Lifestyle

The London Underground station that was named after an entirely different area because no one wanted to go to where it really was


Love it or loathe it, almost all Londoners have had to pass through Clapham Junction at some point in their lives.

Be it to get into the capital, to catch a train and withdraw completely into the English countryside – or merely passing through on the Overground – Clapham Junction sees around 430,000 passengers pass through it a day.

And with interchanges making up 40 per cent of journeys taken, it is the busiest station across the country.

READ MORE: The tragic story of how 8 Londoners were killed by a tidal wave of beer

Yet despite its popularity, South Londoners will be the first to tell you the Clapham Junction station isn’t near Clapham at all.

In fact, it is a good mile away from the South London district- a brisk twenty minutes walk.

It is in fact located in the Thames-facing neighbourhood Battersea, a subject of low-level controversy perfect for dinner party small-talk fodder.



All of Clapham Junction Station's 10 lifts are being upgraded over lockdown to make them more reliable.
Clapham Junction is the country’s busiest station today. Credit: Stannah

Unsurprisingly, the big brains behind the scenes at the London and South Western Railway – the company who first opened the station centuries ago in 1838 – did not name the station after a completely different area for conversation starters in the 21st century.

Yet the reason they did is just as bizarre.

Wandsworth Council, the local borough in which both Battersea and Clapham Junction is located in, says it is “pretty likely” the name was chosen to appeal to London’s middle and upper classes during the Victorian period.

Clapham during the 19th century was home to large numbers of the capital’s booming middle class, including novelist Graham Greene and composer Edvard Greig.

It was a fashionable village, positioned perfectly beside Clapham Common, in which many of the park’s Victorian features – including a band stand and tennis courts- exist today.

Battersea, on the other hand, was more of a cluster of factories than a suburb; in 1840, two years after Clapham Junction was established, only 9,000 people lived there, and they were predominantly factory workers.

The area saw a considerable population surge by the end of the decade.



Family Have their Picture Taken on Clapham Common
A Wealthy Family Have their Picture Taken on Clapham Common. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

By 1910, residents had increased to 168,000, ironically due to the success of the station.

Whilst the 20th century saw efforts to change the name to Battersea Junction, these largely fizzled out.

But recent campaigning under the group name Love Battersea successfully persuaded Network Rail to install a sign at the station saying ‘Welcome to the Heart of Battersea’.

With “Clapham Junction” in considerably smaller letters underneath.

Want more from MyLondon? Sign up to our daily newsletters for all the latest and greatest from across London here.

Do you have a story you think we should be covering? If so, please email bea.isaacson@reachplc.com




Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

close