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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
The Thames in Textiles: these six takes on London’s river from Morley College’s MADE2016 exhibition are by Kerry Crofton, Ann Nash, Pam Howett, Alison Tyler, Megan Doolittle and Martha Crouch. With thanks to Janet Vaux, Editor, Morley Magazine
A brief history of local inundation.
The Tate South Lambeth Library, the gift of a Victorian well-wisher, and now a vibrant cultural centre with deep roots in today’s Vauxhall, is the target of repeated threats from Lambeth Councillors
At the heart of Dr Johnson’s connections with this celebrated London pleasure resort, there lies a mystery, and behind that mystery lurks an enigma.
Roger Johnson, editor of The Sherlock Holmes Journal, on the spoor of the sleuth and his ever-faithful Watson in these parts
David Toothill, founder of Southbank Mosaics, on their work supporting homeless people and young people in trouble with the law and on projects for Network Rail.
Added 13 June 2015 By David Coke The extraordinary commercial success of the re-launched Vauxhall Gardens in the middle of the 18th century encouraged other entrepreneurs to believe they could imitate it. Pleasure Gardens mushroomed all over London, around Great Britain, and then throughout the world. Most of these lesser ‘Vauxhalls’ were short-lived and, frankly, […]
Planned changes to constituency boundaries bring into focus the perennial need to define the interfaces between blocks of land at every level – be it the garden fence or the Iron Curtain. In the distant past, with much lower populations and pressure on resources, boundaries were often ill-defined zones, rather than fixed lines, and in […]
The history of the London taxi dates back to 1639 when the Corporation of Coachmen obtained a licence to ply for hire in London. By 1654 Parliament limited the number of carriages plying for trade in London and Westminster to 300, increased in 1661 to 400 and 700 in 1694. Passenger safety concerns led to […]
The following is the text of a talk given by Dr Graham Dawson, Chairman of the Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological Society at their symposium held on 26th March 2002. It is reproduced with the kind permission of that Society. I thought it would be a good idea to mark the Queen’s jubilee by looking at […]
The Lambeth Waterworks Company was formed in 1785 to supply local parishes with water, drawn directly from the Thames near Waterloo, by means of wooden pipes and channels. By 1802 the main had reached Kennington and iron pipes were replacing the wooden ones. A reservoir was constructed at Streatham Hill in 1832 and new works […]
A watch house was erected on Lambeth High Street in 1825, for the purpose of holding ‘the drunk and disorderly’. Its site is marked with a stone in Lambeth High Street Recreational Ground. The building was apparently demolished at some point between the wars. There was a second Lambeth Watch House next to St John’s […]
Liza of Lambeth was the first novel by W(illiam) Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), the English author and novelist. Maugham was born in Paris, orphaned when he was only 10 and then brought up by an uncle. He was educated at King’s School, Canterbury and after a year at Heidelberg University, he studied medicine at St. Thomas’ […]
There were two wells called ‘Nearer’ and ‘Farther’ situated on, or very close to what is now Lambeth Walk. At some time before 1697 a ‘Great Room’ was opened for music and dancing, the admission being 3d (1.25 pence); by 1721 the entry fee, for special events, had risen to 1s (one shilling – 5 […]
The following is based on an articles by Peggy Sheath published in The Vauxhall Society’s Newsletter during 1980. A street market was in existence in Lambeth Walk by the 1860s. In a report by the London County Council dated 6 December 1901, from a survey made that year, it is stated: “It is noticeable that […]
Lambeth Walk was the site of two wells, the road to which slowly became lined with houses of one sort or another. By the 1840s ‘The Walk’ had a well-established market and by 1861 it was thriving with 164 costermongers’ stalls. Related links Windmills in Lambeth Lambeth Walk street market Industries in Lambeth Walk Lambeth […]
The Marine Society, 202 Lambeth Road The following article appeared in The Vauxhall Society’s Newsletter of May 1980. A major contribution to the refurbishing of properties in Lambeth Road has been made in recent time by the Marine Society. In December 1979, HM the Queen officially opened its new headquarters in the former Archbishop William […]
Lambeth School of Art was established in 1854 by William Gregory, vicar of St Mary the Less Church. St Mary the Less Church was in Princes Road (now called Black Prince Road). It was demolished in the 1960s. At the end of the 1850s, the school was solely a night school. Dean Gregory was Rector, […]
The following article appeared in The Vauxhall Society Newsletter of July 1981. To the casual traveller, the underground station at Lambeth North is pretty unprepossessing. With its clanking lifts and lonely platforms it characterises some of the depression of the inner city. In recent months a modest effort has been made by London Transport to […]
Until the early 19th century much of north Lambeth (now known as the South Bank) was mostly marsh. This was drained and leveled by William James who was land agent for the Earl of Warwick. William Curtis, the 18th-century botanist, had his home and botanical gardens on Lambeth Marsh.
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 […]
Tin-glazed* earthenware was made at a number of factories in Lambeth and Vauxhall during the 17th and 18th centuries. Typical 17th-century examples include wine bottles, drug pots, and ointment pots, usually decorated in blue on white. Sometimes the decoration consists of bold horizontal lines and freehand lettering, sometimes of arms, shells, masks, or cupids. Large […]
Over the past 150 years at least three local buildings have been called “Lambeth Baths”. The first was run by Lambeth Baths & Washhouses Company Limited and was behind 156 Westminster Bridge Road (between Oakley Street and Lambeth Marsh). At the time of writing we do not know when the baths were built but they […]
Lambeth has been described as a village between Southwark and Battersea. The name comes from Lamhytha (1088), a ‘Landing-place for lambs’. Lambeth has been spelt in various ways including Lamb-hythe, Lamheth, Lambyth, Lamedh, Lamhees. The area was mostly marsh and fields with scattered villages and hamlets until the 18th century. King Harthacnut owned the Manor […]
Extract from The London Medical Gazette 1837-8 Editorial – Inquest on boy flogged at Lambeth Workhouse The gist of the case may be comprised in a small compass. The boy, whose age is not stated, had been in Lambeth Workhouse, where he was flogged by a Mr Rowe, with such severity, that the body, when […]
The text below has been compiled from various websites, particularly Peter Higginbotham’s Workhouse site and England’s Poor Law Commissioners and the Trade in Pauper Lunacy website. Related links Inquest on boy flogged at Lambeth Workhouse ‘A Night in a London Workhouse’ (song) The workhouse system provided basic sustenance for the very poor, infirm and aged, […]
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 […]
We don’t know exactly when pottery was first made on the banks of the Thames in Lambeth but the trade probably started in Roman times. The tradition most likely continued from then through the Middle Ages until Royal Doulton moved its headquarters and works from the area in the mid 20th century. In 1570 two […]
Lambeth Walk gave its name to a Cockney dance first made popular in 1937 by Lupino Lane. The song from the 1937 musical Me and My Girl. (Book and Lyrics by L. Arthur Rose and Douglas Furber, Book revised by Stephen Fry, Music by Noel Gay). The storyline is about a Cockney barrow boy who […]
Ragged schools were free school for poor vagrant children, where they were taught and usually given food. The name comes from the pupils’ ragged appearance. The schools gave children some basic instruction, in often makeshift accommodation, and helped them find work, or even to emigrate. In 1818 John Pounds, a Portsmouth shoemaker, started teaching poor […]
St Mary-at-Lambeth Church is mentioned in the Domesday Book as being owned by Countess Goda, sister of Edward the Confessor. The Bishops of Rochester were later given the living, which in 1197 passed to the Archbishops of Canterbury. The church was rebuilt in the 1370s and again in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. […]
A horse ferry had linked the Lambeth and Westminster banks of the Thames for centuries, one of only a few Thames ferries capable of taking a coach and horses. The ferry sank on many occasions, notably in 1633 with Archbishop Laud’s belongings and in 1656 with Oliver Cromwell’s coach. Permission to build a bridge here […]
Lambeth Palace is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s official residence. The Convent of St Andrew of Rochester sold part of the Manor to Archbishop Haldwin of Canterbury in 1190. Archbishop Hubert Walter bought the rest of the Manor in 1197 and built a house by the river roughly opposite the Palace of Westminster. This house was […]