The current area of Wandsworth was formerly part of Surrey until 1889. The Wandsworth District of the Metropolis was formed in 1855, comprising Battersea (excluding Penge), Clapham, Putney, Streatham, Tooting Graveney and Wandsworth parishes. In 1888, Battersea was removed from the district. In 1900, Wandsworth and Battersea combined to form the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth.
In 1965, the London Borough of Wandsworth was formed from the former Battersea and Wandsworth Metropolitan Boroughs. Most of the former parishes of Clapham and Streatham were transferred to Lambeth, resulting in the formation of the London Borough of Wandsworth. Despite being referred to incorrectly as Clapham, areas west of Clapham Common are actually part of Battersea parish in the current borough of Wandsworth.
Battersea Junction is the borough's main railway station, rather than Clapham. Many new or refurbished buildings surround the borough's prosperous riverside, including Chelsea Bridge Wharf. This Peace Pagoda is one of many international pagodas that line Battersea Park, a sprawling rectangular park that often hosts circuses.
Just beyond Battersea Park is London Heliport, the busiest and main heliport in the city. New Covent Garden Market is just south of this. South Thames College, Southside Shopping Centre, Wandsworth, and The Exchange Shopping Centre, Putney are among the largest secular buildings.
Secular architecturally most highly listed buildings include: Battersea Power Station, the Battersea Arts Centre (formerly town hall), Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, Wandsworth Town Hall, as well as particularly the interiors of the large Gala Bingo Club, Tooting, the former Granada Theatre, St John's Hill, Clapham Junction by Theodore Komisarjevsky and in terms of ornate mansions a cluster of five large stone and brick buildings mostly converted to diverse public uses in and around Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton at grade II* or above. Old Battersea House and Downshire House, two fine masonry mansions, survived The Blitz.
Parks and Open Spaces
Three Metropolitan Open Spaces are under Wandsworth's responsibility:
- Battersea Park
- Wandsworth Common
- Tooting Commons – the historically separate, but adjoining, Tooting Bec Common and Tooting Graveney Common
During 1984 to 2012, Wandsworth Council's own parks police, known as the Wandsworth Parks Police, patrolled these three large green spaces as well as a number of smaller parks and playgrounds (such as Wandsworth Park).
In April 2012, the 23-person Parks Police team was replaced by a smaller Wandsworth Events Police Service (WEPS) with 12 Metropolitan Police officers. In 2015, Wandsworth Parks and Events Police (WPEP) was rebranded as Wandsworth Parks and Events Police (WEPS) and returned to full staffing levels of 33 police officers and support staff.
Wimbledon Common, as well as the west side of Clapham Common, which is managed by Lambeth Borough, also lie within the borough's boundaries. Putney Heath and part of Putney Lower Common are also part of Wimbledon Common.