Spencer Park was built on land that was formerly part of Wandsworth Common and the remains of more extensive commonland, part of the wastes of the Manor of Battersea and Wandsworth. After vigorous protests by local people to preserve the common from further encroachment, Earl Spencer, Lord of the Manor, agreed to transfer most of the common to the Common Defence Committee that had been established, excluding the area that became Spencer Park, named after him. By the late 1870s the development of Spencer Park was underway with houses overlooking the common and an enclosed private park formally laid out with grass, paths and trees.
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By the C19th Wandsworth Common had been sub-divided by the railway and encroached upon by building as London was developed, with some 53 enclosures between 1794 and 1866. Attempts by local people to preserve Wandsworth Common against further encroachment began in earnest in 1868 when appeals were made to the Metropolitan Board of Works to take over responsibility for the land, following the Metropolitan Commons Act of 1866, but this was initially unsuccessful. In 1870 a Common Defence Committee was set up, later to become the Wandsworth Common Preservation Society. Action was taken in April to try and keep Plough Green open and in the months that followed, fund-raising efforts and lobbying of support accelerated. Eventually Earl Spencer, Lord of the Manor, agreed to transfer most of the common to the Defence Committee excluding the area that later became Spencer Park.
Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999