This district of south-west London is situated just south of Brixton and Battersea. Originally called Clappeham, the name is derived from the Saxon meaning "village on the hill".
The area was rural for much of its history, sparsely populated with just a few farms and one or two manor houses. But then in the 17th century the area began to be settled by Londoners.
The impetus for this was two fold. First the plague, and then the Great Fire had forced Londoners to leave The City, and this area of south London was where many of them chose to re-locate.
As a result, by the early 18th century Clapham was already a popular residential suburb. Many of the residents were wealthy and so many of the houses that were built were elegant town houses. One such resident was the famous diarist Samuel Pepys.
Clapham remained an elegant residential district for the next 200 years with famous past residents including the romantic poet Shelley, the architect who built the Houses of Parliament Charles Barry, and the founder of The Times newspaper John Walter.
In the 19th century the railways reached Clapham and the district was quickly transformed into the residential suburb of today. Many of the elegant town houses were replaced with rows of terraced housing, but nevertheless Clapham still retains a pleasant genteel atmosphere and a "villagey" feel to it.
The district is most well known for the famous Clapham Junction railway station. This is one of the busiest railway intersections in the world, with at one time over 2,500 trains passing through every day. The site has always been frequented by travellers for this was once the location of a busy rural crossroads.
The railway station opened in 1863 and the area around it was soon transformed with shops and other facilities being built to cater for the huge number of travellers passing through the district.
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