Wandsworth

Wandsworth is one of the largest of the inner London boroughs and lies south of the river to the west of the central area. It was formed in 1965 when local government in London was reorganised and the former metropolitan boroughs of Battersea and Wandsworth were merged.

Population change:

1966:331,450 people
1998:265,500 people

Wandsworth was largely built up in the Victorian period although its riverside districts have long histories of settlement. During the early 20th century Battersea acquired a reputation as a radical district. It was the home of the 'Stop the Boer War' committee in 1900 and the town hall regularly refused to fly the Union Jack on Empire Day. In 1913 Battersea had London's first Black mayor, John Archer. In 1922 Battersea North elected London's first communist M.P, the Indian-born Shapurji Saklatvala.

One of the best-known landmarks in the borough is Battersea Power Station. Built in 1939 it was the first in a series of generators that were set up as part of the National Grid power distribution system. This system standardised the electrical supply in England. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott designed the building whose four towers can be seen across London. It is to be converted into a commercial and entertainment complex and will be part of the rejuvenation of the surrounding area.

In 1951, Wandsworth housed part of the Festival of Britain, the festival's funfair, in Battersea Park. During the 1950s the London County Council built an influential modern housing estate in the borough at Roehampton. The Alton estate was one of the first to be designed as large 'slab' blocks of flats set in landscaped grounds.

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