Clapham Common
Clapham Common is an 89 hectare (220 acre) triangular area of grassland situated in south London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. It was historically common land for the parishes of Battersea and Clapham, but was converted to parkland under the terms of the Metropolitan Commons Act 1878.

43 hectares (108 acres) of the common are within the London Borough of Wandsworth
London Borough of Wandsworth
The London Borough of Wandsworth is a London borough in southwest London, England, and forms part of Inner London.-History:The borough was formed in 1965 from the former area of the Metropolitan Borough of Battersea and much of the former area of the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth, but...

 and 46 hectares (112 acres) within the London Borough of Lambeth
London Borough of Lambeth
The London Borough of Lambeth is a London borough in south London, England and forms part of Inner London. The local authority is Lambeth London Borough Council.-Origins:...

. Although the Common is wholly managed and maintained by the London Borough of Lambeth
London Borough of Lambeth
The London Borough of Lambeth is a London borough in south London, England and forms part of Inner London. The local authority is Lambeth London Borough Council.-Origins:...

, the policing of the open space is divided between the Wandsworth and Lambeth borough "commands" of the Metropolitan Police
Metropolitan police
Metropolitan Police is a generic title for the municipal police force for a major metropolitan area, and it may be part of the official title of the force...

, which follow the local government boundaries. The roads surrounding the Common fall within the SW4 post code.

Clapham Common is also the name of an electoral ward in the London Borough of Lambeth
London Borough of Lambeth
The London Borough of Lambeth is a London borough in south London, England and forms part of Inner London. The local authority is Lambeth London Borough Council.-Origins:...

 encompassing most of the area to the southeast of Clapham Common Southside until King's Avenue.

Features of the Common

The Common contains three ponds which are historical features and a more modern paddling pool known as Cock Pond.

Eagle Pond and Mount Pond are predominantly used for angling
Angling is a method of fishing by means of an "angle" . The hook is usually attached to a fishing line and the line is often attached to a fishing rod. Fishing rods are usually fitted with a fishing reel that functions as a mechanism for storing, retrieving and paying out the line. The hook itself...

 and contain a variety of species including Carp
Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia. The cypriniformes are traditionally grouped with the Characiformes, Siluriformes and Gymnotiformes to create the superorder Ostariophysi, since these groups have certain...

 to 20 lb, Roach
Rutilus is a genus of fishes in the family Cyprinidae, commonly called roaches. Locally, the name "roach" without any further qualifiers is also used for particular species, particularly the Common Roach Rutilus (Latin for "shining, red, golden, auburn") is a genus of fishes in the family...

, Tench
The tench or doctor fish is a freshwater and brackish water fish of the cyprinid family found throughout Eurasia from Western Europe including the British Isles east into Asia as far as the Ob and Yenisei Rivers. It is also found in Lake Baikal...

 and Bream. Eagle Pond was extensively refurbished in 2002 where it was completely drained, landscaped and replanted to provide a better habitat for the fish it contained. Long Pond
Long Pond
-In Massachusetts:* Long Pond , a lake/reservoir/pond within the towns of Lakeville and Freetown* Long Pond , a lake and village in Plymouth*Long Pond...

 has a century old tradition of use for model boating.

The Common is surrounded by many fine houses, built from the 1790s onwards, which became fashionable dwellings for wealthy business people in what was then a village detached from metropolitan London. Some were members of the Clapham Sect
Clapham Sect
The Clapham Sect or Clapham Saints were a group of influential like-minded Church of England social reformers based in Clapham, London at the beginning of the 19th century...

 of evangelical reformers, including Lord Teignmouth
John Shore, 1st Baron Teignmouth
John Shore, 1st Baron Teignmouth was a British politician who served as Governor-General of India from 1793 to 1797.He married Charlotte Cornish, daughter of James Cornish of Teignmouth, on 14 February 1786...

 and Henry Thornton
Henry Thornton (abolitionist)
Henry Thornton was an English economist, banker, philanthropist and parliamentarian.-Early life:He was the son of John Thornton of Clapham, London, who had been one of the early patrons of the evangelical movement in Britain...

, the bank
A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

er and abolitionist
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

. As London expanded in the 19th century Clapham was absorbed into the capital, with most of the remaining palatial or agricultural estates replaced with terraced housing by the early 1900s.

There are two mounds on the Battersea Rise side of the common, the remnants of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 storage bunkers built in the common.

Holy Trinity Church (1776) is close to the North Side of the common. An Anglican
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 church, it hosts its fete on the common every summer.

Clapham Common tube station
Clapham Common tube station
Clapham Common tube station is a station on London Underground's Northern Line. It lies between Clapham North and Clapham South stations and is in Travelcard Zone 2.-History:...

 and Clapham South tube station
Clapham South tube station
Clapham South tube station is a station on London Underground's Northern Line between and Balham stations. The station is located at the corner of Balham Hill and Nightingale Lane...

 are on the edge of the common at its easternmost and southernmost points respectively. Both stations are served solely by the Northern Line.

A memorial tree to actor Jeremy Brett
Jeremy Brett
Jeremy Brett , born Peter Jeremy William Huggins, was an English actor, most famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in four Granada TV series.-Early life:...

 - who had lived locally for many years prior to his death in 1995 - was planted on 30 March 2007.

The bandstand

In the centre of the common is the Clapham bandstand constructed in 1890. It is the largest bandstand in London and a Grade II Listed Building. For many years it was also erroneously thought to be one of the bandstands first erected in 1861 in the Royal Horticultural Society
Royal Horticultural Society
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 in London, England as the Horticultural Society of London, and gained its present name in a Royal Charter granted in 1861 by Prince Albert...

's gardens in South Kensington
South Kensington
South Kensington is a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London. It is a built-up area located 2.4 miles west south-west of Charing Cross....

, which would have made it the oldest surviving cast iron bandstand in Europe. However, recent research has shown that these bandstands went to Southwark Park
Southwark Park
Southwark Park is located in Rotherhithe, in central South East London, and is managed by the London Borough of Southwark. It first opened in 1869 by the Metropolitan Board of Works as one of its first parks...

 and Peckham Rye
Peckham Rye
For the rail station of the same name see Peckham Rye Railway StationPeckham Rye is an open space and road in the London Borough of Southwark in London, England....

, and it appears that the Clapham bandstand was fabricated to a very similar design almost thirty years later.
The bandstand's maintenance had been neglected by Lambeth Council for thirty years, and by 2001 it was thought to be in danger of collapse and had to be shored up with scaffolding for five years. In 2005-2006, a full restoration of the bandstand and surrounding landscape took place, partly funded by an £895,000 lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund
Heritage Lottery Fund
The Heritage Lottery Fund is a fund established in the United Kingdom under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993. The Fund opened for applications in 1994. It uses money raised through the National Lottery to transform and sustain the UK’s heritage...

 matched by £300,000 from Lambeth Council and a further £100,000 from local fundraising efforts and the proceeds of the Ben and Jerry's Summer Sundae event held on the Common. The drainage bund around the bandstand is being restored with granite setts during the summer of 2011 at a cost of £12,000 to resolve design faults in the earlier works.

In the news

Former Welsh Secretary in the UK government Ron Davies had a "moment of madness" in 1998 in an incident that revolved around the Common. He was robbed at knife point on the Common and met some strangers to whom he gave a lift; those same people took his car, wallet and phone. Davies resigned, repeatedly denying the incident had anything to do with drugs or sex. Newspapers have since reported that Mr Davies admits being bisexual and has "been successfully treated for a compulsion to seek out gay partners".

Some parts of the common are used by men seeking anonymous sex with other men in public places ("cruising
Cruising for sex
Cruising for sex, or cruising is the act of walking or driving about a locality in search of a sex partner, usually of the anonymous, casual, one-time variety...

"). However despite past incidents including an attack On 14 October 2005 in the vicinity of the common during which Jody Dobrowski
Jody Dobrowski
‎Jody Dobrowski was a 24-year-old assistant bar manager who was murdered on Clapham Common in south London. On 14 October, at around midnight, he was beaten to death with punches and kicks by two men who believed him to be gay. Tests carried out at St...

 was badly beaten and later died Clapham Common has been a relatively safe area with better policing from both Lambeth and Wandsworth Police Authorities.

Sport and other events

Events held on the Common include:
  • Since 1977 the Latin American football League has played organised football on the red car pitches located on the south side of the common.
  • British Australian Rules Football League Grand Final
    Grand Final
    Grand Final is a predominantly Australian sport term used to describe a match that decides a league champion.It originated in Victoria and South Australia and has become specifically significant Australian culture...

    , for which it is the traditional venue
  • Colourscape Music Festival
    'Colourscapes` are large air-supported colour sculptures where colour is used to make space active, to make an ambiguous space beyond measurement. Visitors to Colourscapes, wearing coloured cloaks, choose the journey they make through the interconnected chambers, becoming part of the sculpture, as...

     (one venue) since 1995.
  • Lesbian & Gay Pride festivals since 1996 and 1997
  • The music festival Get Loaded In The Park
    Get Loaded In The Park
    Get Loaded in the Park is an inner-city music festival held on Clapham Common in London annually since 2004. It was held on the August Bank Holiday Sunday until 2010 when the festival took a years sabbatical, before returning in 2011 with a new date of Sunday 12th June.In its original format it was...

  • Large scale music events, including 'Picnic Rocks' held by Action Against Hunger
    Action Against Hunger
    Action Against Hunger is an international humanitarian organization with a focus on ending world hunger. Action Against Hunger specializes in responding to emergency situations of war, conflict, and natural disaster...

  • Holds the South West Four Music Festival each year.

External links

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