The first Wandsworth workhouse was built in 1730 on East Hill, on ground leased from the local lord of the manor, Earl Spencer.
A parliamentary report of 1776 listed parish workhouses in operation in Battersea (accommodating up to 70 inmates), Putney (70), Streatham (30), and Wandsworth (120).
The Wandsworth and Clapham Poor Law Union was formed on 25th March, 1836.
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© Peter Higginbotham In 1841, a visitor described his experience of the workhouse: One day, while in London, I took the opportunity of driving a few miles west from Vauxhall, on the Wandsworth road, to visit the large workhouse of the Battersea district, lately erected, and in full operation under the new system.
Occupying a somewhat elevated piece of ground, overlooking the rich and populous valley of the Thames, with Chelsea and the towers of Westminster in the distance, and closely environed with an extensive garden and shrubbery, the house enjoys a remarkably pleasant, and, I should think, salubrious situation; while the exterior, with its neat porter's lodge and railings, suggests much more the idea of is gentleman's residence than a receptacle for parish paupers.
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