'The Waste' has been common land for more than a thousand years, traditionally used for rough grazing and possibly by drovers on their way to market. Cutting the 'furze' (gorse) provided Commoners with a source of heat. The land was granted to the Dean & Chapter of St Paul’s in 925. The boundary was fixed in the 1590’s following clashes with Putney residents over grazing rights.
This space has seen many changes - enclosures at Mill Hill, a further 30 acres to support the the workhouse in 1778, and further land lost for the creation of Barnes Old Cemetery. The coming of the railway, the building of Queen’s Ride, Hammersmith Bridge and Castlenau have all meant that the Common has been subjected to considerable dissection, holds many secrets - and has many stories to tell.
A map from 1870 shows the area was considerably more open with more wetland than today, while much of the surrounding area was important for market gardening and orchards.
If you are interested in finding out more about the history of the Common, why not join us on one of our history walks where you can discover more?
We are also very keen to hear from anyone with any stories, anecdotes or interest in helping us consolidate our maps and archives, so don't be shy...get in touch!