A traditional leafy suburb, Putney's well kept; tree-lined streets provide a mini retreat within easy reach of the Centre of London and Wimbledon.
Putney High Street was once adorned with large, smart houses and was a sought after residential address – an independent village with a sense of individuality - unlike today where it is not dissimilar to any other shopping high street.
Putney was once thought of as a retreat where Londoners would go for some ‘clean’ air and open space.
Rarely has Putney been uninhabited - with stone, bronze and iron age residents giving way to invasions from the Romans and then Saxons.
Formerly known as ‘Putelei’ the London suburb is found in the 1086 Doomsday Book as a thriving agricultural area. Putney Bridge was once, only a ferry crossing.
It was between the 11th and 13th centuries that a village was developed and soon after that, St Mary’s Church was built at the river end. The area continued to develop and by 1497, it had 300 residents and five great houses.
Great houses and mansions became very fashionable around this time – a mansion was built for Elizabeth I in 1600 – a Sainsbury’s supermarket now stands where the mansions garden was once laid. By 1664, the village contained 12 great houses.
It was in August 1647 that Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army were found camped in Putney. At this time, the Putney Debates took place in the St Mary’s Church and it was here, that the future of English rule was discussed. As well as this, debates took place which later influenced the content of the US Constitution.
Once the New Model Army left in November – the street developed largely. The ferry crossing allowed for pubs and stocks to take advantage of the village and in 1656, the road – which was famously swampy – was paved and the wooden house were rebuilt in stone.
After anti-Whig ferrymen delayed prime minister Robert Walpole’s crossing in 1726, it was decided a bridge should be built. The bridge was built by 1729 and at the time, was the only bridge between London and Kingston bridges and consequently put the ferrymen out of work.
It was under Queen Victoria’s ruling when the railway station and subsequent commuters arrived. This dramatically increased the population and from 1831 to 1911, it increased by 750 per cent. 81 new residential roads were built which resulted in the extension of the High Street.
Soon after, shops replaced the mansions and by 1887, all but one had been demolished. A campaign to save the last standing mansion – Fairfax house – the most elegant of them all, failed. In place of Fairfax house a road was laid – Montserrat road.
By 1908. Putney had urbanized significantly and has not changed dramatically since.