View of restaurants on the central section of Lavender Hill, looking east
|Former name(s)||Lavender Place (eastern end)|
|Maintained by||Wandsworth Borough Council|
|Length||0.8 mi (1.3 km)|
|Location||London, United Kingdom|
|Nearest rail station||Clapham Junction Railway Station|
|West end||Clapham Junction|
|East end||Wandsworth Road|
Lavender Hill is a hill, and a shopping and residential street, near Clapham Junction in Battersea, south London. Lavender Hill forms the section of the A3036 as it rises eastwards out of the Falconbrook valley at Clapham Junction, and retains that name for approximately 1.3 km to the corner of Queenstown Road in Battersea, beyond which it is called Wandsworth Road towards Vauxhall.
The earliest known reference to the name 'Lavender Hill' is in 1774 when a Mr Porter, advertising a reward for the return of his lost pony, described it as having strayed or been stolen from 'a Field on Lavender-Hill', suggesting that the name was already widely known.The road formed part of the Southwark to Kingston Turnpike from 1717.
The name refers to the commercial cultivation of lavender on the gentle north-facing slopes of this part of the Thames estuary – helped by well-drained soil, fresh air and several natural springs.
The first building to reflect the name was Lavender Hall on the south side of the road in 1790. The road itself, which ran just below the crest of the hill, was not widely referred to as Lavender Hill until the later 1800s. Several smaller streets developed in the Victoria era, including Lavender Gardens, Lavender Walk (an ancient farm lane) and Lavender Sweep, also reflect the area's historic lavender industry.
In an 1848 painting, the painter refers to Lavender Hill, although this cannot reasonably be said to be from the Lavender Hill (road), more the north slope of the topographic feature. Until the 1860s Lavender Hill was mostly an area of open farmland, with small-scale development at both ends. At the western end there was a crossing of the Falconbrook river with several farms. The Chestnuts, a farmhouse built in 1812, survived and has been incorporated into the modern street plan halfway along Mossbury Road.The earliest reference to the still-existing Falcon public house at the west end of the street is in 1767.
After the 1780s a few large villas were built on the hillside, owned by wealthy residents attracted by the expansive views over Battersea Fields and the Thames towards London. The earliest was Rush Hill House, developed in around 1770, whose fate was typical of many of these early buildings: as the area developed, its grounds were sold off in 1872 and developed as a new street and terrace of houses (Rush Hill Terrace), and the house itself survived until 1887 before being replaced by a further terrace of houses (Crombie Mews).
Lavender Place was developed in around 1826 as a row of cottages at the eastern end of what is now Lavender Hill. The clean air and supply of fresh water meant Lavender Place became home in the early-to-mid nineteenth century to several laundresses, who bleached and dried linen on the grassland behind the houses. Lavender Place extended some distance into what is now Wandsworth Road, and remained a separate street for many years (one ceramic street name for 'Lavender Place' is still visible). An acetic acid distillery, Beaufoy's Acetic Acid Works, was also located at the eastern end (for many years a public house called the Beaufoy remained at this end of Lavender Hill; the only surviving trace of the distillery is now a short street called Beaufoy Road).In the 1870s the houses on Lavender Terrace were adapted to form a terrace of shops, and the houses on Lavender Place were eventually renumbered to become part of Lavender Hill.
The opening of Clapham Junction railway station in 1863 led to rapid residential and commercial development along the street, with construction of a large number of houses as well as many major civic and commercial buildings. By 1885 it was such a busy commercial district that Arding & Hobbs, the largest department store south of the River Thames, was built.
The imposing Church of the Ascension, designed by James Brooks, was built in 1883 to cater to the growing population of the neighbouring Shaftesbury Estate.A Welsh Methodist chapel was built on Beauchamp Road, reflecting what was once a significant Welsh population.
Battersea Central Library was opened in March 1890, following an architectural competition that was won by Edward William Mountford (who also designed the Old Bailey) with a mildly Flemish Renaissance design that was described as "inexpensively devised and designed to not needlessly clash with the adjoining houses which are of the speculating builders’ type of work".It quickly proved popular and saw several subsequent extensions, notably with the addition in 1924 of a reference library on Altenburg Gardens (in a part of the original plot that had originally been intended for a museum) that was designed by Henry Hyams.
Battersea Town Hall was opened in 1893, as the administrative headquarters of the Metropolitan Borough of Battersea, and the large Grade II* listed building is one of Lavender Hill's most prominent features. When the Borough was abolished in 1965, the Town Hall became redundant. After being threatened with demolition for some years, plans to build a new library and swimming pool on the site were finally rejected following a campaign by residents to save the building, and it was then converted into a community arts centre in 1974.The Battersea Arts Centre is now a major arts venue.
The Shakespeare Theatre was built in 1896, next to the Town Hall. It was severely damaged in the Second World War, before being demolished in 1957 and replaced by an office building called Shakespeare House.
A large Central Post Office, designed by Jasper Wager, was built in 1898, and extended with a sorting office designed by John Rutherford in around 1913(although the original buildings were replaced by a modern structure designed by an unknown architect at the Ministry of Works in 1961).
The street is known in popular culture thanks to the BAFTA Award-winning 1951 Ealing comedy The Lavender Hill Mob . The film was so-named because the lead character, Henry Holland, lives in a seedy boarding house on the street, the 'Balmoral Private Hotel' where he and fellow resident (and foundry owner) Alfred Pendlebury meet and hatch the 'perfect' plot to steal a load of gold bullion.
Lavender Hill is featured with a chapter of its own in the historical novel London by Edward Rutherfurd, with descriptions of it in the 18th century from the pre-industrial era.
Lavender Hill featured as a site location for many British TV shows, including On the Buses and The Sweeney , in the 1970s.
In 1967 the English group The Kinks recorded a whimsical song entitled "Lavender Hill" which may have been under consideration as a follow-up single to Waterloo Sunset,but was rejected in favour of Autumn Almanac. The song was eventually released in the U.S. in 1973 on The Great Lost Kinks Album , and has been described as "a southerner's counterpoint to the Beatles' Penny Lane", despite the fact that the Kinks hailed from North London.
Notable former inhabitant include Sarah, Duchess of York, who lived in a flat in Lavender Gardens before her marriage.The first black Mayor in London, John Archer, was elected at Battersea Town Hall in 1913 after serving as a councillor for the Battersea Latchmere ward, north of Lavender Hill.
Lavender Hill is now principally a shopping and restaurant street along much of its length, with around 200 retail units in total. The Lavender Hill Traders' Association runs the annual Lavender Festival,to raise the profile of the street as a shopping and entertainment destination.
The western end of the street has the highest footfall, due to large commuter flows towards Clapham Junction station. Its architecture is dominated by the landmark Arding & Hobbs building (the greater part of which is still a department store, now Debenhams), a number of restaurants and cafes (including a branch of Pizza Express with decoration loosely themed on The Lavender Hill Mob). There is a large Asda supermarket with an underground car park, and a branch of Whole Foods Market. This section also includes the Battersea central Post Office and telephone exchange, and the Grade II listed Battersea Reference Library.
The flatter central section of the road, at the top of the hill, includes approximately 15 estate agents (including Courtenay, Winkworth and Foxtons), as well as Lavender Hill police station (the main police station for the Battersea area) and the Battersea Arts Centre. There is a concentration of restaurants and bars along the central section.
The eastern end of the street is anchored by smaller branches of Sainsbury's and Tesco at the crossroads with Queenstown Road. It includes a wide variety of restaurants and bars, helped by wide pavements that provide outdoor seating. There are also clusters of shops from sectors including cycling, music equipment, interior design, decorators merchants, and contemporary furniture. This section of the road is dominated by independent businesses with relatively few national operators (with the exception of a few cafes such as Caffè Nero).
In 2011, Wandsworth Borough Council completed the first phase of the Clapham Junction Exemplar project, which extensively de-cluttered and upgraded the streetscape of the western part of Lavender Hill to make it a more attractive and welcoming retail environment. This included widening of pavements, new street lighting, safer pedestrian crossings, and extensive use of granite paving.
Although primarily residential, Lavender Hill includes significant office space, notably at the Battersea Business Centre, which provides workspace for around 140 businesses in a converted Victorian paper mill at 99-109 Lavender Hill.
The area around Lavender Hill included a small proportion of industrial land use (including the area now occupied by the Asda supermarket which was originally a rail yard). Some small sites continued into the early 2000s (with manufacturers such as Rotoplas precision engineering on Stormont Road); however, almost all industrial land has been converted to residential development as the area has gentrified.
Lavender Hill is in the centre of a high density middle class residential neighbourhood, of predominantly Victorian architecture, including the large Shaftesbury Park Estate.
There is a Travelodge hotel on Falcon Lane close to the western end of Lavender Hill, and a new Premier Inn has been constructed near the eastern end of Lavender Hill (in a former Temperance Hall at the junction with Wandsworth Road).
Lavender Hill has a Public transport accessibility level of 5 along most of its length, rising to the highest level of 6b at its westen end, indicating a high density of public transport.
Transport at the western end of Lavender Hill is dominated by Clapham Junction railway station, one of the busiest in Europe. The eastern end is an approximately ten-minute walk from several smaller stations, notably Wandsworth Road railway station, Clapham Common Underground station and Queenstown Road railway station.
In the 1890s Lavender Hill was developed as a major tram route, with tram route 26 running along Lavender Hill on the way from Kew Bridge to London Bridge, and route 28 running from Harrow Road to Victoria. The tram lines were removed in the early 1950s and replaced by several bus services (currently including the 77, 87 and 156 buses). These services still follow the same route between Wandsworth and Vauxhall, and Lavender Hill has an eastbound bus lane along much of its length.
There are three Santander Cycles public cycle hire docking stations on or close to Lavender Hill (on Dorothy Road at the western end, on Lavender Hill itself close to the junction with Sugden Road, and on Ashley Crescent at the eastern end).
On 10 August 2017, a 77 bus left the road and collided with a shopfront on the street, injuring 10 people. The driver was described as having lost consciousness at the time of the crash.
Balham is a neighbourhood in south London, England, mostly in the London Borough of Wandsworth with small parts in the neighbouring Borough of Lambeth. The area has been settled since Saxon times and appears in the Domesday Book as Belgeham.
Battersea is a district of South West London, England, within the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is located on the south bank of the River Thames, 2.9 miles (4.7 km) southwest of Charing Cross.
Clapham is a district of South London lying mostly within the London Borough of Lambeth, but with some areas extending into the neighbouring London Borough of Wandsworth.
Stockwell is a district in South West London, England, located in the London Borough of Lambeth. It is situated 2.4 miles (3.9 km) south of Charing Cross. Battersea, Brixton, Clapham, South Lambeth, Oval and Kennington all border Stockwell.
Wandsworth is a London borough in southwest London; it forms part of Inner London. Its main settlements are Battersea, Putney, Tooting and Wandsworth Town. The borough borders the London Borough of Lambeth to the east, the London Borough of Merton and the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames to the south, the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames to the west and to the north three boroughs, namely the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster. The local authority is Wandsworth London Borough Council.
Lambeth is a London borough in South London, England, which forms part of Inner London. Its name was recorded in 1062 as Lambehitha and in 1255 as Lambeth. The geographical centre of London is at Frazier Street near Lambeth North tube station, though nearby Charing Cross on the other side of the Thames in the City of Westminster is traditionally considered the centre of London.
Battersea Park is a suburban railway station in the London Borough of Wandsworth, south London. It is at the junction of the South London Line and the Brighton Main Line, 1 mile 23 chains (2.1 km) measured from London Victoria.
Battersea was a civil parish and metropolitan borough in the County of London, England. In 1965, the borough was abolished and its area combined with parts of the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth to form the London Borough of Wandsworth. The borough was administered from Battersea Town Hall on Lavender Hill and the building is now Battersea Arts Centre.
Clapham High Street railway station is on the South London Line in Clapham, within the London Borough of Lambeth, Greater London. It is 6 miles 21 chains (10.1 km) measured from London Bridge. It is served by London Overground services, with a limited service to Battersea Park under the control of the London Rail division of Transport for London, and a daily Southeastern service to Ashford International once a day.
Wandsworth Road railway station is a National Rail station between Battersea and Clapham in south London. It is served by London Overground services between Clapham Junction and Dalston Junction, with a limited service to Battersea Park, and a daily Southeastern service to Ashford International once a day. It is 1 mile 75 chains (3.1 km) from London Victoria.
Queens Road Peckham railway station is in the London Borough of Southwark and also serves the area to the east of Peckham, in the London Borough of Lewisham. It is on the South London Line, 2 miles 58 chains (4.4 km) from London Bridge, and trains also go to Croydon via various routes and beyond. It is on the road of that name and is in Travelcard Zone 2.
Earlsfield is an area within the London Borough of Wandsworth, London, England. It is a typical London suburb and comprises mostly residential Victorian terraced houses with a high street of shops, bars, and restaurants between Garratt Lane, Allfarthing Lane, and Burntwood Lane. The population of Earlsfield at the 2001 Census was 12,903, increasing to 15,448 at the 2011 Census.
Queenstown Road is a railway station in inner south-west London, 2 miles 50 chains (4.2 km) south-west of London Waterloo, between Vauxhall and Clapham Junction. It is a short walk from Battersea Park station and Battersea Park to the west. It has three platforms, two of which are in use by all stopping services related to the Waterloo to Reading Line: its branch services to Weybridge and two separate sets of bidirectional Waterloo-to-Waterloo services via Hounslow using the Hounslow Loop and via Kingston using the Kingston Loop. In additional 50% of maximum peak hour trains serving the Shepperton branch line call at the station.
Battersea is a constituency in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It has been represented since 2017 by Marsha de Cordova, who currently serves as Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities.
Nine Elms is an area within Battersea in South West London and in the far north-eastern corner of the London Borough of Wandsworth, between the SW8 side of Battersea proper and Vauxhall.
The A3036 is an A road in London, England.
The Ascension of The Lord, Lavender Hill, is an Anglican church in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, situated on Lavender Hill, in Battersea, South West London. It is thought to be the first church in England dedicated to The Ascension of The Lord. Built to the designs of the architect James Brooks, its foundation stone was laid in 1874, and it was consecrated in 1883.
The Shaftesbury Park Estate, commonly known as The Shaftesbury Estate, is a residential estate in Battersea in South London, England. It lies north of Lavender Hill and Clapham Common and east of Clapham Junction railway station.
Alfred Heaver was an English carpenter turned builder and property developer, responsible for the construction of a number of housing estates amounting to thousands of homes in south London, including the Heaver Estate in Balham. He was murdered in 1901 by a relative who nursed a grudge against him.
Winstanley Estate and York Road Estate are large estates of predominantly public housing apartments in Battersea, London, adjacent to Clapham Junction railway station, although some have since passed into private ownership.
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