Shops, Spurgeon, Byron, Shakespeare & a Café

Shops, Spurgeon, Byron, Shakespeare & a Café : More pictures from my walk which began at Vauxhall on Friday 28th July 1989 with Nine Elms Riverside . The previous post was Rail, Housing, Matrimony & A Warning .

Shops, 56-64, Lavender Hill, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7m-22

The six houses between Woodmere Grove and Shirley Grove at 56-66 on the north side of Lavender Hill were built at a slight angle to the road. Each of them also has a rounded corner at the south-east, making them look from the east side as a series of round towers, some strange castle beside the road. Unlike the other terraces on the road this makes them stand out as individual buildings, though shop extensions on the ground floor present a straight line on the pavement.

These houses were built as a part of Seymour Terrace in around 1870 as private houses with basements on a part of an estate bought by Clapham surgeon and GP Henry Meredith Townsend who lived nearby on Clapham Rise. The ground floor was converted into shops in 1882. The Survey of London which gives more detail describes them as “ a minor masterpiece of street architecture. “

Queen’s Road Stores, Hartington Terrace, Stanley Grove, Queenstown Rd, Clapham, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7m-24

Hartington Terrace on Queenstown Road is still there though the shopfronts have changed a little over the years they are still basically the same. No 43 on the corner has lost those ‘decorative’ blinds and looks very much more sober, not welling bathroom fittings rather than wine. This whole area of Battersea, Park Town , was the heart of a single farm, Longhedge Farm, which began to be developed after the opening of Battersea Park in 1858. Its long and complex story is told in great detail in the link cited.

Developments at the southern end included some large villas close to Clapham Common, and the developers of the northern part under Philip William Flower (1810–72) originally hoped to make this a middle-class area with its location between Clapham and Chelsea but later had to lower their expectations largely because of railway expansion in the area and develop it as homes for working-class artisans.

An Act of Parliament in 1863 allowed the laying out of Queens Road (known since 1939 as Queenstown Road) and building on the estate continued over the next 30 or so years. One of the two major builders was Walter Peacock who began Hartington Terrace (named by Cyril Flower, (1843–1907), Philip’s eldest son and first Lord Battersea) in 1885. No 43 was built as a pub and there was a parade of 7 shops with stabling and workshops behind. A few more shops were added to the north in 1888 by another builder.

Stanley Grove at left was an earlier development with houses built by a number of builders in 1867-8.

Life Tabernacle, United Pentecostal Church, 32, Battersea Park Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7m-26

The church is still there, set back from Battersea Park Road, but the temporary looking building occupying most of the picture has been replaced by a rather nondescript block with a large ground floor betting shop.

The land for the church building was, according to the Survey of London , acquired in 1868 “ from the Crown’s Battersea Park purchase, to be used ‘as a branch from Mr Spurgeon’s tabernacle’ . ” One of the leading Baptist figures of the age, Spurgeon was for 38 years pastor of the New Park Street Chapel (later the Metropolitan Tabernacle) at the Elephant & Castle. He was a powerful preacher and prolific writer and supporter of many practical schemes to improve the lot of the urban poor as well as missions such as this to convert them to his Calvinistic Christianity.

The first building erected was this, built as a lecture hall seating almost 500 by Lambeth builder and architect William Higgs, and it was 25 years later that a chapel was added to Battersea Tabernacle. This occupied the space between the hall and Battersea Park Road and was demolished probably in the 1970s having been damaged by wartime bombing. The hall was purchased for £25,000 by members of Calvary Temple in Camberwell and became Life Tabernacle.

Decoration, Battersea Park Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth 1989 89-7m-13

Somewhere on the stretch of Battersea Park Road between Propert’s blacking factory at 142 (photograph not on-line) and the villas at 445-7 I made this picture of terracotta decoration in panels on a building, but I can no longer find it. Unfortunately although my note says Battersea Park Road it does not give a street number. From the picture I think it must had been only a few courses above street level.

The central panel seems more generic, with a vessel with appears to have a fruit tree growing out of it, perhaps with apples, but the two roundels at the sides are perhaps more interesting. I think they probably represent some trade or other, but can’t decide which. Perhaps someone reading this can solve the mystery and make a comment.

Shakespeare Villa, Byron Villa, 445, 447, Battersea Park Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth 1989 89-7m-14

This remarkable pair of villas, now apparently a hotel, were built in the 1850s and the architect is thought to have been Charles Lee. The two are Grade II listed. The gable has a distinctive scalloped bargeboard or decoration and this continues for a short length along each side of the house to a low wall bearing an urn.

Café Window, Battersea Park Rd, Battersea, Wandsworth, 1989 89-7m-15

This café on Battersea Park Road, I think in the parade between Stanmer St and Balfern Street, seems a suitable place to pause my walk which will continue in later posts. Although it looks as if it was taken from inside I think it was probably closed and I was standing in a recessed doorway.

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