Welcome to Battersea.
For many years it’s been known mockingly as ‘Batt-er-see-er’, due to the gentrification of the area. To be fair to Battersea, it’s always had its ‘posh’ parts due to its proximity to the river and Chelsea & Fulham just over the river, but it also has a rich industrial heritage, not really known to the many newcomers in recent years.
To the indigenous of Battersea, I’m sure many will remember the factories that once pumped out their waste high over the Battersea skyline. The waft of the hops at the western end from the Ram Brewery (more Wandsworth, i know), run by Young’s and the site of the majestic Shire horses delivering their wares to local pubs, and the pong of the Gin distillery producing gallons of ‘mother’s ruin’.
Add to this one of the world’s largest candle makers, steel construction, a sugar factory, and of course the iconic power station, all situated along the riverbank, and this was once a smelly area indeed, and not the sought after manor we know today!
It’s not all grime, whiff, and dirt though on this stroll. We will take in the beautiful Battersea Park, with its many sculptures, peace pagoda, and where the first ever game of association football was played. Along the river we will also visit Battersea Village and the ancient heart of Battersea, St Mary’s Church.
Add to this Battersea’s liberal politics, (it was the first place in London to elect a black mayor), the industrious Short Brothers, who under the arches of Battersea station started to assemble the world’s first commercial airplane production line, and aim a bark at the most famous of dogs homes.
Battersea can be quaint in places, and certainly the locals have changed over the years, but there is still a very busy working feel to it in places, especially around Clapham Junction station, which is of course not in Clapham, but in Battersea, and one of the world’s busiest stations!
So stroll on down, maybe take the train, or pull up in your ‘Chelsea tractor’. Either way Battersea has a lot of hidden history it would like to show you, and Ade would love to tell you about it.
As a final point, rather than call myself ‘a guide’, I’d rather be known simply as a bloke who has done a bit more research into an area of London than the average Joe!
I won’t wear a costume, read from a script etc, I will however just babble on about stuff that I’m deeply passionate about, and hope that you will be also.
Think of me as a mate who shares your interest in London’s rich history, and a fella you’d like to have a pint with.
I don’t want to give you a history lesson but if you want a “guide” that digs deeper, then I think I’m your man.
Take a stroll with Ade, a qualified London Borough Guide
Walk takes about 2.5 hours.
£10 on the day.