Every day you walk through it, run through it or meet with friends (in pre-covid times,) however how much do you know of the history of the common:
1.The Common covers a huge area of 220 acres, this includes green space, three ponds (Cock Pond, Mount Pond and Eagle Pond) and a stunning Victorian Grade 2 listed Bandstand which was built in 1890 and has been used for many events over the years.
2. Half of the Common is in the borough of Lambeth and half is in Wandsworth. The Common surrounds the postcodes of SW4, 11 and 12.
3.When Clapham was a small desirable village outside of London in the 18th Century many famous people built imposing period houses around the Common, including William Hewer who worked for Samuel Pepys and in fact Samuel Pepys died there in 1703, leaving much of his money to local residents.
4. One of the most recognisable buildings around the Common is the Holy Trinity Church on the edge of the Old Town which was built in 1776. This church was associated with the Evangelical Clapham Sect, a famous group of social reformers who shared common views on the liberation of slaves and the penal system. Many of the local roads are named after many of these people including Henry Venn and Henry Thornton.
5. The famous painter JM Turner painted “view on Clapham Common” between 1800 and 1805 which shows how wild it still was at the time
6. Until 1878 the area was common land for the parishes of Battersea and Clapham when it changed to be classed as a ‘park’
6. If you walk around the South Side of the Common you will see the roofs of two WW2 surface air rad shelters which stand imposing around all the trees. Although currently not allowed due to COVID19 you are able to explore these air raid shelters on organised tours and see the tunnels below the ground. Clapham South | London Transport Museum (ltmuseum.co.uk)
7. Now days you can enjoy almost any exercise on the Common from outdoor gym areas to military fitness classes, a running track, a bowling green, cricket and rugby pitches and a skate-board venue. There is always something to be enjoyed on the Common.
8. It has over the past twenty years become well known for hosting several events including the Calling Festival that was previously at Hyde Park, the dance festival SW4 and the Christmas event Winterville. I am sure that in 2021 we will see many festivals returning to the area as we hopefully see things return to normal.
9. Whether you use Clapham Common as a place to relax, or to meet friends on a sunny Summer’s afternoon, or if it is the place you love to exercise, it has been welcoming people to the area for over 300 years and I am sure it will for many years to come.