With the London borough of Merton, of which Wimbledon is a part, being home to 28 conservation areas it’s no wonder that a wide array of period properties can be found in Wimbledon.
One building that stands as testament to the area’s rich architectural history is the imposing Cannizaro House Hotel (SW19). Located in the centre of Cannizaro Park, the 18th Century building boasts large bay windows, oak panelling, and a range of other features that offer a window into its past.
19th Century – traditional wooden sash windows
In the earlier part of the 19th Century Wimbledon was a relatively quiet village where rural dwellers lived side by side with moneyed merchants and nobility from the city.
However, this tranquil idle was all set to change in 1838 with the opening of the London and South Western Railway, bringing with it a station at the bottom of Wimbledon Hill (SW19). With the centre for the town’s main activities shifted to the South East corner of Wimbledon, and away from the village, Wimbledon took its first strides towards becoming the bustling town it is today.
Further transport developments including the Wimbledon and Croydon Railway (1855), the Tooting, Merton and Wimbledon Railway (1868) and The Metropolitan District Railway extension (now London Underground’s District Line) over new tracks from Putney in 1889, meant that Wimbledon’s population swelled significantly in the second half of the 1800s. While Wimbledon’s population stood at around 2,500 in 1851, this figure had grown to more than 40,000 people by 1901.
Dubbed ‘New Wimbledon’ the new centre at the bottom of Wimbledon Hill required a wide range of new services to be put into place to deal with the area’s growing population. To ensure that there was adequate housing to meet the needs of this burgeoning population a number of terraced houses and villas were built along the roads from the centre towards neighbouring areas such as Putney, Merton Park and Raynes Park.
Traditional timber sash windows graced many of these buildings from the 19th Century into the present day. As an example detailed 8 pane timber sash windows can be found at Wilton Crescent (SW19). While the ‘six over six’ configuration for sash windows was considered to be typical of the Georgian era, larger ‘eight over eight’ designs were also a hallmark of Georgian and later periods.
Sash windows Wimbledon – as diverse as the homes they graced
19th Century homes in Wimbledon boast sash styles as varied as the homes they featured in. Dating back to around 1867 the collection of five two storey terrace houses at Church Path feature 16-pane sash windows.
The Victorian era featured timber sash windows in a number of pane configurations including four, eight or twelve pane sashes. However, 16 pane double hung sashes would have been the ultimate aspiration for Victorian homeowners as this design lent itself more readily to bay fronts and larger window openings.
The introduction of ‘margin lights’ around a central sash pane first became popular during the Regency period (1811 – 1820).
Preserving timber box sash windows – Wimbledon, London in the 21st Century
While Wimbledon’s development may have moved on in leaps and bounds since the 19th Century, the architectural landscape in 21st Century Wimbledon still bears many remnants of its past.
Founded in 1903, The Wimbledon Society is among those organisations keen to preserve Wimbledon’s heritage and the wealth of listed buildings located in the area stand as testament to this hard work. Walking around the streets of today’s Wimbledon, sash windows of varying designs and styles can be found at numerous listed buildings.
Like strawberries and cream during the Championships, Wimbledon’s emphasis on architectural preservation is likely to remain a tradition for many years to come.