Tag Archives: Clapham

Fitness First has always been the enemy

If Fitness First is the new frontline, where is the frontline?

If Fitness First is the new frontline, where is the frontline? Photo by Kate Meacock

I have, at times, banged on about the Claphamisation of Battersea, with new arrivals and Yorkshire based supermarkets showing no consideration of the area’s history or geography.

In my idler moments I’ve also wondered whether the excellent Love Battersea is perhaps just a little too mainstream and, just maybe, whether there should be a more radical splinter group—a Battersea People’s Front[1]—for those who are more vocal in their demands for Battersea’s place on the map.

Fitness First in Battersea, thinking they are in Clapham Hill in Kent.

Anyone know where Clapham Hill is?

Seeing pictures like the above taken outside the Fitness First on Falcon Road leave me more convinced than ever that the BPF has a place. That this is a year after they put up their ridiculous Clapham Hill hoarding and had the error pointed out to them leaves a rather bitter taste. Apparently, they think “a play on ‘Clapham and Lavender Hill’ is nice!”

Not only are they mistakenly placing themselves in Clapham, they then compound their sin by making up a new place they think is in Clapham (but is actually in Kent) and defend it with a hubris that only Sainsbury’s could match with their ‘Clapham St John’s’ near Wandsworth

I was thinking that we should have a two minutes hate[2] directed at Fitness First (and feel free to tweet them) would be a good starting point. But would two minutes be anything like long enough?


  1. Such naming would, of course, leave the People’s Front of Battersea name available for those who feel the BPF is too tame.  ↩
  2. I recognise that the title of this blogpost should have been ‘we have always been at war with Fitness First’ to keep the 1984 theme, but even I felt war was a little strong.  ↩

Things I like to see


View Larger Map

Google Maps is now more accurate!

Having been raised many times by many different people like the SW11tch campaign and various people from the Streetlife Identity Taskforce the mapping used by Google now puts Clapham over, well, Clapham.

While this shouldn’t take any credit away from map providers like Bing or the community created Open Street Map who never got it wrong in the first place, Google Maps is by far the most used online mapping service and often came up as an excuse even when a business was almost in Wandsworth (not naming names, Sainsbury’s Clapham St John’s).

It’s a bit of an early Christmas present, and inspires me to keep chipping away at the remaining Clapham/Battersea offenders.

It was better when…

80 years ago, on people don't know where Battersea is, and the trains aren't any faster

Last time there was a coalition between the Liberals and the Conservatives was 1922. It didn’t end well, at least it didn’t end well for Lloyd-George. But some things were better.

Imagine you were at Victoria and needed to get to Clapham as quickly as possible. You’ve heard trains go from here to Clapham Junction, so you pull out your trusty copy of Bradshaw’s Railway Guide and look up the times…

Still probably too close to Clapham for some

Hold, what’s that, there’s a little indicator next to Clapham Junction. Better check what that refers too. Hold, it says here that Clapham Junction is actually “Mid. Battersea, 1¼ miles from Clapham.”

Phew, were it not for the accuracy of Bradshaw you’d have found yourself in the middle of Battersea.

And it wasn’t just Bradshaw’s Railway Guide.

Even in 1947 SW11 was in Battersea

Imagine it’s 1947, for whatever reason you find yourself away from home, perhaps working and staying in a guest house, you’re curious exactly where you are. You know the address is London SW11, so you grab an RAC guide you always have in your battered leather suitcase…

Ooo, that’s interesting, SW11 is Battersea it says here, SW4 is Clapham. Now you know where you are you might pop to the wonderful Battersea Park you’ve heard so much about, and you’re so glad you haven’t ended staying in that horrible SW4.

Asda Clapham Junction, in Battersea. Not Clapham

Of course, in this wonderful modern world in which we live you could probably just pull out your phone and look it up on the internet. There are plenty of sites that can do it, like this one for Asda that correctly says it’s Battersea.

If only their store manager had made the effort to check.

I have to offer huge thanks to Ian Freeman for sending me the scans. It’s perhaps worth mentioning that, although not a Battersea resident, he’s on the side of right in this battle, and won the SW11 Literary Festival Slogan for Battersea competition with “Battersea: It’s the dog’s”

If you want to download the full size scans feel free:

Whither Battersea? Or anywhere?

Battersea, according to flickr (screenshot from http://boundaries.tomtaylor.co.uk/)

I love things like this. It is the geek in me. The map above is from a project called Boundaries by Tom Taylor (and thanks to Robert Brook for bringing it to my attention). It essentially takes the data that flickr users input when they upload their photos. While there’s complicated background to it which you can find via the Boundaries site, users are essentially asked where the photo is; although GPS data has already given a precise location no-one lives at a GPS co-ordinate, they live in a neighbourhood, or an area, or a town.

This data can then be used to map where people think areas are, not where they are told they are. And some if it is remarkably accurate. Take the map of London, for example, or the counties around London.

I love it for three reasons:

1. It’s proof of the value of having data opened up. People will use it for wonderful things.
2. It shows that, actually, a lot of people (well, flickr users) know they are in Battersea – not Clapham.
3. It’s just intrinsically interesting.

Of course, there are downsides…

Clapham, according to flickr users (screenshot from http://boundaries.tomtaylor.co.uk/

Clapham, according to flickr (screenshot from http://boundaries.tomtaylor.co.uk/)

A lot of flickr users also wrongly think they live in Clapham. Enough to create a huge map swathe reaching all the way down to Brixton all the way up to the Thames.

So not entirely good news for those of us who want to defend Battersea as something that’s not Clapham (it’s better than Clapham, better by miles).

Hell Pizza licensing application

Not a very contentious application, I would say; Hell Pizza (I warn you, it’s a Flash based website and not pretty) have applied for a licence for their Lavender Hill store in Battersea (they seem to think it’s in Clapham, but never mind).

The application is for the sale of alcohol between 5.00pm and 10pm Monday to Wednesday, between 12 noon and 10pm Thursday and Sunday and between 12 noon and 11pm Friday and Saturday.

As I said, I cannot imagine it being a contentious application given its location, but if you are concerned representations can be made to the licensing section until 13 April, legally representations can only be considered by the licensing committee if they relate to the four licensing objectives:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder
  • The prevention of public nuisance
  • Public safety
  • The protection of children from harm

The council’s licensing pages provide more information.

If you wish to make an observation you can do so by writing to:
Head of Licensing
Licensing Section
London Borough of Wandsworth
PO Box 47095
London
SW18 9AQ

or by emailing licensing@wandsworth.gov.uk