SW4 (Lambeth) area guide

Moving clockwise around the border of the postcode district, the northern boundary of SW4 follows , before following Cedars Road to join Wandsworth Road. At its junction with Brayburne Avenue it follows the train tracks south to then follow Larkhall Rise and Larkhill Lane before cutting down Binfield Road to join Clapham Road, and branching south down Bedford Road. The eastern boundary continues down Kings Avenue, before joining and following Poynders Road and Cavendish Road.

The SW4 postcode district lies within or includes part of the following towns, counties, localities, electoral wards and stations: Balham, Brixton Hill, Clapham Common, Clapham Common Station, Clapham High Street Station, Clapham North Station, Clapham Town, Ferndale, Lambeth, Larkhall, London, Northcote, Shaftesbury, Stockwell, Thornton, Wandsworth.
Thought to derive from the Old English translation which means “homestead,” the word Clapham dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. According to legend, King Edgar of England granted Jonas, the son of the Duke of Lorraine, a plot of land called Clapham and from this moment, Jonas was coined, “Jonas of Clapham.” However, the family only held possession of the land until Jonas’ great-great grandson, Arthur, sided against William the Conqueror during the Norman Invasion. Upon losing the land, the Clapham kin moved to the North.

Clapham began to grow as one of London’s most popular villages in the seventeenth century. Being located south of the river, it was popular amongst wealthy city dwellers looking for a country retreat, and as a result, many large country houses and villas were built in the area, eventually becoming quite popular among the wealthy merchants who worked in the City of London. By the 18th and 19th centuries, many merchants had built large and gracious houses about Clapham Common. Many of these still exist.

The area has had a number of famous residents, with Samuel Pepys being one of the earliest. Later residents include members of the Clapham Sect (including William Wilberforce), who campaigned for issues such as the abolition of slavery and child labour.

Upon the emergence of the railway systems, Clapham became an ideal suburb for commuters, yet, by the late 19th century, it had lost its aristocratic edge and became a largely working class community.
The most desirable properties in this area are unsurprisingly the period properties built around the common by the upper classes, prior to the arrival of the railway. Detached houses on Clapham Common North Side demand asking prices of between £2 and £4 million, whilst a terrace on Turnchapel Mews may reach around £3 million. A redbrick Victorian terrace on Clapham Common West Side would also demand a similar asking price. Clapham Old Town, located near, but not directly overlooking the common, is equally as popular, with properties on streets such as The Chase, Liston Road and Macaulay Road all regularly reaching asking prices of over £1.5million.

The terraced houses that once belonged to the working classes are now very desirable amongst young professionals, and many have been converted into two or more flats. A one bed flat conversion flat on Ferndale Road or is likely to cost between £250,000 and £300,000, though a one bed garden flat on Tremadoc Road would demand an asking price of approximately £350,000 (and prices can reach even higher). For a period conversion with two bedrooms, prices will naturally be higher, with two bedroom flats on Lavender Hill reaching asking prices of £380,000, whilst flats on Edgeley Road reach slightly lower asking prices of around £360,000.

For those with slightly lower budgets, there are a handful of high rise blocks in the area, such as those on Clarence Avenue and Studley Road, with lower asking prices than period conversions with the same number of bedrooms.
Essentially, Clapham attracts two main types of people: young singles that enjoy the party scene and prosperous couples with children. Amongst the seemingly tired Victorian flats, Clapham fosters a great number of 21st century “smart” flats. The region seems to attract a young, successful media/arts populace who enjoy the mix of both new and old architecture. Unlike many other parts of South London, Clapham has a direct tube to the City, West End and Waterloo. Along with the convenient transport links, Clapham offers a number of options in regards to night life, such as the cinema, bars and restaurants. Also, a new modernist Sainsbury’s, multiple coffee shops, health clubs, etc provide the essentials for day to day activity.

On the “to-do” list in the area, is a visit to Clapham Common, one of South London’s largest green spaces. It is a triangular-shaped park which separates Balham, Clapham and Battersea. The Common covers around 200 acres. It also has two ponds of Eagle Pond and Mount Pond, which are popular amongst locals for both angling and model boating. The common has a bandstand (the largest in London) in the centre and a church, Holy Trinity, on the north side. In season, the commons is home to a myriad of festivals, circuses and festivities of all sorts.

Another interesting venue to see is Clapham Picture House, a popular independent cinema featuring world cinema, art house features and many mainstream productions as well. The cinema is known for its quality of eclectic choices and also offers a full-service café- bar. For quality shopping outside of Central London, check out Arding and Hobbs, a beautiful department store established circa 1885.

There are a number of choices in regards to schooling for those with families, with an array of independent and state schools to choose from.