What’s it all about?
Located in a quiet corner of Wandsworth, Earlsfield was overlooked for many years in favour of its more celebrated neighbours, Wimbledon and Clapham. But with picturesque terraced houses and wide open spaces, leafy Earlsfield shares many of their characteristics and now, it seems, the secret is out. A steady stream of buyers are putting down roots here and the neighbourhood is flourishing. For families the range of schools is a happy bonus and, as children grow up, many choose to remain in the area. However, increasing numbers of new buyers coming to Earlsfield are straying from this typical demographic and the area is also now home to lots of young professionals who can take advantage of the 13 minute train journey to Waterloo. On moving in, they’re finding that Earlsfield’s trendy bars and restaurants centred on the beating heart of the neighbourhood, Garratt Lane, coupled with inviting green spaces and a friendly community spirit, provide the perfect living environment.
- Author Louis de Bernières lived in Earlsfield while working on his bestselling novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. His play, Sunday Morning At The Centre Of The World, was based on the characters he met during his time in Earlsfield.
- The River Wandle was once famous for its stocks of brown trout, but heavy industry polluting the river led to the fish dying out, only reappearing once these industries began to decline in the 1960s. The trout suffered a further setback after a mistake at Thames Water’s sewage works in Beddington in 2007 led to large amounts of cleaning agent being released into the water, killing thousands of fish. After a massive clean up operation, trout were finally spotted once again in the river in 2014 to a flurry of local excitement.
Architecture and property
Earlsfield derives its name from a large Victorian mansion that once stood just south of Allfarthing Lane. Although now demolished, the house was originally sold to London and South Western Railway with the proviso that the new station would bear its name. This house was one of very few properties in the area until the arrival of the railway in 1884, which triggered a development boom. By 1900 almost all streets north of the station were lined with rows of terraced houses. These distinctive late Victorian and Edwardian terraces, with intricate tile and brick details, dominate the Earlsfield property market. Most often with three or four bedrooms, these properties tend to come with gardens – the homes on Ravensbury Road are particularly desirable examples. Near the station some post war 1950s builds stand alongside contemporary new developments and ex-council houses.
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Eating: Try newcomer The Earlsfield, located in the rail station which is proving a popular stop as commuters step off the train. Ben's Canteen opened in 2014 and is a popular place for weekend brunch and Bloody Marys. Another good brunch option is Mel’s Vintage Beats and Breakfast. Popular among the South African community is Roxie where they serve good steak that won't break the bank. If you are after great tasting Thai food at reasonable prices, try Amarath Thai Café & Noodle Bar.
Drinking: There are a range of pubs here which offer something (quite literally) for everyone. The Halfway House serves a locally famous Sunday roast, there are fine ales and a garden so big it includes a volleyball court at The Leather Bottle, and the winning combination of live bands and a vibey atmosphere at The Wandle. The 2010 Masterchef winner Dhruv Baker owns The Jolly Gardeners and, as you might expect, the food is delicious. There’s also no need to journey into central London for a more lively evening, as local watering holes Bar 366 and Graffiti serve killer cocktails and regularly have DJs playing into the wee hours.
Theatre: Earlsfield is home to its own intimate fringe theatre, Tara Arts. Its cross cultural productions have been tremendously successful. Currently undergoing renovation, its new space will feature a 100 seat theatre, an outdoor patio and a new rehearsal space.
Family: A haven for parents with young kids, Earlsfield is valued for both its acres of green space and its family friendly shops and activities. The pottery studio Mini Potters on Garratt Lane is a favourite for birthday parties. For a rural excursion or weekend bike rides, locals need look no further than The Wandle Trail, a 12 mile path along the river from Wandsworth to Croydon.
- There's a Sainsbury’s Local by the station, a Tesco Express, and a larger Sainsbury’s and Waitrose in the Southside Centre. In neighbouring Clapham Junction there’s also an Asda superstore with car park and cafe open 24 hours a day between Tuesday and Friday. For something a bit different, try the Amaranth Too Thai Takeaway & Oriental Deli’s specialty produce.
- Southside Shopping Centre at the top of Garratt Lane has had a bit of a makeover recently, with a range of upgraded shops and Debenhams. There's also a 14 screen cinema.
- The shopping centre boasts a Virgin Active health club with a pool, spa and range of exercise classes, and there is also a Nuffield Health on King George's Park. However, lots of locals prefer to get their health kicks outdoors at the Central London Golf Centre, a friendly club offering lessons for children and an over-50s golf academy.
- Eddie Catz is an important part of the community for Earlsfield parents. The play facility for children up to nine years old provides a healthy and sociable environment for kids, while parents can relax in the cafe while watching their children play.
- The weekly activities for children at Earlsfield Library are well attended, and the building has a hall available for hire, as well as free internet access.
One of the perks of Earlsfield living is the area’s close proximity to some fantastic parks, owing in part to a particularly savvy move from the Wandsworth Council. It purchased Garratt Green in 1899 for just £110, and this pretty green space is now well used. Green fingered locals gather at the Garratt Park allotments, while King George’s Park offers 55 acres of picturesque green space and a thriving tennis club. Those really looking to reconnect with nature can go fishing on the lake at nearby Wandsworth Common, where winding woodland paths connect Earlsfield with Battersea.
There have been several recent developments in Earlsfield designed to attract new investment and create jobs in the area. These include the conversion of a disused warehouse and railway embankment building into a working office space near to the station, and a development of 195 apartments, Westfield Waterside, overlooking King George’s Park and the River Wandle is in the pipeline.
Rail: There are regular trains from Earlsfield station to Waterloo, taking 13 minutes. Alternatively, it’s 20 minutes to Victoria with a change at Clapham Junction.
Tube: Nearby Southfields and Wimbledon Park are both on the District Line and about 20 minutes’ walk from Garratt Lane.
Bus: Local bus routes include the 44 (to Victoria), 77 (to Waterloo) and 270 (to Putney Bridge). The N44 night bus runs from Aldwych.
Road: By car, locals can cross the river and be on the M4 in half an hour.
Cycle: Keen cyclists love the 35 minute cycle from Earlsfield to Victoria, mostly along flat roads.
Earlsfield Primary School, Wimbledon Park Primary School and Swaffield Primary School are all a stone’s throw from Earlsfield station. Beatrix Potter Primary School on Magdalen Road is a popular choice, and younger children can attend the Montessori Day Nursery. For secondary schools, Earlsfield residents have their pick of three academies. Co-educational options include Southfields Academy and the Ashcroft Technology Academy, which now offers the International Baccalaureate as an alternative to AS and A-Levels, while the single sex Burntwood Academy is a popular choice for girls. Garratt Park School on Waldron Road takes students with a wide range of learning difficulties.
A new primary school addition, Floreat Wandsworth Primary School opened in 2015 on the site of the former Atheldene Day Centre.
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