great places to visit off the beaten path.
The Pump House Gallery is the only public arts venue in Wandsworth. As a public contemporary arts space it is gaining both a national and increasingly international profile. It is distinguished by its unique four-storey Victorian building and location beside the lake in Battersea Park. The Pump House tower was built in 1861 by Simpson and Son to house a coal-fired steam engine and pump to circulate water in the lake, water the park’s plants and drive artificial rockwork cascades which were situated on the north bank of the lake. For safety reasons, in 1909 the pump tower’s smaller adjoining building was built over the well from which the pump drew water. The steam-powered pumping system, although never completely successful, continued to be used until the 1930s. After years of neglect, the Pump House was painstakingly restored with the help of a grant from English Heritage from 1988-1992. Initially intended as a ‘park interpretation centre, education room and exhibition space’, the Pump House became a permanent gallery space in 1999. The gallery’s programme integrates exhibitions of work by emerging and more established contemporary artists, touring exhibitions and projects created locally through educational initiatives. They currently organise six exhibitions a year, planned up to two years in advance, often working in close collaboration with artists to commission new works.
Note that the gallery periodically closes for new installations so be certain to check their website for exhibits, schedule and hours: www.pumphousegallery.org.uk
Located at: Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ
Closest tube: Sloane Square (Rail: Battersea Park)