History of the Battersea Society Welcome to the Battersea Society website 

History of the Society

Poster by Brian NewmanThe Battersea Society was founded in 1965 following a reorganisation of London government which, among other things, saw the demise of Battersea Metropolitan Borough Council and the inclusion of Battersea in the London Borough of Wandsworth.  A group of former Mayors and councillors wanted to keep alive the identity of Battersea as a separate community with its own historic traditions. 

The Society soon became involved in local issues including preservation of the former Battersea Town Hall (now the home of Battersea Arts Centre), which Wandsworth Council wanted to demolish in order to redevelop the site.

In 1970 some residents in north Battersea (including Peter and Wendy Deakins, Brian and Cynthia Newman, and Christine Lewis) set up the Albert Bridge Group to oppose a scheme by the Greater London Council.  This involved building a central pier to enable Albert Bridge to continue to carry traffic.  Instead the Group proposed the bridge should be reserved for pedestrians.  In 1971 the Group forced a public inquiry into the scheme but it was nevertheless authorised.  The campaign continued for a while, with support from people in Chelsea, during the period when the bridge was closed temporarily to traffic because of construction work.

The Albert Bridge Group was absorbed into the Battersea Society, which thereby gained fresh impetus.  The Society campaigned to ensure a lively future for Clapham Junction, the heart of modern Battersea, and produced a detailed report, New Life for the Junction.  It was also instrumental in preventing the destruction of Battersea Square (a name which the Society revived) and ensuring that adjoining streets were redeveloped in a sympathetic way.

The Battersea Society was dormant for a while in the late 70s and 80s but was revived  in the 1990s by some of the original officers, together wlth a number of enthusiastic new members.

Over the years the society has been involved in many local campaigns, speaking out against the closure of the original Wandsworth Museum, supporting moves to keep the Battersea Park Children's Zoo, and was one of the many voices speaking out forcefully against the plans for a forty-two story ‘Twin Towers’ in Clapham Junction which would have entirely overshadowed the human scale of this part of Battersea.

Our tireless planning committee keeps an eye on all major (and minor) developments and makes objections to the council where it's felt to be necessary – not because the Society is against change – that’s always inevitable in an expanding, dynamic, living community- but because we want those changes to be for Battersea’s benefit, and not simply to swell the profits of the developer.

Transport is a major concern – and we have long agitated for improvements to Clapham junction station and improvements to local bus services.

It's a proud history, and we hope to continue to make sure that this special place where we live remains special. The more members we have the more we will be able to achieve. Why not join us. The door is always open...

Battersea Square Today
Saved from the bulldozer: Battersea Square today

The Albert Bridge Group campaign poster is from the personal collection of Peter Deakins, and was designed by Brian Newman..