Like its neighbouring areas, the area of Wandsworth was once in the depths of the country, consisting of farmland which was used to feed the Londoners across the river. This area in particular was owned by Earl Spencer (it’s suspected that this is where the name Earlsfield comes from), and was covered in watercress fields. The area of Southfields similarly takes its name from its countryside period, when it was known as the south field of the Manor of Dunsford. Southfields remained rural long after neighbouring Wimbledon and Putney had begun to develop. It stayed that way until what is now the District line tube station opened in 1889. This encouraged growth in the area and in 1890 the first school opened on Merton Road.
The area has benefited from grants and regeneration over the last 15 years and the press has written glowingly about its wonderful family houses, green space and excellent state schools. The council helped things along by setting the lowest council tax of any London borough. Now gentrification has spread to all four corners of the borough, and nearby and formerly working-class Battersea has become an unofficial annexe of Chelsea. This area attracts families looking for green space and good schools.
Old York Road, as the former centre of Wandsworth, still has a village feel about it with typical Victorian housing and a variety of properties ranging from terraced, to larger semi-detached and some detached housing. Southfields has predominantly Victorian housing laid out in a grid patterned format, many of which are still houses, although some have been converted into flats.
Most of the area’s amenities are located in the centre of Wandsworth. As well as a variety of shops, including a mall, the centre boasts two museums, one for the history of the area and another for Youngs Ram Brewery, which is dedicated to British brewing. The latter also runs tours. Notable local pubs and restaurants include The Ship Inn on Jews Row and The Waterfront on Battersea Reach. Earlsfield has a number of bars, bistros and restaurants, as well as independent shops.
Wandsworth Town and Wandsworth Common - National Rail to London Waterloo and Victoria