The Clapham Society


 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter


Our meetings will recommence in January 2017 at Omnibus, 1 Clapham Common North Side, SW4 0QW. The bar will be open as in the past from 7 pm, our guest will speak at 8 pm for about 45 minutes, with around 15 minutes for questions and the bar will remain open until late. The full programme for the year is shown below. We hope you will put the dates in your diary to ensure that you do not miss the meetings.

Les Angalais, LesEcossais book covers Monday 23 January
Au revoir to the Union? A European view of post-Brexit London, England and Scotland. French-born journalists Eric Albert and Etienne Duval have both reported extensively on Britain. Eric, who lives in Clapham, is City correspondent for Le Monde. Etienne, who is half-Scottish, is a former London correspondent for French, Belgian and Swiss TV. He divides his time between London and Edinburgh. In 2014, they were asked by a French publisher to each write a contemporary profile of Britain from their own perspective. Eric wrote Les Anglais, Etienne Les Écossais (both published by Ateliers Henry Dougier). Together they will give us their take on the impact of Brexit on relations between different sets of neighbours: Europeans, Londoners, the English and the Scots. They will also discuss, given Nicola Sturgeon’s preparations for ‘IndyRef2’, whether exit from the European Union is likely to lead to the break up The Union. Both books will be on sale at the meeting

Bandstand Beds, Clapham
Bandstand Beds, before and after .
Monday 27 February
Bandstand Beds: Community Food Growing in Clapham. When parks manager Victor Chin-Kit built a few raised beds next to La Baita café in 2012, he never dreamt the idea of growing food on the Common would blossom into what it has become today. The following year Fiona Law and Diana Linskey, set up Bandstand Beds with the aim of promoting food growing to further social, economic and environmental wellbeing. In 2014 David Dandridge, took over as Bandstand Beds chair. David and Diana will talk about the journey, sometimes bumpy, to build Bandstand Beds into a community group that has flourished and put food growing in the heart of Clapham.

Monday 27 March
Up In Smoke: The Failed Dreams Of Battersea Power Station. Peter Watts, author of a recent book about Battersea Power Station, relates the fascinating history of this illustrious building, explaining how it went from unwanted baby-bleaching monster to much-loved riverside ruin. In the process, he will explain why it has taken so long for the building to be saved and ask what the new £8bn development tells us about the future of London.

Chelsea Porcelain Monday 24 April
Sir Hans Sloane, Chelsea Porcelain and the Chelsea Physic Garden. Sally Kevill-Davies, ceramic specialist who worked at Sotheby's and was a member of the BBC TV Antiques Roadshow team of experts for 9 years will trace the fascinating history of the plants, which were grown at the Chelsea Physic garden, and painted on Chelsea porcelain plates during the 1750s. Sally, who lives in Clapham and is a member of the Society has written and lectured widely on ceramics, and last year published Sir Hans Sloane's Plants on Chelsea Porcelain.

Ghost Signs
Photo: Gloria Soria .

Monday 22 May
Ghostsigns. Fading on walls across the world are the ghosts of advertising past, still whispering the slogans of old. Once brightly coloured and promoting everything from Black Cat Cigarettes to Hovis Bread, these painted signs are now ‘ghosts’ of their former selves. Since 2006 Sam Roberts has been photographing, researching and archiving evidence of this outmoded form of advertising. In this richly illustrated talk he will offer a brief history and share the stories that these signs tell, if you care to listen.
To find out more about Ghostsigns visit

Tuesday 6 June
The development of a Victorian suburb. A guided walk of the area between Clapham and Wandsworth Commons showing how the area developed. Led by Timothy Walker, leaving from Clapham South Underground Station at 6.30 pm.

Monday 26 June
Black Cultural Archives: Past, Present and future. Victoria Northridge, Collections Manager will be talking about the 30 odd year history of Black Cultural Archives. Starting from its origins in the 1980s the talk will focus on the individuals who made the dream of a Black Heritage Centre a reality, as well as the wider history of African and Caribbean community in Britain. The talk will ultimately appraise the achievements of the organisation since opening the new building in Brixton on the eve of it being three years since opening in July 2014.

Wednesday 19 July
From Batting to Boxing. A guided walk looking at some plaques around Nightingale Lane. Led by Derrick Johnson, leaving from Clapham South Underground Station at 6.30 pm.

Sunday 6 August
Around Park Hill. A guided walk along Crescent Lane to Abbeville Road and up Park Hill to return via Kings Avenue. Led by Alyson Wilson, leaving from Clapham Common Underground Station at 2.30 pm.

Wednesday 13 September
Old Clapham – People and Places. A guided walk of central Clapham, picking up on the stories of notable people and buildings. Led by Peter Jefferson Smith, leaving from outside Omnibus Arts Centre, 1 Clapham Common North Side, SW4 0QW at 2.30 pm.

Julia Barfield, London Eye Monday 25 September
Architectural Icons. Julia Barfield of Clapham-based Marks Barfield Architects will talk about the history and design development of the practice’s iconic London Eye, and other local schemes as well as Brighton’s i360 Tower.

James Le Fanu

Monday 23 October
Annual General Meeting Followed by guest speaker, James Le Fanu. For all the many impressive achievements of modern medicine, there is growing concern at the progressive 'medicalization' of people's lives to no good purpose. Daily Telegraph medical columnist and Vauxhall GP James Le Fanu explores its ramifications and particularly the reasons behind the massive threefold increase in drug prescribing over the past 15 years with its many potential harmful consequences.

Antibiotic Sensitivity plate Monday 27 November
Antibiotics and antibiotic resistance. For decades, antibiotics have been used to treat infections and have allowed advances in surgery and cancer treatment. Hand in hand with the increasing use of antibiotics is the rise in antibiotic resistance. There is rising alarm over the spread of 'superbugs' and the impact they could have on the future of medicine such that the Chief Medical Officer issued a strategy to reduce resistance in a five year plan. The threat is deemed serious enough to be placed onto the national risk register. In this febrile and worried climate Dr John Clark, consultant microbiologist at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust will go through the history of antibiotics and the rise of resistance and attempt to bust myths and predict the future.

There is no meeting in December.

We hope that you will find this an interesting and varied programme with something to suit everyone.
If you have any suggestions for future meetings do please pass them on to the Events Organiser, Christine Armstrong, telephone 020 7720 7449 or

This site is © Copyright Clapham Society 2009, All Rights Reserved

website maintained by Outlines