North Lambeth history
Although the origins of the area lie in its proximity to the river Thames it has developed a strong arts and cultural flavour.
The oldest known bridge across the river Thames was at what became known as Vauxhall from 750-400 BC. The name is thought to come from a mercenary in the reign of King John 1166-1216 - Fulk le Breant, whose home was known locally as Fulk's Hall.
The riverside area south of the Thames became an industrial area because of the ease with which raw materials and finished products could be transported along the river. Vauxhall Ironworks at 90 Wandsworth Road was an example of this, and developed into Vauxhall Motors.
The pottery industry in the area developed in the Vauxhall area in the 17th and 18th centuries, with John Doulton's Royal Doulton Company having premises in Vauxhall Walk, Lambeth Walk and Lambeth High Street. Doulton worked closely with the renowned Lambeth School of Art and several well known artists including George Tinworth. The company developed in the 1830s and 40s as the need for sanitary ware and glazed pipes to replace out of date sewers.
The former Ragged School (for children of the poor) was built by Beaufoy in 1851 in Newport St and is now the Beaconsfield Art Gallery. Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens were created in 1661. Vauxhall Park opened in 1890 thanks to the efforts of Octavia Hill who went on to co-found the National Trust.
The name Kennington is thought to originate from the Saxon Kyning-ton (town or place of the King). Edward III created the Duchy of Cornwall estate which included much of Kennington for his oldest son known as the Black Prince in 1337. The present Duchy of Cornwall estate in Kennington was built as a model estate in the early 1900s.
Kennington Common was enclosed and became Kennington Park after the Chartist movement made it a rallying point in 1848. Seen by many as the birthplace of British democracy, Kennington Park was visited by His Holy Emperor Haille Selassie in 1937 and has been revered by the Rastafarian community since then.
The site now occupied by St Mark's Church was a public execution site, where Jacobean supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie were hanged in 1746.
Lower Marsh, named because it lies on the site of the ancient Lambeth Marsh which first appeared in historical records in 1377, is an historic street which has operated as a street market and a centre for local shopping since the middle of the 19th century. At its peak it stretched from Blackfriars to Vauxhall. The world's first circus was located on the site now occupied by St Thomas' Hospital.
Lilian Baylis, with her aunt Emma Cons, ran the music hall which later became the Old Vic. She went on to take over the Sadlers' Wells Theatre and co-founded the Saddlers Wells Ballet Company and lived at Stockwell Park Road.
William Blake, artist and visionary, lived in Hercules Road. Charlie Chaplin, world famous comedy actor lived at various addresses including Kennington Road and the poor house at Renfrew Road, now home to the Cinema Museum. Vincent Van Gogh lived in Hackford Road for a time.
Captain Bligh survived a 5,800 km voyage in an open boat following the mutiny on the bounty and came to live at 100 Lambeth Road in 1794. His grave is in St Mary's Churchyard.
The Tradescants, collectors of plants, lived near south Lambeth Road as did Elias Ashmole, founder of Oxford's Ashmolean museum. Another prominent local family were the Dollands, originally (1750) microscope and telescope manufacturers, then opticians.