History

/History
History2016-05-11T16:22:04+00:00

Battersea Park Estate was built by the former Borough Council as part of a slum clearance development in the early 1950’s. The estate transferred to Wandsworth Borough Council when local government was reorganised in 1965.

The estate has been managed by Battersea Fields RMO, a tenant management organisation based on the estate since 2002. The estate is of uniform design made up of 13 brick clad, concrete framed high and low rise blocks. There are just over 500 homes on the estate in total. It is attractively designed with landscaped green open spaces located between the blocks. The estate is situated close to Battersea park, Battersea park Road and local amenities. Two overground railway stations, Battersea Park and Queenstown Road are situated within walking distance of the estate.

There is a diverse community on the estate which reflects the areas inner city nature. The only communal facilities on the estate are the RMO Office and the meeting rooms situated beneath one of the high rise blocks plus there are green areas and play areas situated on the estate.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution in the 1800’s, much of the area was agricultural. The area was largely made up of market gardens divided into “shots “ or strips and along with carrots, melons and lavender was especially famous for growing asparagus (known as Battersea Bundles). At that time the area was called Battersea Fields. There were also low lying marshes. Part of the marshy area close to the river was the subject of an Act of Parliament in 1846 and after it was drained became a park when it was opened in 1858.

The area changed radically with the arrival of the railways from the 1830’s onwards. As the area became industrialised large factories developed along the Thames such as: Morgan Crucible Company and Prices Candle factory. The population of Battersea rose from 6,877 in 1841 to 150,558 in 1891.

The area was inundated by people from all over Britain and Ireland in search of work in the new industries. Poor, overcrowded and unhealthy living conditions soon became as bad as the worst areas in London. This was concentrated in the North Battersea area where the estate is located.

This also led to a rise of radical politics in the area, the first labour MP, John Burns (1982) and the first Black mayor, John Archer (1913) both represented the area. In 1922 North Battersea also elected Indian lawyer Shapurji Saklatvala as a Communist MP.

With the festival of Britain in 1951, Battersea Park was transformed into the Festival Gardens, with a huge Fun Fair that remained in use until 1974.

From the early 1980’s the area began to change as new luxury riverside developments were constructed in the place of old factories.