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.


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’.