THE WANDSWORTH VOICE 

We let the people walk …. 

The aesthetic qualities and cultural ambitions of your esteemed Wandsworth Wanderer/Battersea Boulevardier know few limits … and certainly not geographical or fluvial ones – and so it was, a couple of days ago, that your noble riparian correspondent sauntered across Albert Bridge to two famed establishments.
Firstly, the newly renovated and rejuvenated National Army Museum, where contemporary paintings of Arthur Wellesley (aka The Duke of Wellington) riding through Spain are to be found side-by-side with posters promoting films featuring Maurice Mickelwhite (aka Sir Michael Caine).

There are ‘natures mortes’ displayed alongside ‘tableaux vivants’ on (mostly) silent screens – both showing current museum curation practice at its very best. The museum’s presentation and appeal is on a multi-generational level – it is neither didactic nor polemical; it seeks not to glorify our Army but rather to present a rationale for its previous and current standing and activities.


On the day that she re-opened the museum the Queen stops to inspect the uniform that belonged to her as Honorary Brigadier in the Women’s Royal Army Corps. 

And if it’s good enough for her … it’s good enough for me … 

Lunchtime during school holidays may not have been the best time for this transpontine foray into Royal Hospital Road but subsequent incursions are already being strategised.

It was thence but a short yomp down the road – certainly less far than a bold Agincourt Archer’s arrow-firing distance – to the second establishment of the day – indeed a long-favoured haunt, Chelsea Physic Garden.

As ever, a veritable oasis of calm and a sea of tranquility – even the visiting Bumptious Brats appeared to realise that here was not a place to shout, scream, scoot, skate or take delight in pursuing our feathered friends or persecuting their long-suffering nannies.


Objets jardiniers abound in the charming shop – highly recommended are the small-scale patent window-box seed dibbers – and these are to be found spade-by-trowel by reproductions of historic tomes, advising the  Percy Throwers and Alan Titchmarshes of yesteryear on how best to nurture and cultivate cuttings, somehow shipped lovingly, from the Sumatran jungle or the Paraguayan plains.

The restaurant remains as charmingly chaotic as it was over 20 years ago – but at least it no longer requires seven senior ‘Friends of the Garden’ to serve, sell and account for a cup of tea.

All in all, therefore, a wonderful way of taking advantage of these fine Chelsea-based riverside facilities … the next step for your appropriately (or indeed inappropriately!) surnamed correspondent is a visit to the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust along the river from Putney (to Barnes).

Of course, it means straying outside of ones belovèd Wandsworth – but as THE WANDSWORTH VOICE exists to proclaim all that is good and highlight all that is bad in our riverside vicinity … so be it.

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THE WANDSWORTH VOICE 

Hails of the Riverbank

After various “tales, ales and wails of the riverbank” over the last couple of years …. now it’s the turn of “hails of the riverbank” – indeed it’s “All Hails” to St Mary’s Church of Battersea which hosted a very poignant and truly excellent early evening concert on Palm Sunday. 


After œuvres by Taverner and Tchaikovsky (amongst others) the pièce de résistance was indeed Gabriel Fauré’s magnum ‘Requiem’ opus. Oftentimes heard on the radio (and on ones own CDs) to be present at a living, passionate rendition of this magnificently moving music in such delightful riverside surroundings on a cloudless Spring evening was a fine and unforgettable experience. 

So thanks to all organisers and artistes concerned – especially to the church’s own musical director and conductor, Tyrone Whiting.