Living in the South-West

Wandsworth Travel Blog

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Misty West London view from Balcony at Putney Heath


I live in Putney Heath, which is a part of Putney a neighbourhood of Borough of Wandsworth. A central London borough situated just at its southwestern end, bordering the River Thames.

Wandsworth include the following neighbourhood:

- Roehampton
Roehampton is the westernmost area of Wandsworth, bordering the borough of Richmond and more particularly Richmond Park. Roehampton is a quiet and calm neighbourhood most likely pretty rich as well as safe. Roehampton was called as the last village of London as it developped quite apart surrounded by Green (Richmond Park - Barnes Common - Putney Common - Putney Heath Common - Wimbledon Common) and as little independant community.

Most of the quiet streets are residential with large mansion and plenty of trees, so it is pretty refreshing to walk through the neighbourhood which I did a few times on my way to Barnes or to catch the bus to Hammersmith as I live just next door in Putney Heath. Roehampton is also home of one major university and therefore holds a large student community, despite this, the night life and commercial activity is relatively small. At the crossroad with Putney Heath, there are the remains of an old vibrant High Street which is lovely though not effective on a commercial point of view.

Hayward Estates Gardens - Putney Heath
This corner must have been the historical development centre and besides some monument the eyesight can enjoy the view on typical Church of England architecture (Stony roof) buildings. It is also a major crossroad for TFL bus transit to western destinations, where I did end up a few times before continuing by foot home. Or sometimes I did end up there to consult the local library.

Basically, Roehampton is a fabulous green corner of South-West London though quite purely residential. It would reveal a great corner to live (in travel zone 2/3) just off the London ammenities though with a countryside feeling by the major park, the Thames nearby and the easy transport connection. The M3 is starting nearby which gives a quick path to leave Greater London ... though such elements wouldn't be what an expats would necesserily look forward, the transit connection could reveal long as the tube station (in Putney) would be accessible by bus and interchanges are sometimes a pain.

- Putney

Putney is a vibrant part of Wandsworth (together with Clapham Junction and Wandsworth Town) with its High Street supporting a local economy and activities based on local shops, pubs and restaurants. Putney is also well connected by transport, the main 24h bus lines ride all the way to the West End, the train connects quickly to Central London or Berkshire (Putney Station) and the Tube, though ineffectively located out of the main activity area of the High Street, is a major connection to all the Greater London network (East Putney Station - District Line).

Spring is in the air - Putney Heath March 2008

Putney has acquired a large crowd of antipodeans (Australians, New Zealanders and White South Africans) settling in this neighbourhood, as a continuation to the opposite Thameside neighbourhood of Fulham. Despite the activity on the High Street, the nightlife is calm and the neighbourhood is relatively safe and relaxed, people do mind their own things and crime is low.

Outside the main High Street, the areas varies between single mansion house to appartment block, I live in Putney Heath and sub-neighbourhood of Putney inland up the hill. This neighbourhood is fully green within the Putney Heath Common and full of trees, I enjoy the life within the block and crime remain being only kids making grafitti once in a while and stealing bicycle... the usual.

The other interesting sights consists of the Greens and Parks, east to the High Street by the River Thames is Wandsworth Park which is a lovely riverside park, although it is surrounded by a loosy area with building in need of a regeneration boost. Despite that it is a nice park.

- Wandsworth

Wandsworth Town is the central neighbourhood of the same named borough.

Putney Heath Green Man Bus Terminus
It is a bit of a crowded brickhouse built area with one main element having the Wands River crossing its centre (although mainly underground by now) and having a major shopping mall built. Obviously that mall is a bit on a falling apart element and in need of more renovation but it is fine. I personally always felt a bit lost when I was stopping by Wandsworth town as there is not a lot of street life and it is one of the most usual London area (tiny row house, tiny food shops and pretty residential mixed alike). It also has a bridge to the northern side of the Thames, but that northern side isn’t the most attractive either.

Nearby Putney and Clapham Junction are more known and have more easy access throughout the city. However, the City Hall and its related building were marking a fully workers and slightly socialist alike impression.

- Battersea

Across the Power Station, you can also find Battersea Park, which is a marvellous large park with amenities and historical monument. Battersea Station itself is a famous landmark for the neighbourhood, especially rendered famous by Pink Floyd that attached a gigantic inflatable pig over it.

About the district, despite being in current gentrification since many dwellers and promoters try to get the riverside land for condominium tower (which is ongoing), the rest of Battersea still resembles what it was originally, a crossroad of the southern Country railroad with plenty of brickhouse and brick warehouse.

Sadly, I never went myself in Battersea Park. That is pretty dumb of me.

- Southfield

Southfield is a tiny neighbourhood famous for hosting the South African Diaspora. It is a pretty calm and residential area with some small boutiques suiting the local population. Southfield is located right between Putney and Wimbledon and it has its own Tube Station off the District line, which is pretty much the one to use to go to Wimbledon Tennis Court.

- Nine Elms

Nine Elms is a tiny neighbourhood in the north-east corner of Wandsworth, by the side of the Thames and bordering Lambeth. This area is most famous for its landmark being the Battersea Power Station which was pictured in popular culture several times such as the album cover of Pink Floyd with the inflatable pig on its top.

The disused power station is now part of an ambitious regeneration project meant to transform the historically protected landmark building into new functions, the surrounding is also part of that major gentrification process attracting major apartment dwellings by the river side (embankment estates oblige). The other major element is that by its location, near the centre and the major transport links, the borough of Wandsworth aim deeply at developing this site as a major economical hub for the borough. Most possibly aiming at industry of the new technology (!?).

Across the Power Station, you can also find Battersea Park which is a marvellous large park with amenities and historical monument.

- Clapham/Balham

Just across the huge Clapham Junction Station there raise this brick house workers alike neighbourhood. This was the area where I was cycling the streets and parks to reach my customers when I was delivering sandwiches every morning of December and January working for 'Eat your mouth'.

I quite enjoyed doing the ride in the cold winter mornings, arriving at the little pub where the kitchen was on Lavender Hill around 8am. I was catching the bus from Putney Heath Green man and walking the remaining from Clapham Common, catching my bike and being on the road until noon.

Sadly, the sales weren't always that great so that job helped me more keeping busy and have some exercise than supporting on the financial side. But I met some great people having short talk eventhough most weren't really caring about who I was in this brief transaction.

I cycled across Clapham Common everyday of the week during that time and the streets of Balham, passing by Balham Tube station and Balham High Street. Some morning the icy grass on the common was a lovely sight.

I was also pretty interested in the bit of history that happened during WWII in Balham Tube Station where dozens of people refuging from the Blitz died by a canalisation that drowned this Northern Line Station.

I went back into Clapham after my work ended but always remained around the Clapham Common or Clapham Junction and riverside for a walk or to make my way downtown.

- Earlsfield
- Tooting

Earlsfield and Tooting aren't corner I went often, located in the southern end of Wandsworth I went only once for a biking ride and a tour of the public transport. The more south you were going the more green the city was becoming. I can't tell more about these suburbs.

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Misty West London view from Balcon…
Misty West London view from Balco…
Hayward Estates Gardens - Putney H…
Hayward Estates Gardens - Putney …
Spring is in the air - Putney Heat…
Spring is in the air - Putney Hea…
Putney Heath Green Man Bus Terminus
Putney Heath Green Man Bus Terminus
photo by: maplefanta