10 Clapham facts you didn’t know

Clapham Common picnic

Clapham isn’t just a great place to live, when you’re sitting on Clapham Common you sit on ground steeped in history. We’ve listed ten of the most interesting facts about Clapham that we’ve come across. If you live in Clapham you may have heard of some of these facts, but hopefully it’s still an interesting look into the area’s past. Help Love Clapham take this list up to a mighty fifteen by adding them at the foot of the page.

1. Sainsbury’s on Clapham High Street is a time capsule

Clapham High Street Sainsbury's video screens

Not only is Sainsbury’s one of Clapham’s biggest supermarkets, it has a fascinating history. In fact, even since its launch in 1996 you can see how it has changed from its original multi-coloured look with a tree in the entrance and a twenty panel picture display. Now of course the colours have gone, the tree removed and the screens have become a huge window. Before the site became a Sainsbury’s it saw many different uses. It began life in 1885 as a horse tram depot before being converted for electric trams in 1904. In 1910 Clapham’s first cinema, called the Globe with 130 seats, was opened on the site but that closed just five years later. In the Second World War the site was largely destroyed but rebuilt for busses in 1950, then used by the Museum of British Transport. In 1979 it was yet again used for busses before closing in 1987 to be used as an indoor go-kart track. While Love Clapham would have loved to play around on go-karts, Sainsbury’s does seem to be its most successful use yet. 

2. Clapham Junction isn’t Clapham

Clapham Junction used to be Battersea Junction

Shock horror! Our precious claim to fame “Britain’s busiest railway station” isn’t actually part of Clapham, it’s Battersea. There had been a Battersea station on the site for many years, but in 1863 a junction was added to cope with the growing number of lines and it was named after the perceived more popular village of Clapham a mile away. There’s a petition to change the name back to Battersea, but here at Love Clapham we disagree. If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, has been a duck for over a hundred years and is called a duck, it’s a duck. More seriously, Clapham Junction is situated around Clapham Common and there’s a definite connect between communities around this park. 

3. Clapham air raid shelters

Clapham air raid shelters

You will no doubt have spotted the above buildings on your travels around Clapham. They are the entrances to deep level air raid shelters, a lasting reminder of the Second World War’s impact on Clapham and London. There are actually eight of these shelters across London with three of them found at Clapham North, Clapham Common and Clapham South. Neighbouring Stockwell has one too. Each shelter is vast and as deep as the tube network. They came equipped with huge tunnels for sleeping bunks and then side tunnels for toilets, medical posts and tubes for pumping air in and out. Sadly, these sites are now all used for private storage or development plans so there is absolutely no way of accessing them. At least they are being used. Visit the Underground History site at the foot of this page to see a photo tour of the Clapham North shelter before it was taken over by a private company.

4. Slave trade abolished thanks to Clapham Sect

Clapham Holy Trinity Church

A group of Evangelical Christians who worshipped at Clapham Common’s Holy Trinity Church were instrumental in the abolition of the slave trade. They led a campaign that resulted in the Slave Trade Act 1807 and the abolition of slavery itself in 1833. 

5. Clapham was devastated by bombs

Clapham London bomb sites World War Two

During World War Two Clapham, like many places, was hit by numerous bombs (some locations of which can be seen in the portion of map above). Clapham Junction and Battersea was particularly hard hit resulting in a lot of reshaping of the area after the war. 

6. Celebrity residents

Vivienne Westwood Clapham Common

Clapham has been home to many celebrities in its time, with some of the best known residents including Vivienne Westwood, Ainsley Harriott, Piers Morgan, Heather Mills, JK Rowling, Dennis Waterman, Vanessa Redgrave and Sarah Fergussen (formerly HRH The Duchess of York). Not to mention Love Clapham of course! It is also home to Brian Dowling of ex-Big Brother 15 minutes of fame (miaow!)

7. Clapham = Clopp Ham / Clopeham?

Clapham Common bush

Clapham was once a much wilder place than it is now. Indeed the first Clapham settlement in the 9th or 10th century housed as few as 100 people surrounded by farmland. According to the Domesday book, Clapham began its existence as a Saxon village called Clopeham. Named as such after Cloppham which meant the village ‘ham’ by the hill ‘clopp’. Clapham really became popular after the plague and the great fire of London drove people out of the city and into Clapham’s waiting arms. The Holy Trinity Church became the parish church when it was built in 1776. By the end of the 18th Century, Clapham had not only grown to a substantial village, it began to attract wealthy Londonites who built the magnificent homes around Clapham Common that we see today. 

8. Clapham Common Bandstand is a community symbol

Clapham Common bandstand

It’s a nice structure but you could be mistaken for thinking the Clapham Common Bandstand receives more attention than it really deserves. It was first built in 1889 after local residents petitioned the London County Council for a replica of the bandstands found in South Kensington. At the time it proved popular for weekly concerts up until the Second World War when it fell out of use. It fell into total disrepair, only used by pigeons and as a dangerous climbing frame for children. In recent years it faced removal, but local residents and groups petitioned Lambeth Council for its renovation. Thanks to local resident funding and a substantial National Lottery grant, Clapham Common Bandstand had a near £2million refurbishment. It seems like an astronomical cost considering the stand is still so rarely used, but actually it is the focal point of Clapham society and a welcome landmark in the heart of this busy town. 

9. Clapham loves cinemas

Clapham Picture House cinema

Clapham High Street has been home to not one, not two, not three but four different cinemas. Competition and changes in popularity caused them all to close down but Clapham Picture House remains one of the most popular entertainment venues in the area today. Interestingly this cinema was going to be at least three times the size with the entrance being the corner shop at the end of the street. Other previous cinema locations include Infernos, the night club, and part of the Sainsbury’s site.

10. There really was a windmill on Clapham Common

Windmill on Clapham Common

OK, so that isn’t 100% accurate. There genuinely were windmills in Clapham back in the days when the area was used for farming, but their exact location is unknown so they may not have sat exactly on the common that exists today. They would have been in the same area however and the Windmill on the Common pub was named after one of the two windmills of the day. The Windmill pub was built in 1665.

Sources

98 thoughts on “10 Clapham facts you didn’t know

  1. What about mentioning how important Clapham has been to the LGBT community.. a once popular cruising ground since the 1920’s spawned from a time when it used to be illegal, the AIDS Hospice that used to face the Common, the venue for Gay Pride in the 90’s featuring acts like Morrissey and just in general a borough just used to house many young gay men escaping homelessness through hostels such the one on Latchmere which the Conservatives closed down 3 years ago and now stands empty.

  2. I lived in Clapham from 1955 till 1983. I remember Scout lane at the Old Town and F Thomas garages that had a workshop and showroom there. I too played on the old bombsite down Gaudon Road and used to spend a lot of time on the Common watching the boats. I went to Hazelrigge Primary School and if anyone went to the Dentists in Larkhall Rise well that was my Dad.

  3. I was born and bread in Battersea in Thurleigh Rd but within easy reach of Clapham Common and Clapham South tube station.

    Does anyone know whether there has been a book published giving the history of the area and including photographs and pictures. If so, where can I get a copy

    many thanks

  4. There are some books in Clapham library. They have old photos and there was a recent edition with history about some of the roads in and around Clapham.

  5. Ian, June 22nd 2015. Hi Ian I think you will find that the building housing the MacDonalds Restaurant was formerly a Marks and Spencer store as the top frontage has the classic M&S style about it. The nearest Cinema was the Gaumont (Majestic) some four or five doors further towards Clapham Common underground station, which incidentaly was the southern terminus of the City and South London Railway which I believe was the first tube line in London (not cut and cover).

  6. I noticed the name Reggie Beard whilst looking up facts about clapham. I am researching my family and think you could be my uncle. i am desperately looking for my father Trevor Beard are you related to him. Claire Beard.

  7. Does anyone have any info on the Beard family last known address carfax sq clapham. Twelve brothers and sisters. Father Regginald Beard. Mother Violet Beard. I have one photo of myself and my grandad reggie we are on a beach i was a baby, i also have one photo of my father Trevor Beard and my mother fay Beard and myself on my first Birthday, i only aqquired these from my nan in wandsworth just before she died. All info has been kept from me till she died. Anyone who may know where any of them are now please could you let me know via this site thankyou claire B.

  8. Only just found this site and just read Roys post dated 2013 where he says he lived at 56 Lessar Ave. My family and I lived at 58 and I can remember a young girl who used to make me plaster models and pass them over the fence, also members of Billy Cotton’s band show living at no. 60.

  9. I attended haselrigge primary school between 1961-63. Mr. Wotton was the class teacher and i think the headmaster was mr. Hughes. I was one of three black west indian boys in the school, any other pupil who was in the same class at that time i would love to hear from.

  10. Hi Tony, I was at Hazelrigge in 61, my form teacher was Mr King. You are quite right about the Heads name. I remember a West Indian lad called Glenroy Elliot does that ring any bells with you?

  11. I was in your class John, along with Louis Saba, Stephen Sturgess, David Bell, David Tarrant, Barry Jolly and Ronny Court . Mr. Wotton lived along the North Side of the common & we were his first class when he came to the school…..I am Vic Butcher who lived on William Bonny Estate

  12. I can remember you Tony. Mr Hughes followed Fulham Football Club. Mr. King was deputy head. Miss Gadge was Headmistress of the junior school. Most of us ended up at Aristotle after juniors.

  13. Just happened to drop by. I was brought up in Clapham 1953-1974. Went to St Mary’s primary school. It was just lovely to hear place names again. They were lovely days. Remember playing on the bomb site in Alphonsus Road on our way to church. Have just also looked in on Abbeville Road – nothing like when I was growing up. Clapham will always be remembered with love. A different place then to what it is now. Now live in Scotland

  14. Residents of Lessar/Lynette/Cautley and hoping to expand to other Clapham South avenues are just setting up a residents’ association. It would be really interesting to get memories of these roads from the past; I was in particular intrigued by the Billy Cotton band at 60 Lessar Ave! I have also seen an old photo handed in recently at the former sub post office (now just newsagents) in Abbeville Road of the Roberts radio shop; I believe by the former owner’s daughter. Please do share memories – a local history would be a great idea for us “newbies”. Thank you!

  15. @Claire Beard There are Beards in Cheltenham and Gloucester. There is a jewellery shop in The Promenade in Cheltenham. I used to work in the mental health system and I had a client called Mark Beard in Gloucester.

  16. @Claire Beard I do not know if the Beard family still own the jewellers’ shop.

  17. I attended Aristotle Secondary School 64-68 and remember Mr Cave as my first teacher. Does anyone remember Steven Massey?
    I lived in Greener House on Clapham North Estate 58-71 and often wondered what happened to the Holdsworth family who last lived in Hugh Morgan House on the same estate.
    Have many fond memories of Clapham – haven’t been back for a long time so I expect it’s sadly changed a lot!

  18. There was mention of cinemas, but not the cinema which resided at Clapham South; now it is Majestic wines, opposite Tesco.
    Interestingly, it staged indian films. I recall going there in 1973 with my mother to see an indian film called ‘Bobby’.
    If you look at the structure of tge building, you can make out that it was some sort of picture house.
    I cannot recall when the cinema closed down.

  19. Can anyone help me with the following info about Clapham North side building which is now flats? I’m not sure if it was previously a hotel. My brother and his young family live there and have problems with ghosts (although neither he nor his wife were exactly believers) it wasnt until the noises and occurrences became so frequent and a man with black gloves was seen regularly by their two young boys they were forced to take action. Apparently many of the other residents have also suffered similar experiences, the lady who came to rid their basement flat of the ‘spirits’ said she was frequently called to exorcise rooms in the building. I was interested to know more of the buildings history and if it was bombed during the war which might explain all the goings on? Thanks

  20. My Dad came from Clapham SW4 and I remember going to 6 Cato Road to meet my Grandparents when I was about 3 in 1947.
    At 5 I went to Haselrigge school but by that time we were living at 65 Hambalt Road at Clapham Common.
    From there we moved to 2 Elm Road in the ground floor flat and Peter and Dennis Waterman lived upstairs with their mother and sister, who I think was named Sheila.
    Dennis and I became mates and played in the yard of the flats constantly. My mum worked at the Ace Laundry I believe with Mrs. Waterman.
    It’s strange how I remember the names of my best friends at Haselrigge, Keith Kennard and Keith Cambridge, and the two girls I remember, Valerie Baker and Valerie Tooth. The firm teacher was Mr. Jones. I was five at the time so that’s 67 years ago!
    Dad the got a job as a trainee manager at the Windmill on Clapham Common but not long later in about 1951 rejoined the Air Force and that was the end of my time in Clapham.
    I recall both the Majestic and the Pavilion. Saturday morning at the Pavilion was the kids matinee time, (would it be the ABC Minors?), and pressing my nose against the window of Adlards Motors on the high street!
    Simple times but happy times!

  21. my dad Eric John Gowlett was born 9 August 1936 , his birth certificate says 4 seneca road but we can find no such road any one have ideas ????

  22. Thanks Diane (Feb 2915). Just found this site and at last someone has confirmed that there were prefabs on the common. No one else could remember seeing them so I am pleased that someone else has proved I am not imagining seeing them. I was born at South London Hospital and later worked there, as did my mum. Loved Clapham Common as a child – the paddling pool and boating lake in particular. I lived in Acre Lane from 1949 to 1959 and went to Sudbourne Junior School.

  23. My goodness, who would have thought a site like this would have existed.I lived in Battersea but having failed 11 plus started at Aristotle Selective Central in 1955 when it was in Aristotle Road. We sometimes used an annexe in a school just up the road and used to have a race at lunch time to get to the dinner queue.We moved to a bigger building in Allerdyce Road about half way through my time there.Sport was my main activity, Norman O Caves was a good triple jumper and athletics coach. David Pottinger,John Beer,Peter Rush,Brian West,Les Gaiger, Bethel,Morrison, Hampshire, Sturgess, a boy surname Tribe who had a fatal crash on a scooter, are all names that come to mind. Masters were Willans as Head, Messrs Lush, Goweron and Byrne who had a Mark 9 Jag and a mean chalk board duster or slipper in the lunch queue. Perhaps the highlight of the lot was a skiing trip to Isny im Algau, is there anyone out there who remembers that. I think the school only lasted a couple of years beyond 1960 when it was merged with Henry Thornton.

  24. Hi Sylvia
    Attended Bonneville JMI 1953- 1959 ?.
    Are Janet Harper. Angela Crewe, Sheila Holder, Angela Gorgos, Catherine
    Arnie Cohen, John Bell, John Addison, Alan Clarke, Neil Cloake, still out there?
    Teachers:- Mr Furlong 2nd Year, Mr. Champion 4th year
    Mr. Gibson headmaster.
    Remember the Odeon, Clapham South?

  25. I helped run the 16th Clapham Scout Group ( based in the contact centre ) Narbonne avenue at one time the Scouts were based on a Monday eve in bonnebille school. From 1971 I help run the cubs then I took over as CSL and acting Beaver leader. I was there for a total of 41 years lots of happy memories were made there and I still keep in touch with a lot of the members.( some in their late 40’s) We were the first group to start beavers and also to let girls join. Unfortunately when I left in 2013 the group closed down would be lovely to hear from any of the old members. The group opened January 1915 we had a big celebration for our 80th anniversary.

  26. I went to Clapham manor school in Clapham manor street from 1958 to 1966. I use to live in Rectory Grove (family still does)

  27. Hi there Victor Butcher, wonder if you remember me, I was in your class and I started Aristotle in Sept 1963 and left in 68. I was in 1b Hickman, 2b Christou, then a few term with Foster and Lush. I think you were one of the few boys who experienced old Mr Thompsons ”Livener” more than me ha ha
    Got so many memories if you want to read them, send me a line….Meanwhile heres a list of boys from our year you might recall, luckilly I am blessed with a good memory. Michael Slaughter, had a finger missing so of course everyone knew him as ”Stumpy”, how cruels that. Brynn Marsh, John Date, John Bishop, Duncan Appleby, Lawrence Aplin, Paul Tinham, Marco Bacchetta, Ricky Malangone, Michael Chrome, Carey, gear, whitmore, keep well Mick Comb..

  28. Hi Chris Hayward
    Yes I was a patient of your dad in the very early days, first went therein about 62 when I was seven or eight, Im 65 now so many years ago. Of course I went with my mum because on several occassions I had to have several extractions and in those days he used to use gas. I was always terribly frightened and usually spent the rest of the day in bed afterwards as most kids were ill after the gas. I can still see his face now standing there in his white coat. I think his first name was Alan, or so my mum used to tell me. Happy days keep well Mike..

  29. Does anyone remember my grandparents oil shop/ hardware shop on the corner of Union Road and Clapham Road opposite the old Coach and Horses pub, It burned down in 1962, there was a fish and chipshop next door called Bobs, also opposite was a sweet shop called Stiffs, a florists called the Posy and a laundry shop next door, all gone now, road changed beyond all recognition

  30. If you went to Aristotle School between 63 and 68 perhaps I can jog your memory with these old teachers.
    Mr Bullen, Mr Stewart Jervis, Headmasters, Jo Cottage Asst Head,
    Mr Spinks, Mr Hussey, Mr Coyne, Mr Burt (Religious Knowledge ) Mr Hunt ( Music) Mr Frampton (Art) Mr Gaze Mr Wendon, Mr Graham, Mr Goweron,
    Benjamin Thompson, (Ben) Mr Lush, Mr Foster, Mr Hickman and Mr Christou… Class Houses were Macauley green, Thornton, yellow, Shaftsbury, red and Defoe, blue..

  31. Hello Michael, I remember the old fish and chip shop on Union Road. I grew up two streets away and was there for 28 years. I think Bob’s was there until 1980ish. I have done a weekly podcast and radio show for years which often goes into my time growing up in the area.

  32. Nice to hear from you Daniel, I remember the area so well and although I am 65 now it seems so clear going every day to Larkhall Lane School every day. All round Gaskell Street and Bromfelde Road was full of prefabs and a few bomb sites we used to play on when young. I lived in Tregothnan Road, just up the top of Mayflower Road but all my school friends were from Jeffreys Rd, Elwell Rd and Chelsham Rd. Would love to see any old pics of Union Rd or near areas from 50s or 60s. Next to Bobs fish and chip shop was a greengrocers called Halls, a grocers and an old fashioned dry cleaners called Turners, also opposite was a Dairy called Williams, i think!! Happy memories. ps whats the radio station Daniel ?

  33. Hi Gloria,
    Had a friend from school in 63 64. He lived in Rectory Grove and his name was Brian Summerton.

  34. Hey Mike, I lived on Mayflower for 28 years. A strong immigrant community in the 70s, where only us kids seemed to speak English and then in the 80s, the houses got chopped up into flats and the area changed a little, a mixture of yuppies and us working class (largely) immigrants. It became harder to kick a ball in the street with all the cars. Post 2000, I would not be able to live there now. Earlier than that, to be honest, I wasn’t a fan of the changes to Clapham High Street and by the mid 90s, I was rarely frequenting the High Street. The variety of shops were gone as Clapham became obsessed with pursuing the night time economy.

    Our first landlord ran Segovia Motors on the corner of Clapham/Union Road from 1980. Before that, he had a garage just opposite that newsagents you mention. I feel fortunate that I was able to grow up in that community just as it was ending.
    I played loads of football on Tregothnan Road in the early 80s. My house was on the corner of Mayflower so I knew many of the kids on Tregothnan.

    The radio show finished last year but continues in podcast form, which gives all the details to my other work. I don’t know if you remember Andy the Greek hairdresser who ran the barbers on Landor for 50 years. I interviewed him for one of my shows in 2015 as he was retiring. He told lot of stories too about the area.

    The show is here:
    iTunes ow.ly/tLWBq or RSS goo.gl/GUKbD3

  35. Amazed to find this site on an unrelated search, and and can add a little info too. I went to Clapham Manor Primary before Aristotle School (well remember Doubledays pie factory and Biddies Cafe) and then on to Henry Thornton for our last secondary year, when they were combined as a comprehensive.
    I knew one or two of the Beards to a small extent, particularly Barry Beard who I met through a girlfriend, Gina Yates, who lived in Carfax Square where the Beards were.
    We lived in Voltaire Road, in condemned and crumbling Bowyer House, which is now much more up-market and behind a gated lane, opposite the old Clapham Rail Station.
    Clapham was a good enterprise launch-pad, through a morning paper round for the newsagent in Clapham Park Road, near Carfax Square; dog-walking after school for the publican of the Two Brewers; and Saturdays working at the fruit and veg shop on the high street near Edgeley Road.
    Cub pack was the 23rd Clapham, at St John the Evangelist, Clapham North (my brother Lou and I were ‘let go’ before making Scouts) and then teenage social life revolved around the Clock House pub at the foot of Clapham Pk Rd.
    I knew most of the pupils and teachers named by Nick Comb at Aristotle. Other Clock House guys included Plug (Stuart Towers) Kim Tremaine, Phil Hogan, George Edwards. Had a blast from the past last month when Jacko Leahy, who lived off King’s Avenue, was in touch.
    Prefer rural living these days but Clapham was a great training ground for life. Respect to all who did the course.

  36. Well,well,well.
    Bob Kass, now theres a name I remember well. At the time of starting at Aristotle I was growing up in Landor Road, my home till I got married in 71 aged 19, we all seemed to get married young then. My great friend though was Rick Malangone, spent hours round his house listening to music in 1967. He intoduced me to Pink Floyd, Hendrix and The Cream, he used to play these in his room above the fruit shop in Clapham Park Road really loudly, I think his mum was scared of him, his dad was a caretaker on the same estate, I can remember Rick, Plug myself and a guy called Steve Hellens who lived near Rick. We all used to hang around outside the Triangle pub. So sad to hear that Ricky Malangone took his own life in 1990 in Eastbourne, had some long conversations with one of his cousins and I got the complete lowdown. Apparantly there was some problem with his wife or girlfriend at the time, also he was in to drugs and had already tried to kill himself. well next time he managed for good. I was so sad, the times me and him used to bunk off school together and lie in the gardens of St Matthews church thinking how big we were. do you remember Steve Sturgess, fantastic artist. He is a real high profile Guru now, quite famous apparantly, hes on facebook.
    I also remember a gang of us hanging around those public toilets in Voltaire Road waiting for dubious characters to beat up, not think we ever actually did though thank god. at the time we were a pretty dangerous group of hoodlums looking for trouble.
    As for myself I hit 65 in Sept this year, lived in Milton Keynes 20 years, Worthing West Sussex, for 20 years, now living in North Yorks, those times seem like a lifetime ago Bob, in a way I guess it was,
    heres a few more names, Jimmy Taylor, would love to trace him, we went to Larkhall together, Peter Hendry, Russell Finnerty, John Date, Phil Michaels, Steve Valour, Julien Gillard, John Carey, Marco Bacchetta,Love to hear any more new Bob, all the Best Mike

  37. You have a good memory for names, Mike. I knew Ricky Malangone, Plug and Steve Helens (he had an older brother, Colin). Ricky, Plug and I went to see Hendrix at the Tooting cinema, just as he was about to be famous. It was the Walker Brothers’ last ever show, and the place was packed with girls wearing ‘I love John/Scott’ shirts, while the three of us were just there for Jimi. So sorry to hear of Ricky’s death. He had a kind of manic streak in him, and i well remember the violence and potential for more, but he managed to balance himself out through being a good competitive swimmer and becoming a pretty good guitarist himself. He had a long-time girlfriend called Pat, who lived off Stonehouse Street and was a straight-up girl, so I hope she wasn’t impacted. His mum was indeed frightened of him, and for good reason, but his dad was a tough Glaswegian/Italian who took no prisoners.
    Steve Sturgess also played bass guitar and was amongst a group of friends with whom I once agreed to form a ‘band’. The others were Derek Yates (guitar, and brother of Gina) and Desmond Lane (must have been drums). In the manner of Crosby, Stills… etc, I dreamt up the name SYLK (Sturgess, Yates, Lane and Kass) but I think we only got together once or twice.
    I worked in London for a few years, then Newcastle, and have lived in the Scottish Highlands for more than 30 years. Married with two grown-up boys and now a grandad!
    I recall many more tales from Clapham, good, bad and downright weird,and so glad we all experienced and then moved on from it. Russ Finnerty (bit of a lad himself) put up a lovely post some years ago to wish everyone well on the old Friends Re-united site, but I have no other news of the other guys you mention, I’m afraid. Best, Bob

  38. Hi there all you guys that went to Aristotle School. I attended there in 1952 to 1956. I played on the school soccer and cricket teams.. Mr Cave was a newcomer there and he took over the soccer team from Mr Mildred. Mr Foster looked after the cricket team. Joe Cottage was our form master, a great guy.
    There was a Mr Davies, Woody Wenden (woodwork) Mr Parker (metalwork)
    Mr Anthony (english) Mr Bampton .
    Our school captain was Ron Bowen. Some of my friends were Don Stripp, Derek Taylor, Brian Butcher, Ray Ayling, Brian Haswell Michael Smith and so many more. Great memories. I lived in Battersea and the Upper Norwood while attending there.

  39. Michael Comb – I remember the oil shop/ ironmonger’s in Union Road very well – I can smell the lovely smell of paraffin to this day. I lived in Clapham Road, between Stirling Road and Mayflower Road, directly opposite the bus stop – born there during the war and lived there till I was 15 in 1958. Went to Larkhall Lane school – half my class lived in the prefabs you mentioned. I remember Stiff’s the newsagent – used to buy comics there, and it was where I bought my first unrationed bag of sweets to take to school the day they came off ration – two bags actually, each two ounces – that was a great day in the playground, we were all swopping sweets like mad. So many memories of that time – rollerskating along Mayflower Road and Atherfold Road – literally in the road – I wasn’t allowed a bike because we lived on the main road (can’t quite remember when the trams stopped running but the tramlines stayed for a while and my mum was afraid we’d get our wheels caught). But for the life of me I can’t understand why they let me out on roller skates without any worries – they must have thought I stayed on the pavement. Good times.

  40. Joy Wild—So pleased to read your message recently, I was wondering if there was anybody left who could remember my grandparents shop; Hill&Tidmas ltd. It would seem from your message that your memory goes back further than mine, I started Larkhall Lane in 56 and left in the summer of 63 to start at Aristotle, Brixton.
    I know you’ll remember the pallisade wall that ran along the front of the houses from Mayflower to Stirling Rds, now there is just a bit left now and its been coated in grey paint. It used to be all orange terracotta and was around 6ft tall, those houses were all quite posh to be honest. Opposite your house from the entrance to the old Savoy Laundry was a posh sweet shop that sold mainly boxes of expensive chocolates, there was a greengrocers and an ABC Bakers and a newsagents called Prossers then there was the pub that was named The Coach and Horses.
    Around the Union Rd side I can remember the brewery delivering huge blocks of ice to this pub and as a child always wondered why!! next to the pub in Union Rd was a tiny florist called The Posy and then the Blue House Laundry, strange because the whole shop was painted in vibrant yellow. This was run by my auntie Dolly. There was a very old man with a crutch who always could be found leaning against the wall between these two shops, Stiffs the sweet shop, then a small dairy called Williams.
    On the other side was a transport cafe set back from the road, a building called Steel Scaffolding that used to be a Regent Garage, Turners the dry cleaners, Roberts; a grocers, Halls; greengrocers, Bobs; fish and chips then my families shop.
    I wonder if you remember that big old victorian house that stood on the corner of Clapham Rd and Union Rd opposite Rusper Court. I used to play in the bushes there as a child in the front grounds of that place. There was a big garage between Union Rd and Jeffreys Rd called Lawrence’s and a big old redundant chapple next door with huge pillars at the front, we was always scared to go in there. I remember with fondness Jeffreys Library where I went as a child this was next door to where I was borne in 51, a maternity home on the corner of bromfelde Rd called Annie Mcalls. Mike

  41. I’ve just come across this site while I was looking for some information about a tragic accident that occured in the early 60’s, I think it was in the Rhodenhurst Road area. My brothers best friend David Pearce was killed when an abandoned car exploded and he was playing inside. I think he was 11 or 12, does anyone remember this ?. But looking at all the comments that have been posted brought back so many good memories for me. I was born at No 6 Savill House on the Oaklands Estate in 1951 and went to school at Glenbrook Infants and later the Junior School. My two best friends were Kevin Lee who lived at No 1 and ‘Kipper’, I think his real name was Christopher who lived at No 3 or No 4. We used to use our dinner money and buy chips from the row of shops in Clarence Avenue, there was a sweet shop there as well that my dad made all the shelves for. I also remember Saturday morning pictures at the ‘Hole in the Wall’ (cartoons and cowboys), we came out riding pretend horses and firing pretend guns. Although, I’ve just seen a picture of the ‘Hole in the Wall’ in Streatham from the 1950’s and it doesn’t look like the place we went to, so perhaps it was a different cinema altogether, memories fade. There was a park at the end of Clarence Ave that had a sandpit where I lost some of my Dinky cars and just up the road from there, was a library where I got my first book ‘Three Men in a Boat’. My dad was a master carpenter and worked for John Laing Builders and my mum was a cook and worked at the ‘Stork Club’ in Streatham. She would often take me with her and I would be sat on a high stool with a ‘Knickerbocker Glory’ that was bought for me by one of the cabaret acts during the interval, I can remember Dickie Henderson and Dickie Valentine both talking to me, (big acts of the time). Does anyone remember if there was a police station near Clapham Common, because I can also remember my mum working there and they had a snooker table and tv in the rest lounge and when any of the policemen were off duty they would teach me to play snooker. We used to ride on the trolley buses, I don’t really remember trams so much. I do remember catching the 118 bus to somewhere, perhaps to visit relatives in Putney or Wandsworth but by the bus stop there was a toy shop and next to that there was a shop that sold freshly ground coffee, you could see it being made in the window, the strong smell and the warmth from the shop are still with me today. I’m not quite sure where this was, either Streatham or Balham. Here are a few people we used to play with, does anybody remember them ? Kevin Lee, Christopher ‘Kipper’ ?, Sally Thomas, Virginia Carlion. My name is Phillip Martin, my brother is Tony and my sister is Carol. I’ve only been back to Clapham once since we left in 1961, I think it was about 1996. We were on our way to meet David Essex when he was in ‘Mutiny’ and I took my wife to see where I came from and I must say I wish I hadn’t bothered, it looked really run down and just awful. But going by the pictures that I’ve seen recently it really looks a lot better, just as I remember it. They were happy days with good friends and great memories. There is just one more thing, I can’t ever remember it snowing, I remember staying in on the rainy days and playing out on the sunny days but don’t ever recall playing in the snow!!! Isn’t that odd. I also remember the prefabs in Clarence Crescent (Posted by Sylvia Godfrey-Shafer Sept 2 2015)and I think there were some garages there as well that we used to climb onto the roof and jump off and where my brother broke his arm doing just that. Hi to anyone who remembers the Martin family and Best Regards to anyone and everyone who reads this.

  42. Hi there John Turner,

    I was also at Aristotle from 1951 until1956 and recall all those you mentioned.Do you remember Doug Izzard ? I am still in touch with him and we still go fishing together! I ended up in Dai Davies, class 5A I recall. He was a great Literatire teacher.. Jack Anthony was a great teacher as well. Did not take well to Mr Wood (Maths) or Mr Southern (Geog.) Did you sing the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas for Mr Earle , the Head Master ?

  43. Hi Bill Heath
    I started Aristotle much later in 63 and I can remember Charlie Southam. He was extreemly unlikeable and hated throughout the school by every boy. He had a bit of a leaving ceromony in the hall at morning assembly and I can remember all the boys booing him.
    He was affectionately known throughout the school as Charlie the Chimp.

  44. Phillip Martin, David Pearce was a pupil of Glenbrook School when he died in an accident in 1960. A seat commemorated him in the playground. The park at the end of the Avenue was Agnes Riley Gdns, still there. The library is long gone, leaving local residents to travel to Clapham Old Town to use a public library. The prefabs in Clarence Crescent were opposite the house I lived in, and I delivered papers to them as a paper boy. The garages were immediately behind

  45. Hi to all who read this, from sunny Cornwall.
    My name is Rod and I grew up in Honeywell Rd. and lived opposite the
    school gate. I lived there before the flats were put up after the bomb took
    out half of the street. When the flats were filled I had many new mates
    that I went to school with, and to this day, I am still in touch with some.
    The head Master at the time was Mr.Pinder, and a very nice lady teacher
    was Mrs.Wheel, and her son Anthony was at school with me.
    Just next to the school were three prefabs, and I had mates in all three, there family names were, Bilham – Strong – Westley, wonder if
    any are still around Battersea. Does anyone remember the old picturehouse in Northcote Rd. were we all went on Saturday mornings, many years ago it was called The Globe, and years later became the Cenutry, last time I was in the area it was a Tesco store.
    How many football matches did I play on Wandsworth Common ?
    to this day to many to remember, but we did have a very good Sunday team, and won many cups, one of the team even went on to play for Chelsea, and played in a cup final against Spurs.
    Are any market stalls still down the Northcote, I had a few mates on them, and the ice cream shop De Marco’s were we would meet up on a Sunday before all going off to the pictures in the evening. When I lived in Honeywell with mum and dad, dad’s local was the Gardeners Arms in Chatham Rd. opposite the Eagle, but I hear that is now flats. On the other end of Chatham Rd live a chimney sweep named Ron Cockell, a family friend, who’s brother Don a boxer, went to the states in the 50’s
    to fight Rocky Marciano ( hope I spelt that right ). Most of you reading this will have heard of actor Dennis Waterman, but did you know his brother Peter was a very good boxer years ago, and later served good hot drinks to the football teams on Sunday mornings at Mitchum Common from his coffee stall.
    that’s all for now, can any one out there remember any of this.
    regards Rod.

  46. Harry Stannard, Thanks for that info Harry, I didn’t know about the commemorative seat, and thanks for taking the time to read and reply. Amendment to earlier posting: As the accident with David was in 1960, we must have left Clapham in 1959 and not ’61 as I thought because we went back for his funeral.

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