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 PoleThe Hop Pole pub

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 £10 a year for adults (with concessions) 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


    WHS Publications - Latest News September 2015

    In terms of the Wandsworth Historical Society's publications activities this has certainly been an exceptional period. Firstly, the Wandsworth Historian, our journal which for over forty years has reported on the latest research into this area's past, has reached the milestone of its hundredth issue. Click here for details about some of the interesting articles it contains this time around.

    Such an achievement is a cause for taking stock. The WHS has been publishing now for a full sixty years, and we have used the moment to update our Index [click here] to provide an easy starting-point for exploring those outstanding six decades of local-history writing.

    Finally, the Society has updated its digital archive of all one hundred issues of the Wandsworth Historian (including any associated supplements) and the whole of this rich store of information is now accessible on a single DVD in an easily searchable format [click here]. In order to make it accessible to all history enthusiasts it costs just £5!

    Neil Robson


    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.


    36th West London Local History Conference, 19 March 2016


    University of West London, Boston Manor Road, Brentford

    Once again the Wandsworth Historical Society is a major participant in this popular local history conference. It takes place on a site just a short distance from Brentford Station (SW Trains) and Boston Manor Station (Piccadilly Line) which offers a handsome lecture theatre, free parking as well as a cafeteria. Click here to check out the impressive programme of excellent speakers. This year our area is represented by Simon McNeill Ritchie who will be talking on the Orphans of the Royal Victoria Patriotic Asylum, Wandsworth Common.

    Tickets cost £15.00. For further details or to book a place, just drop an email to Neil Robson at ngrobson@tiscali.co.uk.


    The Tooting Common Heritage Project

    Tooting Common

    For news on this see their July 2015 newsletter

    For information on volunteering opportunities email Andrew Harby on

    Some background to the project can be found here.


    New Home for Wandsworth Museum in 2015

    Wandsworth Museum and Battersea Arts Centre are to join forces to create a new centre for culture and history in the heart of Wandsworth.

    From March 2015, the Museum team will be based at BAC's Grade II* listed building on Lavender Hill, launching a year of exploring ways of interpreting the Museum's collections in a new way. The plan is that the two organisations should fully integrate from spring 2016.

    Sue Walker, Director of Wandsworth Museum, said: 'In partnership, we can reach more people than we could do separately; engage them in our historical collections in unexpected and imaginative ways. We hope that this new collaborative model will be able to proceed and inspire other arts and heritage institutions across the country.'

    Sheila Allen, Chair of the Friends of Wandsworth Museum, said: 'The Museum can at last look forward to a more stable future. Both are institutions we are proud of and together they will create a synergy of mutual benefit and give the community a greater sense of place and heritage.'


    Then within days of the Museum moving into its new home at Battersea Arts Centre, staff faced a dramatic and wholly unexpected setback: a major fire broke out on Friday 13 March 2015, sending flames and smoke billowing into the Battersea air, destroying the Grand Hall ... and the Museum's new office.

    Although nearly all of the Museum's office equipment and teaching aids were destroyed, thankfully no historic artefacts were lost. They're all being safely stored at the West Hill site. But what of the future? Any display from the Museum's collections has inevitably been put back while the building is refurbished. But, thanks to Michelle Welbourn, the Learning Programme Co-ordinator, the Museum has been able to continue to support local schools through its outreach programme.

    The government has pledged £1 million towards the cost of restoring BAC and other substantial donations have come from Battersea Power Station and the general public. You can lend your support by making a donation, however small, to the Phoenix Fund. You will also be helping the Museum to rise again!

    Janet Smith


    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: 10 November 2015