Books and Walking – a Literary Trail

How well do you know your famous South London writers and books?

So, which arch-villain said, at the end of each adventure, ‘The world shall hear from me again!’  And where did his creator live?

Or, with a more literary flavour, which runaways were tracked to Clapham where they took a hansom cab into town ( from rather close to today’s Taxi Rank )?

Just two of the questions in the Clapham Literary Trail.

As an addition to the 2018 Clapham Book Festival, Clapham Writers (its organisers) have produced a quiz and self-guided walk around Clapham. Called The Clapham Literary Trail, it begins and ends at Clapham Common Underground station and takes approximately ninety minutes to complete, taking in the North Side, the Avenue, Clapham South and the South Side and including many famous Clapham landmarks.

One group of testers reckoned it took two hours with a tea/coffee stop.  Take your phone with you, for Maps, and venture on to the Common to escape the traffic noise and enjoy the surroundings. It’s going to be sunny!

Clapham has attracted writers since it was a village, long before it became part of London. The 2016 edition of the Festival included a discussion on Place and the Writer, as part of which we identified over fifty-five Clapham writers of renown, going back to Edward Winslow (1595-1655) who sailed on the Mayflower to the New World. They are listed in the flyer for that event, which you can read and download here Leaflet1. Some of the writers who figure in the Trail are included ( but not all, we have found more Clapham writers since 2016, so this isn’t a crib sheet ).

Our earlier discussion identified the Common as important to the genius loci of the place. The huge open space at the centre of Clapham which is held in common and where, historically, those who do not conform have congregated and dissented or transgressed social norms. The liminal is often where creativity thrives.  So the Common is central to our walk.

The Literary Trail was put together with help from The Clapham Society, whose excellent leaflets are also self-guided walks.  To them many thanks. The Writers are thinking of conducting a formal literary walk on the weekend of the Festival, rather as the Clapham Society does throughout the year. If it happens, the quiz would be the basis for this, but we will include all those writers who didn’t make it into the final leaflet.

The sun is shining, the daffodils bloom and the blossom is out. The skies have changed from grey to blue, so why not take an interesting walk around Clapham and test your knowledge at the same time.  Get out into that sunshine and follow the Trail!

Click on the link here  Clapham literary trail leafletFinal  for the PDF or go to to download the walk. The Trail is free ( though donations are gratefully received, via the PayPal Donate button ).

Clapham Writers is a registered charitable organisation and the Book Festival is supported entirely by volunteers.

If you want to read more about the 2018 Clapham Book Festival or those of earlier years try           Word Force               How to Get Published           Crime Land                     The Department of Security & Crime Science                   Walls Have Ears               Death and the Past                Seduced by History

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