Clapham Junction still serving the capital after 150 years

Clapham Junction still serving the capital after 150 years

Staff celebrate the 150th anniversary

Clapham Junction still serving the capital after 150 years

First published in News

Clapham Junction station celebrated its 150th anniversary last weekend.

To commemorate the anniversary rail staff, dressed in traditional Victorian costumes, handed out copies of The Times from March 2, 1863, the day the station opened.

In the early 19th century, the area surrounding the station was rural and largely surrounded by lavender fields, leading to the naming of Lavender Hill that lies to the east. Railway lines were first constructed in May 1838 when the London to Southampton Railway opened its line from Nine Elms to Woking, but the immediate area was still without a station.

When it was eventually built in 1863, Battersea, the location of Clapham Junction, was regarded as a poor district while Clapham, a mile east, was much more fashionable.

In order to attract a middle and upper class clientele, railway companies decided to adopted the grander of the two names, leading to a long-lasting misunderstanding that the station is in Clapham.

This oversight became so ingrained in people’s understanding of the area that an action group, Love Battersea, was belatedly formed in 2005 to reduce the misapprehension.

The group campaigned, unsuccessfully, to change the name to the more appropriate Battersea Junction.

Additional station buildings were erected in 1874 and 1876 and as the railway line and station developed, the surrounding area's population rose from 6,000 in 1840 to 168,000 by 1910.

Since then, it has become Europe’s busiest interchange serving 60m people each year.

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