Putney: history and heritage

Putney High Street, 1895

Putney High Street, 1895

Putney has a rich and varied heritage extending from settlements in Neolithic and pre-roman times to the present day. Its location, close to the heart of London and next to the River Thames, makes it an ideal location for both commercial and cultural/leisure activity.

Roman times

There has been a ferry at Putney possibly since Roman times as the river is restricted in width at this point, enabling easy crossing. A wooden toll bridge was built by the Kings carpenter in 1729 and this lasted until the opening of the new stone bridge in 1886, which was later widened in 1933. Today it is one of the busiest of all the Thames crossings. St Mary's Church, by Putney Bridge, is very old and contains brasses dating from 1476.

The Civil War

During the Civil War, the headquarters of Cromwell's army was briefly located at Putney. In 1647, meetings of the Army Council were held in the then Chancel of the church. These discussions on the future government of the realm were published as the "Putney Debates".

Although their contemporary impact was modest, they are seen as foreshadowing the arrival of Parliamentary democracy, and may have influenced the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States of America.

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Source: Wandsworth Council

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