Wandsworth History


The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

WANDSWORTH, a parish, town, and suburban district of the metropolis, in the W. division of Brixton hundred, county Surrey, 3¾ miles from Vauxhall Bridge, and 5½ S.W. of St. Paul's Cathedral. It has stations on the South-Western, London and Brighton, and London, Chatham, and Dover railways. It is situated on the road from London to Kingston, at the confluence of the river Wandle with the Thames, from which circumstance it derives its name.

It is mentioned in Domesday book, and rose into importance on the settlement of the Dutch and French Protestants here in the reign of Louis XIV., the former of whom introduced the pin manufacture, and the latter that of hats. The parish has been divided into the two ecclesiastical livings of All Saints and St. Ann, and includes the hamlet of Garrett, where the mock election of the Mayor of Garvatt, or Garrett, was formerly celebrated, and the ecclesiastical district of Summers Town.

The population in 1861 was 13,346. The principal public buildings are the county court-house, recently erected in South-street; the county lunatic asylum, built in 1842; the bridge, rebuilt in 1757; the savings-bank; police-court of the V division; St. Peter's Hospital, or Fishmongers' almshouses, at East Hill, built in 1850, at a cost of £25,000; the Patriotic Asylum, for female orphans of soldiers, situated on the common, and the Boys' Home, in High-street, for the training of 100 destitute children.

There are extensive paper-mills on the Wandle, built by Mr. M'Murray, three corn-mills, two distilleries, a brewery, scarlet dye, oil, white-lead, and vinegar works, hat factories, and a factory for bolting cloths being the only one in the kingdom.

The county court is held monthly, on the second Thursday in each month. The Poor-law Union comprises six parishes, within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court, and 'V' division of the metropolitan police.

The livings of All Saints and St. Ann are both vicarages* in the diocese of Winchester, value £360 and £800 respectively. The church of All Saints was rebuilt in 1780, with the exception of the tower, which is old. It contains a brass of 1420 and the tomb of Alderman Smith, or "Dog Smith," a great benefactor of the town. The church of St. Ann was built in 1825, at a cost of £14,600. There is also the district church of Summers Town, just completed, the living of which is a perpetual curacy, value £120. The register dates from 1603.

There are chapels belonging to various denominations, a parochial library, National, Sunday, and other schools. The Society of Friends have a cemetery in this parish. The parochial charities produce about £500 per annum, including £170, the rent of the church estate. A fair was lately held on Whit-Monday and two following days for the sale of cattle and horses.

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003] These pages are intended for personal use only, so please respect the conditions of use.