Development of a Victorian Suburb

The area originally called South Battersea was first built on in the early part of the eighteenth century and by the 1780s had acquired anumber of large villas occupied by rich merchants and bankers. Fashionable for a time, for example during the presence of the Clapham Sect, it was gradually filled up with smaller houses and then by terraced housing. Although strictly in the original parish of St Mary's Battersea, it has been called Clapham or New Wandsworth as well as Battersea. The newest appellation from estate agents is 'Twixt the Commons' referring to its position between Wandsworth and Clapham Commons and from others 'Nappy Valley' referring to the very high number of children there and the valley of the Falcon River between the commons. It lies entirely in the borough of Wandsworth with the largest part in the Northcote Ward and a smaller portion in Balham.

The area has gone from being rural to being a place for rich merchants and bankers to have their residence outside London, to a comfortable middle class area, to rows of terraced housing for clerks and artisans, to a run down area with old fashioned housing. Since the late 1960s it has been gentrified and is now full of the bankers and City folk who lived there more than two hundred years ago.

My book 'Twixt the Commons' describes this history and gives the reasons why it has developed as it has. This is virtually the only detailed description of the development of a suburb from its origins to the present day and gives an unrivaled insight into London' growth and change.

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