Vauxhall Gardens, summer 1822. To great acclaim ‘Madame Georgina’, a singer and classical pianist from Calcutta, accompanies herself and performs a concerto. She appears at Vauxhall Gardens for three nights only – and then abruptly disappears from the annals of London theatre. Can you add a coda to her story? A portrait would be nice, writes David E. […]
Why do all Russian railway stations carry the name of an English middle-class car? Eric Dymock explains all.
Andrew Rogers on the short and chequered history of the Nine Elms Cold Store.
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 […]
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 […]
David E. Coke on C.H. Simpson, one of Vauxhall’s great historic characters.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
by David E. Coke Amongst the many extraordinary facts about 19th century London, one stands out as almost unbelievable – an urban myth, you might think. How could the world record for manned-flight distance possibly have been set by a flight from Vauxhall – in 1836, the year before Queen Victoria came to the throne? Yet […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
Information from Richard Greatorex, contributed the wonderful archive postcards: I found a reference to Barrett’s here: breweryhistory.com/journal/archive/123/Architecture.pdf in which the Barrett brewery is described thus: “The visual image of the ‘beer factory’ had become increasingly important, with the brewery’s image being used on bottle labels and in advertisements. Barrett’s Vauxhall Brewery (1885) was an extreme […]
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.
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.
The establishment of The Vauxhall Society in 1969
Roger Johnson, editor of The Sherlock Holmes Journal, on the spoor of the sleuth and his ever-faithful Watson in these parts
The Vauxhall branch of the Richardson family brick-making firm made a notable contribution to the foundations of what is now the Kia Oval cricket ground.
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, […]
The dramatic rescue of Vauxhall’s Gilbert Bayes Frieze from the demolition of Doulton House…as it happens The Vauxhall Society is grateful to Paul Atterbury for permission to publish his account of the the rescue and subsequent restoration of the Gilbert Bayes ceramic frieze ‘Pottery Through the Ages’ as well as his contemporaneous notes on the […]
In the 1700s most of Vauxhall was marshland. People had to cross this land to get to church at St. Mary’s next to Lambeth Palace. This was a most dangerous route as there were robbers hiding in the marshes waiting to attack anyone crossing them. Naturally this made the people reluctant to cross the marshland […]
By Sarah Bridger A terracotta statue of Henry Fawcett, which was unveiled on Wednesday 7th June 1893 by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Vauxhall Park, mysteriously vanished in late 1959. It was designed by the celebrated Victorian sculptor George Tinworth, and donated by Sir Henry Doulton. The statue has not had a confirmed sighting since […]
As soon as the great pleasure garden of Vauxhall Gardens closed its doors for the final time after the ‘Last Night Forever’ on 25 July 1859, the twelve-acre site was cleared of all traces of the entertainments that had stood on that spot since the Restoration. One of the reasons why Vauxhall closed when it […]
This First World War memorial was fixed to the wall on the Myer’s Bedstead Factory in Vauxhall Walk. After being removed for safekeeping it was restored to the building in 2013. The Horatio Myer & Co Great War Memorial To the Memory of those Employees of Horatio Myer & Co. Ltd. who laid down their lives […]
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 […]
Carl Friedrich ABEL1723-1787MusicianPlayed with J. C. Bach in the Gardens. Dr Thomas ARNE1710-1778ComposerWorked regularly played in the Gardens. Best known for ‘Rule, Britannia’ Johann Christian BACH1735-1782Music MasterWrote songs for and played in the Gardens Sir Henry Rowley BISHOP1786-1855ComposerMusical Director? James BOSWELL1740-1795WriterBoswell commented, ‘Vauxhall Gardens is peculiarly adapted to the taste of the English nation; there […]
At one time or another English soapstone has been mined in Cornwall, Cumbria, Derbyshire and Somerset. In 1751 a licence to mine soaprock was taken out by Nicholas Crisp of London, a jeweller, and John Sanders of Lambeth, a potter, and by 1752 nearly 30 tons had been used by this licence. The soft paste […]
In 1857 the Vauxhall Iron Works was founded at 90-92 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 by the Scottish engineer Alexander Wilson, who took the Fawkes de Breauté’s heraldic griffin as his company badge. Alexander Wilson and Co, as it was originally known, produced engines for Admiralty pinnaces and triple-expansion engines for Thames river tugs and manufactured […]
Some Mesolithic (8300-4000 BC) flint blades together with some Neolithic (4000-1800BC) pottery shards were found at an archaeological dig on a site directly opposite Vauxhall Park in South Lambeth Road. The site of a prehistoric bridge dating to between 1750BC and 1285BC has recently found near Vauxhall Bridge, which suggests that the area had a […]
John Prentice has very kindly given permission to use some text, from his excellent and very interesting Tramway Information website. We are also most grateful to Mr Prentice for the permission to use the images taken from his extensive collection of historic tram postcards. Opening of London County Council Electric Tramways (1903) The Prince of […]
This very rare photograph is of the clearance of a site on Albert Embankment. The site is now occupied by Tintagel House which is a Metropolitan Police building and is the third building from Vauxhall Bridge going towards Lambeth Bridge. Image thanks to Mr H Limes
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 name Stokewell (first recorded in 1197) means the well by the stump or wood and comes from the Old English stocc + wella. There was a Stockwell Wood till the 17th century. The manor of Stockwell was formed in the late 13th century, when King Edward I acquired the manor of South Lambeth and […]
St Peter’s Church, located in Kennington Lane on the edge of what was Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (on the site of the Neptune Fountain), was built in 1863-4 by the notable Victorian gothic revival architect John Loughborough Pearson (1817-1897). It has an active and thriving congregation. The following article was published in 1991 by Vauxhall St Peter’s Heritage Centre, which is […]
Native flora recorded for South Lambeth Information from The Natural History Museum – Postcode Plants Database Plant distribution data are derived from the Atlas of the British Flora, 3rd Edition (published by the Botanical Society of the British Isles, 1982). The dataset currently contains 1,353 species (about 90 percent of Britain’s native flora). Please note: […]
This photo was probably taken in 1966 and shows the A2 class Locomotive designed by Arthur H. Peppercorn for the LNER and manufactured in 1948. It was originally named The Blue Peter after a famous racehorse, and under Bristish Railways was numbered 60532. Weighing in at over 161 tons this 4-6-2 had 6’2″ driving wheels […]
Southwark and Vauxhall Water Company was formed in 1845 on the merger of the Southwark Water Company and the Vauxhall Water Company. The reservoirs covered nearly 18 acres of ground which now houses Battersea Power Station. Steam engines were used to pump water to a height of 175 ft to supply Brixton. The water quality […]
Vauxhall Water Company was formed in 1805 as the South London Waterworks Company (pictured). The works were based at the Oval and took water from both the Thames and Vauxhall Creek. It supplied the parish of St Giles, Camberwell, parts of Lambeth together with other parts of Surrey. The Vauxhall Creek supply became very polluted […]
The remains of the oldest prehistoric bridge in Britain have been found at Vauxhall about 100m upstream from the outflow from the River Effra. The bridge suggests that their was a significant settlement nearby. The discovery of the two lines of oak posts date to between 1750BC and 1285BC (the middle Bronze Age). It is […]
by David Coke Of all the correspondence that I receive about Vauxhall Gardens, some of the most memorable comes from descendants of the people who performed or sang at the gardens. Striking among these are the descendants of firework-makers, of whom Vauxhall employed a dozen or more between 1798, when the first regular displays started, […]
A view of Carroun House in 1887, which shortly afterwards made way for Vauxhall Park.
Extract from Recollections of My Boyhood by George Bower Opposite Fentiman Road on the corner of Miles Street stands St. Anne’s Church. This took fire one wintry Sunday afternoon about the year 1854 [actually 1856]. All the resources of the fire brigade, the parish squirter and local firms were mastered together but to no […]