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Borough: Wandsworth
Wandsworth Common
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Wandsworth Common  
Wandsworth Common is an important historic common, the remains of more extensive commonland which earlier went by a number of names including Battersea West Heath and Wandsworth East Heath. It was part of the uncultivated lands of the Manor of Battersea and Wandsworth. By the 19th century it had been divided by the railway and built on as London was developed. Attempts by local people to preserve the Common against further building began in earnest in 1868 when appeals were made to the Metropolitan Board of Works to take over responsibility, but this was initially unsuccessful. In 1870 a Common Defence Committee was set up, later to become the Wandsworth Common Preservation Society. Action was taken in April to try and keep Plough Green open and in the months following fund-raising efforts and lobbying of support accelerated.

Eventually Earl Spencer, Lord of the Manor, agreed to transfer most of the common to the Defence Committee excluding the area which later became Spencer Park . The common was then transferred to a group of Conservators elected by inhabitants of Battersea and Wandsworth. 250 a year was paid to Earl Spencer. This was raised by a special rate levied of the inhabitants. In 1887 it transferred to the Metropolitan Board of Works who carried out a number of improvements including planting, paths layout, and creation of the ornamental lakes from old gravel pits. In 1898 the Common became the responsibility of the new London County Council who in 1912 purchased an area of 20 acres of open land to extend the common.

However, before this area could be provided for the public's use, it was taken over in World War I for the third London General Hospital by the Government. Since 1971 responsibility for the common transferred to the Borough of Wandsworth and again improvements were carried out. On Windmill Road is a weather-boarded windpump built in 1837-40 to restore the water supply which had been disrupted by the nearly railway cutting. It was redundant by the 1870s and now without its sails.

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