Clapham South Deep-level Air Raid Shelter

Clapham is one of the most historic parts of London, yet most people know nothing about Clapham’s history. Believe it or not, if you live in Clapham proper, one of the area’s secrets is beneath your feet: literally miles of air raid shelters, over 30 meters down, below the underground.

clapham south deep level shelter - 10You’ll recognise the entrances as those round buildings you’ve probably either wondered what their purpose is, or assumed were part of the tube. Wrongo. They are entrances to underground mini-cities that, when open, would have safely held 8,000 people. That’s even bigger and deeper than Infernos – but probably still better lit.

The London Transport Museum had a major breakthrough recently, receiving permission to open one of Clapham’s many Deep-level Shelters. Built during World War II as air raid shelters against the blitz. We were lucky enough to book tickets for the opening week. Without wanting to give away ‘too’ much, below is a small selection of photos.

It sold out pretty quickly but it is well worth the wait and £30 admission fee – worth every penny. It was a truly memorable experience with outstanding guides. And I hope they get to keep them open so thousands more people can experience Clapham below ground… er, belower ground than the underground and WC that is.
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Boris Bikes not coming to Clapham’s Northern Line

After hearing about the extension of the cycle hire ‘Boris Bikes’ into South West London, including parts of Battersea and Clapham (along Wandsworth Road down to Clapham Junction) we got in touch with TFL to ask when they’d come other areas of Clapham. In particular, along the heavily congested Northern Line route from Clapham North, through Balham down to Tooting.

TFL confirmed that there “are no plans to expand further at this time”, and that they definitely aren’t coming to this area for the time being (not this year, and with no plans at all yet, we’d guess that currently, unlikely for 2014 either). This due to a number of factors that included:

  • Funding
  • Maintenance of docking stations 500m apart
  • Likely usage – particularly multi-direction usage
  • Available suitable land for docking stations
  • Local demand
  • Council support

However, TFL report that the Northern Line is the single most congested line, particularly at the stations Clapham North, Clapham Common, Clapham South, Balham and Tooting Bec. We’ve just had the cycle super highway added along this route to encourage cyclists (which is working), and we’re being encouraged by TFL to change our commute at these points, including the recommendation of cycling.

Therefore Clappers, like Sherlock Holmes I conclude that it is the most sensible place in probably the whole of London for this bike scheme to come!

What do you think? Do you want them? Will people use them? Is it worth us starting a petition to show local support and mapping out possible docking station location? 

Boris bikes coming to areas of Clapham

Clapham Boris Bikes

Some of you may have noticed Boris Bike (aka Barclay’s bikes) docking stations cropping up along the Wandsworth Road and Clapham Junction parts of the Clapham area. So far there are no signs actually within Clapham town or the High Street, however.

This is part of the South West expansion, which you can read about on the TFL website. The expansion (see map below) mostly covers Hammersmith, Fulham and Wandsworth, but scrapes into the Clapham area. We’re unclear yet whether the bikes will come into Clapham town and around the common, or if Wandsworth Road is the limit.

It seems a shame that TFL / Barclays/ Boris etc haven’t decided to urgently rush the bike scheme along the extremely heavily overcrowded Northern Line to relieve the pressure. Fingers crossed.

We’ll let you know more as we know it. Bike on Clappers!

Clapham Boris Bike expansion

Clapham Old Town regeneration project

Clapham Old Town regeneration project

You may have noticed that something is afoot in Clapham Old Town. Lambeth Council has gone ahead with plans to completely regenerate this area of Clapham with a multi-million pound budget (£2.8 million). It’s one of the most ambitious regeneration schemes Clapham has seen in recent years and, following the Venn Street improvements, Love Clapham has to highly commend the council for such brilliant investment.

You can see an artist’s impression of what the area will look like in the picture above and more images on the architect Marks Barfield’s website. Work has already begun, which you can see happening right now if you pop down, with the aim to be finished in the New Year (around March time).

This will be a fantastic addition to the area and another reason for people to visit and live in Clapham. The main changes are:

  • Increasing and improving the paved areas significantly to create a large pedestrian area, or, as the architect is calling it an “urban piazza” (massive LOLs right?!) – which will provide a space for people to enjoy in the summer and will make the restaurants and shops more accessible
  • Moving the bus station stop to the other side, to sit within Clapham Common (we know this was controversial for the residents looking onto this but hopefully the improvements will prove worthwhile in the long run)
  • Changing the main road to run in both directions, rather than the previous one-way system
  • Introducing greenery with many more trees

You can find out more on the Lambeth Council website.

Clapham’s attack of the supermarkets

They arrived slowly, one by one, popping up silently in the night. They appeared with their glowing signs and tempting delights. Until one day, the residents of Clapham realised they had been overrun by limited selections and narrow aisles.

Yes my people, Love Clapham is being silly. Supermarkets are fab, of course. We need them and the closer they are to our route home the more convenient. And of course we all cheered when Waitrose arrived on Clapham High Street. However, as Sainsbury’s adds another supermarket to Nightingale Lane and has plans afoot for another possible store by Clapham North, Love Clapham poses the question: how many supermarkets is too many supermarkets?

Love Clapham’s high tech supermarket tracker map – click to view big
Have we missed any? Tell us below

Clapham Supermarkets

(the circle shows only a 1/2 mile radius around the Clapham Common bandstand)

Morrison’s on Clapham High Street?

You heard it here first Clappers, signs are up on Blockbusters Clapham High Street saying there is an application for Morrison’s supermarkets to take over the store. Yes, another supermarket. You can still have a say, so do have a say!

Wouldn’t it be nice to get some clothes shops or something more fabulous.

The Breakfast Club on Battersea Rise

It was with great excitement that The Breakfast Club opened on Battersea Rise, Clapham Common west side. Anyone who’s visited the Hoxton or Soho branches will know to expect – as the name makes obvious – all variety of breakfasts. The quantity is vast, from the selection to the size of portions.

Unfortunately, quantity is definitely the name of the game here. Quality is lacking. If you’re after large platefuls of stodge, this is your best bet. It’s not awful but the quality of breakfasts and brunch on offer in ClaHa and surrounding areas far exceeds The Breakfast Club right now. A simple black coffee was noticeably ‘not great’. Sausages and bacon underdone (ie cooked but not crispy).

I’d recommend alternatives like Brew, Rapscallion, Fantasia, Abbeville Kitchen, Gastro, Breads Etcetera to name a few. They’re cheaper and higher quality.

Having been to The Breakfast Club in Clapham twice now, I can’t say I’ll go back anytime soon. Hopefully it’s just teething problems and concentrating on quality rather than quantity will help this new branch live up to its name.


Edit: sorry, we’d said originally Breakfast Club was on Lavender Hill when of course it’s on Battersea Rise. Doh!

Clapham Common Firework Display 2012

Cor blimey geeza mate. Just been perusing the Lambeth Council website and it looks like the Clapham Common Fireworks Display is a no show this year :( At least, at this point in time, Lambeth Council’s events calendar lists only Streatham Common and Brockwell Park firework displays.

Last year Love Clapham went to a roof just outside the Battersea Park firework display. Yep, always looking for a freebie. It was good but it wasn’t Clapham.

We’ll find out more in case it is on, stay tuned Clappers. We’re going undercover to investigate this tragic turn of events for you. Because we love you.

Clapham Markets

The Clapham area is now completely spoilt for choice when it comes to markets. From posh nosh to fresh flowers, we Clappers have it all. Given the number of chain supermarkets and restaurants in the area, it’s no wonder the Clapham markets are increasingly popular with local residents. We want choice dammit! With three markets in the direct vicinity and others close by, there really is no excuse to shop local and benefit from better quality. Continue reading

Clapham Common Fayre 2012

Here’s a date for your diary Clappers, the Clapham Common Fayre 2012. Every year the Holy Trinity Church on Clapham Common is transformed into a hub of community with local produce and entertainment. Last year there were even donkeys! It’s great fun and we highly recommend you make time for it on Saturday 16th June from 11.00am. The church itself is such an important local landmark, it really is fab that the fayre is run each year.