Five Polys set off from Clapham Common station for a gentle walk taking in three South London commons. Two members were waiting at the wrong Clapham station, there are five altogether, but fortunately they contacted the leader who directed them to the correct one! We set off across Clapham Common passing Holy Trinity Church where William Wilberforce and his friends in the ‘Clapham Sect’, who lived around Clapham Common, worshipped while campaigning for the abolition of slavery and the moral reformation of the nation. In Broomwood Road we admired the beautiful decorative tiles in the porches of all the houses in this long road which took us to Wandsworth Common. We proceeded across the common, past Wandsworth Common station into Balham. We noted the impressive Du Cane Court, a large art deco block of 677 flats built in 1937. A popular place to live for music hall stars in the 30s and 40s. It originally boasted a social club on the top floor and amongst other luxuries had a water softening system. It is the largest privately owned apartment building under one roof in Europe. We took in St. Mary and John the Divine church with its external baptistry. The original building was erected with funds from the wealthy members of the ‘Clapham Sect’. We stopped outside Balham station to look at the ‘Impressions of Balham’, four bronze reliefs which depict local life, before proceeding to Tooting Bec common. Here we stopped by the lake to eat our picnic lunch surrounded by geese and other wildlife. One member had to manage on a banana as her hot lunch box refused to open! One of the cons of this walk is the lack of public toilets but fortunately a helpful park warden allowed us to use theirs before we made our way towards Tooting Bec station. Although it was quite a grey day the rain held off until the end of the walk when it started to drizzle slightly.
Susan. Photos by Ida