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Population growth

In 1865 there were only small pockets of housing with much open land, some of it cultivated fields but also the parks and gardens surrounding the bigger properties. But now Wimbledon began attracting developers who bought up the fields - for example those south of the Ridgway and west of Hill Road, where Mansel Road carries the name of the family which originally owned the land. Many humbler people, for instance clerks working in London, found Wimbledon convenient, particularly after the Cheap Trains Act of 1881 when workmen's fares became available. But men came from much further afield to settle in Wimbledon where there was now plenty of work of different sorts - they all had to be housed.

J.A. Beaumont bought the Wimbledon Park Estate in 1846 for development. In the 1850's the northern part was laid out and in the 1870's nearer the house itself. The opening in 1889 of the District Line station in Wimbledon Park provided a focus for development nearby. Other large estates were broken up, the houses demolished and new roads planned across their grounds: Wimbledon House in 1898 and Belvedere House in 1901. Some of the large houses on Southside were also demolished. Once rail connections were available, Wimbledon's attraction to London's overflowing population was obvious, men from the professional classes in particular finding it ideal for commuting.