Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- For the village in Bedfordshire, see Clapham, Bedfordshire.
- For the village in West Sussex, see Clapham, West Sussex.
- For the village in North Yorkshire, see Clapham, Yorkshire.
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Clapham is a place in the London Borough of Lambeth.
Clapham dates back to Anglo-Saxon times; the name is said to derive from the Anglo-Saxon word for "Clappa's farm". In the late seventeenth century, large country houses began to be built here, and through the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it was favoured by the upper classes, with many large and gracious houses and villas built around Clapham Common and in the Old Town. Samuel Pepys spent the last two years of his life in Clapham living with his friend and former servant William Hewer and he died there in 1703. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the Clapham Sect were a group of upper class evangelic Anglicans who lived around the Common. They included William Wilberforce, Henry Thornton and Zachary Macaulay, father of the historian Thomas Macaulay. They were very prominent in campaigns for the abolition of slavery, against child labour and for prison reform. They also promoted missionary activity in Britain's colonies.
After the coming of the railways, Clapham developed as a suburb for daily commuters into central London, and by 1900, it had fallen from favour with the upper classes. Most of their grand houses had been demolished by the middle of the twentieth century, though a few remain around the Common and in the Old Town, as do a substantial number of fine late eighteenth and early nineteenth century houses. In the twentieth century, Clapham was seen as an unremarkable suburb, often cited as representing the thoughts of the ordinary people: the so-called "man on the Clapham omnibus".
Today Clapham covers a largish area surrounding Clapham Common. The Old Town and High Street to the east of the Common, has a lively set of restaurants and shops. At the end of the twentieth century and begin of the twenty-first, local property prices rose steeply, and Clapham is now home to many young professional in their twenties and thirties. Many of the High Street's bars and restaurants cater for them and are packed to the rafters at weekends. However, the area retains a pleasantly mixed character, with many social and ethnic groups living alongside each other.
The other side of the Common, encompassing Battersea Rise, Northcote Road and the area known as "Between the Commons", is popular with young middle-class professional families: Northcote Road is not known as "Nappy Valley" for nothing. (Although this area is often referred to as Clapham, it is in SW11 area and is, in fact, in Battersea.)
The main railway station
is the largest junction on the UK network being the point where routes to the west and southwest of London converge. Other stations include:
There are several tube stations on the Northern Line in Clapham::
See also: Clapham Sect
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