Curiosity Corner: The first in our occasional series of notes on the odd and the by-the-way in a bustling and historic part of London. An Employee Accident Book dating back half a century has come to light in a corner of a former builder’s yard in Oval.
Hands up anybody who knows where to find the plaque that commemorates the spot in Vauxhall where Vauxhall Motors started? Lifelong Vauxhall car-owner Peter Fitchett didn’t know and, planning to see the plaque on a visit to Vauxhall, the Cheltenham-based fan contacted The Vauxhall Society/Vauxhall History. Today’s plaque, installed in September 2016, is so hard […]
Alyson Wilson tells us about Clapham Through Time, a collection of photographs of Clapham past shown beside the same view shot in 2015 by Claire Fry.
To mark the launch of vauxhallhistory.org on 6 September 2016, Alex Werner of Museum of London talks about the rise of Doulton, one of England’s greatest pottery manufacturers. All welcome.
Fifties hit-parading pianist Winifred Atwell opened a salon in Brixton that may have been the very first for black women in this country. Winifred and her salon are long gone, but what about its saucy murals?
In 1792 Henry Walton Smith and his wife Anna opened a small ‘newswalk’ or newspaper round in Little Grosvenor Street, London. Unfortunately Henry died suddenly a few months later leaving Anna to run the business. She went into partnership with Zaccheus Coates until he died in 1812. When Anna died in 1816 the newsagents and […]
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society was founded in 1841 by Jacob Bell, owner of a large pharmaceutical business, to promote the interests of the trade. Bell also established the Society’s periodical, Pharmaceutical Journal, which he edited from the Society’s premises at 17 Bloomsbury Square. It moved to 1 Lambeth High Street, London SE1 7JN in 1976 […]
People are sometimes puzzled by the name of Lambeth High Street, which runs southwards from St. Mary’s church, Lambeth to join Black Prince Road. It seems so unlike the typical high street scene, and yet a hundred years ago this is exactly what it was. It was especially a place for traders connected with the […]
The following is based on an articles by Peggy Sheath published in The Vauxhall Society’s Newsletter during 1980. The opening of Westminster Bridge in 1750, had led to considerable expansion and development in Lambeth, and a new road was laid down from the bridge, which eventually linked with Brighton. Some fine houses were built in […]
The Freemans mail-order business started in 1905 in a gaslit terraced house in the London suburbs. The company was named after Mr H. E. Freeman, one of the four founders. Business was good and after a year the firm moved to a larger site at 215 Lavender Hill. In 1922 it moved into a nearby […]
John Dwight Doulton, sometimes called the father of English pottery, took out patents in 1671 for stoneware of the type previously imported from Cologne (Cologne ware). He set up a pottery in Fulham, which was then just a small village near London. John Doulton was born in Fulham in 1793 and completed his apprenticeship at […]
Among the many well-known business enterprises that have been associated with the Vauxhall area is the building contracting firm of Higgs & Hill which, until 1967, occupied the site now covered by Ebbisham Drive and Bannerman House. Just one hundred years before, in 1867, William Higgs, a successful building contractor whose work had included Chelsea […]
The Crown Baths, Kennington Oval, was a speculative 19th-century enterprise, a private swimming pool that was well patronised in the days before the introduction of municipal baths. The pools were heated by waste steam from the beam engine of the Crown Works builders yard. The first Inter-Varsity water polo match was held on Friday 23 […]
One of the major developments of recent years, which has profoundly affected the economic and social life of Vauxhall, is the establishment of the New Covent Garden market. It has firmly implanted itself into the local scene, providing numerous jobs and demanding new services in terms of transport, catering and cleaning. Many local residents were […]
Munt’s piano factory once stood in Wilcox Road. There is a post by a descendent of the family on the UK Piano Page Piano Discussion Forums: My grandfather Cornelius Munt and his brother Norman were the last of the Munt brothers to make pianos at 69 Wilcox road Brixton until 1935 when they sold the factory […]
Major A. J. Francis of Tunbridge Wells writes: “My two greats grandfather, Charles Francis, set up a cement works at Nine Elms in 1809 and was one of the earliest pioneers of that industry. He and others amalgamated at the end of the century to form the present Blue Circle Group. The Guildhall Library contains […]
Historically, candles were made in numerous small workshops from expensive beeswax or cheap tallow (purified animal fat) which gave a poor light and released smoke and unpleasant smells. Candles can also be made using vegetable fat including palm nut oil. One of the British government’s alternatives to the slave trade was the encouragement of palm […]
James Burrough was born in 1834 and trained as a chemist in the West Country. After his apprenticeship finished, he travelled to North America where it is believed he made the decision to apply his knowledge of chemistry to the drinks trade. On his return to the UK he bought the old gin and liqueur […]
Just over 150 years ago, British optician and inventor George Dollond died. His passing marked the demise of his family’s century-old instrument-making business. The story of the Dollond enterprise starts with John Dollond (left), who was born in 1706. His father was involved in silk weaving, and John picked up that trade. Because his father […]
Before good clean public drinking water was available it was often safer to drink beer or ale than polluted river water, so it is not surprising that the area housed a number of breweries. Goding’s Lion Brewery building, near Waterloo, was erected as a storehouse in 1836 and was topped by a lion made of […]
Around 1720 Richard Holt of Lambeth was granted a patent for an artificial stone. In 1769, after the patent expired, a Mr Coade set up a factory in north Lambeth, close to the one belonging to Holt. After Coade’s death, first his wife Eleanor Coade carried on the business until her death in 1796 and […]