Love it or hate it…
The now rather unprepossessing Westminster Business Square on the corner of Kennington Lane and Durham Street used to be a Marmite factory.
The Marmite Food Extract Company was formed in 1902 and was based at Burton upon Trent where it had ready access to its main ingredient – a by-product of the brewing process – courtesy of the Bass Brewery. It is still manufactured in the Staffordshire town today.
According to Wikipedia, “By 1907, the product had become successful enough to warrant construction of a second factory at Camberwell Green in London” although no one seems to know where that was.
According to Edith’s Streets the Vauxhall building was originally the site of the New London Brewery Co. which went into liquidation in 1925 and the factory was taken over by Marmite in 1927.
The picture above (Courtesy Lambeth Landmark) of the proudly lit factory was taken in 1951. It closed in 1967. The homeless charity St Mungo’s took on the building for use as one of its first hostels in the 1970s.
Those who lived in the area during the Marmite years remember one thing – the smell. The Internet is littered with memories of it:
One former resident of the area remembers:
“When I was a kid we lived near the Marmite factory at Vauxhall. The smell from the factory was disgusting! People living close by applied to have their rates reduced because of the stench (they failed of course).”
Alan Cole whose memories of Lambeth are recorded at Jimmy’s Lambeth website was a wartime baby born in 1943 at 29 Ethelred Street, Lambeth. At the age of two his family, presumably bombed out, moved to Nissen Huts at the corner of Kennington Lane and Vauxhall Street, about 100 yards from the Gasometers at the Oval. “Depending on the wind you either smelled gas or Marmite from the factory up toward Vauxhall station,” he wrote.
Another recalls that “In the 1950s anyone getting the 185 bus from East Dulwich to Victoria would be familiar with the smell of the Marmite factory at Vauxhall”.
Article supplied by Tradescant Road & South Lambeth blog.