Clapham: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°27′49″N 0°08′05″W / 51.4635°N 0.1348°W / 51.4635; -0.1348

Clapham is located in Greater London

 Clapham shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ295755
London borough Lambeth
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district SW4, SW11, SW12, SW9, SW8
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
London Assembly Lambeth and Southwark
List of places: UK • England • London

Clapham is an area of South London, England, located mainly in the London Borough of Lambeth and covering the postcodes of SW4 and parts of SW9, SW8, SW12 and SW11. A section of Clapham Common Northside (SW4) and all of Clapham Common Westside (SW4) and the SW11 streets radiating from them lie in the London Borough of Wandsworth [1]. In addition Clapham Common is shared between both boroughs although Lambeth has responsibility for running the common as a whole. According to the 2001 census Clapham (and Stockwell) had a joint population of 65,513[2] inhabitants. Clapham is split into three wards Clapham Common, Clapham Town and Thornton, while parts of Ferndale (Brixton) and Larkhall (Stockwell) wards also lie within Clapham proper.

Clapham is best known for its vast green space Clapham Common, its vibrant high street and the village like atmosphere of its historic Old Town which along with the area's vibrant nightlife, open air concerts and excellent bus, underground tube and train links attracts residents and visitors from all over the world. There are a number of very good state primary and independent schools around Clapham Common attracting many affluent people with young families to the area.



Clapham dates back to Anglo-Saxon times: the name is thought to derive from the Old English clopp(a) + hām or hamm, meaning Homestead/enclosure near a hill.

According to the history of the Clapham family maintained by the College of Heralds, in 965 AD King Edgar of England gave a grant of land at Clapham to Jonas, son of the Duke of Lorraine, and Jonas was thenceforth known as Jonas "de [of] Clapham". The family remained in possession of the land until Jonas' great-great grandson Arthur sided against William the Conqueror during the Norman invasion of 1066 and, losing the land, fled to the north (where the Clapham family remained thereafter, primarily in Yorkshire).

Clapham appears in Domesday Book as Clopeham. It was held by Goisfrid (Geoffrey) de Mandeville. Its domesday assets were 3 hides; 6 ploughs, 5 acres (20,000 m2) of meadow. It rendered £7 10s 0d, and was located in Brixton hundred.[3]

In the late seventeenth century large country houses began to be built there, and throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth century it was favoured by the wealthier merchant classes of the City of London, who built many large and gracious houses and villas around Clapham Common and in the Old Town. Samuel Pepys spent the last two years of his life in Clapham, living with his friend, protégé at the Admiralty and former servant William Hewer, until his death there in 1703.[4]

Clapham Common was also home to Elizabeth Cook, the widow of Captain James Cook the explorer. She lived in a house on the common for many years following the death of her husband.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the Clapham Sect were a group of upper class (mostly evangelical Anglican) social reformers who lived around the Common. They included William Wilberforce, Henry Thornton and Zachary Macaulay, father of the historian Thomas Macaulay, as well as William Smith, M.P., the dissenter and Unitarian. They were very prominent in campaigns for the abolition of slavery and child labour, and for prison reform. They also promoted missionary activities in Britain's colonies.

After the coming of the railways, Clapham developed as a suburb for commuters into central London, and by 1900 it had fallen from favour with the upper classes. Many of their grand houses had been demolished by the middle of the twentieth century, though a number remain around the Common and in the Old Town, as do a substantial number of fine late eighteenth and early nineteenth century houses.

20th and 21st Century Clapham

In the early twentieth century, Clapham was seen as a nondescript commuter suburb, often cited as representing the ordinary people: hence the so-called "man on the Clapham omnibus". Clapham was located in the county of Surrey until the creation of the County of London in 1889. It became part of the new Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth in 1900. In 1965, the old Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth was divided and almost all of the historic parish of Clapham was transferred to the London Borough of Lambeth.

By the late 20th Century Clapham had undergone considerable gentrification becoming the epicentre for the gentrification of most of the surrounding area. Clapham is now a highly sought after and attractive cosmopolitan area attracting the British middle classes and people from all around the world. It is increasingly sophisticated and urbane in outlook and is regarded as one of London's trendiest and most desirable neighbourhoods south of the river. However, Clapham still retains a bit of its old 'edginess' and is somewhat of a multi-cultural melting pot and home to a considerably large gay community. Clapham has a vibrant community spirit with many professional single people and married couples choosing to live there. Many young university graduates also chose to live in the Clapham area, a tradition carried over from the days when some University of London halls of residence were located in the area.

Clapham is home to a large number of restaurants, bars, cafes and leisure facilities, as a result it is now regarded as a fashionable and desirable place to live for the British middle classes and is within easy commuting distance of the city centre and the main railway termini for transport to airports at Heathrow and Gatwick and the south of England.

Famous former and current residents


Clapham has three tube stations, all on the Northern Line:


There are a number of shopping areas in and around Clapham, including:

  • Clapham High Street
  • Clapham Old Town
  • Abbeville Road (and Clapham South)
  • Northcote Road (Between Clapham and Wandsworth Commons)
  • Clapham Junction (Between Clapham and Battersea)
  • Queenstown Road/Lavender Hill (On the Battersea/Clapham Borders)
  • Acre Lane (on the Brixton/Clapham Borders)
  • Kings Road (Chelsea)

Nearest places


Association football (soccer) club Clapham Rovers F.C., winners of the FA Cup in 1880, were based in Clapham.

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ London Borough of Wandsworth
  2. ^
  3. ^ Surrey Domesday Book
  4. ^ Old Clapham, John William Grover, A. Bachhoffner, London, 1892
  5. ^ English Heritage Blue Plaque listing

External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary





  1. A botanical plant name author abbreviation for botanist Abraham Clapham (fl. 1860-1880).

External links



Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:





  1. An area of London, mostly in Lambeth.
  2. Any of several other places in England.
  3. An English habitational surname derived from these places.

Derived terms


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