The opening of a lavender garden on the former bowling green in 2004 is one of the cheerier and certainly more aromatic episodes in the history of Vauxhall Park. The sponsor was General Motors, then the parent company of Vauxhall Motors which started locally. Indeed, it was said that, viewed from the air, the lavender […]
Dating back to 1610, Lambeth Palace Library can claim to be the oldest public library in the country. It may be quiet inside but is also buzzing with activity. The entire Lambeth Palace Library collection is being rehoused in a vast new purpose-built centre in the Palace gardens. Due to open in 2020, the new […]
‘Why no flowers for Nellie, orchid-painter extraordinaire?’ we asked in a previous post. In her 56 years as Royal Horticultural Society orchid artist Nellie Roberts captured an extraordinary amount of fugitive beauty. She worked in a room above the family shop in Loughborough Road, died, aged 86, in 1959, and rests in Grave No. 262 D3 […]
A chance to learn more about the Vauxhall Gardens, an 18th-century hub of art, music and socialising Historians Danielle Thom and David Coke, Vauxhall History’s consultant editor, discuss the history of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens with BBC TV Antiques Roadshow regular Lars Tharp – from decorous entertainments of art and musical display, to the racier activities of […]
There’s a double helping of local history from The Vauxhall Society/Vauxhall History on Monday 2 September. At 2.30pm David E. Coke, the leading historian of Vauxhall Gardens, leads a guided walk, entitled The Heyday of Vauxhall Gardens, to mark the month that this open-air resort would close. Then at 7pm Vauxhall Society chairman Ross Davies, author of Vauxhall: […]
Vauxhall Gardens was an open-air resort and the English climate being what it is, there had to be an ‘if wet, indoors’ option. This was The Rotunda, which opened in 1748, offering concerts and exhibitions as well as shelter. Pulled down when the gardens closed in 1859, The Rotunda rose again in 2019 as a […]
Between the roar of Clapham and South Lambeth Roads lies a maze of residential streets. Mostly lined with Victorian terraces, they are surprisingly peaceful – especially towards the centre where you will find St Stephen’s Terrace. In 1951, that street’s peace was disrupted by the chanting of a mob. The crowd had gathered outside number […]
Arles, Auckland, Baltimore, Barbados, Brussels, Canterbury (NZ) Charleston, Nashville, New York, Melbourne, Pavlovsk, Philadelphia, Stockholm, Toronto, are some of the places that at one time had ‘Vauxhall Gardens’. David E. Coke, historian of Vauxhall’s original and much-imitated Royal Vauxhall Gardens open-air pleasure resort, tells their story and wonders in what part of the world may […]
Millicent Fawcett’s statue by artist Gillian Wearing was unveiled in Westminster on 24 April 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the right of some women to vote. To coincide with Millicent Fawcett’s 172nd birthday on 11 June we publish an article by Elizabeth Crawford on her work to create Vauxhall Park. Elizabeth Crawford Vauxhall […]
Join David E. Coke for ‘The Heyday of Vauxhall Gardens’
Jerry White, Professor of History at London University, writes about the ‘heady mix of soldiers and women’ in the Waterloo area during the First World War.
War hero, trick-rider, entrepreneur with a flair for PR, the Lambeth-based Philip Astley was all of these things and more. Jonathan Tyers put Vauxhall on the map when, between 1729 and 1750 he made Vauxhall Gardens the world’s most famous open-air resort. Astley (1742–1814) is the father of the modern circus. He began giving equestrian […]
It’s a shame that orchid-lovers cannot leave a bouquet on the precise spot where rests Lambeth’s peerless watercolourist and illustrator Nellie Roberts. Flowers could and should be be left at Nellie’s grave in gratitude for all the beauty that this watercolorist’s brush captured during her 56-year career as an illustrator for the Royal Horticultural Society, […]
It may not be easy to see spacecraft from Vauxhall, but many’s the astronaut that’s been spotted on the South Lambeth Road having a last drag on a cigarette before entering the British Interplanetary Society HQ at Numbers 27–29 on the corner with Langley Lane. Indeed, writes space historian and Fellow of the Society Dr […]
More people, especially school students, now visit the Great War battleground-cemeteries of the French/Belgian border country than at any time since the Armistice a century ago. Many of these youngsters are older than some of the ‘men’ who fought and sometimes died there (write Naomi Clifford and Ross Davies). One of the lucky ‘men’ was […]
Letitia Sage was an actress who on 29 June 1785 at St George’s Fields, as Sharon Wright writes, became the first Englishwoman to fly.
This year the architects and town-planners Rolfe Judd celebrate the 50th anniversary of the practice, and have marked the event by illuminating the façade of Old Church Court, their premises in Claylands Road. Who was the architect of this former Congregational chapel isn’t clear, but according to the edited extract of the Rolfe Judd article […]
There’s fascinating information about 18th-century Lambeth to be found in A Georgian Heroine by genealogists/historians Joanne Major and Sarah Murden. Not the least of it is the little-known story of a Vauxhall woman with a long name and a life story well-nigh incredible. Thus far, no portrait known to be of Rachel Charlotte Williams Biggs has been […]
Vauxhall Gardens drew visitors from around the world in its 18th-century prime, not least to see Roubiliac’s sensational statue. Pale imitations sprang up elsewhere in England, and as far away as America, Australia and Russia. None could quite match Jonathan Tyers’ Vauxhall Gardens for originality and crowd-pulling spectacle with a purpose. Tyers helped civilise this […]
Vauxhall History co-editor Naomi Clifford’s The Murder of Mary Ashford: The Crime That Changed English Legal History (Pen & Sword, 30 May 2018) presents new evidence in a notorious 200-year-old case of rape and murder which changed English legal history, leading to the abolition of ‘trial by battle’ as a means of settling murder cases. […]
There’s an hour-long get-together at Lambeth Archives on Tuesday 13 March, kick-off 6pm, on what you can do to help restore, research and display some long-unseen Victorian and early 20th century memorials. They came from churches demolished in the 1980s and have languished in the basement of the Carnegie Library ever since. Now there’s Heritage […]
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.
by VauxhallHistory.org online editor Naomi Clifford. On his way to the gallows at Kennington Common, Jeremiah Lewis Abershaw did what many a condemned felon had done before him: during the mile-long journey from Horsemonger Gaol in Newington to the gallows he played to the crowd. Abershaw travelled to his agonising death on Monday 3 August […]
Historian, community activist and blogger, and former project worker in the area Sean Creighton leads South Lambeth Road Stories, a free guided Vauxhall Society/Vauxhall History walk which kicks off from the Tate South Lambeth Library at 180 South Lambeth Rd, Vauxhall, London SW8 1QP at 10.30am on Saturday 10 February. There is the story of […]
Vauxhall, or ‘Voho’ in estate-agent’s patter (the ‘Soho’ of the south bank), attracts gay people both as a place to live and for the clubs and bars that surround the site of what was once the Vauxhall Gardens open-air resort (1661–1858). One notable event in the history both of the Gardens and of the capital’s […]
The Duchy of Cornwall owns much of Vauxhall and Kennington, which makes the local landlord HRH Charles, Prince of Wales. One of the royal heir’s other titles is Duke of Cornwall. The first Duke was a Vauxhall resident as well as landlord. This is short-lived warrior Edward of Woodstock (1330–1376), who was invested as Prince […]
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 […]
‘She’s always here soon after 6.30 [a.m.],’ says Bertie of one customer, ‘to buy her own breakfast. And it’s always the same thing she wants, “One-pound-of-streaky-and-five-sausages.”‘ ‘Here’ is Brixton Street Market, in Mary Benedetta’s 1936 book Street Markets of London (London: John Miles Ltd). Benedetta’s book covers over 30 street markets in Lambeth and beyond, […]
The Doulton fairytale panels in the South Wing corridor of St Thomas’ Hospital get star billing in issue 22 (2017) of the GIST, the Guy’s and St Thomas’s magazine ‘History Corner’ feature. Margaret Thompson and William Rowe’s panels, made a short walk away at the Doulton factory in Vauxhall, once brightened up the two children’s […]
The Walcot Foundation gives away an average of £1.8 million a year ‘for the relief of the Lambeth poor’. The charity has been around for 350 years, established by the 1667 will of a wealthy haberdasher, Edmund Walcott (his surname originally had two ‘t’s), who endowed it with 17 acres of what was then […]
Jon Newman’s River Effra, South London’s Secret Spine is lavishly-illustrated, deeply-researched and, above all, grippingly-readable – a landmark work, the first detailed and comprehensive account of the Effra.
A brief history of local inundation.
The 20-year-old Van Gogh lasted only a year in Stockwell before leaving his digs in 87 Hackford Road (1873), it’s said, because he was getting nowhere with Eugenie Loyer, the landlady’s daughter. The painter seems to have left behind just the one ‘Van Gogh’, a sketch of the house that was not accepted as by […]
Somme veterans eyewitness accounts have been donated to the Imperial War Museum by supporters of Felix Fund in memory of the former CEO, the late Holly Angharad Davies BEM, a one-time resident of Vauxhall.
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?
Vauxhall students in search of a project could do worse than delve into the short life of Arthur Hutson, only son of Arthur and Annie Jane who lived at 28 Hayter Road, Brixton.