The Vauxhall area is flat, part of the great low-lying plains of clay deposits formed by the River Thames in the London Basin.
Historically the area was in two parts; to the north the Mawby Estate belonging to the Manor of Kennington and to the south the Caron House Estate belonging to Vauxhall Manor. Harleyford Road roughly marks the boundary between the two manors which were separated by the northern arm of Vauxhall Creek (now called the River Effra). The Effra now flows below ground.
The name ‘Kennington’ has been interpreted as meaning ‘royal manor’ and it has been suggested that Saxon kings had a palace there. In 1337 Edward III granted the manors of Kennington and Vauxhall and a meadow in Lambeth and Newington to Edward, Earl of Chester and Duke of Cornwall, commonly known as the Black Prince. With the exception of the sequestration during the Commonwealth period, this grant has remained operative ever since, and the Manor of Kennington is administered with the other estates belonging to the Duchy of Cornwall.
The name ‘Vauxhall’ (Fauxhall) is derived from Falkes de Breaute, the second husband of Margaret, widow of Baldwin de Redvers who owned the manor in the 13th century. In 1293 South Lambeth Manor and ‘la Sale Faukes’ passed to Edward I.
Enclosure, the process by which common land is taken into private ownership, was well advanced in Vauxhall by the beginning of the 16th century. Most of the freehold land in Vauxhall Manor was held at the beginning of the 17th century by Sir Noel de Caron, Lord of Schoonewale in Flanders, Ambassador to Elizabeth I and James I. In 1602 he bought a ‘greate howse’ with about 70 acres. Later he added several further pieces of land. The original Caron House was pulled down in the 1680s, but subsequent houses carried the name forward.
The land around Vauxhall was flat, marshy in parts and poorly drained by ditches. With the exception of industrial and commercial uses lining the bank of the Thames, the wider area served as market gardens. The opening of Westminster Bridge in 1750 brought urban development to the Waterloo area and development slowly spread southward. In Vauxhall, Brunswick House is a survivor from this period.
In the 1840s the railway line was extended from Nine Elms to Vauxhall on a viaduct which essentially cleaved Vauxhall in two. The riverside area intensified for industrial uses including gas works and factories whilst the area inland became predominantly, but not wholly, residential. Vauxhall Station opened in 1848. The viaduct subsequently extended northward to Waterloo and has been widened in a number of phases since.
The industrial innovations of the 19th century had an immeasurable impact on the area, although few physical reminders from this industrial period remain. The introduction of factories, timber mills and gas works changed the visual and social make-up of the area, as heavy industry came to dominate the middle-classes began to move out. The Beaufoy Vinegar works (Regents Bridge Gardens) dates from 1812. Wine, gin and vinegar were produced on the site. Some brewery buildings survive on Durham Street; this site subsequently became a Marmite factory in the 1920s. Keybridge House on South Lambeth Road was built on the site of Brand’s fish paste factory. The Albert Embankment was laid out in the 1860s, clearing the historic riverside and bringing with it new industry.
Residential development in the area brought with it the need for more schools, churches and community facilities such as public houses and gradually the area was transformed from one of market gardens to an urban area. St Peter’s Church, Kennington lane was erected in 1863 on a site which was formerly part of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The Gothic façade of St Anne’s Church, South Lambeth Road dates from its extension in the 1870s, St Anne’s RC Church, Kennington Lane opened in 1903. There are also a number of impressive Victorian pubs within the conservation area.
Poor environmental quality due to the numerous local industrial uses gradually drove away discerning residents in the late 19th century and many of the streets fell into slums while others saw the houses subdivided into lodging houses.
Rowton House at 11-13 Bondway dates from 1892 and was the first of a chain of hostels for working men sponsored by the Victorian philanthropist Lord Rowton.
In the wider area inter-war slum clearance schemes removed the worst of the 19th Century slums. During the Second World War historic railings were removed for the war effort. Enemy action and neglect during the war took its toll on the area and further slum clearances followed in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Kennington Lane has become a recognised lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) venue and a flagship for the gay community. Its presence, along with the availability of inexpensive premises locally has allowed LGBT bars and clubs to flourish. Vauxhall’s reputation as a destination for the LGBT community is now well established and has developed into a cluster known collectively as ‘Voho’.
In the 1970s the Council comprehensively refurbished a number of groups of the 1820s properties, mostly on Harleyford Road. Great efforts were made to remove inappropriate alterations, restoring lost details and generally repairing and restoring the historic fabric. This was part of a borough-wide initiative which represented a move away from the previous slum-clearance policies towards conservation best practice.
Vauxhall underground station, on the Victoria Line, opened in 1971. The decorative tiles on the platforms are of rustic benches representing the historic Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
Statutory listing in the 1970s and a changing attitude to the historic environment halted further comprehensive development schemes.
Gentrification of the residential streets slowly followed- leading to the refurbishment of properties and further investment in the locality. The old commercial and industrial buildings, railway arches and premises have gradually been replaced or re-used. This process is ongoing.
Major regeneration is ongoing in central Vauxhall. It is largely taking the form of tall building development between the River Thames and the railway viaduct. Substantial investment in the
wider locality has seen improvements to open spaces and the public realm.
The main source of Vauxhall street histories is the London Borough of Lambeth’s Vauxhall Conservation Area documents at https://www.lambeth.gov.uk .
The ubiquitous Gillian Bebbington is responsible for much of the rest.
Ashmole Street – after Elias Ashmole, noted 17th century antiquarian, who lived near here
Auckland Street is an 1860s survivor, albeit in curtailed form.
Bedser Close – for Alec Bedser, widely regarded as one of the best English cricketers of the 20th century, by association with the nearby Oval Cricket Ground
Black Prince Road – after Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III, who owned this land
Bondway is named after the late 18th century developers of this street John and Sarah Bond was was formerly Bond Street.
It runs parallel to the railway viaduct from South Lambeth Place south to Miles Street. The buildings represent one of the last coherent group of Vauxhalls commercial character, a variety of brick buildings of roughly similar heights (between 4 to 6 storeys) give a coherent character. Of particular note are the former bank, Rowton House and a narrow Dutch style block dating from the 1880s.
Bonnington Square was, built in the 1870s to house railway workers. It became famous in the 1980s when all the houses in it, vacant and awaiting demolition, were squatted.
Bonnington Square’s name and layout suggests a traditional London square with perimeter housing facing a central communal garden. However, the central element that should contain a garden is built upon. The result is an irregular townscape of very dense Victorian housing development (especially in the central part where back-to back distances between properties are very short). It is not a through route and has a quiet and intimate character.
It has a strong sense of enclosure and an intimate character due to the relatively narrow road width in relation to the three storey building heights.
The robust Italian Gothic style terraced houses of 1881 have characterful gault brick and cast stone facades. No. 13 has a traditional corner shop.
There is a strong degree of architectural unity but for No. 85, Vine Lodge, which is a quirky, two-storey early-mid 19th century villa which, adds great townscape interest to the street scene.
In the 1960s, the run down properties of Bonnington Square were let at peppercorn rents to groups collectively known as the Bonnington Housing Coop. In the early 1990s the Bonnington Square Garden Association began planting street trees, vines and creating small community gardens in the surrounding area which have since matured to great effect.
In the late 1970s, Bonnington Square was compulsorily purchased by the Greater London Council (GLC) for the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA), which intended to demolish it in order to build a new school. A Turkish shopkeeper in one of the buildings managed to prevent the demolition through legal means during the period in which all the houses’ occupants were departing, and shortly after squatters began moving into the vacated buildings. The squatters subsequently formed housing cooperatives and successfully negotiated with ILEA for the right to lease the buildings. The squatters established a volunteer-run vegetarian cafė, and a community garden on part of the square which had been bombed during the Second World War.
Inside the garden
In 1990 the residents of the square undertook a project to change the garden into a “Pleasure Garden” (named in homage to the nearby Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens), in the process forming the Bonnington Square Garden Association. In 1998 the housing cooperative was permitted by the London Borough of Lambeth to purchase the buildings.
Bonnington Square is given a unique quality by its street trees and dense pavement planting which is a mixture of in-ground planning and planting in pots. The character is lush, alien and exotic. A former bomb site has also been landscaped into a particularly attractive sub-tropical community garden. Further pocket gardens have been created in each of the corners of the square adding to this exceptional character.
Bowling Green Street – this land was formerly a bowling green leased to the owners of the nearby Horns Tavern
Carroun Road – after the former Carroun, or Caron, House which stood here
Clapham Road – as it leads to the south-west London area of this name
Claylands Place and Claylands Road – after the former brick clay fields located here prior to 1800
Clayton Street – after the Clayton family, who leased much of this land from the Duchy of Cornwall from the 1660s on
Durham Street links Kennington Lane to Harleyford Road. Aligned north-south it is wide, straight and fairly leafy (street trees). The east side of the road is dominated by the former buildings of the New London Brewery.
The best of these are handsome Italianate style mid-late 19th century premises in gault brick – a lodge and a courtyard block behind has an attractive stucco oriel window and incorporates a handsome clock.
The west side of the street is characterised by a three-storey late 19th century terrace and a three-storey late 19th century former public house (No.4). There are good glimpses to the rear of premises on Kennington Lane.
A 19th century sewer vent column marks the junction with Harleyford Road.
This is a broad, attractive road aligned NW – SE which has a leafy residential character. Views SE are into the St Mark’s Conservation Area. From the NW end the view is terminated by the Gothic façade of St Anne’s Church.
On the north side, Vauxhall Park has a long frontage enclosed by railings and lends a leafy character to this end. Next to the park gate are the modest Noel Caron Almshouses (1854) which have been established locally since the 17th Century. The row is in red brick in a Tudor Revival style and sits in an attractive garden.
Next to these are a row of 1830s stucco villas (three storeys plus basement) which bring architectural formality in mature front gardens enclosed by railings. Forming an attractive landmark at the junction with Meadow Road is the Cavalry Church – red brick in the Perpendicular style it marks the eastern boundary of the conservation area.
The South side of Fentiman Road is characterised by late 19th century terraced housing in two distinct groups. These properties (nos. 105 – 189) are a particularly ornate terrace in red brick with lavish Queen Anne style detailing. Unfortunately some have been painted and this ruins their collective effect. The rest of the street has more conventional properties with canted bays; again three storeys. There are three rows, each of six houses, to the junction with Rita Road and then another two rows beyond that. At the west end a final row, originally of six, has been largely demolished (only one house remains) and replaced by the Travis Perkins timber yard.
This road forms the northern boundary of the Vauxhall conservation area and is named for the former Vauxhall Glassworks here, which thrived in the 1700s.
Originally a street of 19th century terraced houses built on the site of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in the 1860s. The houses were cleared in the post-war period to recreate the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens but the road remains. Its alignment allows glimpse views of the rear elevations of nos. 342-348 Kennington Lane which add historic character.
Runs north – south along the edge of the railway viaduct and defining the western side of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The street is presently no more than a service route for the rea of premises in the arches. The viaduct itself is a string and imposing architectural form albeit neglected. The arches are all infilled with commercial units and their forecourts / the road dominated by parked vehicles, bins and servicing – to the detriment of the setting of the street scene and the setting of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The creation of more frontages in the arches fronting Goding Street have the potential to address this harm.
Harleyford Court is an interwar block of flats of four-storeys, red brick with green tile-hung bay windows. Beyond to its east are terraced houses (mostly mid-late 19th century of three-storeys over semi-basement) which continue around the corner onto Kennington Oval. Round-headed dormers here add interest to the roofscape. The view to the south east is to the contemporary structures of the Oval Cricket Ground.
Harleyford Road was named after local leaseholders the Claytons, whose country house was Harleyford Manor, Buckinghamshire.
The opening of Vauxhall Bridge in 1816 that spurred urban development in the area. Harleyford Road was laid as part of the Turnpike system bringing new development of the area. Properties on the south side of Kennington Lane date from the early 19th century and many of the properties on Harleyford Road and were built in the 1820s including St Mark’s School. Development in Vauxhall was generally piecemeal and dependent on the granting of leases. While urbanisation began in the 1820s it was not complete until the 1890s.
Aligned northwest-southeast, Harleyford Road is a wide and busy arterial road linking Kennington Lane to Kennington Oval. It has a varied architectural character but its historic buildings are predominantly Regency in date and style. The view to the north west is terminated in the distance by the monumental post-modern M16 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross.
The western section on the north side is characterised by early 19th century stock brick and stucco terraced houses of two-storeys (some over semi-basements); a builder’s yard with railing (at the back of premises fronting Kennington Lane) breaks up the frontage to ill effect. A quirk in the built frontage adds townscape richness here as do the varied traditional roof forms.
The urban character of the road is softened to the east of these houses by the large open playground of St Anne’s RC Primary School on the north side which has historic gateways (salvaged from the previous school on the site) built into the otherwise modern boundary. The open playground allows good views to the rear of St Anne’s Church and the roofscape / rears of premises on Kennington Lane.
The eastern section of the remaining north side of Harleyford Road is characterised by mostly early 19th century development. The attractive group at the junction with Durham Street includes a former corner pub (now residential) which is something of a landmark in views from Kennington Oval.
To the east of the junction is the Beehive PH (interwar, picturesque half-timbered in a Tudor style), a handsome early 19th century stock brick and stucco terrace of three-storeys over semi-basement, and St Mark’s Primary School which marks the corner in an attractive landscaped garden. These buildings collectively have a smart urban character and are largely Regency in style and traditional in built form.
The heavily planted community garden and other trees brings much welcome greenery.
The Beehive Public House, No. 51 Harleyford Road is an interwar building, half-timbered in the Tudor Revival style, two-storeys, plain tile roof, three large full dormers, transomed and mullioned casement windows with leaded lights.
The former Durham Arms Public House, No. 41 Harleyford Road is an early/mid 19th century corner building now in residential use. Three storeys over semi-basement, three-bays each to Harleyford Road and Durham Street, stucco incised with vertical and horizontal lines, moulded string band between ground and first-floors, parapet, sash windows, stone steps to double door with transom light above, front area enclosed with attractive original railings. Modern zinc clad mansard roof.
Jonathan Street – for Jonathan Tyers and his son, managers of the nearby Vauxhall Gardens for much of the 18th century
Aligned west – east, it is wide and straight and has a strong sense of enclosure which adds to the urban character. Its linear character means that views up and down are particularly important. In this regard advertising panels attached to the flank elevations of nos. 348, 349 and No. 383 are highly visible and cause severe harm to amenity.
The north side of the road has a strong 19th century character and dates from the 1860s when the original Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens was redeveloped. At the west end, adjoining the railway viaduct stands the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT) with its curved brick frontage and pedimented ends. It stands isolated due to post-war clearances which created the current Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens but still has an important townscape role. The tavern terminates views north along South Lambeth Road and its east flank has a lush green wall treatment. The park entrance to the east is well landscaped and marked by very tall, landmark columns of black concrete with feature lighting and sculptures. To the east (no. 350) is a good office block dating from 1990s in a pastiche Regency style which sits well with its neighbours to the east and takes some of its architectural references from the RVT.
Between Glyn Street and Tyers Street is a relatively uniform three storey terrace of fourteen early 19th century properties with shops. They mostly have London roofs and sash windows and their rear elevations are all highly visible from the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The two western properties, at the corner with Glyn Street, are slightly different with mansard roofs and a curved corner flank– making them attractive townscape contributors. Many historic shop front elements survive.
On the west side of the junction with Tyers Street is another terrace of three properties with London roofs which lead to the St Peter’s Church complex (1863-4). The former orphanage has an imposing Gothic Revival façade; the church, with its tall gable, rises hard off the back of the pavement in a similarly imposing manner. These are an important landmark in the street and are enhanced to the east by the vicarage (No. 308 – a Regency house with Victorian alterations). Unusually it has a leafy front garden and this landscaped space, especially its large mature tree, bring welcome greenery to the street. The conservation area boundary currently ends here, at the junction of St Oswald’s Place.
Crossing Durham Street is a terrace of four assorted three-storey properties with deep single storey shop projections. The main buildings all date from the early 19th century and exhibit detailing from that period including traditional valley roofs. The first, no. 349, is degraded slightly by replacement windows. No. 355, The Royal Oak PH has a particularly impressive pub front (dated 1891) at ground floor level. A little passage leads down the side of the pub serving an Edwardian commercial development to its east – lending richness to the townscape. Fronting the street is an altered three storey Edwardian block in red brick and behind are workshop buildings with loading doors and a link walk. Rear of these all visible from Durham Street.
St Anne’s Church, red brick with an imposing tower, dates from 1903-7 and has a strong Gothic presence and excellent architectural detailing. The tower is a landmark feature in views along Kennington Lane.
The properties from the church to the corner of Harleyford Road all date from the early 1800s and are typically three storeys with stucco finishes /detailing. St Anne’s Presbytery, nearest the church, has particularly impressive architectural detailing. Next door are a pair of mid 19th century houses with London roofs; these three have small front gardens which bring welcome greenery. A large commercial shed fills the next plot but it is well detailed to the street in painted stucco. A stucco terrace (now in commercial use) and then two pairs of semi-detached premises with shop fronts and London roofs. The latter mark the corner with Harleyford Road and have London roofs. Large panel advertisement on the flank elevation cause harm.
This junction where Kennington Road, Harleyford Road and South Lambeth Road meet is an important one. It has a spacious character and is a busy pedestrian crossing point. The buildings around and the views add much to the townscape character. So too do the presence of trees and a glimpse view into the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The view east along Kennington Lane is enhanced by the tree at no. 308. The view to the west is of the ornamental brick railway viaduct and in the backdrop the distinctive roofline of the St George Wharf development beyond.
The Royal Oak, No. 355 Kennington Lane is a very good example of an unaltered Public House dating from 1891. Three-storeys, two bays, red brick, stucco window surrounds and cornice, pediment with keyed oculus, 1/1 sash windows. Projecting pub front of one-storey, recessed corner entrance, stucco stallriser, original windows, pilasters with Corinthian capitals, fascia with traditional painted signage and decorative stucco face masks, surmounted by balustrade, raised at corner section to form decorative pediment and date stone, Victorian style projecting lanterns. The flank of this building is important due to its visibility from Kennington Lane.
Eagle London (formerly The Duke of Cambridge Public House), No. 349 Kennington Lane is a mid 19th century, four-storeys, five-bays, stucco (black painted), parapet with decorative balustrade and swan neck pediment at centre. Heavily altered frontage, two attractive projecting 19th century style lanterns. Rear is visible from Durham Street.
Royal Vauxhall Tavern, No. 372 Kennington Lane is a three storey stock brick building with convex façade and pediments to parapet ends. The building is a locally listed landmark in Vauxhall adjoining the entrance of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
These are a late 19th century red brick terrace of two-storeys with attic over semi-basement.
Langley Lane is an intimate and leafy residential street, aligned west – east and linking Bonnington Square to South Lambeth Road. The north side is characterised by late 20th century two to three-storey terraced houses. The only historic building on this side is to the west – Langley Mansions – a substantial late 19th century block of flats erected by the Peabody Trust. At the extreme west end is a recently completed student housing scheme – its brickwork elevations relate well to the other properties on the street and the general effect is harmonious.
The south side of Langley Lane is in three distinct parts. At the west end is the former Lawn Lane School (see Lawn Lane) where high walls and railings front Langley Lane. In the middle on the south side is a low residential terrace (Nos. 4-38) dating from the late 20th century and at the east end is the substantial Park Mansions.
The view east is into Bonnington Square (the attractive roof of Vine Lodge is particularly noticeable here). The view west is towards London Borough of Wandsworth.
Laud Street – after William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633-45, by association with the nearby Lambeth Palace
Lawn Lane – after a former row of houses here called The Lawn, after their grass plots, demolished in 1889-90
Lawn Lane is a long, relatively narrow street terminating in a cul-de-sac at its eastern end. It is aligned west – east and encloses the north side of Vauxhall Park (which brings welcome greenery). All of its buildings (on the north side) are highly visible from across the park and contribute to its setting.
At the east end is the handsome former Lawn Lane School (1908) at (Nos. 40 – 42) – an attractive Queen Anne style London Board School in red brick and stock brick which has been converted into flats. Its long elevation faces east. Its playground is now car parking and additional residential blocks (2002) have been built to its immediate west.
The central section of Lawn Lane is commercial in character – dominated by Nos. 10-12 (Park Place) a former Victorian laundry – three gable ended blocks present to the street – each diminishing in size as they move westward. At the west end is the substantial Park Mansions.
Named after the former meadows here attached to Caron House.
Meadow Road – named after the former meadows here attached to Caron House.
The Calgary Church is a landmark here and the rest of the street on this side is largely characterised by two storey, mid 19th century terraced housing (Nos. 4 – 42). These are in stock brick with stucco dressings, sash windows and London roofs and present an attractive, informal group. Mature front gardens add much to the character of the street frontage.
Runs from South Lambeth Road to Wandsworth Road. Only St Anne’s Church on its southern side is within the conservation area. Here the Georgian flank elevation (with the later Victorian additions) of St Anne’s Church provides welcome architectural and historic interest. The street is relatively low scale and has an open quality due to the two storey gated commercial development and associated car parking which sits outside the conservation area boundary to the north. The railway arch terminates the view towards Wandsworth Road and frames a view of St George Wharf Tower and to the East open views of Vauxhall Park and Fentiman Road. St Anne’s Church has important landmark status as Miles Street meets the prominent junction with South Lambeth Road, Fentiman Road.
New Spring Gardens Walk
New Spring Gardens Walk is named after the former Vauxhall Gardens here.
This is a roadway through the railway viaduct linking Albert Embankment to Goding Street. Inside the brick archway construction joints illustrates the phases of viaduct expansion. A neon lighting installation decorates the arch soffit. There are glazed bricks to the walling at the Goding Street end. The character is strongly urban and industrial. Views east are into the leafy Vauxhall Spring Gardens.
Nine Elms Lane – after a row of nine elm tress which formerly stood along this lane
Oval Cricket Ground
Since it opened in 1845 on the site of a market garden owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, the Oval Cricket Ground has been South London’s major sporting arena, the home of the Surrey County Cricket Club.
Oval Way – after the adjacent Oval Cricket Ground
Parry Street – after Thomas Parry, 17th century statesman and owner of Copt Hall, a house near here
Regents Bridge Gardens
This is a gated residential development located east of South Lambeth Road, south of Fentiman Road and accessed from Rita Road. At the heart of the development are assorted 19th century buildings in stock brick – mostly industrial – surviving building from the former vinegar works on the site.
Conversion to residential use was sympathetically undertaken in the 1990s with infill housing being erected on gaps within the site. The principal building has a distinctive roof-top clock tower and one large timber framed shed is used for car parking. The result is a unique industrial survivor (industrial heritage is scarce in Lambeth) of much character and interest.
St Oswald’s Place
Runs north from Kennington Lane and is a side street, with a narrow carriageway. The east side, is largely characterised by a five-storey post-war blocks standing in lawns and parking courts. Only the west side within in the conservation area – here the buildings rise hard off the back of pavement giving an intimate character. Moving north an old brick garden wall leads to the picturesque composition of the former St Peter’s Schools, designed in Gothic style. Adjoining buildings continue to the established building line and brick character. At the north end is a sympathetic modern row – new facilities for Vauxhall City Farm with apartments over. Beyond to the north are allotment gardens (glimpse views through the fencing give opne informality) followed by the rears of properties fronting Tyers Street which add townscape interest.
Looking south along St Oswald’s place the rear of properties in Kennington Lane can be appreciated and across a back garden the flank elevation of St Peters Church can also be seen. The view north is terminated by a kink in the road alignment which adds to the richness of the townscape experience.
Sancroft Street – after William Sancroft, 79th Archbishop of Canterbury, by association with the nearby Lambeth Palace
South Lambeth Place
South Lambeth Place – refers to a harbour where lambs were either shipped from or to. It is formed from the Old English ‘lamb’ and ‘hythe’.
South Lambeth Place links South Lambeth Road to Bondway. For most of its length it runs through the viaduct spanned relatively wide and deep railway bridge below Vauxhall Station. This alignment through the viaduct is due to the presence of the presence of the River Effra flowing beneath. The character is hard, industrial and Victorian with activity brought by some railway arch uses. At the Bondway end the former Elephant and Castle PH (now a coffee shop) turns the corner – it is an attractive landmark building – and the attractive Vauxhall Station building and viaduct add architectural
Former Elephant and Castle Public House, No. 2 South Lambeth Place is locally listed and occupies a prominent corner plot at Vauxhall Station. Dating from the mid-late 19th century, upper floors are in stock brick and there is also a good tiled shop front at ground floor dating from the early 20th century. The decorative stucco work at upper floors include elephant emblems and large elephant and castle statues decorate each of the parapets.
South Lambeth Road
This broad main road runs south to Stockwell from Kennington Lane. It has a characterful winding alignment. The west side north from Parry Street is dominated by the railway viaduct of Vauxhall Station which continues north towards Waterloo. The viaduct, although neglected, has an imposing and impressive impact on the locality – lending a strong industrial character. Where Kennington Road pushes through the viaduct the brickwork becomes much more ornamental – with taller parapet, stone dressings piers, panels, keystones etc. marking the presence of Vauxhall Station. The bridge over Kennington Lane is decorated with a painting of a steam train but advertising hoardings detract here. The RVT is a landmark at this end and street trees make a valuable contribution.
Staying on the west side and travelling south the next noteworthy building is St Anne’s Church, a Georgian building – the oldest in the Vauxhall conservation area – with elaborate Victorian Gothic façade of the 1870s. Its squat corner tower marks the meeting of Fentiman Road, Miles Street and South Lambeth Road and the building is a landmark on that side of the road.
As the road winds further south the Wyvil Rd Primary School (an imposing Board School in the Queen Anne style) is another attractive landmark on South Lambeth Road.
To its south, the intimate Wheatsheaf Lane with the former Wheatsheaf PH and the Wheatsheaf Hall (both 19th century) have great townscape value.
The short terrace of Victorian housing beyond (Nos. 128-136) contribute to this group and the bank of mature trees to the junction of Walton Close add welcome greenery to the townscape views.
Opposite the Travis Perkins timber yard is a large site with a long frontage. It also opens onto Fentiman Road and has a long boundary with Regents Bridge Gardens. The buildings on the site are of no interest but its use is long established and its sensitive location presents a development opportunity. Immediately to its north, adding to the sensitivity around the Travis Perkin’s site, are nos. 57 & 59 – an attractive Regency group – are now used as a marble yard.
Immediately to the north is a terrace of Venetian Gothic style 19th century properties in red brick with shop fronts. Many replacement windows and poor shop fronts detract from the character somewhat but the block has great townscape value at the corner with Fentiman Road. Northwards Vauxhall Park occupies the east side – with a long sweeping frontage of chain-link fencing (very poor) on a brick plinth and ornamental gates and each end. The open, leafy character of the park is a welcome break in this busy urban location here. Mature street trees opposite (outside the conservation
area) are also of value.
As the road sweeps northward the picturesque mass of Park Mansions (1890s) comes into view – a four storey Queen Anne style mansion block- a well detailed and carefully massed block in red brick, it forms an attractive landmark between Lawn Lane and Langley Lane.
On South Lambeth Road to the north of Langley Lane an early 19th century building with a complementary 1970s extension (Nos. 27 & 29) houses the British Interplanetary Society. Their traditional forms, materials and details announce the rich character of the buildings on the adjoining side streets.
A new block of student housing to the immediate north (Nos. 21-25) is of sympathetic scale and of a brick finish. It runs to the corner with Vauxhall Grove. The remaining frontage of South Lambeth Road – north to Kennington Lane is fronted by the uninspiring block of Cobalt House which has a long and oppressive frontage to Harleyford Road. The use of brick here and the impression of individual buildings in the treatment of the façade has not been sufficient to create a successful development – the frontage to both roads is lifeless and stark.
The view to the north along South Lambeth Road is terminated by the distinctive late 19th century Royal Vauxhall Tavern on Kennington Lane. The decorative brick arches of this Public House replicate the arches of the railway bridge running North-South along South Lambeth Road.
Former Wheatsheaf, No. 126 South Lambeth Road, dates from the 19th century and is stock brick with deep arched window surrounds at upper floors and a timber shop front at ground floor.
The houses here comprise the Whicher and Kifford Almshouses built in the mid 19th century in the Tudor style. The buildings retain much of their rich architectural detailing such as ornamental timber barge boards, pendant finials, large decorative chimneys and porch canopies. Accessed from Fentiman Road, they face directly into Vauxhall Park and provide a backdrop to its eastern boundary.
This is named after George Tinworth, noted ceramic artist for the Royal Doulton ceramics company at Lambeth.
Runs north from Kennington Lane to Black Prince Road. It runs between the Vauxhall City Farm (east side) and the farm’s paddock enclosures (west side) with Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens beyond. The farm premises have an untidy but not unattractive character of animal enclosures and outbuildings. The entrance block- gabled, in brick with a double pitched roof – relates well to St Peter’s Church which abuts to the east and is highly visible in the backdrop. On the east side, beyond the farm are allotment gardens (linking through to St Oswald’s Place) which continue the informal farm character.
An irregular terrace (Nos.111 – 131), a combination of a kink in the road, shop fronts converted to residential use and some other unusual detailing (including what appears to be a vulture on the roofline) contribute to its quirky character and rich townscape. These properties terminate in a wedge shaped modern corner house where St Oswald’s Place and Tyers Street meet – its excellent massing and careful detailing make it a successful response to this sensitive context. Opposite, on the site of the former Lord Clyde PH, the Cabinet Gallery is a striking brick building appreciated ‘in the round’ due to its prominent site on the edge of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
Vauxhall City Farm
Adjoining the east side of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and thus contributing to its openness and soft-landscaped character, the farm has paddocks and enclosures which are occupied by the animals during the day.
The semi-rural character adds much to local character.
Vauxhall Grove has a layout, like Bonnington Square which suggests that it was originally intended to create a traditional London square with perimeter housing looking into a central garden. However, the central element was built upon and this results in an irregular and unusual townscape with tightly packed housing in the central part. It dates from the 1880s and the houses largely share common characteristics – gault brick facades and Italian Gothic cast stone detailing prevail. Some have semi-basements.
Modern infill here largely replaces properties destroyed by enemy action during the Second World War.
The north side of Vauxhall Grove has 1880s terraced housing, the rear part of St Anne’s Settlement with its historic gateways (the low gabled halls beyond are of no interest) and some 1980s flats (outside the conservation area). Street trees and gardens bring much greenery.
The east side of Vauxhall Grove links Harleyford Road to Bonnington Square is aligned north to south and lined with three storey houses. The street is narrow and very intimate in character partly because of the abundance of greenery – trees and plants in tubs and planters. The Bonnington Café is the only non-residential property here. It is of the same architecture of its neighbours but returns forward to the back of pavement and has an attractive historic timber shop front. The ground floor is a cooperatively run vegetarian and vegan restaurant; started in the early 1980s as a café providing inexpensive meals for the local community. The rooms above serve as the Bonnington Square Community Centre. This building has important townscape value.
Views north are to the rear of the locally listed St. Anne’s Catholic settlement on Harleyford Road. The site boundary retains a number of historic stone dressed entrances, one of which is inscribed ‘1937 St. Anne’s Hall’. The view south is into Bonnington Square. Trees and soft landscape are key aspects of the street scene.
The south and north sides of Vauxhall Grove have 1880s housing; the four houses in the south west corner add much to the townscape by virtue of their pronounced stepped alignment. Opposite, in the central part, Nos. 61, 62 and 62 are modest post-war houses of no interest (built on a bomb site).
A spur road runs west to South Lambeth Road. The modern blocks of flats to the north side are outside the conservation area. The south side has a mixture of traditional housing and a particularly unattractive white painted commercial building (No. 27-29) of no architectural interest. Grove House (no. 32) is a handsome early 19th century villa.
In response to a proposal to redevelop the site with new residential streets a campaign was begun to secure the site of Carroun House as a public park in the 1880s. Octavia Hill (housing reformer and a founding member of the National Trust) played an influential role and eight and a half acres of land were purchased in 1889 for the creation of Vauxhall Park.
Contributors included the Lambeth Vestry, the London County Council, the Charity Commissioners and Mark Beaufoy, M.P. for Kennington. The cost of laying out the park was borne by the Kyrle Society. Fanny R. Wilkinson, one of the few women landscape gardeners of the time, was responsible for the layout. It was officially opened by the Prince of Wales, in July 1890.
This late 19th century public park, subdivided into a variety of character areas. It has numerous mature trees, a formal garden, lavender garden, children’s playground, tennis courts. The model village, dating from 1949, is particularly noteworthy. A café, in the south west corner is houses in a utilitarian structure (formerly public toilets).
The park is enclosed by an attractive stock brick dwarf wall and railings to the south but austere modern railings to the north and highly unattractive concrete posts and wire to the west and north. A more unified approach to perimeter fencing would be a significant improvement. There are fancy gate piers and gates to main – the NW and SW corner entrances. The view out from the SW terminates in St Anne’s Church with its mature tree.
Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens
Vauxhall is perhaps best known for the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens which opened in the mid 17th century and gained both fame and notoriety. Visitors were carried over from London by boat and on the payment of an entrance fee had access to landscaped gardens with walks and alleys, live music, performances and spectacles and food and drink. A performance of Handel’s music for the Royal Fireworks is said to have attracted 12,000 attendees in 1749 and high profile visitors included Charles Dickens and Frederick, Prince of Wales. The Pleasure Gardens were one of the leading public entertainment venues in London until their closure in 1859.
No. 308 Kennington Lane (now the vicarage of the church of St. Peter) is the only building surviving from the complex – it formerly stood within the gardens and was built as the manager’s residence. Jonathan Tyers, and later his son (also called Jonathan) managed the gardens from 1729. Their legacy at Vauxhall can also be found in the naming of nearby streets – Jonathan Street and Tyers Street along with other notable characters and artists associated with the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
The Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens closed in 1859, the land was redeveloped for housing in the 1860s; this includes the northern frontage of Kennington Lane which includes the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and St Peter’s Church and vicarage. The streets behind were subsequently cleared in the 1970s to create a public park on the site of the original Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
The current park was recreated in the post-war years through slum clearance and is on the site of the original. No.308 Kennington Lane is the only physical survivor from the historic pleasure gardens. The park at present is laid to grass with trees and games courts and has been greatly improved in recent years with improved planting and other investment. It has an open and spacious character allowing good views out to the surrounding wider area.
The view south west is to the emerging tall building cluster, the view south reveals the characterful rear elevations of nos. 322-336 Kennington Lane, the view south east is of the picturesque roofscapes of St Peter’s Church and neighbouring buildings historic buildings. The view north is heavily screened by mature trees with Vauxhall Gardens Estate CA beyond. The view west, over the railway viaduct is relatively open and adds to the sense of spaciousness. Here the large buildings in the Albert Embankment Conservation Area do not have a dominant presence.
Here the Tea House Theatre is a sole survivor from the 19th century street layout. The building was formerly the Queen Anne public house; red brick in the Queen Anne Revival style and carries a brick panel of the Queen’s profile. A good quality pub front was revealed when it was converted to the theatre café use.
Tea House Theatre, (Former Queen Anne Public House) Vauxhall Walk- red brick Public House in the Queen Anne Revival style, good quality timber shop front at ground floor. Tea House Theatre- red brick Public House in the Queen Anne Revival style with good quality timber frontage at ground floor.
The first Vauxhall motor cars were built in the Vauxhall Iron Works in 1903 on the corner of Wandsworth Road and Wyvil Road.
Runs west to east linking Wandsworth Road to South Lambeth Road. The only building of interest on its north side is the Vauxhall Griffin PH, a 19th century three storey corner pub. Across the street, on the south side, the Wyvil Primary School is an impressive London Board School dating from 1877. It is in two large blocks and has an imposing Queen Anne style architecture. It has a frontage to South Lambeth Road and mature trees here enhance its setting. On the south corner with South Lambeth Road small house is adjoined by a gap site dominated by a large digital advertisement which from the setting of the adjoining school and the South Lambeth Road frontage.
No. 8 (Vauxhall Griffin PH) – 19th century stock brick corner pub with canted end and sash windows.