20 February 2018

Clapham Junction Area – Observations in Wandsworth Rd, Northcote Rd, Battersea Rise etc

One Sunday a few weeks back I met up with a small group of London Historians for a tour of HMP Wandsworth. The pic shows us standing outside its small but jam-packed excellent museum which is open by appointment only.
The tour didn't start until noon. It was a clear, though chilly, day so I headed to Clapham Junction early to check up on a few things.
I exited the station via Old Brighton Yard which affords excellent views across London from the covered pedestrian bridge above the platforms. Note that you need a ticket to access this space; it's not a right of way.
I then turned right and walked westward along St John's Hill towards Wandsworth because I wanted to check up on a couple of old ghostsigns and shop fronts that I know from years ago when I used to work occasionally in the area.

Whoopee! The Peterkin Custard and the H.J. Golding hand-painted signs at the junction of Plough Road are still intact, as is the Frosts Stores doorway mosiac at No. 114 (now Denner Cashmere). Denner's shop also retains its lovely spindle window posts etc.
After the tour of the prison which, by the way, was excellent, a few of us went for a quick pint in a nearby pub full of children with colouring pens (go figure) and then, realising the light was fading fast, I marched across the common and over the railway bridge to get to the southern end of Northcote Road for a Battersea update.

Northcote Road was mostly built in 1896 as is evident by some date stamps at the top of buildings. The street also boasts a lot of blue enamel vitreous metal street signs. On the corner of Salcoat Road the A. H. Dunn / Hovis baker's sign still looks the same as it did when I last took a photo of it ten years ago – the same graffiti tags remain. Also shown here between Nos 88+90 is the best reminder of the lovely tiled dividers that would have been between all the shops along this stretch
And then I crossed over Battersea Rise into St John's Road and noticed a palpable change in environment. The Rise seems to split two kinds of shopping areas; the yummy mummies with their lattes and buggies on one side and a regular high street on the northern side with all the ubiquitous names.
The former Woolworths shop with its identifiable Art Deco 1930s frontage still stands but is now home to Woolworths. Waitrose seem to have moved into quite a few old Woolworth properties such as at Angel, Islington.
Marks and Spencer, opposite, retains its pillars and and cureved windows. Also late Deco I think. This shop front is very similar to my local one at Nags Head, Holloway, tho mine doesn't have the lovely mosaic floor.
The impressive Arding & Hobbs building sites diagonally opposite Clapham Junction Station and its distinctive cupola is visible for miles around.

This is the entrance to the building on the corner of Lavender Hill and Ilminster Gardens. As you can see the ribbed metal pillars ar very similar to those at M&S. I just love the curves and lines within this doorway.
I used to shop at A&H/Allders in the 90s and early 00s but it was clear to me then that the shop really needed to play catch-up with other stores of its kind. The company went into liquidation in 2005 and the building now is home to the Debenhams chain.
I really must go back in the Spring for a proper poke about.
More info on the SW11 area in this draft document written in 2013 by English Heritage.
If you are interested in becoming a member of London Historians please do mention that you heard about it here, from me. Thanks

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