Sunday 29 March 2009

Wandsworth Town Hall, SW18

The facade of the Town Hall to Wandsworth High Street is carved with a pageant of people from each of the ancient parishes that were amalgamated in 1900 into the Borough of Wandsworth. These included Wandsworth itself, Streatham, Clapham, Putney and Balham with Tooting. The infamous Heatho-Walkerian reforms of 1965 added Battersea but lost Clapham and Streatham.
The two panels on the left, on either side of a double-height window, portray the people of Wandsworth. They were carved by David Evans in about 1935.
From right to left:Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone bang wooden piles into the mud of the River Wandle while Wilma makes a pot.
A Viking looks deeply embarrassed. Not only has he been shown wearing a cowhorn helmet (wrong!), Wandsworth's archeology department are saying he carelessly dropped a sword in the river when plundering Wandles Farm when everyone knows that it was the Ancient Britons who dropped swords in rivers deliberately for ritual purposes.
Next along are Huguenot refugees with the mill on the Wandle behind them, and the 'mayor of misrule' with his crown.
A pair of soldiers return from the front, one with a bandaged head, to be greeted by a woman carrying signs of Victory, Peace and a Good Time come the Roaring Twenties.
Behind, a dyer pulls a cloth out of the vat, but nobody seems to notice the smell.On the other side of the window, engineers make stuff with the old horse-drawn iron railway behind. Mr and Mrs Young brew beer. A woman in a hairnet sits down by the river not apparently doing much at all, while a Bishop represents the Middle Ages.
A Roman soldier seems not to notice the Ancient Briton preparing to club him over the back of the neck.

1 comment:

CarolineLD said...

Great commentary!