Wandsworth Historical Society

Battersea : Balham : Putney : Tooting : Wandsworth Town

Old Wandsworth

Surrey Iron RailwayThe terminus of the Surrey Iron Railway, by Wandsworth Dock, c.1825
West HillThe foot of West Hill, looking towards Wandsworth High Street, c.1900

Hop Pole

The archaeology and history of Wandsworth

We meet regularly on the last Friday of the month (but not in August or December) for an illustrated talk on either the history or archaeology of London. We meet at the Friends' Meeting House, Wandsworth High Street, SW18, starting at 8.00 pm.

How to find us

For full details of our forthcoming talks, please click here.

Membership of the Society costs just £12 a year for adults and £3 a year for students. In addition to the programme of talks, benefits of membership are:

  • 2 editions of our journal, the The Wandsworth Historian, every year
  • quarterly newsletter
  • the opportunity to take part in the Thames foreshore survey
  • visits to places of interest

  • The borough of Wandsworth covers 5 town centres:

  • Balham
  • Battersea
  • Putney
  • Tooting
  • Wandsworth Town

  • It also includes Earlsfield, Roehampton and Southfields.

    As a small voluntary organisation, we are unable to undertake any research for you.

    For any inquiries about the work of the society, please contact the Secretary at: info@wandsworthhistory.org.uk


    West London Local History Conference - 24 March 2018

    The Impact of the 1914-18 War on West London

    Once again the WHS is a major participant in this popular local history conference. Click [here] to check out the impressive programme of excellent speakers. On this occasion our own area is represented by a video highlighting the pioneering treatment of war injuries at Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton.

    The conference takes place in The Paragon on the Brentford Campus of the University of West London, a venue which boasts a handsome lecture theatre, a handy cafeteria, and free parking. The site is a short distance from Brentford Station (SW Trains) and Boston Manor Station (Piccadilly Line). Tickets cost £15.00. For further details or to book a place, just drop an email to Neil Robson at 020neil119@gmail.com.


    October 2017 - Roomy Villas: the story of Southfields Grid and its surroundings
    by Neil Robson

    Now available on line for free!

    It is nearly twenty years since Roomy Villas first made its appearance, and over that time this account of the history of the Southfields Grid area from the 1880s has proved exceptionally popular. As a result its author has decided to place the book in the public domain and make a digitised version of the original easily available at no cost to anyone who may be interested.

    To access your copy for free just click on this link [here]. The text is now fully searchable, and you can even download and save the complete book if you wish.


    July 2017 - More WHS research available on-line

    As part of our drive to make our past research more readily available to readers right across the world we have just added a further four significant articles from our archive.

    These cover such subjects as a Battersea railwayman's contribution to Victorian passenger safely, the development of a huge block of alms-houses on East Hill, Wandsworth in the 1840s, the eighteenth-century theologian who lived with the family of Edward Gibbon near Putney Hill, and the fateful election visit Churchill made to Tooting during the summer of 1945.

    Just click WHS Research and you will be taken straight to a full list.


    Obtain a copy of "The Map of Georgian Wandsworth"

    Corris map

    In 1787 the significant landowner, the second Earl Spencer, commissioned the cartographer, John Corris, to draw a plan of all his holdings and rights within the parish of Wandsworth. The result is the most detailed map we have of the area in the Georgian period, with many of the parcels of land meticulously marked and all the buildings shown to a sound accuracy even in the built-up area. As part of its remit to widen people's knowledge of Wandsworth's past the WHS has published a careful reproduction of the original in the British Library, printed in full colour and measuring 41cm by 47cm.

    Copies cost just £5 post free, and are available by sending a cheque for that amount to WHS, 20 Cromer Villas Road, London SW18 1PN. Please make your cheque payable to the 'Wandsworth Historical Society' and remember to include your full address.


    The Tooting Common Heritage Project

    Tooting Common

    For news on this see the council webpage.

    The Heritage Lottery funding for the second stage of the project has now been awarded, some £1.4 Million to be spent in various ways between 2017 and 2019. There is a WHS representative on the project steering group. A professional historian is in the process of writing up the historical research as the "Tooting Common Story".

    Some background information from March 2014 when WHS had a Friday evening talk can be found here. Now updated to the past tense.


    30th April 2016 - New WHS publication on Roehampton

    The Society has published 'Roehampton Village', by Dorian Gerhold. It traces the story of the village from its origins as a row of cottages on former common land in about 1600 through several major transformations to the present day. Existing buildings including the King's Head, the former Montague Arms, the terraced houses of Medfield Street and Holy Trinity church are brought into the story. The booklet has 40 pages and 45 illustrations, many of them in colour, including a fine series of maps and plans. The cost is £5, plus £1.50 postage, from Dorian Gerhold, 19 Montserrat Road, Putney, SW15 2LD.


    Wandsworth / GLL Heritage Awards for Schools 2017

    Schools heritage award logo


    Entries should relate to people, places or events that have affected the history and/or social development of Wandsworth making it the diverse and cosmopolitan borough it is today.

    Prize categories

    Medals, certificates, plaques and a £1,000 cash prize will be presented to the winning school in each of the following Key Stages: KS1 (4-6 years); KS2 (7-11 years) and KS3 (11-14 years).

    Guidance for entrants



    The Wandsworth Heritage Festival 2016

    The festival included an event linked with the WHS talk on 29th April 2016 about the history of The Fitzhugh Estate:

    Blueprint For Living

    A group exhibition featuring work by Sharon O'Neill, Marc Isaacs and archives from the RIBA Collections.

    This took place from 31 May - 4 June 2016 but the website is still available at www.blueprintforliving.co.uk.

    Sharon is particularly interested in contacting any former residents of the estate. She can be reached at: SHARON@BLUEPRINTFORLIVING.CO.UK


    Wandsworth Museum

    What was Wandsworth Museum is now part of Battersea Arts Centre. and has been rebranded as "BAC Moving Museum". See the link of this name on their home page for details.

    The former Friends of Wandsworth Museum organisation has been wound up.


    Wandsworth Heritage Service

    The Wandsworth Heritage Service can be contacted at:
    Battersea Library,
    265 Lavender Hill,
    SW11 1JB.
    Tel 020 7223 2334
    Email heritage@gll.org

    Opening hours:
    9am-5pm, Monday, Friday and Saturday
    9am-8pm Tuesday and Wednesday
    Closed Thursday and Sunday

    The Heritage Service has its Archives Catalogue and a selection of historic photos available online via these links:


    Last site update: 7 January 2018