1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Battersea
BATTERSEA, a south-western metropolitan borough of London, England, bounded N. by the Thames, N.E. by Lambeth, and S.E., S., and W. by Wandsworth. Pop. (1901) 168,907. The principal thoroughfares are Wandsworth Road and Battersea Park and York Roads from east to west, connected north and south with the Victoria or Chelsea, Albert and Battersea bridges over the Thames. The two first of these three are handsome suspension bridges; the third, an iron structure, replaced a wooden bridge of many arches which was closed in 1881, after standing a little over a century. Battersea is a district mainly consisting of artisans’ houses, and there are several large factories by the river. The parish church of St Mary, Church Road (1776), preserves from an earlier building stained glass and monuments, including one to Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke (d. 1751), and his second wife, who had a mansion close by. Of this a portion remains on the riverside, containing a room associated with Pope, who is said to have worked here upon the “Essay on Man.” Wandsworth Common and Clapham Common (220 acres) lie partly within the borough, but the principal public recreation ground is Battersea Park, bordering the Thames between Albert and Victoria Bridges, beautifully laid out, containing a lake and subtropical garden, and having an area of nearly 200 acres. It was constructed with difficulty by embanking the river and raising the level of the formerly marshy ground, and was opened in 1858. Among institutions are the Battersea Polytechnic, the Royal Masonic Institution for girls, founded in 1788, and Church of England and Wesleyan Training Colleges. Battersea is in the parliamentary borough of Battersea and Clapham, including the whole of the Battersea division and part of the Clapham division. The borough council consists of a mayor, 9 aldermen and 54 councillors. Area, 2160.3 acres.
An early form of the name is Patricsey or Peter’s Island; the manor at the time of the Domesday survey, and until the suppression of the monasteries, belonging to the abbey of St Peter, Westminster. It next passed to the crown, and subsequently to the family of St John and to the earls Spencer. York Road recalls the existence of a palace of the archbishops of York, occasionally occupied by them between the reigns of Edward IV. and Mary. Battersea Fields, bordering the river, were formerly a favourite resort, so that the park also perpetuates a memory. The art of enamelling was introduced, c. 1750, at works in Battersea, examples from which are highly valued.