Clapham's Hidden Classical Temple

Posted by Dr Stephen King, Westminster Tour Guide on Thursday, January 21, 2021 Under: Georgian

Clapham's Hidden Classical Temple

Clapham Common has a hidden history from Samuel Pepys and Noel Coward to the first successful measurement of the weight of the planet. Not bad for an often overlooked suburb.


One of the hidden features is Clapham’s very own classic temple. From the 17th century onwards Clapham became the place to be, as connections to the City improved and highwaymen decreased, meaning that you could do a day’s work in the dirty, unhealthy commercial centre and return safely to your family in the country air of Clapham. 


Huge houses appeared around the edge of Clapham Common, with equally large gardens. Some of the richest merchants of their time ended up in Clapham. One was Robert Thornton, who became a director of the Bank of England, building his Clapham mansion in the 1760s. His son added an ornamental garden in the 1790s. The house and gardens were largely swept away, first by a nunnery and then by an (award-winning) post-war housing estate.


But hidden behind the Notre Dame housing estate stands an amazing temple, actually an Orangery. Written above in latin it states “Here is perpetual spring and summer even in other months”. When I take even long-time Clapham residents to this site they are surprised to find this classic relic towering over a small children’s playground. But if you know where to look all round the edge of the common, tucked down Victorian terraces are the remains of once huge 18th century mansions.


I have developed a Secrets of Clapham Common tour and one day I hope to actually run it!

In : Georgian 

Tags: clapham common 
comments powered by Disqus


"online bookings' cpd #earthrise 17th 1830s 18thcentury 1930s 20th 50th a abbey adele afternoon afternoon tea age ages alastair ancient and animals annie anniversary apps architecture arsenal art arts attack autumn awards baker bank bankside barbican barrier bathhouses battersea bazalgette bear beasts becket bells bexley bishopsgate black blackfriars blackout blitz bloomsbury bombers book books borough bowie breakfast brewery brick bridge britain british bronze bronze age brunch buckingham burger burlesque buses cab cabaret cake canal canary captain care carl carol caroline carols cathedral cemetery cenotaph century chapman charles charlton cheap cheapside cheese childhood chips chiswick chocolate christmas church city city of london clapham clerkenwell cocktails coffee coffeehouses common company concert corporate covent covent garden covid-19 cream crime cross crown cruise crystal danson david davy day december dental deptford dick dickens dinner dinosaurs do dock dockland museum dragons dreamtime druitt earth east eat eating eats ecommerce edward edwardians edwin egypt elizabethan end engineering era ernst event events exhibition exhibitions facebook fair fairytale fall family fantastic farringdon fashion february festival film finance fire first fiscus florence folklore food for francis free friars frost gallery galliard garden george georgian georgians german germany gibb gift girls globe grade great greenhithe greenwich group guided guides gun half hall halsk handel harle harry potter hats havering havering hoard hawksmoor hazel heroes hidden highbury hill hilton history holloway homes hooke hot hotel house housing how humphry i ian ianmcd ice ice cream icelandic ii iii in india inigo isaac islington italian iv jack jack the ripper jack's james jenny jewels john johns jones joseph katharines kelly kenneth kew gardens kids kidstours killer kim king kings kingston lambeth lane lewis lights limestone literature liverpool locations londinium london london bridge london's londoners londonhistory lunch lutyens macaulay magnus management maritime market markets martyr mary match matilda maufe mayfair mcdiarmid measure medical medieval memorial middle military millennium mock-tudor modern modernist montague month monument moorgate mosaic murder murderers museum museum of london docklands music musicals mystery n7 national gallery national history museum ned new newcomen news newton nhs nichols night nightingale nurse of old street oliver open opera paddington palace palaces pancakes pandemic panoramic park parties path pauls people philip photo photograhy photography photos pizza places plague plantation plays plumstead podcast poetry pokemon polly poor pop poplar port poverty prince priory private tours pub public pubs purbeck qe2 queen queenhithe quirky railways recording regency reid religion rembrandt renaissance restoration ripper river road rob robert roman romans roundhouse royal saga saints salute saxon school. science sculpture scupture seacole second serial servants sewers shakespeare shoreditch siemens sir slave slavery small smartphone smith smithfield smithfields soap soho somme south southbank southwark spitalfields spy squirrels ss st statue stories stow street strike stuart stuarts studios subscription suffragettes sugar summer susan sydenham tate taxi tea ten term terror thames thamesmeade the theatre thiepval things things to do thrifty thriftytheatre to toothbrush tour tours tower trade travel truman tudor tudors tumblety twelfth twentieth twist und underground update v&a ve victims victoria victorian victorian london victorians viking virtual vouchers wales walk walking walks wall war water werner west westend westminster wharf wheeler whitechapel wilde wildlife willelm william windrush wine winter women wood woodland woolwich world wyatt york zachary 1666 1888 2019 2020





Site by Hazel  |  Photographs by Hazel or Ian