Drawing of the bandstand. Lightning protection runs down a disused rainwater pipe within one of the columns
One of the largest bandstands ever built in England, Clapham Common Bandstand is the oldest and largest surviving in Greater London. Opened in 1890 the bandstand's design was copied from two previous bandstands designed by Francis Falke for the Royal Horticultural Society. Although it continued to be used into the 1980s the bandstand fell out of use and into a state of decay.
Such was the state of the bandstand that in 1997 English Heritage placed it on its Buildings at Risk register. Thanks to a collaboration between the local community, Lambeth Council and the National Lottery it has now thankfully been restored to its former glory. The failed zinc roofing has been replaced, the finial remade to original designs, the concrete deck replaced and finished with timber decking, and the brick piers in the basement repaired. Many other repairs and improvements have been made, including a new stone ramp for easier access. The surrounding area, was also improved, including providing new toilets at the nearby cafe and upgrading lighting.
New drainage was laid around the bandstand—ingeniously one of each pair of support columns acts as a rainwater downpipe; these were cleaned and relined. Lightning protection runs down two unused downpipes from the finial above to earth pits. Another of these columns was utilised to run electrical services up to the roof void. Lighting was kept discrete and practical.
As well as the bandstand itself the surroundings were improved. Existing changing rooms were refurbished to provide office space and changing/shower facilities. The surrounding lighting columns were replaced and decorative lighting added to nearby trees. Improvements also included much needed public toilets!