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 AND PUTNEY COMMONS
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
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 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
Beverley Brook runs along the western edge of Wimbledon Common. The watercourse was the historic south west London boundary.
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
The Horse Ride on the western side of
Charles II reviewed his forces on
Putney Heath in 1684; in May 1767,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 ">
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.
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
An athlete from Belgrave Harriers trains near Rushmere *
Bluegate Pond *
Seven Post Pond
* ^ A B "Wimbledon and
Putney Commons – The Commons".
Wpcc.org.uk. 1 April 1991. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
* ^ Drakeford, Tony; Sutcliffe, Una (2000).
* 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).