Earlsfield is a typical London suburb and comprises mostly residential Victorian terraced houses with a high street of shops, bars, and restaurants between Garratt Lane, Allfarthing Lane, and Burntwood Lane. Although it has had a slow start and lags behind its neighbour Clapham, Earlsfield - with its schools and family facilities as well as its primary transport link (see Earlsfield railway station) into central London - has a strong housing market, though recently prices have been affected in line with broader market trends. According to the 2001 Census the population of Earlsfield is recorded at 12,903.
Earlsfield is not as well known as its neighbouring areas such as Tooting, Clapham, Balham, and Battersea, which allows for a low key way of life while still being close to central London. The local Earlsfield railway station provides journeys to central London (3 stops to Waterloo [Clapham Junction, Vauxhall, Waterloo] in 12 minutes) and other areas in South London (Victoria - changing at Clapham Junction, Wimbledon one stop). The station is currently under redevelopment.
The area was once a working class suburb of Wandsworth and as such much of the property is medium sized terraced housing, though several new developments have been or are being developed, notably the Olympian Homes development between the station and library. The area now houses young families attracted by the affordability of the area in comparison to its north, west and eastern neighbours Clapham, Wandsworth, Battersea and Putney contributing to the wider area's nickname of Nappy Valley.
The River Wandle flows roughly parallel to Garratt Lane through the area, and has been the subject of a major, council funded clean-up operation, though it has been subjected to several pollution incidents in the past few years. There is some light industry located between the high street and the river.
There is not a considerable history to the area as it is based around a mainline (i.e. above ground) rail station that was built at the end in April 1884 in the place of a large Victorian residence called Earlsfield. When the site was sold by the Davis family to the London and South Western Railway one of the conditions of sale was that the station would be named after their house. Thus the name of that house provided the name of the station, and thence to the suburb.
Earlsfield Library has on display a range of historic photographs of the area.