Clapham Common

Clapham Common

Clapham Common is approximately 200 acres of grassland between Clapham, Battersea and Balham. Originally common land for the parishes of Battersea and Clapham, it was converted to parkland in 1877.

The common contains three ponds as well as a more modern paddling pool.  Eagle and Mount Ponds are mainly used for fishing and Long Pond has been used for model boats for more than 100 years.

Although more than half of Clapham Common sits within the London Borough of Wandsworth, the London Borough of Lambeth has responsibility for the entire Common – except for policing which stays within the Borough boundaries.  We always imagine bank robbers with masks running across the Common to cross the Borough boundaries and evade the local police.  😉

At the end of the 18th Century a number of substantial houses were built around the common and became extremely popular for wealthy businessmen and their families, including  members of the Clapham Sect.

By the 19th Century London was growing so fast that this quiet village became part of the capital.

The bandstand is one of the most famous elements on the Common, and built in 1890.

It was restored in 2006 thanks to money from the Heritage Lottery Fund, local fundraising efforts and the proceeds of the Ben and Jerry’s Summer Sundae event held on Clapham Common.

Parking around Clapham Common is tough at the best of times – most of the roads are resident permits only, and the rest are red routes. Fortunately you can park in resident’s zones on Sundays, but generally parking is a nightmare for visitors!

Both Clapham Common and Clapham South tube stations are can be found just outside the Common and are a far better way of getting around the area.

The Friends of Clapham Common have been working on behalf of Clapham’s residents to improve Clapham Common’s maintenance and enhance its facilities.

During the weekend the Common also becomes a sports venue, as local residents swarm over to run, play football and rugby, or just throw a frisbee around. There are also cricket nets, a skateboard area and regular games of softball.

For more information about Clapham Common sports, take a look at our Sports page. Also, for those interested in more leisurely pursuits, the Clapham Model Yacht Club regularly meets at the Long Pond.

In the summer, there always seems to be an ice cream van around, but failing that, there’s a small cafe/bar right in the centre of the common. Note that it’s illegal to start a fire or BBQ on Clapham Common, with a maximum fine of £500.