Posts Tagged ‘South Lambeth’

South Lambeth & Vauxhall 1989

Sunday, November 12th, 2023

South Lambeth & Vauxhall 1989: Yet again I’ve found some more pictures from my walk in South Lambeth on 19th July 1989, which began with Stockwell Park, Bus Garage, Tower and Mason. This time the pictures comefrom the end of the walk where I had wrongly remembered my route that day. I didn’t always develop films in the order in which they were taken and things sometimes got rather out of order in my files.

After taking pictures on Old South Lambeth Road I thought I had simply walked to Vauxhall Station without taking more pictures. But I now realise I had walked further up the South Lambeth Road an had then gone on to take some photographs in Vauxhall.

South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-66
South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-66

In a previous post I wrote about the library and linked to an article on Vauxhall History about the fights by people in the area on several occasions to keep their library open. Thanks to their efforts the library, in the heart of Lambeth’s Portuguese community, is still open five days a week, though doubtless it will not be long before Lambeth Council tries yet again to close and demolish it.

South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-51
South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-51

Despite the street name on the wall, South Lambeth Library is on South Lambeth Rd, and Wilcox Close is here simply a pedestrian way than runs along its southern side, with vehicle access to the houses in the Wilcox Cloase being from Kenchester Close, another street in the Mawbey Brough council estate built here in the 1970s – one of the times the community had to unite to save the library.

This picture concentrates on the highly ornamented frontage of the building. Particularly impressive are the decorated words TATE FREE LIBRARY.

South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-52
South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-52

A final picture of the library in this post shows more of the library building, which is only locally listed, which gives it no protection. In a previous post I suggested that this was because it had been considerably altered since it was built in 1888, losing the copper cupolas on top of its powers possibly to meet demand for metals in the war and also losing a fine porch, probably to allow road widening. Historic England seem to be very reluctant to list buildings which have been significantly altered.

Wheatsheaf Hall, Wheatsheaf Lane, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-55
Wheatsheaf Hall, Wheatsheaf Lane, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-55

Opened in 1896 as the Wheatsheaf Congregational Church Mission and used until 1939 as a mission hall, it claims to have been the first free public library in Lambeth, though possibly this was in the small villa on the site before this, as South Lambeth Library opened in 1888. The building was Grade II listed in 1975.

In 1980 Lambeth Council began proceedings to evict the then tenants Cinebuild to develop it as a tenant’s hall and community centre which opened in 1988 and continues in use “for community and business meetings, meditation groups, faith groups, council surgeries, rehearsal space, weddings, christenings, birthday parties and bingo.”

Wheatsheaf Hall, Wheatsheaf Lane, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-42
Wheatsheaf Hall, Wheatsheaf Lane, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-42

Another view of Wheatsheaf Lane and the hall, which still looks much the same now. The pub glimpsed at left was The Wheatsheaf, reflecting the agricultural nature of the area, parts of which were still fields when this was first opened. It is known to have been here in 1788, though this building is Victorian. It closed as a pub in 2017 and is now a Brazilian restaurant.

St Anne & All Saints, Miles St, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-44
St Anne & All Saints, Miles St, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-44

According to Vauxhall History, a chapel was built on this site in 1793 after much pleading from local parishoners who had to walk across marshland to get to St Mary’s Church next to Lambeth Palace. It was a dangerous route as this offered hiding places for robbers who would attack those walking through it.

They were allowed to build a private chapel and the cost of building was paid for by selling shares entitling those who bought them to seats in the chapel and leasing other seats. There were no free seats and the poor still had to cross the hazardous marsh.

Perhaps it was because it was a chapel for the rich and not the rapidly growing working class population of the area was that led to a fire which partly burnt the chapel down in 1856 and an incident of sacrilege of which details have not survived the following year.

In 1860 the Church of England decided to set up a separate parish of South Lambeth and to build a new church on the chapel site. They wanted to take over the chapel, and it took them 8 years to find all the shareholders and get the site conveyed to them. A slow process of rebuilding then began to turn the chapel into something more suitable for a parish church which was only completed in 1876 to the designs of architect R Parkinson. It was rebuilt again in 1958 after bomb damage in the Second World War.

The church was dedicated to St Anne probably as a tribute to Ann Beaufoy, the wife of George Beaufoy who had become head of the local vinegar factory in 1851 and had been one of the promoters of the new parish. It was his son Mark Beaufoy, who became MP for Kennington who chaired the meeting in his home in 1881 to found the Waifs and Strays Home, now the Children’s Society.

Behind the church is the tall tower block of BT’s Keybridge House on South Lambeth Rd, built 1975-7 and demolished in 2015. Few would mourn its passing but many wish its successor was rather better.

'SCHOOLS ARE PRISONS', Langley Lane, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-46
‘SCHOOLS ARE PRISONS’, Langley Lane, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-46

This was taken in Langley Lane but although the wall is still there the building behind it has gone and it is now just a car park at the rear of the imposing 5 storey block of the former LCC’s 1908 Lawn Lane Schools. Later this was Vauxhall Central Girls School which in 1957 this became one of two buildings of Vauxhall Manor Secondary School, a comprehensive 11-18 girls school. This merged with the Beaufoy School, a school for boys in 1983 to become the mixed comprehensive Lilian Baylis School, now on Kennington Lane The Lawn Lane building has now been converted to flats as ‘The Academy’.

A later post will I hope finish this walk with some pictures from Vauxhall.



More From Stockwell & South Lambeth

Wednesday, November 8th, 2023

More From Stockwell & South Lambeth: My apologies that the previous post in this series from my walk on 19th July 1989, Tradescant, Old South Lambeth Rd and Caron, ended with a repeat of three images taken on Fentiman Road from my walk two days earlier.

After taking pictures on Old South Lambeth Road I probably simply walked to Vauxhall Station without taking more pictures. But I have now found a few more pictures I took probably at the start of the walk which began with Stockwell Park, Bus Garage, Tower and Mason, and also some at the end of my walk in Vauxhall.

Houses, 43-49, Lansdowne Gardens, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989  89-7h-14
Houses, 43-49, Lansdowne Gardens, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7h-14

These fine houses were built in the mid-nineteenth century and are Grade II listed. The closer and further houses are semi-detached pairs while 47 in the middle is detached. Behind them is the tower block Edrich House on Lansdowne Way.

House, 93, Priory Grove, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-62
House, 93, Priory Grove, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-62

Priory Grove runs south from Lansdowne Way (formerly Priory Road) and much of it is beside Larkhill Park. This four-storey block, with the name at the top Priory Building is close to its end at Larkhall Lane. In 1989 it had two doors, but now there is only one at the left giving access to the four flats inside. The ground floor has been coated with stucco eliminating the architraves which are a feature of the upper floors.

Larkhall Lane, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-65
Larkhall Lane, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-65

Larkhall Lane has a listed building and several on the local list, but all I chose to photograph were a couple of odd corners, the first perhaps showing something of the state of the property with a fine stone hidden pillar. I think this has now disappeared.

Larkhall Lane, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-52
Larkhall Lane, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-52

66 Larkhall Lane is now much improved rendering, a tidy garden and the anachronistic shutter removed. The tree has also gone and I suspect much of the interior has also been remodelled. A property listing on the web describes it now as “This is an attractive 2 bed, 1 bath semi-detached house in Lambeth, London. This efficient home is 753 square feet in size with 2 fireplaces and has been extended 3 times since construction before 1900” and estimates its value at £1m-£1.2m.

341-9, Wandsworth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-56
341-9, Wandsworth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-56

I think I took this rather rapidly through a gap in the traffic which perhaps accounts for its rather odd tilt. At left is a rather odd Gothic Grade II listed building trying to be a castle, with shops on the ground floor and an octagonal tower at each end. The building dates from the mid-19th century but the shops reaching out to the main road were added probably around 40 years later over what was originally a front garden and have since been much altered.

Tucked away in the centre of the picture is a slim building with some interesting polychromatic brickwork at No 345, small and rather unusual Victorian infill.

Wilbraham House,  Wandsworth Road, Nine Elms, Lambeth, 1989  89-7i-41
Wilbraham House, Wandsworth Road, Nine Elms, Lambeth, 1989 89-7i-41

Through the imposing three story vehicle entrance of Wilbraham House we can see Fosbrooke House behind. This long block of flats occupies most of the block between Thorncroft St and Wilcox Road. One web site helpfully tells me it was built between 1930 and 1949 and my guess would have been it was at the end of that period. Four impressive sets of steps on the frontage lead to the 36 flats, with glass bricks providing natural lighting for the stairs. Nine Elms underground station opened in 2021 is just a few yards up the road.

The Elephant And Castle, pub, South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7k-11
The Elephant And Castle, pub, South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, Lambeth, 1989 89-7k-11

You get a good view of these elephants from trains going through Vauxhall Station on the Windsor and Reading lines I normally go to Waterloo on. This picture is taken from immediately outside Vauxhall Station entrance. The pub building is still there but closed in 1997 and is now a Starbucks, but its upper floors look much the same. The local list dates it as mid-late 19th century, but the building replaced an earlier one on the site.

The name Elephant And Castle thought to have been first used for pubs around 1770 in nearby Southwark probably derives from the coat of arms of the Cutler’s Company who adopted it in 1622. They used ivory to make knife handles. Though if so it may have been used first for a pub in the City for which we have no record.

I’ll post the other pictures I’ve found from the end of the walk in Vauxhall later.



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. 1570s–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.



Clapham Road and South Lambeth – 1989

Monday, October 30th, 2023

Clapham Road and South Lambeth 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 Meadows, Tate Library & Albert Square.

Works, Clapham Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-64
Works, Clapham Rd, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-64

I walked southeast out of Albert Square past the plain brick 1960’s Regency Court block of flats which replaced the damaged No 37 – the only attempt this makes to fit in with the square is to keep to the same roof line but otherwise it stands out as a drab sore thumb – I think a good modern building would have been preferable to dull mediocre. A wide avenue with some trees lining it leads to Clapham Road.

There was no gap between this typically 1930s building immediately to the north of Sir Joseph Causton’s large Printworks building and it may have been a later part of the works or a separate small factory. At its north side it joined a house, still standing. This building has been completely removed, and the space is now a road, Lett Rd, next to the Printworks which has been converted into flats and retail. The left section of the building has been replaced by a recent residential block along Lett Rd.

The Printworks was built in 1903 and Causton’s were one of the largest printing companies, making labels for various products including Marmite and Guiness, stationery and objects including brewery pub trays. During the First World War they printed many propaganda posters and those encouraging war savings. They moved to Eastleigh, Hants in 1936 and the plant was sold to the catalogue company Freemans Ltd in 1937. The company was taken over in 1984 but the name is still used for Causton Envelopes and Causton Cartons, part of the Bowater Group.

Housing, Liberty St, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-66
Housing, Liberty St, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-66

Liberty Street runs from Caldwell Street down to Durand Street behind the Printworks. It was one of the last part of the area to be developed and when these 54 flats were built as Wyke Mansions close to Caldwell Street in 1902 they faced the works across an open field. According to the Oval History site this was later built on by Freeman’s for warehousing after they took over the Printworks. Some of those buildings were demolished in 1996 to build Bakery Close and the rest demolished in 2008 by Gaillard who converted the site into modern flats. But these mansions remain. There appears to be no record of why the street was named Liberty St.

House, Garden, Brixton Rd, Angell Town, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-55
House, Garden, Brixton Rd, Angell Town, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-55

I walked along Caldwell Street to Hackford Road, then down there to Southey Road and on to Brixton Road. I think this remarkable garden of thistles which would have even sent the pessimistic and depressed Eeyore into ecstacy was at 130 Brixton Road, part of the Vassall estate let to Henry Richard Vassall, third Baron Holland. He gave building plots on 80 year leases to builders and speculators in a piecemeal fashion which probably accounts for the stuccoed No 130 adjoining the brick 132. There are brief descriptions of the houses along the road on the Survey of London.

These houses are on the west side of Brixton Road and the River Effra ran on the east side, but was put underground around 1880 and still runs there. But the buildings on that side are set well back from the road.

The Co-op Centre, 11 Mowll St, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-45
The Co-op Centre, 11 Mowll St, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-45

The Co-op Centre was built in 1898 for as a hall for Christ Church, Brixton Rd and used for worship until the church was completed in 1902. Lambeth Co-op Centre became Mowll St Business Centre in 2016. Until the late 1930s the street was named Chapel St, but was renamed to avoid confusion with other Chapel Streets in London after the Rev William Rutley Mowll, the first vicar of Christ Church on the corner of the street.

Doorway, Kinki-Bee Characters, 46 Wilkinson St, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-33
Doorway, Kinki-Bee Characters, 46 Wilkinson St, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-33

Kinki-Bee Characters was in the locally listed Venetian gothic former Stockwell and North Brixton Dispensary on the corner of Wilkinson Street and Bolney Street, South Lambeth built in 1866 to provide medical and surgical advice, medicine, and attendance. The charity was only removed from the Charity Commisions listing in 1997. In 1920 it stated its aims as providing ‘MEDICAL AND SURGICAL AID TO THE SICK CHILDREN OF POOR PERSONS RESIDENT IN THE PARISHES CHRIST CHURCH, NORTH BRIXTON; ST. MICHAEL, STOCKWELL; ST. ANDREW, STOCKWELL; ST. ANN, SOUTH LAMBETH; ST. BARNABAS, SOUTH KENNINGTON; ST STEPHEN, SOUTH LAMBETH; AND ALL SAINTS, SOUTH LAMBETH.’ The plaque on the house was restored in 2012.

Kinki-Bee Characters Limited was set up around 1952 and sold hand-painted dolls and ornaments, bottle stoppers/pourers etc as collectors items. You can still find them on eBay and other web sites. A placard inside the window has the message ‘CHILDREN WANT REAL MOTHERS NOT MADE OF STONE’.

Tradescant sculpture, St Stephen's Church, Wilkinson St, St Stephen's Terrace, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-21
Tradescant sculpture, St Stephen’s Church, Wilkinson St, St Stephen’s Terrace, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-21

The Tradescant sculpture by Hilary Cartmel was funded by the local residents’ association and unveiled by naturalist David Bellamy in 1988 and is a memorial to the Tradescant family. John Tradescant, father and son, were 17th century nurserymen and collectors of plants from around the world based in Lambeth.

The sculpture stands on the pavement in front of St Stephen’s Church, built in 1967 to replace the large Victorian building of 1861, built to seat 1,200, which was demolished. The 1967 building has since been modified to replace its narrow slit windows with larger ones. But my back was to this rather plain brick building when I took this picture, and in the background is the rather fine dispensary building from 1866 on the corner of Wilkinson St and Bolney St.

To be continued.



Meadows, Tate Library & Albert Square

Wednesday, October 25th, 2023

Meadows, Tate Library & Albert Square continues my walk on Wednesday 19th July 1989 in Stockwell and South Lambeth which began with Stockwell Park, Bus Garage, Tower and Mason.

House, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-23
House, Meadow Place, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-23

Unfortunately the next few frames of my film were ruined in processing, though I can still see a few details on a couple of images, including the large house immediately north of Stockwell Baptist Church a house with the legend ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS at roof level which I can no longer find, but was probably further north on the same road.

This picture, taken on a second camera, is the next I still have. Meadow Place is a short street off the Old South Lambeth Road at the southern of its two junctions with South Lambeth Road. It ends at a blank brick wall, on the other side of which is the Bolney Meadow Community Centre on the 1930’s LCC Bolney Meadow Estate, at the north-west corner of the 1960s South Lambeth Estate.

In 1870 there was still some meadow land in the area; Meadow Place appears on the 25″ OS Maps with the 1871 survey as a row of a dozen houses next to St Stephens School with some small fields to the south and east, but the houses to the south of the street which remain were not then present, though they are shown on the next survey in 1893-4.

This small block, now with a roof terrace above the single storey end further from my camera is still there and looking much the same except the hanging baskets have gone. Just down the street immediately beyond this house is a narrow passage which I could not resist.

South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-24
South Lambeth Library, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-24

The passage took me to an alley, Stamford Buildings, which led back to South Lambeth Road, and from which I made this view of the Library across the road. These late Victorian flats and possibly Meadow Place were built on the site of John Tradescant’s garden.

Sir Henry Tate the sugar giant who lived in Streatham gave three libraries to the area, the Tate South Lambeth Library here and other larger libraries in Brixton and Streatham.

The terms of his gift appear to be unknown, but it seems likely that he will have exacted a promise from the then local authority that the library be kept open and free of charge to server the local community in perpetuity. It remains open despite repeated attempts by Lambeth Council to demolish or close it – and the documentation surrounding the bequest remain hidden.

The library opened in 1888 and still serves the community in the area many of whom are now Portuguese. Lambeth first tried to demolish it when they built their Mawbey Brough estate in the 1970s, but it survived. Then in 1999 they tried to close over half of the boroughs twelve libraries including this one but had to drop the plans after massive public objections, led by the newly formed Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library. In 2015 the council had another go at library closures – and again a forceful campaign by the Friends saved South Lambeth.

South Lambeth Library is not a listed building (though it is locally listed), probably because it has suffered some serious losses since 1888. As designed by local architect Sidney R J Smith (who also designed the Tate Gallery) it had copper cupolas on top of the two towers as well as a large porch, its roof supported by six caryatids. The copper perhaps went to aid the war effort (along with the railings) and the porch was apparently removed in the 1950s, probably to allow road widening.

Aldebert Terrace, St Stephen's Terrace, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-11
Aldebert Terrace, St Stephen’s Terrace, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-11

I was standing in Aldebert Terrace and looking across to the splendid terrace wich runs around the corner of St Stephen’s Terrace and Aldebert Terrace. It dates from the 1860s and is now part of the Albert Square Conservation Area. The house at the left of the picture is a little later. These unlisted houses on St Stephen’s Terrace are distinguished by their ornate decoration.

Albert Square, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-12
Albert Square, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-12

Houses around Albert Square are numbered consecutively and all of the houses on the four sides of the square are Grade II listed in five groups. The square was developed on farmland which had been a part of the ancient Manor of Vauxhall following a Private Act of Parliament in 1843 on a site known as the ’14 acres’, and was completed following an agreement with him in 1846 by Islington builder John Glenn together with an ‘Ornamental Ground for the use of the Lessees of the Square in the late 1840s. All except one of the original houses remain, No 37 on the edge of the square which had been damaged by bombing being demolished and replaced by a block of flats in the early 1960s

This picture has No 11 at the extreme right and is looking towards the south-east corner of the square and includes the houses from 3-11.

Albert Square, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-13
Albert Square, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-13

At the corner of Albert Square between No 5 and No 6 I could see the rather more modern and much plainer flats on Hampson Way on the Mursell Estate, a large LCC estate designed from 1961 by the LCC Architect’s Department and built in 1963-66. A tall fence separates it from Albert Square, with no way through. The estate has a long frontage on Clapham Road and is mostly relatively low rise as in the picture.

Albert Square, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-16
Albert Square, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-16

This view is looking at the same corner as the previous picture but taken from outside No 1. Towering above the Albert Square houses is the single large tower block on the Mursell Estate, Rundell Tower, with 82 flats. The estate seems well-planned and is generally regarded as one of the better council estates in the area, though many properties are of course now privately owned.

Albert Square, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-61
Albert Square, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7f-61

My final picture of Albert Square is a view across Albert Square Garden, taken over the fence looking across to the north-west side of the square. Like many London square gardens this is a private garden, open to residents of the square and other local residents who have to pay a licence fee. Albert Square Lambeth – A report on the Central Garden by David M Robinson for English Heritage is a very detailed account about the square and London square gardens in general and in particular these gardens which are now run by the Albert Square Garden Trust.

More from this walk in later posts.



Houses, Almshouses, A Pub and Cold Store

Wednesday, October 4th, 2023

Houses, Almshouses, A Pub and Cold Store: The end of my walk on 17th July 1989 which began with Back in Stockwell. The previous post was Stockwell Housing and Adventure.

Terrace, 195-203, Brixton Rd, Angell Town, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-64
Terrace, 195-203, Brixton Rd, Angell Town, Lambeth, 1989 89-7e-64

This terrace is on the east side of Brixton Road, with 195 on the corner with Normandy Road. They were built on a part of the large Lambeth Wick estate which was owned by the Church of England but was developed by Henry Richard Vassall, the third Baron Holland, who had adopted his wife’s maiden name of Vassall in 1800. The manor was leased to him in 1820 with a building lease that specified he had to built “houses of at least the third rate” and keep them in good repair, painting outside wood and ironwork every 4 years “and offensive trades were prohibited.”

Vassall’s lease was for 99 years and he let out small plots such as this one to builders and speculators on 80 year leases. The lease for the plot for these three-storey terraces was granted to James Crundall in 1824, but the actual date of completion of Alfred Place as they were known may have been a little later. The Grade II listing simply states early-mid C19.

The end wall facing Normandy Road has no windows – its interior layout is presumably similar to those houses in the middle of the terrace, but what would have been a massive slab of brickwork is relieved by a central pilaster and blind windows.

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

I was now on my way home and walked quickly north up Brixton Road before cutting through Crewdson Road to Clapham Rd and then turning down Fentiman Road, heading for Vauxhall Station.

It wasn’t until I stopped opposite No 124 that I made my next picture. This was built on part of the large Caron House estate which stretched north from South Lambeth Road. Fentiman Road was laid out just to the south of the large house after it and its extensive grounds were sold to Henry Beaufoy in 1838 and this unlisted mid-19th century building probably dates from shortly after this.

There are a number of other interesting buildings on this section of the road, some listed I did not stop to photograph, and I think the reflection in the car and the shadow of the tree which occupy much of the lower part of the picture may have made me stop here.

Caron's Almshouses,  Fentiman Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-63
Caron’s Almshouses, 121, Fentiman Rd, South Lambeth, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-63

Sir Philip Noel Caron, Dutch Ambassador to King James I founded his almshouses in 1621 on what is now Wandsworth Road to house seven woman aged over 60, but by the 1850s these were, according to the Survey of London ‘“uncomfortable and unsuitable” for aged persons‘ and the site was sold to Price’s Patent Candle Company for their factory. They sold the site in 1865 to the Phoenix Gas Light and Coke Company, which later became part of the South-Eastern Gas Board.

The £1500 from the sale in 1853 was used to erect these new almshouses in a Tudor style in 1854 and they are now Grade II listed. Various charity amalgamations took place over the years and in the 1990s the Trustees granted a 50-year lease on the almshouses to the Family Housing Association. Modernised and repaired they were officially reopened by the Dutch Ambassador in 1997 and are still housing local women in need.

Builders Arms, pub, Wyvil Rd, Vauxhall, Lambeth 1989 89-7g-52
Builders Arms, pub, Wyvil Rd, Vauxhall, Lambeth 1989 89-7g-52

The pub was built in 1870 and an application for a licence refused in 1871 but it did open shortly afterwards, and remains open now, though under a different name. At some time in became Wyvils, then the Vauxhall Griffin, but after it was bought in around 2018 by Belle Pubs & Restaurants they renamed it the Griffin Belle. According to Camra, “Refurbished in contemporary style in 2017, with a further make-over in 2018, the interior now features varied seating, plastic foliage and an array of TV screens showing sport (can be noisy at times). Upper floor has been converted to hotel rooms.”

Still overshadowed by tall buildings (although those in my picture have been replaced by more recent versions) and on the edge of what has for some years been the largest building site in the country if not in Europe, stretching all the way to Battersea, its earlier name might have been more appropriate.

Nine Elms Cold Store, Brunswick House, Wandsworth Rd, Nine Elms, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-53
Nine Elms Cold Store, Brunswick House, Wandsworth Rd, Nine Elms, Lambeth, 1989 89-7g-53

Brunswick House is still there on one of the busiest traffic schemes in the country, at the junction of Wandsworth Road and Nine Elms Lane close to Vauxhall Cross, but the Nine Elms Cold Store is long gone, replaced by St George Wharf, which isn’t a wharf but a “landmark riverside development spanning across 7 acres of London’s newest area of regeneration” with the 48 storey Tower which is the tallest solely residential building in the UK.

Some describe it as ‘magnificent’ but others think it hideous and I’m more inclined to the latter view. The Guardian in 2016 called it “a stark symbol of the housing crisis“, with two-thirds of the apartments in the Tower “in foreign ownership, with a quarter held through secretive offshore companies based in tax havens.” At its peak is a £51 million five-storey penthouse “ultimately owned by the family of former Russian senator Andrei Guriev“.

Brunswick House has a long article on Wikipedia. It dates back to the mid seventeenth century but was extended in 1758. In 1860 it was bought by the London and South West Railway Company who used it as offices and a Scientific and Literary Institute. In 1994 it was sold to the railway staff association who again sold it in 2002. It is now a restaurant and the yard around it is used by an architectural salvage and supply company.

The Nine Elms Cold Store was built in 1964, a huge windowless monolith erected on the site of the South Metropolitan Gas Works, ideally placed to take barge loads of frozen meat and other goods from London’s docks and store them in its 150,000,000 cubic feet of cold dark space for onward distribution from the adjacent railway yard or by lorry. But when the docks ran down it was redundant, only 15 years after its construction.

According to Kennington Runoff after it closed it became “used illicitly as a cruising ground, a recording studio, a performance space and even a convenient spot for devil worshiping.” It remained in place derelict until 1999 as it was extremely difficult to demolish and it provided a popular location for filming when desolate urban industrial landscapes were required.

Vauxhall Station was a short walk down the road and I was soon sitting on a train on my way home.



TQ30

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
Shop, Brixton Hill, Brixton, 1991TQ3074-001

Back in 1986 I began a serious attempt to photograph London. Serious but not entirely credible I set out the photograph the whole of the city. Of course I never thought I could photograph everything, but set out a number of principles or themes that would govern my project, or rather a series of projects that I continued to work on for the next ten or 15 years.

Streatham High Rd, 1990 TQ3071-002

The larger part of this work was in black and white, and concentrated on buildings and streets, the physical infrastructure of London, with the goal of photographing every built structure I thought significant, as well as representatives of the typical across the city. You can see a little of this on Flickr in the album 1986 London Photographs, which contains over 1300 photographs, perhaps a third of those I took in the first six or seven months of the project.

Heads & Dummy, Shop,Streatham High Rd, Streatham, 1990TQ3072-010

In colour I was largely concerned with a more intimate level, or how individuals arranged their surroundings and how this reflected their differing social and cultural values. Some of the more obvious reflections of this came in small businesses with the face they displayed toward the public, particularly in shop windows and interiors, which feature strongly in this work.

Bedford Rd, Clapham, 1992 TQ3075-025

The previous year I had abandoned colour transparency and moved to working with colour negative film which provided much greater flexibility. For some years this was entirely trade-processed, and to cut costs (I had a young family to support) I used cheap processing companies aimed for the amateur market. Technically these were rather variable (even from the same company) and the prints I received back, usually 6×4″ ‘enprints’, were extremely variable in quality.

Shop, South Lambeth Rd, South Lambeth, 1989 TQ3077-005

As the stack of fat envelopes containing the negative strips and prints grew I wondered how to make some order of them, and came up with the idea of a traverse of the city with pictures filed together representing a number of ‘vertical’ north-south 1km wide strips of London based around the National Grid.

Cafe, Plato Rd, Brixton, 1989 TQ3077-009

Prints from negatives that interested me were then filed in a series of A4 files, labelled with the first 4 digits of the six figure grid reference which I had begun to mark on the prints. The pictures in this post are all from ‘TQ30’, and the 1km wide strip starts at Streatham and goes north from there. I started scrap book style, pasting the prints onto cartridge paper, but soon moved to using plastic file pages which held four prints on each side, arranging the prints roughly in order of their ‘northings’ in kilometre squares.

From these albums – a longish row of A4 files on my shelves – I was able to select images that were worth printing larger, keeping costs down by printing and processing in my own home darkroom. I’d discovered that Fuji colour paper not only gave cleaner looking prints but enabled the kind of dodging and burning that I’d become used to in black and white without the unwelcome colour shifts of other papers. I’ve had one set of prints from a show in the mid-80s framed on the wall beside the stairs since that show. They are out of direct sun and 35 years later show little of no sign of fading.

Bicycle, Shop, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, 1989 TQ3078-005

I began putting images from this project on Flickr several months ago, and at the start tried to replicate the layout of the albums – and the vagaries of the prints in terms of colour balance, exposure, saturation etc. Having done several 1km strips like this I’ve decided it doesn’t really work to well, and although I’m still scanning the prints in their sheets of four have separated them into individual images – still roughly in the same order – for TQ30. And while some of the defects of those trade-processed prints are still evident (and occasionally rather a lot of dust on the plastic sleeves) I’ve tried to improve the colour balance etc where necessary. But they are still showing enprints enlarged on screen and this makes some problems more visible.

So far I’ve put just over 100 prints into the album TQ30, from Streatham to Westminster, with another 250 or more to follow, taking the ‘slice’ north to Hornsey. You can view them on Flickr.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.