Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

My street -Lavender Sweep.

Posted in Ellen Terry, Home of Tom Taylor an editor of PUNCH, Lavender Sweep by sheelanagigcomedienne on October 9, 2012

LAVENDER SWEEP.  I do think it is a charming name. I believe we are the only sweep in the country. Lavender Sweep is a crescent along the top of Lavender Hill and is a few yards from Clapham Common.

It was originally laid out as a carriage drive serving four large mansions with a gate lodge at either end. LAVENDER SWEEP became the name by which the large house became known which was owned by Tom Taylor who was an editor of  PUNCH. He was also a leading playwrigh, dramatic critic of  The Times and a distinguished Civil Servant and according to the great actress Ellen Terry, who was one of the many visitors to the house, ‘to us he was more than this he was an institution‘. In her autobigraphy she said ‘it clearly became the home from home for the people from all the walks of literary, artistic and theatrical life that Taylor was part of”.  

I was delighted to read about Taylor and Lavender Sweep from her autobiography THE STORY OF MY LIFE.

The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Story of My Life, by Ellen Terry.

Also among his friends were Dickens, Thackeray, Henry Irving and Lewis Carroll , who took a number of photographs of the house. He died there in I88O. Harry Furniss illustrator/ Punch caricuturist  wasn’t impressed when he called. From  SOME WOMEN WHO WROTE : When I was a friendless and ambitious youth, arrived for the first time in London, I carried in my pocket next to my rapidly pulsating heart a letter from Tom Taylor, editor of Punch, from himself to himself giving me his address, and a request to call and lunch with him on my arrival. In consequence, I wended my way to Lavender Sweep, Clapham, where I found a house with india-rubber tubing tacked on to the hall door, to keep out draughts—and draughtsmen. Mr. Taylor was not at home.

Ellen Terry’s recollections of Lavender Sweep are of a genial home and she was evidently so very fond of Taylor. She wrote; Lavender Sweep was a sort of house of call for everone of note…At Lavender Sweep, with the horse-chestnut blossoms strewing the drive and making it look like a tessellated pavement, all of us were always welcome…Such intimate friendships are seldom possible in our busy profession, and there was never another Tom Taylor in my life….The atmosphere of gaity which pervaded Lavender Sweep arose from his kindly, generous nature, which insisted that everyone could have a good time….I have already said that the Taylor’s home was one of the most softening and cultural influences of my early life…his house was a kind of mecca for  pilgrims from America and from all parts of the world….. Yet all the time occupied a position in the Home Office and often walked from Whitehall to Lavender Sweep when his day’s work was done….lavender is still associated in my mind with everything that is lovely and refined. My mother nearly always wore the colour and the Taylor’s lived at Lavender Sweep.This may not be an excellent reason for my feelings on the subject, but it is reason good enough.   

The fanlight from Tom Taylor’s house has been preserved and transferred to 84 Lavender Sweep opposite our house. I was told by an elderly neighbour that 84 was lived in by servants of Marie Lloyd, the musical hall star, but that is a story for another day- sin sceal eile.

I was delighted to find out about Lavender Sweep from The buildings of Clapham by The Clapham Society’s and the information about the fanlight on 84 being from Tom Taylor’s house which was a haven for the litterati of the day.

I do share Ellen’s love of lavender and it is my favourite colour. I offer visitors to our house little bags of lavender from our garden and allotment as well as needing them to fight of the pestilent moths.

This is an old photo of our geranium bush which went very well with our purple door!

Purple door and geranium bush

John Betjeman’s poem London Sketch 1944 celebrates our street in his charming way and we are grateful to him too.

Lavender Sweep is drowned in Wandsworth,

Drowned in jessamine up to the neck

Beetles sway upon bending grass leagues

Shoulder level to Tooting Bec.

Rich as Middlesex, rich in signboards

Lie the lover trod lanes between

Red Man, Green Man, Horse and Waggoner.

Elms and sycamores round a green.

Burst good June, with a rush this morning,

Bindweed weave me an emerald rope,

Sun , shone bright on the blossoming trellises

June and lavender bring me hope.

NUMBER 85 LAVENDER SWEEP  has the word SAND  still visible from the war to indicate where ot was to be left for fire wardens to use contending with fires.


















There was a murder on Lavender Sweep on 17th October 2013. The body of Henry Stangroom was discovered when Police forced there way into the house around nine in the evening. We heard and saw a the police vehicles, ambulance and fire engine and the road was closed to traffic.

The post-mortem the following day revealed that the chef had died from stab wounds to his heart and lungs. Andrew Morris, 30, of Lavender Sweep, has been charged with Mr Stangroom’s murder and was due to appear at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (October 23).

Henry Stangroom

Henry Stangroom









The 21-year-old victim was given a suspended prison term in July 2012 after pleading guilty to dangerous driving in relation to the death of a teenager from Odiham. Mr Stangroom, who was 19, at the time, was behind the wheel of a Peugeot 306 that collided with 19 year old Jack Bland in Farnham Road in September 2011. He was sentenced by Winchester Crown Court to eight months in jail, suspended for 18 months, as well as being ordered to pay £1,000 prosecution costs and complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

Mr Stangroom moved into the property after  his older sister Michelle moved out last year. Neighbours said the victim’s sister pleaded  for help to get inside the flat before his body was discovered by  police. murder Hous lavender sweep The Daily Mail report got quotes from neighbours, as you would expect.

Neighbours said young people often gathered  at the ground-floor flat for noisy late night parties. They were shocked to discover that a murder  had taken place and feared the victim may have lain undiscovered for some  time. Bernadette Austen said: ‘I feel so scared  and frightened. I’ve had trouble sleeping since Thursday, I haven’t been myself,  I feel like I’ve been going potty.

‘Seeing all that going on, seeing the body  bag being fetched out, it was like Midsomer Murders. ‘This is such a nice street, lots of lovely  people who work and have high-paid jobs or work in TV. I have lived here for 25  years and I have never seen anything like this. Speaking about the flat, she added: ‘You  couldn’t keep tabs, there were too many people always coming and going in and  out. ‘They were very noisy, drinking and all that.  Sometimes they were in the back garden, they would laugh loudly and drink all  day in the summer.’

We  have lived on the street for 46 years and neither have we seen anything like it!

The trial has begun. Andrew Morris , the accused  had searched “spear gun death accident”, “murder by mental illness” and “sentencing for murder in the UK” on the internet in the day leading up to the killing.  Morris, 30, of Lavender Sweep, Battersea, London, was found with a harpoon spear stuck in his chin after he killed his housemate Henry Stangroom, 21, by stabbing him in the chest in revenge for his sister Michelle Stangroom, 28, breaking up with him.

Morris was making a large salary as a risk assessor but was suffering from depression and had turned to drugs. The defendan the had been drinking three bottles of wine a night and confessed to taking large doses of cocaine and had also been inhaling nitrous oxide, or laughing gas.

Last week the jury was told Morris had a history of violent and aggressive behavious towards his ex-girlfriends. He started his affair with Miss Stangroom shortly before another girlfriend gave birth to their son. Laura Teague, the mother, said she met Morris in March 2010 and found she was pregnant in July. She was made to cook a meal and clean up hours after returning home from giving birth. Morris was only home for four nights in a month as he continued his affair with Ms Stangroom, she claimed.

Another girlfriend, Ruth Owen, told how he tore up her clothes, smashed her paintings, threw her treasured jewellery in a river and attacked her. When he found out about a relationship she was having with an older man he urinated into a glass and woke her up in the middle of to hurl it into her face.

The trial will continue for about 8 weeks.


Lavender Sweep has got a new directional sign at the Battersea Rise end of the road.

New sign At Battersea Rise end of LavenderSweep

New sign At Battersea Rise end of LavenderSweep

New sign and the Sunday Breakfast Club queue

New sign and the Sunday Breakfast Club queue


One Response

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  1. Charles Cowling said, on November 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    So, so delicious!!

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