Victorian London - Entertainment - Parks, Commons and Heaths - Wimbledon Common

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Wimbledon Common, with its neighbourhood, not only affords some of the most beautiful walks within easy reach of London, but is particularly attractive to visitors during the meeting of the National Rifle Association, which takes place annually in July. The shooting itself, except to expert and the friends of competitors, is not particularly interesting, unless it be on such special occasions as the final hour of the last stage of the Queen’s Prize, or on the days when Oxford and Cambridge, the Houses of Parliament, the public schools, or the national teams, meet at the ranges. As a matter of sight-seeing the camp itself is well worthy of a long visit, The remarkably successful sanitary arrangements should by no means be overlooked. Always noticeable are the quarters o the Victoria Rifles, and of the London Scottish. and any visitor having a friend in either of these cheery settlements is to be congratulated. Those who are not so fortunate as to have friend in camp will find in the refreshment department everything they can reasonably require. The commissariat department is one which has always received particular attention from the executive, and is at present confided to the care of Messrs. Bertram & Roberts. “The Cottage,” which is the headquarters of the chief of the executive committee, is the principal point of attraction, but is not open the general public. The presentation of prizes, which take place on the last day of the meeting, was at one time followed by a review. The space at the disposal of the commanding office was very small, and the evolutions, consequently, were of a somewhat confused and unsatisfactory sort. Of late years’ the services of Mr. Waddell, the experienced secretary of the London Athletic Club, have been called into requisition, and a successful athletic meeting took the place of the review and march past. At the last meeting of the Association it was decided that the athletic sports should not again take place. The stations for Wimbledon camp are at Wimbledon itself, and at Putney (South Western line), about twenty minutes from Waterloo), both of which are some distance from the scene of action. Plenty of vehicles are always in waiting at the station at reasonable fares, but it is well that the price to be paid should be distinctly understood before starting. Wimbledon is the only place near London, with the exception of Blackheath, which affords Scotsmen the opportunity of practising the national game of golf. A pleasant way of reaching Wimbledon is by steamer from any of the London piers to Putney and the Putney omnibuses also run along the Strand and Piccadilly route to the Middlesex end of Putney bridge.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879

WIMBLEDON COMMON. This extensive common, so long known for Volunteer reviews and the great shooting contests held here annually in July, lies about two miles south of the Thames at Putney. From the higher parts are some fine prospects. At the south of the common is an ancient circular encampment, known as Caesar's Camp. Trains from Waterloo.

Reynolds' Shilling Coloured Map of London, 1895

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - Wimbledon Common

Wimbledon Common - photograph


Wimbledon Common, one of the numerous open spaces in highly favoured Surrey, extends over an area of a thousand acres, and is contiguous to Putney Heath, Kingston Common, and Richmond Park. It is famous all the world over as the old camping place of the National Rifle Association, where the Queen's and other important prizes used to be shot for annually but in 1889 the Volunteers, owing to considerations of public safety, removed to Bisley, near Woking. The picturesque windmill which figures so prominently in our view is a well-known landmark. The old-established London Scottish Golf Club has links on the Common, on which there is also a clearly-defined fortified camp, cruciform in shape, and, according to the best authorities, Saxon in origin.