Posts Tagged ‘Garden Museum’

Thames Path, Tradescants, Leake Street – 2014

Friday, November 10th, 2023

Thames Path, Tradescants, Leake Street – On Monday 10th November 2014 I went on a walk with some of my family in Lambeth, where my sister in particular was keen to visit the Garden Museum in the deconsecrated St Mary’s Church next to Lambeth Palace.

Thames Path, Tradescants, Leake Street

We began our walk at Waterloo station, making our way to the riverside path along by the Thames and walking west past St Thomas’s Hospital. A lttle beyond that in front of Lambeth Palace is a memorial bust of Violette Szabo, (1921-1945) standing on a monument to the SOE, the Maquis and the Norwegian resistance commandos, heroes of Telemark. Szabo, a Lambeth resident, was posthumously awarded the George Cross and the Croix de Guerre and was one of the 117 of the 470 agents the SOE sent to France who did not survive

Thames Path, Tradescants, Leake Street

On My London Diary I give some more detail about the setting up of this museum after Rosemary Weekes (later Nicholson) began her campaign to save the church and the fine tomb of father and son John Tradescant, 17th century plant hunters and royal gardeners in its churchyard as a Museum of Garden History. Her work together with her husband John Nicholson is commemorated in the garden with a plaque.

Thames Path, Tradescants, Leake Street

I posted a photograph of a sculpture commemorating the two John Tradescants – father and son – a few days ago in the post Old Clapham Road and South Lambeth ā€“ 1989 and wrote rather more about them later in another post on my 1989 walk, Tradescant, Old South Lambeth Rd and Caron, which began with a picture of houses on Tradescant Road, built on the site of their home in South Lambeth, and I’ll try not to repeat myself more than I need here.

Thames Path, Tradescants, Leake Street

The Tradescant tomb was first commissioned by Hester Tradescant, the widow of the younger John when he died in 1662 and had elaborate carvings depicting rather fancifully some of the specimens of various kinds from their travels in search for new plants around much of the world. These formed the basis of the first public museum in England – the Lambeth Ark – and were fraudulently stolen by a neighbour who pretended to support this who later presented them to Oxford University to establish the Ashmolean Museum.

By the mid-nineteenth century the original memorial was in very poor condition, probably attacked by the noxious acidic fumes from the many industries in the area, and in 1853 a replica was re-carved using limestone from Darley Dale in Derbyshire.

Also in the museum garden if the tomb of the notorious Captain Bligh of the Bounty, on whose ships the Tradescants brought back some of their plants. John Tradescant the Older had begun work as gardener to one of the wealthiest families in England and here there is a recreation of one of his Knot Gardens, based on designs for gardens at Hatfield and Cranbourne.

The museum is well worth a visit, particularly for keen gardeners, and has a pleasant cafe and of course a shop. The Tradescants also set up what was possibly the first garden centre a short distance away, though I think you would have then needed very deep pockets to buy any of their plants, many of which are now very common in our gardens.

We walked back through Archbishop’s Park, a public park with some fine trees and some green cyclists.

And came out on Lambeth Palace Road which has some modern buildings and a large metal sculpture, South of the River’ by Bernard Schottlander (b.1924) which was cast by British Steel in 1976 outside the offices at Becket House. As we went past the Lying-In Hospital (now just a frontage to a recent hotel) I found we had over 20 minutes before our train so I led our group down into Leake Street.

Although much of several parts of London are now covered with graffiti I think this tunnel remains the only officially sanctioned area for artists. I’d been there on various occasions but I think it was the first time the others in our group had been there

It wasn’t the fastest way to get into Waterloo Station, and took us to the far end from where our trains now run from the former Waterloo International platforms, but we still caught our train with time to spare.

Many more pictures from the walk and museum garden – including more graffiti – on My London Diary at Lambeth Walk.

Tradescant, Old South Lambeth Rd and Caron

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

Tradescant, Old South Lambeth Rd and Caron continues my walk on Wednesday 19th July 1989 in Stockwell and South Lambeth which began with Stockwell Park, Bus Garage, Tower and Mason. The previous post was Clapham Road and South Lambeth – 1989.

Houses, Tradescant Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-24
Houses, Tradescant Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-24

I took a picture (not on-line) on the corner of Tradescant Road, and then walked down it, pausing to take this single image on my way towards South Lambeth Road. I think I took this picture of an exuberantly growing hedge and a spindly small tree largely because I was thinking about the name of the street and the history behind it.

John Tradescant the Elder (c. 1570sā€“1638) settled in Lambeth and with his son John is said to have founded gardening as we know it in England, importing many of the trees, shrubs and plants we now grow.

He had begun his career as a gardener to the Cecil family, one of Englands richest and most politically influential families and had laid out the gardens at the Early of Salisbury’s new house, Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, travelling across Europe to find new plants for it. In 1617 he helped finance an expedition to the colony of Virginia, and among the plants this brought back was one later named Tradescantia virginiania.

John the Elder in the following years travelled to Russia, bringing back the larch tree, to Algeria coming home with apricots, gladioli and horse chestnuts, to the Middle East for Lilac, as well as to Italy and Turkey and later to France from were he introduced the poppy and scented stock. Later his son also travelled to Viginia bringing home many plants including Virginia Creeper and added to the collections which were exhibited to the public and sold from their nursery.

The family also set up the first public museum in England in the 1630s, the Lambeth Ark or Musaeum Tradescantianum, dsplaying the many curiosities natural and manmade they also brought back from their travels. Thee family were tricked out of this after the death of the younger John and his wife by the wealthy collector Elias Ashmole who later gave it to Oxford University as the main founding collection of the Ashmolean Museum.

You can see more about the family and their huge contribution to gardening at the Garden Museum which is next door to Lambeth Palace in the deconsecrated church of St Mary-at-Lambeth, where the Tradescants are buried.

The Tradescant’s main house, Turret House, was demolished in 1881 and two streets, Tradescant Street (now Road) and Walberswick Street (named after the Suffolk village where some of the family lived) laid out on the site.

Girl, doll, shop, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-25
Girl, doll, shop, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-25

On South Lambeth Road I came across this young girl sitting on a stool and playing with a doll outside her family shop. I didn’t want to disturb her and took this picture as she was lost in play.

House, 99, Old South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-13
House, 99, Old South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-13

The demolition of the Tradescant’s house which apparently had been long-abandoned and overgrown South Lambeth Road in 1881 enabled the South Lambeth Road to be straightened and widened in 1883, leaving a section of the old road to the east, now known as Old South Lambeth Road. No 99-105 South Lambeth Road are Grade II listed as an early 19th century terrace, with the listing noting their graceful railings which attracted me.

As you can see at the left of the picture some of these properties were in a fairly poor state in 1989. This was then the side wall of a shop, now converted to residential use and in rather better condition.

Old South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-14
Old South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-14

This section of Old South Lambeth Road is named on Google Maps as Heyford Terrace, although I think this is simply this long row of 8 terraced houses on the east side of the street, separately numbered from the rest of this short road. I think they were built as terraced housed but are now flats and are late Victorian, built not long after the rerouting of the road in 1883.

The houses at the end of the road are in Heyford Avenue, I think also developed around 1890.

House, 119, Fentiman Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-15
House, 119, Fentiman Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-15

I walked down Dorset Road and then turned left into Meadow Road to take me to Fentiman Road where I made my next picture about a quarter of a mile later. I’m rather surprised I didn’t find anything to interest me in that distance.

This house is in one of two similar short terraces immediately west of the junction with Meadow Road and I now think is No 119. The eleven other houses have similar decorative elements though the gables are varied with three patterns. I think then that many now had vigorously overgrown front gardens like this making hiding much of the ground floors, though now some are cleared for parking cars.

House, 104, Fentiman Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-62
House, 104, Fentiman Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-62

The houses opposite on the north side of the road here are rather larger and detached. Those at 106-112 are listed as is the church on the east side of this house. I think I photographed this rather than the listed buildings as for the reflection in the car and the tree shadow in the lower part of the image.

Caron's Almshouses,  Fentiman Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-63
Caron’s Almshouses, Fentiman Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-63

A few yards further along Fentiman Road are Caron’s Almshouses, founded in 1618 by Noel Caron, Dutch Ambassador to the court of King James 1, and a popular local philanthropist who lived in South Lambeth.

Originally on Wandsworth Road, Caron’s Almshouses became unsuitable for elderly people and moved to these new buildings in Fentiman Rd in 1854. The buildings were leased to the Family Housing association in the 1990s and repaired and modernised for local women in need and officially reopened by the Dutch Ambassador in 1997.

I included these last two pictures in a post on a previous walk made two days earlier in 1989, and I’m unsure now on which of the two walks in the same area they were taken on.