Friday, July 02, 2010


Above: an omnibus in Clapham. "The man on the Clapham Omnibus" was an expression meant to identify the median demographic of the British population. The phrase is seldom used now (perhaps because politicians do not value the opinions of people who travel by 'bus?).

Above: the Notre Dame Estate in Clapham. The estate is notorious for low-level crime, drug dealing, and shootings. In 2009 the residents accused the Labour administration of Lambeth of having abandoned them.

Above: Clapham is most famous for Clapham Common, a large expanse of parkland about 220 acres in extent. As the name implies the park was originally common land, and had been so since Saxon times. In 1998 Ron Davies, New Labour Secretary of State for Wales, was involved in a lurid night-time incident on Clapham Common (he has always denied sex was involved).

Above: Holy Trinity on the edge of Clapham Common. The church was the centre of the influential Clapham Sect that included William Wilberforce. The group campaigned against slavery.

Above: despite the reputation Clapham had as a working-class suburb, the area includes many large commodius houses. This one was the former home of the distinguished architect Sir Charles Barry. Today Clapham residents include Natasha Bedingfield, Vanessa Redgrave and Polly Toynbee.

Above: Lavender Hill. The area got its name from the commercial cultivation of lavender until urban development took place in the mid-nineteenth century. The 1951 film The Lavender Hill Mob was set in the area and starred Alec Guiness.

Above: the Falcon pub. The curved facade you can see here is an 1880 rebuilding on the site of an ancient inn. Time Out once described the pub as "Britpop cool" (which is enough to put you off ever going in the place).

Above: Clapham department store Arding & Hobbs, now owned by John Lewis. Originally built in 1885, a fire destroyed the building in 1909. The famous clocktower was added when the store was rebuilt.

Note: this area is technically Battersea, but everyone regards it as Clapham.

Above: commuters at Clapham Junction station. Whenever I see a group of people like this I want to go over and survey them. It's as if I have a compulsive impulse to ask people their opinions (on products, places, things etc).

No comments: