Spot­light on Put­ney

This well-heeled spot’s rich in history but rows with the times. The river and green space give a fresh feel only six miles from town, says

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Property Searching -

oo­dles of lo­cal green space in­cludes Wandsworth Park

FAM­I­LIES find good rea­son to set­tle in Put­ney. This south­west Lon­don neigh­bour­hood on the Thames is sur­rounded by green spa­ces, of­fers plenty of well-rated state and pri­vate schools, and there’s a wide choice of com­muter routes into cen­tral Lon­don just six miles away.

Once a small river­side vil­lage, Put­ney’s history is rich. A few paces east of Put­ney Bridge in Brew­house Lane, a blue plaque com­mem­o­rates Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief min­is­ter and “most faith­ful ser­vant”, who nev­er­the­less was be­headed as a traitor and heretic on the king’s or­ders in 1540.

Cromwell was born in Put­ney in 1485, most likely the son of Wal­ter, a black­smith — and who can for­get the bru­tal beat­ing the young Thomas re­ceives at the hands of his fa­ther in the first few pages of Hi­lary Man­tel’s novel, Wolf Hall, seen in the open­ing episode of the award-win­ning 2015 TV adap­ta­tion?

Scat­tered with blue plaques and with lo­cal coun­cil green plaques, too, Put­ney can claim more than its fair share of fa­mous res­i­dents. Cel­e­brated photographer Nor­man Parkin­son (1913-1990) grew up in a semi in Land­ford Road. The Vic­to­rian poet Al­ger­non Swin­burne lived and died in Put­ney Hill. His­to­rian Ed­ward Gib­bon (1737-94), au­thor of The De­cline and Fall of the Ro­man Em­pire, spent his for­ma­tive years in Lime Grove, one of Put­ney’s then-large es­tates.

Post-war prime min­is­ter Cle­ment At­tlee was born in Portin­scale Road in 1883. Early air­craft de­signer Sir Ed­win Al­liott Ver­don Roe built his first bi­plane in his brother’s garage in West Hill, and for­mer deputy prime min­is­ter and LibDem leader Nick Clegg and his fam­ily live lo­cally today.

Put­ney Bridge is one of Lon­don’s busiest Thames cross­ings and if you drive it in rush-hour, those six miles into cen­tral Lon­don can take as long as 60. For many years, it was the only Thames cross­ing be­tween Put­ney and Lon­don Bridge. Put­ney’s first bridge, a wooden af­fair, opened in 1729, re­put­edly af­ter a cam­paign led by Sir Robert Walpole, first Bri­tish PM. The story goes that the Put­ney fer­ry­man re­fused to leave the pub to take Walpole over the river on his way to the Com­mons af­ter a meet­ing with Ge­orge I in Kingston, so Walpole had to take an­other, longer route. Today’s stone bridge, start­ing point for the an­nual Ox­ford/Cam­bridge Boat Race, opened in 1886.

The Thames is cen­tral to life here. East of the bridge are river­side restau­rants, pubs and homes in the Put­ney Wharf de­vel­op­ment, while on the west side the bank is lined with boathouses and walk­ers.

PUT­NEY has the Thames and Ful­ham to the north; Wandsworth and Earls­field to the east; Wim­ble­don to the south and Rich­mond to the west. Es­tate agent Alex Howard Baker, from the lo­cal branch of Sav­ills, says Put­ney High Street has im­proved greatly in re­cent years, with more var­ied shops, cafés and restau­rants. A cou­ple of new High Street de­vel­op­ments in the pipe­line will fur­ther boost the area.

Walk­ing the dog:

Chill­ing by the river: main pic­ture, east of Put­ney Bridge near Brew­house Lane; right, Put­ney Em­bank­ment be­side the Thames and Put­ney Pier Highly prized lo­ca­tion: far right, Put­ney Em­bank­ment homes; left, the High Street’s va­ri­ety of shops and eater­ies has im­proved greatly in re­cent years

400 craft beers: boss Nick Moor, The Beer Bou­tique, Up­per Rich­mond Road

Fab­u­lous baker boys: at ar­ti­san shop The Bake­house, Up­per Rich­mond Rd

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