Free Fearless Flourishing
A glorious revival has taken place at Clapham Junction. Once the Wandsworth Board of District Works, this mid 19th century stucco fronted portico adorned pediment splatted building has been restored with more than a dash of panache. Its owners, the Church of the Nazarene, commissioned architectural design consultants Studio A Plus to turn all four floors into useful spaces serving the community. Front of house is Fresh Ground, a café occupying the original lobby, waiting room and clerk’s room. Back of house, the beautifully intact former boardroom lit by a roof lantern is now a multipurpose hall.
Fresh Ground’s suntrap terrace fronting Battersea Rise is the perfect spot for spying on the red corduroyed yellow pullovered tassel shoed uppity middle classes at play in Vagabond Wines opposite on Northcote Road. Less Up the Junction, more The Upmarket Junction. Fresh Ground knows its clientele, from the pram lift off the pavement to the dog bowl at the top of the steps. This is, after all, Nappy Valley Central. Play to Pilates to prayer – all needs are catered for. And great coffee for the thirsty.
The breakfast and lunch menu is a healthy mix peppered with veggie and gluten free options. Dishes are named after families connected to the church. The Phineas comprises folded eggs and asparagus on toasted sourdough with halloumi, smoked salmon or bacon. The Andrew consists of Mediterranean vegetables, sundried tomatoes, black olives and feta cheese on garlic infused flatbread. Main courses hover round the £7 mark. So fresh ground coffee and a very ample portion of goodness on a plate for less than a tenner. Service is fast, friendly and efficient. Parents, au pairs and pets will approve.
- Quotes courtesy of Wendy Beech-Ward of Compassion UK
Over to Reverend Jason Nike: “So, in a nutshell, the Church of the Nazarene has been on Battersea Rise since 1915. It opened as the headquarters of the International Holiness Mission, who merged with the Nazarenes in the mid 1950s. The Fresh Ground project was initiated in 2008 when the Church gave us the remit to look at how we could best serve the local community. At the time of writing we have around 20 groups – fitness clubs, children’s activities, charities and small businesses – using the building. All profits over and above running costs are reinvested in local charities. Two such charities we are currently working with are Wandsworth Foodbank and the night shelter charity Glass Door. Church is weaved in and through all of this.”