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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. 



For a few months now THE WANDSWORTH VOICE has not been heard – but after a sad, self-imposed silence it is now ready to flex its vocal chords and give vent to its spleen.

In the next few days there will be a flurry of activity – former grievances and gripes will be re-aired …. new issues will be brought to the fore.

Darkened bridges, inappropriate commercial and domestic developments, tree destruction along with continuing cloth-eared council members and executives will again all be the focus of our barbs.

However those ‘Wails of the Riverbank‘ will continue to be complemented by ‘Ales of the Riverbank’, as we review in our own idiosyncratic style the multifarious groupage of local Hostelries, Estaminets and Watering Holes that abound between both Nine and Barn Elms.

We would also ask that our devoted adherents ‘share’ this site with others.  Our goal is for our voice to be heard on as wide and deep a platform as possible.

Watch these pages …


WE LET THE PEOPLE PLAY ….. ESPECIALLY IN BATTERSEA PARK  …. And stroll and run and walk and talk to meerkats and row across a lake … 

It’s always good to note that it’s not only London that believes in the intrinsic value of its public parks – whether they’re to be found in the centre of our city or in our inner suburbs …

Let our open, our green and our publicly-owned areas always remain accessible …. for ever and for every day ….  so we pray that our dear, much-valued Battersea Park will never be subjected again to naïve, crass, unprincipled, inappropriate and certain-to-fail commercial ventures … 

So farewell then … indeed  ‘Adios, Formula E’ … and we are more than pleased to remind our readers that it won’t be ‘¡Hasta la vista, Señor Agag!’


(It’s ‘Spot the deliberate mistake!’ time)


And at the moment it’s probably ‘Help! Help!’ here on the riverside, just beyond our much-loved Wandsworth Bridge and Brady’s fish emporium towards Putney on Nickol’s Walk … when not only has their belovèd one tumbled into the Thames, but also they’ve suddenly realised that the trusty wooden life-belt that they imagined would be there is not actually there. 

As our many followers can now see below for themselves …

But fear not …. once they’ve recovered their aplomb or their paramour or from their tragedy – or a combination of these – then they can always report the life-belt to be missing by calling Wandsworth Borough Council on 081 871 6900.
So that’s alright then. 


We let the people speak 

THE WANDSWORTH VOICE has been campaigning for the last couple of years about the parlous state of Wandsworth Bridge. And the local authority’s total lack of action in terms of repairing and refurbishing it.  Both in terms of its basic fabric and its almost total lack of lighting. 

We are not alone in asking our council to do something – and quickly.  

Accordingly, we are very happy to bring to our numerous readers’ attention a new petition, started by the residents of Battersea Reach.

And here’s what they write about the bridge:

Wandsworth Bridge was completed in 1940, at the height of the Blitz. It was painted in shades of blue as camouflage against air raids, which it has retained ever since. It carries over 50,000 vehicles a day. It marks the boundary at which the speed limit for river traffic travelling upriver is reduced from 12 knots to 8 knots. It is considered the ugly duckling of the London bridges, with a “severely simple” design that “has a somewhat uitilitarian appearance with no significant architectural merit.” 

Local residents disagree. In their eyes, it has history and character and adds to the riverscape, especially in the hours of darkness when it is flood-lit – or, at least it was until about two years ago when it fell into total darkness after barges damaged its electric cabling. 

The Wandsworth Council says it might get around to replacing the flood lighting in two years time. Until then, the bridge will have to remain shrouded in ominous darkness and maintain an air of despondency for all. 

 It is unfortunate that the planning consents (Wandsworth application 2005/3442 and Fulham & Hammersmith appeal APP/H5390/A/07/2033961) lapsed. These were for internally illuminated glass cones rising to 10 metres from the plinths on each end of the bridge which would change colour to correspond with the height of the tide. The consents recognised that the lights would be a feature in the regeneration of the riverside sites. 

The Mayor of London is promoting a project (“The Illuminated River”) to make the 17 bridges between Tower Bridge and Albert Bridge the world’s longest “free outdoor river gallery” and 

Why is Wandsworth Bridge excluded? What has the Mayor got against Wandsworth Bridge? 

 Why should it be left in the dark? Why is the Wandsworth Council not a participant in this project?


WE LET THE PEOPLE TALK …. and when they do it’s terrific that their voices are heard.

THE WANDSWORTH VOICE has always made it very clear that it was against the Formula E motor race being held in that most noble of open spaces, Battersea Park.

And this very day there is good-ish or good news, depending on ones expectations … 

The event will NOT be taking place next year in Battersea Park and maybe not at all in London, if Señor Agag and crew don’t achieve their stated ambition of now running the event up and down the Mall, around the Buckingham Palace Garden, in front of Westminster Abbey and starting and finishing by a specially re-painted Cenotaph.

And whilst Señor Agag is not particularly gracious in ‘defeat’, he does acknowledge that not being able to ‘see the cars for the trees’ is not the perfect recipe for success and audience participation in a spectator sport.

The event will still take place this July in Battersea Park – so the ‘victory’ of The Battersea Park Action Group is not total … but nor is it hollow. And your writer is pleased to have been a late-joining member of the group, whose staunch efforts have all been rewarded – ranging from case-making and letter writing to ejecting unwelcome/uninvited local politicians from a group meeting – all in all, they clearly did a jolly good job.

For those of you who are really interested – here’s a formal up-date from one of the few media sources who have shown a modicum of interest in this sorry, mal-placed event.
A final thought …. we wonder what Murray Walker would have had to say about all this … perhaps he has said something – if so we’ve missed it.   

But commentating on another event a few years ago he notably said …. “He’s obviously gone in for a pit stop. I say obviously, because I cannot see anything.”  

He’s clearly the chap for the Battersea procession. 


We let the people drink 



Our reviews of quite-close-to-the-Thames-hostelries-in-the-Borough-of-Wandsworth continue with The Prince Albert – which, unsurprisingly and eponymously, finds itself on the Albert Bridge Road by Battersea Park, just by the Albert Bridge, only a few miles due south of the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial … and of course at a strolling distance from Albert Mansions.

This last week or so your Wandsworth Wanderer has become your Battersea Boulevardier and has been to The Prince Albert on some four separate occasions – albeit mostly around the same early evening time in order to splice the mainbrace as he prepared to sail along the Thames from Cadogan Pier to Wandsworth Riverside. (Your Thames Tar?)

Again, as with many of our riverside gin-joints, its very location deals The Prince Albert a winning hand – especially if you like Bridge. Or quaintly enough, if you play backgammon. The Battersea Backgammon Brigade appear to be permanently ensconced as they crash, bang and wallop their ‘counters’ around the board. Oblivious to such naïve counter-attractions as a ‘Quiz’ they resolutely strive to counter being ‘gammoned’ or, heaven forfend, counter-attack in order to avoid suffering the ignominy of being ‘back gammoned’.

(And now we spot that there is an afternoon club as well. Perhaps there will soon be a Battersea Bézique Battalion as international games of yesteryear appear to flourish therein.)

The early evening clientèle currently consists of chaps wearing Chelsea football shirts (Eden Hazard’s half-time cast-offs?) or people (of all genders) in suits recovering from 8 hours on the office treadmill and telling each other how hard they’ve been working and how dependent their company’s fortunes are on them …

It’s a Geronimo managed house … and in addition to its fine range of beers and first-rate jugs of highly flavoured tomato juice it offers fine fodder …. Gastro-this and Gastro-that … we are spoiled indeed – perhaps it should now be known as a ‘Gastronimo‘ house, such are its culinary delights!
Our readers may well ask … ‘Surely there must be some irksome downsides?’ Well there are … but only really a couple …. for this crusty old codger, there is a preponderance of perambulators perpetually pushed and pulled by Prosecco-pouring parents during the day.

And the recently refurbished outside ‘garden’ area looks like the set of a joint Ronseal and Homebase promotional TV ad from the 1980s – particularly fetching, we feel, is its new diarrhoea coloured fencing …

Service is well up to local standards so overall its rating must be 8 out of 10.

To see what they say about themselves have a look at ….

And of course it does boast one of the best pub signs in London ….




In its 2 short years of existence THE WANDSWORTH VOICE has always stated that it is on the side of all those who live in, work in or merely visit our (sometimes) charming riverside and park-laden borough.

Therefore we are committed to espouse, promote and publicise any and all initiatives which seek to enhance the quality of life and the quality of living in Wandsworth.

To this end, we wholeheartedly endorse the current initiatives and activities of Wandsworth Living Streets that are being undertaken in conjunction with the Borough’s managers to launch and/or consolidate the ’20mph Speed Limit in Residential Streets’.

A borough-wide consultation is now underway and we encourage our legions of local readers and followers to participate in the process. It couldn’t be easier to let your voices be heard.

And Wandsworth Living Streets own website is replete with details 

And they have also produced a specific document in relation to the 20mph introduction, addressing such basic concerns as to ‘How will it actually be implemented and monitored?’

THE WANDSWORTH VOICE has always expressed its desire that all street users – pedestrians, cyclists, motor cyclists, car drivers, truck drivers and public service vehicle drivers – respond intelligently and selflessly to the needs of others. We know of course that this is not always the case – especially with our two-wheeled friends. 

Accordingly, when no less a person than Sir Bradley Wiggins takes to the media to express his views on the behaviour of some of his fellow cyclists then we salute this admirable Knight of the Road.
Our new motto is therefore …. ‘We let the people drive – but just a bit more slowly, please’.




If there’s a pub for all seasons … It’s certainly The Ship.

Your commentator remembers it fondly from yesteryear – not quite back to 1796. More like 1976. But times have changed and so has The Ship. Indeed this ship has probably been relaunched more than most other river-going vessels.

From a tucked-away ale house, hard by a very busy cement and concrete wharf to a locale for the jeunesse dorée of Wandsworth, Battersea and Fulham … that’s what The Ship has become. Maybe it should be called The Chameleon.

It caters for Londoners north and south – and (sadly) its weekend success is now reflected in the presence of ‘security’. As your commentator/correspondent would never dream of entering the portals of a bouncer-protected establishment the views that follow are inevitably based on mid-week experiences. When of course it does also ply a healthy trade.
Beers are proudly Young’s, food aspires to the current gastro norms … and its great skill is to manage to appeal to a very broad and disparate target group and to maintain their loyalty – whether they imbibe and ingest in the bright main bar or dine in the restaurant or snuggle in the cosy little bar or brave the bracing elements on the open-air terrazza.

But let’s stop for just one moment …. here’s a public house right next to a noisy, brightly-lit day-and-night operating Hanson-Heidelberg cement works with its incessant truck movements, with no easy parking, alongside London’s least aesthetically pleasing and currently unilluminated bridge.

The Ship defies the estate agents’ phrase ‘Location, Location, Location.’  It’s gone one stage better, one stage further …

It has achieved the even grander status of ‘Destination, Destinstion, Destination.’

Long may she sail …. and God bless all those who sail in her.


Early in the week: 8 out of 10

Weekends: N/A

To see what The Ship has to say about itself: