drakeford, Tony; Sutcliffe, Una (2000). Wimbledon Common
Wimbledon Common
& Putney Heath: A Natural History. London: Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators. ISBN 0 9501887 5 1 . * ^ "Natural England, Wimbledon Common
Wimbledon Common
citation" (PDF). Retrieved 27 December 2013. * ^ "Map of Wimbledon Common
Wimbledon Common
SSSI". Natural England. * ^ "Wimbledon Common". UK Special Areas of Conservation site list. DEFRA
Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Retrieved 20 October 2014. * ^ "DEFRA, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Special Areas of Conservation". Jncc.defra.gov.uk. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013. * ^ A B " Wimbledon Common
Wimbledon Common
and Putney Heath". Greenspace Information for Greater London. 2006. * ^ "No. 22915". The London Gazette . 25 November 1864. pp. 5834–5835. * ^ "No. 23682". The London Gazette . 25 November 1870. pp. 5244–5245. * ^ "No. 23768". The London Gazette . 18 August 1871. p. 3643. * ^ A B C D " Putney Old and New London: Volume 6 (pp. 489–503)". british-history.ac.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2014. * ^ "AIM25 collection description". Aim25.ac.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2013. * ^ "Fishpond Wood ">(pdf). London Wildlife Trust. 2001. * ^ "Wimbledon Museum". Wimbledon Museum. Retrieved 27 December 2013. * ^ http://www.wimbledonguardian.co.uk/news/9646547.Wimbledon_s_worst_vandalism/ * ^ Geikie, J. C. (1903). The Fascination of London: Hammersmith, Fulham and Putney. London: A & C Black, p.85. * ^ "National Archives, The Queen\'S Royal Surrey Regiment and the Queen\'S Regiment: Records". Nationalarchives.gov.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2013. * ^ Geikie, J. C. (1903). The Fascination of London: Hammersmith, Fulham and Putney. London: A & C Black, p.84. * ^ Good Stuff IT Services. "Hartley Memorial Obelisk (north East of Wildcroft Manor), Putney". Britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2013. * ^ "No. 26598". The London Gazette . 15 February 1895. p. 911. * ^ Geikie, J. C. (1903). The Fascination of London: Hammersmith, Fulham and Putney. London: A & C Black, pp.84–86. * ^ "Voluntary Hospitals, London". UK Parliament. 25 March 1948. Retrieved 1 August 2012. * ^ "Welcome". Lynden Gate. Retrieved 1 August 2012. * ^ "History – The Telegraph country pub in London". Thetelegraphputney.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2013. * ^ "Green Man". youngs.co.uk. * ^ "Lewis Jeremiah \'Jerry\' Abershaw at Findagrave". * ^ "Gibbet used to display his body at Jerry\'s Hill". * ^ Good Stuff IT Services. "Village Pound, Putney". Britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2013. * ^ A B C D Bailey, Keith. Old Ordnance Survey Maps, Putney 1913. South Shields: Godfrey Maps * ^ "George E Cokayne \'\'Complete Baronetage Vol 1\'\' (1900)". Archive.org. 10 March 2001. Retrieved 27 December 2013. * ^ Roehampton
Club Towards the Second Century (1951), p.6 * ^ Geikie, J. C. (1903). The Fascination of London: Hammersmith, Fulham and Putney. London: A & C Black, p83. * ^ "1920 History Timeline London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine". Timeline.lshtm.ac.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2013. * ^ Kent, Stephen. " Roehampton
Club". Roehampton
Cricket Club. Retrieved 27 December 2013. * ^ Roehampton
Club Towards the Second Century (1951), p.11 * ^ "Shackleton news". Jamescairdsociety.com. Retrieved 27 December 2013. * ^ Roehampton
Club Towards the Second Century (1951), p.4 * ^ Geikie, J. C. (1903). The Fascination of London: Hammersmith, Fulham and Putney. London: A & C Black, p84. * ^ Wandsworth Council (2008). Putney Heath Appraisal & Management Strategy * ^ Roehampton
Club Towards the Second Century (1951), p.16 * ^ http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20090205012523/http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/DocumentList.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=303167&SubsidiaryNumber=0&DocType=AccountList. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2011. Missing or empty title= (help ) * ^ Waghorn (CS), p. 3. * ^ Maun, p. 45. * ^ "We back Friends of Putney Common’s court action". oss.org.uk. * ^ "New charity investigation: Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators". The Charity Commission. Retrieved 29 April 2017. * ^ Section 90http://www.ledr.com/acts/wpca/1871024.htm#90 * ^ "THE PROPOSED". The Spectator Archive. * ^ Section 93- Arrest of Transient Offenders "Any constable or any officer of the Conservators, and all persons called by such constable or officer to his assistance, may without any other warrant than this Act, seize and detain any person offending or having offended against this Act, or any byelaw of the Conservators, whose name or address is unknown to such constable or officer, and convey him with all convenient despatch before a justice, to be dealt with according to law." http://www.ledr.com/acts/wpca/1871024.htm#93 * ^ British Pathé. "Park Rangers". britishpathe.com.


* Maun, Ian (2009). From Commons to Lord's, Volume One: 1700 to 1750. Roger Heavens. ISBN 978 1 900592 52 9 . * Waghorn, H. T. (1899). Cricket
Scores, Notes, etc. (1730–1773). Blackwood. * Waghorn, H. T. (1906). The Dawn of Cricket. Electric Press. * Wilson, Martin (2005). An Index to Waghorn. Bodyline.