Sven gave this talk to the Battersea Society and the Friends of Battersea Parish Church in St Mary’s, using originals and reproductions of maps from his own collection, illustrated by slides of maps and pictures.
Sven traced Battersea’s history as a riverside village some distance from London but on the river highway as it then was, shown on Rocque’s map of ‘the Environs of London’ of 1748, through the Tithe Map of 1838 in the church, showing the first railway straight as a die across the open fields, to the rapid housing, industrial and transport development of the middle and late 19th century shown on successive editions of the Ordnance Survey maps available in reproduction, and on the Stanford Library Map of London of 1865. He also showed Battersea in specialised maps like the ‘Survey of London Poverty’ of 1896 where Battersea has its black spots but was nothing like as poverty-stricken as London’s East End, and a tramway map of 1905 which illustrated smart London’s (ie Chelsea, Kensington and Westminster) dislike of accommodating trams which were identified as the working man’s form of transport.
Sven also showed some pictures like Thomas Girtin’s ‘The White House at Chelsea’ (really ‘The White House at Battersea’), and touched on the history of Sherwood Lodge on the river, later submerged by Price’s Belmont Candle Works and now by flats and hotels. He also, greatly daring, put the argument for naming the station ‘Clapham Junction’ from the evidence on maps of continuous villa development from Clapham Common to the station when Falcon Road wended its way through open country from the village on the river. Sven asked if anyone knew the derivation of the word ’Shot’ for a strip of land in pre-Park Battersea Fields, well shown on the Tithe Map of 1838. Is it shot as in Aldershot?
Sven finally spent some time with fellow map enthusiasts going through his collection – which he is always happy to do.