Celebrating 150 Years of Wandsworth Common

July is a special moment in its history and residents can get involved

Bucolic scenes on Wandsworth Common
Bucolic scenes on Wandsworth Common

2021 marks 150 years since the space now known as Wandsworth Common came into public ownership. Special events are being held throughout the year by The Friends of Wandsworth Common to mark the passing of The Wandsworth Common Act in July 1871.

“The Anniversary, coinciding with the pandemic, has doubly focussed attention on the Common and the importance of protecting our greenspaces more generally,” said Friends of Wandsworth Common Co-Chairs Julia Bott and Richard Fox.

Below are various ways residents can get involved with the anniversary celebrations, from helping to provide a legacy of new trees, to litter pick-ups, a celebratory book and the reopening of bowling.

Already a lasting legacy has been created with the planting of fifty seven-year-old saplings throughout the Common, as well as 100 square metres of ‘miniforest’. £5000 is still needed to complete the project, with the Friends pointing out that “typical, native semi-mature trees cost between £150-200 to buy and plant, while the disease-resistant elms of the miniforest run at £250 each”. If you’d like to donate money towards providing delights for future tree lovers go to this page.

Regular litter pick-ups keep the Common looking well cared for
Regular litter pick-ups keep the Common looking well cared for

This month the Friends organised a litter pick-up and recycling event to mark Keep Britain Tidy’s GB Spring Clean, as well as a variety of walks and talks focussing on specific elements of the Common. If you’d like to get involved in future walks, talks or litter pick-ups, get the latest news here.

The Bowling Green has also now reopened for a celebratory Centenary season. Check out the Bowls Facebook page to book your playing slot.

In May the Friends published a special commemorative book, as reported on this site, called The Wandsworth Common Story. Find out how you can buy a copy here.

Residents can now bowl again on the CommonResidents can now bowl again on the Common

It was a local man, John Buckmaster, who campaigned for years to preserve the land now known as Wandsworth Common as a space for leisure and peace. Now, as part of the 150 years anniversary celebrations, the Friends will erect a green Wandsworth Council plaque commemorating Buckmaster. The Battersea Society has also agreed to a blue plaque near his former house at Clapham Junction.

Additionally the triangle shaped ‘municipal bed’ next to the playground on the Common, in front of Neal’s cottage, will become a natural wildflower garden with a bench, a new Friends of Wandsworth Common noticeboard and a flagpole where the recently awarded Green Flag will fly.

The Wandsworth Common Act of 1871 effectively saved the green spaces residents enjoy today from land grabs, grave digging, building development and rubbish dumping. The land was handed into the care of local conservators after the Act of Parliament which resulted in Wandsworth’s Earl Spencer (an ancestor of Princess Diana) giving up his rights as Lord of the Manor of the land, in exchange for £200 per annum and the area now called Spencer Park, where he had a house.


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June 29, 2021