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Changing tracks

I wrote my first article on the subject of ‘Battersea Junction’ back in 2009.

For those that missed this historic column, I should explain that it concerned the establishing of the Sw11tch Campaign which was set up to try to get businesses around the Clapham Junction area to acknowledge they were in fact in Battersea, and not Clapham. Initially, the campaign had some success. Asda and several estate agents all added a ‘Battersea’ to their branding and it looked as though Sw11tch had some momentum behind it. So much so that it was rumoured they were going after the biggest misnomer of them all – Clapham Junction station itself. The station, they solemnly explained, was a piece of Victorian folly, a marketing gimmick designed to make investors in the railway think the station was situated closer to the more affluent neighbourhood of Clapham. To rename it Battersea Junction would not only repair the gross geographical error, but also save countless passengers the 1.5 mile walk to SW4 when they had mistakenly alighted at the station.

Unfortunately, despite my article agreeing that it was high time this 150-year-old piece of cynical Victorian marketing was corrected, the campaign seemed to stall.

However, I’m delighted to say that, five years on, the campaign has once more found traction against the creep of Claphamisation. Not only have locals like Fired Earth, The Co-Op Food and TSB all joined old SW11tch stalwart Asda in rebranding themselves Battersea businesses, but Google Maps has literally put Battersea on the map by acknowledging that Clapham Junction is not in Clapham. Small beer you might think, yet all this momentum recently led to one final, momentous victory for the team. Battersea Junction? Not quite - instead a new sign at Clapham Junction station, unveiled by an array of local politicos, announcing: Welcome to the Heart of Battersea. Clapham Junction.

What a thoroughly British compromise!

Have a wonderful June, and enjoy our men’s issue this month.

Jon Watt is editor-at-large of the Clapham & Battersea and Fulham editions of Time & Leisure Magazine.