Clapham, West Sussex

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The Street in Clapham, as seen in August 2004.
Clapham is a village in the county of West Sussex, England with a population of 290 as of the year 2000. It lies a few miles to the west of Worthing and just to the north of Durrington, and is directly bordered to the west on the opposite side of the A259 road by the twin village of Patching. The two villages share a Parish Council and other administrative bodies.


Church of St Mary the Virgin, Clapham, believed to have been built in the .
Church of St Mary the Virgin, Clapham, believed to have been built in the 13th century.
The main part of the village is known simply as The Street, a single long dead-end road coming off the A259 and containing the majority of the village's housing. The Street is also home to the single local shop, the school and, up a slight incline into the woods, the Chuch of St Mary the Virgin, a 13th century building. The houses of The Street are a combination of 1930s council houses, much older original village cottages and post-Second World War bungalows in some of the new closes.

A turn-off from the A259 a few hundred metres to the south of The Street leads into Brickworks Lane (although this name is not often commonly used), named after the brickworks of the Clapham Common Brick & Tile Company which was based there from the early 1900s up until the 1970s, although the quantities of clay available meant that there had been brickmaking activity on the site since the 18th century. The site of the old brickworks is now occupied by a branch of the Travis Perkins builder's merchant's company, and at the end of Brickworks Lane there is a West Sussex County Council vehicle depot.

Brickworks Lane, with Clapham Common turning off to the right a little way in.
Brickworks Lane, with Clapham Common turning off to the right a little way in.
Clapham Common itself turns off Brickworks Lane and is mostly made up of 1930s council houses. Both roads are also dead-ends.

The houses of the village are surrounded mostly by fields and woodland, but the increasing enrcoachment of housing and road-building into the area is decreasing this green belt. It is predicted that over the coming decades Clapham and Patching will be slowly absorbed into Durrington as more houses continue to be built.


Clapham is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is spelled Clopeham. The woods around the area made it an ideal location for the gathering of wood for timber and firewood, and led to the first Saxon settlements in the area.

For many years much of the land around Clapham was owned by the Dukes of Norfolk, although by the early 20th century most of the land owned by the family had been sold off or donated to the village.

Local Commerce

Clapham & Patching Village Post Office and Stores.
Clapham & Patching Village Post Office and Stores.
There is one major farm in Clapham, which has for many decades been operated by the tennant farmers the Cornford family. Aside from the small combined local shop and post office - based in an ex portakabin concreted into a corner of the recreation ground on The Street - there is little local business. Most of the residents of working age have jobs in the nearby Worthing. The village is, however, home to two catteries: Littlefurlong Kennels and KarolKat Cattery.


Clapham & Patching  Primary School.
Clapham & Patching CE Primary School.
The village primary school was established in the early 1800s, and has occupied its current building since the 1830s, with various improvements over recent years - the school finally gained indoor toilets in 1990.

In 1976, with less than thirty children being educated at the school, the West Sussex Local Education Authority recommended its closure. The school was at the time the smallest in the county, but a protest by staff, pupils and parents resulted in the County Council narrowly voting against closure. The school currently educates around fifty pupils. Children of secondary school age are educated at The Angmering School in nearby Angmering.

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Clapham & Patching Village Hall, opened in 1977.
The Village Hall, opened in 1977, is also shared with the neighbouring Patching. Previously, a smaller village hall was located on The Street in Clapham, but this was destroyed by fire. The Hall is home to many local clubs and societies, and is regularly used as a venue for Church and School fetes. For many years the green there was the home ground of Clapham & Patching Cricket Club, but the club was forced to merge with the local Littlehampton club in 2000 and now plays home matches there. The village's current premier sports team is the Short Mat Bowls club, who compete in many local competitions.

The nearest local pubs, The World's End and The Fox, are both located in Patching. For many years the two villages shared a local policeman who was based at a Police-owned house in Patching, but this was discontinued in the late 1970s, and police from Worthing now cover the area.

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