The History of Wandsworth Common

Added 23.3.2020


< Bennet Court

3 Bellevue Rd >

2, Bellevue Road

Chez Bruce, 2 & 3 Bellevue Rd

(Google 2019)

Is the fine ironwork verandah original, restored from the old butcher's shop? In some photographs, there used to be similar ironwork up the road at no.?, also a butchers - another Miller outlet?

(Click on image to enlarge)

2 Bellevue Rd [Chez Bruce]

JP (2017, e.2020):

Opened in 1868 as a butcher's shop by George Short Miller, who was originally from Dorset. Sheep were brought by sea from Scotland and grazed on the common opposite until ready for slaughter.

Mr Miller had grazing rights on the common, and employed a shepherd and a sheepdog!

The abattoir was round the corner in Wiseton Rd, behind what was then the National Westminster Bank and is now Sainsbury's Local.

[More pics of sheep on the Common.]

(Click on image to enlarge)

[PB: See the article published in 1961 in a Wandsworth Historical Society newsletter (not the journal) - "Wandsworth Common, the last shepherd on, c.1919 N2/61". I am very grateful to Neil Robson for sending a copy. [PB: Since this note was written, quite a lot more info has been collected about the shepherd and his flock.]]

JP (2017, e.2020):

The Miller family business prospered. As well as serving the local community they supplied meat to the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, the army and other hospitals. Mr Miller acquired a large house with grounds in the nearby village of Tooting, where the family lived at weekends. The house was called "Lynwood", and there is now a Lynwood Rd just down from Tooting Bec Station.

The business remained in the family until the 1970s, when it was sold to Wares, who had a butcher's shop in Trinity Rd.

Shortly after this, the premises stopped being a butcher's and became a restaurant, called Harvey's, owned by Marco Pierre White. For a number of years now it has been Chez Bruce at which a number of local residents have probably eaten.

About 10 years ago the shop next door, no.3 Bellevue Rd, became vacant and Chez Bruce expanded into this.

[PB: Miller's was still there in 1880: Post Office London Suburban Directory, 1880: "Miller George Short, butcher, Bellevue road, Wandsworth common, Upper Tooting, S.W."

I would like to know more about Miller fattening animals up on the Common. Can this be so? I know the LCC brought a shepherd and flock down from Scotland in the early years of the C20, but the slaughtering and butchery was done elsewhere. Had sheep been brought down much earlier? I don't know. As for e.g. Miller's possible grazing rights, there's a problem. Since there were no Commoners at all after the 1871 Act (which had put an end to these essentially feudal rights), nobody had "rights". However, for a while the Conservators did charge for grazing. (I have a table of rates somewhere.) So perhaps Miller rented grazing?

There's also a problem about the location of the abattoir - if it ever existed (I have found no evidence) the abattoir and adjacent buildings must have been knocked down to make way for the bank? One was certainly proposed in that location, and for a while it looked like it would receive approval, but ultimately I think it was rejected. This needs sorting out. [See notes for 1879.]

Further info and links:


I recall that by opening a restaurant in Wandsworth Common (of all places!), Marco Pierre White was signalling how radical he was. He was as it were giving the Common his seal of approval - thus "creating" Wandsworth Common as a socially acceptable place to eat - and even to actually live. [Find some press statements from the time?]

Wikipedia: "Harveys was a restaurant in Wandsworth, London run by chef Marco Pierre White between 1987 and 1993. Its French cuisine was warmly received by food critics, and it was named Restaurant of the Year by The Times in 1987" [add bit about Gordon Ramsay] (Harvey's (accessed 20.3.2020).

Wikipedia: "In 1987, White [aged c.26] opened Harvey's in Wandsworth Common, London, where he won his first Michelin star almost immediately, and his second a year later... During his early career working in the kitchen at Harveys, White regularly ejected patrons from the restaurant if he took offence at their comments. When a customer asked if he could have chips with his lunch, White hand-cut and personally cooked the chips, but charged the customer £25 for his time. A similar occurrence with a customer requesting fried potatoes, where he charged $500 to the customer, feeling offended at the request. [Wikipedia: Marco Pierre White.]

Google Search: Wandsworth Common Marco Pierre White (images e.g. of MPW by the lake on Wandsworth Common).

Alamy photos of MPW on WC

< Bennet Court

3 Bellevue Rd >

Here is St James's Drive . . .

Here is Althorp Road . . .

Here is Wiseton Road . . .

Here is Trinity Road . . .