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The Society was founded in 1963 “to encourage the preservation and improvement of public amenities in Clapham”. Since then it has led, or taken an active part in, many campaigns to prevent or modify insensitive or harmful developments. Among those it successfully fought were:
- the ‘motorway box’ of the late 1960s: four rings of motorways were proposed, the innermost of which would have run straight through Brixton, Clapham and Battersea;
- proposals in the early 1970s to demolish large swathes of Lillieshall Road, Iveley Road, North Street, Rectory Grove, Rozel Road and Wandsworth Road.
More recently, the Society has worked with Lambeth Council to secure changes and improvements to their recent Revitalise, Future Clapham and Clapham Gateway initiatives. It seeks to work constructively with local partners to secure high quality, worthwhile development and to guard against possible threats to local amenity and environment.
The Society’s broad aim is to help improve the quality of life in Clapham and to strengthen its sense of community. It played a major role in organising and raising funds for the restoration of the Bandstand on Clapham Common. It offers comments and advice on local planning applications and development proposals. It works with local schools and other organisations to spread information about the history and geography of Clapham, and about the interesting people who have lived there; and it produces a range of widely-praised books and other publications about Clapham past and present.
The Society organises a programme of events and meetings about matters of local and/or current interest, and circulates a monthly newsletter. Current membership is about 800, and everyone who is interested in Clapham and who supports the Society’s aims is welcome to join. Annual membership costs £6 for individuals, £9 for households up to three people, and £15 for businesses.