Hidden Gardens of Vauxhall: Your free monthly Vauxhall Society guided local history walk

bonnington garden vauxhall london sw8
harleyford garden vauxhall london sw8

Harleyford Garden

Monday, 8 June 2015, 12.30pm start, about an hour

No booking required, all welcome. Meet at The Corner Shop, Bonnington Square, London SW8 1TE

Your guide: Jenny Vuglar, Vauxhall gardener

Not deliberately concealed but delightfully off the beaten track yet oh-so-near to it, the delightful Bonnington Square Garden and http://da.org.za/non-prescription-viagra Harleyford Road Community Garden were created in 1984 by the people who live around them. Residents sought to create peaceful, neutral spaces to foster the sense of community. These garden-minded volunteers also established plots at each corner of http://tropicalfiji.com/cheapest-viagra-prescription Pennington Square and lined the streets with the trees you see there today. Yet the Bonnington Square garden had been a bomb site, while the natural viagra Harleyford Road site had been cleared of buildings partly as a result of bomb damage and partly to make way for a grandiose yet doomed scheme to build a flyover at Vauxhall Bridge. The gardeners won some funding from the Greater London Council, but Vauxhall’s hidden gardens are now maintained and funded by local people. These two little gems of green cheer the heart in this congested, polluted part of London.

Both gardens have regular work days. The Bonnington ‘Pleasure Garden’ holds workdays as required throughout the year; Harleyford Road Community Garden holds a regular work day the first Sunday of each month. Come along and help – you’d be made to feel very welcome. Our walk is free, but if you feel like parting with a little cash to help with the gardens’ upkeep, your guide (and gardener) – resident Jenny Vuglar – will see it’s used well. The Bonnington Square and Harleyford Road Gardens take part in the London Squares Weekend (13 & 14 June), when the fun includes music and cream teas as well as these two lovely gardens.

This Vauxhall Society walk is free by courtesy of Vauxhall employer CLS Holdings.

Thursday 21 May, 2-4pm: free VE Day anniversary walk

junction of Lambeth and Kennington Road V2 rocket Jan 1945

junction of Lambeth and Kennington Road V2 rocket Jan 1945

The junction of Lambeth and Kennington Roads after a V2 rocket blast, January 1945

Not quite a Victory in Europe Day celebration perhaps, but more a demonstration in June 2015 of what people in Vauxhall had to celebrate in June 1945 with the German surrender? Author and Lambeth archivist Jon Newman is your man for cool, calm and above all fact-based guidance around Vauxhall’s often grim past, the facts often made easier to swallow when laced by a tot of Jon’s laconic humour. On Thursday 21 May Jon is heading a ‘Among the inaures.com streets of the dead city’, a truly ‘landmark’ two-hour walk through North Lambeth. Jon will point out the devastation wrought by wartime bombing, outline the postwar austerity that awaited Lambeth and what happened to its ravaged streets.

It’s free, no booking required and lasts about two hours. Start 2pm at Waterloo Library, finish 4pm South Bank Centre. It’s ironic for a Lambeth Council Readers and Writers Festival event to start at Waterloo Library because Lambeth is going to close it, along with the Kennington’s Durning Library. This leaves Vauxhall’s Tate South Lambeth Library as the only library in North Lambeth. Councillors will also close the Minet Library, Stockwell, where Lambeth Archives has long been crammed into woefully inadequate space. Archives will then be crammed into even less space at Brixton Library, or at least that’s one idea on the table. The Luftwaffe couldn’t close Lambeth’s libraries, but trust Lambeth Council to finish the apartmentdelsol.com job.

The junction of Lambeth and Kennington Roads after a V2 rocket blast, January 1945

Vauxhall’s first lady of flight

Mrs Hewlett flying at Brooklands
Mrs Hewlett flying at Brooklands

Mrs Hewlett flying at Brooklands

Vauxhall-born Hilda Hewett in 1911 and at the age of 46 became the first woman to win a British pilot’s licence. Just in time for the Great War, Hilda set up one of the first flying schools (at Brooklands), and then switched to building planes for the war effort. Known affectionately as ‘Old Bird’ in her family, Hilda was the daughter of the Rev George Herbert, the first vicar of St Peter’s, Vauxhall. Oh, and by the way, Hilda’s husband Maurice Hewlett was to become a best-selling author of historical fiction and romance.

Sound like quite a woman, quite a story? Come and hear it for yourself from Hilda’s granddaughter-in-law, Gail Hewlett, author of Old Bird: The Irrepressible Mrs. Hewlett. This is a Vauxhall Society/Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library event on Tuesday 19 May chosen and is part of the 2015 Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival. Go on, ask this Mrs. Hewlett, Gail, how you set about writing a book about a subject as ticklish as that of your own family.

FREE – all welcome, no booking required

Tuesday 19 May, 7pm (doors open at 6.30pm), Tate South Lambeth Library 180 South Lambeth Road SW8 1QP

Refreshments available.

South Lambeth Road Stories: Your FREE monthly Vauxhall Society guided local history walk

duse mahomed ali

duse mahomed aliWednesday 6 May, 12.30-1.30pm

No booking required, all welcome: meet at Parco Cafe, Vauxhall Park, 12.30pm start

Your guide: Sean Creighton, historian of South London

Once marshland, South Lambeth Road today swirls with the stories of interesting people who contributed much to Vauxhall, London and British culture, history and philanthropy. Join us in Vauxhall Park’s Parco Cafe for this free Vauxhall Society guided walk with author, blogger and historian Sean Creighton, and hear the stories of James I’s Dutch treat; of gardening pioneers the Tradescant family and Elias Ashmole; the Beaufoy family – wine fakers, vinegar distillers, politicians and philanthropists; Arthur Rackham, the children’s’ book illustrator; the ‘Gas workers’ Vicar’ of St Anne and All Saints’ Church; then there’s the South Lambeth Debating Society; Dusé Mohammed Ali (pictured), Edwardian/First World War journalist; the birthplace of the Children’s Society; Claudia Jones, the West Indian-born US exile activist in the growing Caribbean community here in the 1950s and 60s; The Tate South Lambeth Library, gift of a sugar millionaire and now a community powerhouse; and if you’ve got time, what about Albert Square and where the Roller Skating rink was?

This walk is free by courtesy of Vauxhall-based employer CLS Holdings.

Calling all witnesses to South London’s WW2

walcot square after bombing in world war 2
walcot square after bombing in world war 2

Walcot Square 1940. Press & Censorship Bureau Photograph Library. © IWM

Do you or a relative, friend or neighbour with memories of living in the Kennington, Waterloo, Walworth or Newington area during the Second World War?
Particularly of being ‘bombed out’ or living in bomb-damaged streets?

Are there some amateur snaps taken at the time that could be shared?

If so, Jane McArthur, an Edinburgh University researcher working on an oral history project with the Imperial War Museum, asks you to share these contacts, memories and musicandmemory.org snaps with her.

Jane’s project is linked to newly-discovered photographs, many of them of street life within a mile radius of the IWM in Lambeth and Southwark between 1940 and 1945.

There are, for example, some two dozen official photographs of the death, injury and destruction visited upon East Surrey Grove in Peckham on 17 May 1943. This was the day after the Dambusters Raid, when the RAF hit the Moehne, Eder and Sorpe Dams.

Jane is also looking for snapshots of the area taken during the war to get an idea what the amateur photographer was up to.

If you would like to find out more, or to help, contact Jane McArthur on 01644 440 244 or email her at: JMcArthur@iwm.org.uk

You can also meet Jane and hear some of her recordings on Wednesday 29 April at a Friends of Tate South London event ‘War Witness: Living Memories of the Second World War’.

She’ll be one of a panel of war-generation speakers whose memories are not just of London and life as evacuees, but of life in Nazi Austria and in German-occupied Latvia and Greece.

This event marks the 70th anniversary in May of the end of the Second World War in Europe (August in the Far East).

Further into her project, Jane will discuss her findings at a special Vauxhall Society/FoTSL event.

Jane believes the photographs is working with balance the http://liverpoolsunflowers.com/high-quality-cialis ‘smilin’ through’ picture of the bombing of London.

I think this IWM is special because it shows the impact of bombing upon the civilian population of London. There are thousands of shots, and as I identify locations, I’m finding many in Lambeth and Southwark, which show people wounded and in confusion and www.timesofmusic.com shock, in homes destroyed, searching through the rubble, thrown out in the streets with their possessions.

There are also photographs of corpses and body parts, as well as the standard photographs of London landmarks and posed shots. The images of particular interest are those of people caught unaware by the camera.

walcot square kennington  2014

Walcot Square looking towards Kennington Road, 2014. Jane McArthur

The few published photographs are available at the IWM research blog:
and http://blogs.iwm.org.uk/research/2014/10/walcot-squarekennington-park-bomb-incident-september-1940/

‘War Witness: Living Memories of the Second World War’
Tate South Lambeth Library
Wednesday 29 April 29 2015, 7pm (doors open 6.30pm)
180 South Lambeth Road
London SW8 1QP


Lambeth’s library closures to cause ‘immediate economic damage’

jane edbrooke

jane edbrooke

Cllr Jane Edbrooke: ‘What I need from you now is to help me understand whether we’re going in the right direction [….] on Lambeth’s libraries’ (Cultural Services by 2020)

Lambeth politicians will cause ‘immediate economic damage’ to the borough if they do not rethink their plans to cram the borough archives into Brixton Library in the rush to sell off the archives’ current home at the Minet Library in Stockwell.

This is the charge made after an emergency meeting of the Lambeth Local History Forum. LLHF is a grouping of civic and amenity societies (including The Vauxhall Society), Friends groups, museums and archives.

‘At a time when the borough is keen to encourage inward investment, needs to increase job opportunities and get more houses built, to damage [Lambeth Archives] is the height of folly,’ LLHF says.

Lambeth has a statutory duty to keep its archives ‘compliant with current standards’, safe and readily available. Family historians, academics, architects, surveyors and the best site developers are among those who use them. The present Minet premises have long been grossly inadequate for storage, protection and retrieval, let alone adding to.

Lambeth, LLHF charges, issued a consultation on where the archives might go to. Then, six weeks later, Oval Ward councillor Jane Edbrooke, Lambeth’s ‘Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods’, published Cultural Services by 2020. This ‘consultation’ document, says LLHF, ignores the http://enchantedhoneymoons.com/cialis-low-priced council’s own archives criteria to reveal that Archives will go to the Tate Brixton so the Minet can be sold ‘by 2016’.

The Tate Brixton, LLHF says, has ‘nowhere near’ enough storage space to comply with current practice. Lambeth leaves no time or resources to look for anywhere better.

This, LLHF says, will damage Lambeth Archives’ reputation, and therefore ability to raise funds and generate other income. Cultural Services by 2020 speaks of helping the £7 million purpose-built Black Archives Centre in Brixton to increase ‘commercial sponsorship, traded income and partnerships with local businesses’.

Lambeth’s archives service is overseen by National Archives at Kew. LLHF points out that the Lambeth service’s accreditation and therefore ability to raise funds is now at risk as professional and heritage bodies get wind of the mess Lambeth Council is making.

The Vauxhall Society, together with the Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library, has written to councillors in joint support of the LLHF case for a rethink.

Members of Lambeth Local History Forum

The Vauxhall One/Vauxhall Society walk: The Vauxhall Park Saga – Fri 24 April

Vauxhall Park miniature houses photo by Tommy Candler
Vauxhall Park miniature houses - photo by Tommy Candler

The miniature village in Vauxhall Park. Photo © Tommy Candler

Vauxhall Park is an award-winning gem, declared open in 1890 by the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, with the Archbishop of Canterbury and four princesses in attendance, with soldiers the West Surrey Regiment as the guard of honour. The park was created in memory of the social reformer Henry Fawcett, by his widow Millicent and http://ocoa.ca/viagra-online friends for the gardenless poor of industrial Vauxhall. The park later passed into the ownership of Lambeth Borough Council, who smashed up the priceless memorial to Henry Fawcett by George Tinworth, donated to the park by the Lambeth ceramics magnate Sir Henry Doulton. Now Vauxhall Park faces the canadian rx viagra triple whammy of council maintenance cutbacks, overcrowding by the gardenless rich who will be crammed into skyscrapers that are mushrooming around the park and will blot out the park’s sun. Work starts this month on the demolition of one long-empty neighbouring skyscraper office block, Keybridge House, and its replacement by another and even bigger structure that its developers boast is ‘the UK’s tallest brick residential tower’.

Friday 24 April, 12.30–1.30pm

Polly Freeman of the Friends of Vauxhall Park is your guide, and picks up the story as the volunteers of today lovingly tend the gift of Millicent Fawcett and friends.

Free, but places limited so please book (and check on where to meet) by emailing info@vauxhallone.co.uk

Vauxhall One funds this walk, The Vauxhall Society arranges it.

There’s a full account of the Vauxhall Park story in Vauxhall: A Little History, a souvenir you can buy in the park at Parco Café.

The Book Warehouse, Waterloo: where browsers have legs

May is Lambeth Readers and Writers Month, but with Lambeth selling off two of its nine public libraries, and effectively shutting down another three, any spark of local good news in the book world burns extra bright. Well, here’s one cheering item for book lovers. The Book Warehouse discount bookshop outside Waterloo Station at 158 Waterloo Road may have closed to make way for yet more flats, but lo and behold, it’s cropped up again around the corner at 104 Lower Marsh SE1 7AB. It’s in smaller temporary premises, and once again Richard Brunning and the lovely Olga preside over lots of good stuff.

The new bookshop is a few doors down from Waterloo Library, one of the two public libraries Lambeth is flogging off. The other is Stockwell’s Minet. Still, with The Book Warehouse opening, the Ian Allan store still in business on the opposite side of Lower Marsh and The Bookshop Theatre secondhand bookstore-cum-theatre/cinema a short walk away at 51 The Cut SE1 8LF, it’s still possible in Waterloo to see, touch and http://farawaymac.com/brand-viagra-for-sale be surprised by books on a shelf. Customers became so engrossed in the stock at the old Book Warehouse they left behind belongings that included a Mr Punch puppet, glasses, teddy bears, walking sticks and even two big bags full of towels. From what we have seen (and bought) the new, smaller Book Warehouse is inch-per-inch equally absorbing. Contact: 020 7620 2318.

Come to the Durning Library Crisis Meeting, 20 April

‘On yer bike!’, London community groups tell Nine Elms ‘consultation’

cycling and walking icons

The Vauxhall Society has joined The Battersea Society in backing the London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies in pointing out ‘significant gaps and shortcomings’ in the proposals for public spaces (‘public realm’) in the Nine Elms glass canyon on the south bank of the Thames.

The proposals come from ‘The Blob’, the nickname for a gooey alliance of the property development interests of Transport for London, Lambeth and Wandsworth Councils with private-sector property developers.

Among the ‘significant gaps and shortcomings’ the Forum lists is that neither Lambeth nor Wandsworth need abide by the consultation result if people don’t give the answers the Blob wants.

The consultation is ‘very token’ and does not ‘include anyone to represent the public’s point of view’.

There needs, for example, to be a ‘general review’ of the provision for cyclists and pedestrians along the river bank between Chelsea, Vauxhall and the proposed Pimlico Bridge. It is assumed that the cyclists and pedestrians will share the same route at some points, yet there is already ‘widespread concern’ among pedestrians at the speed of many cyclists and the inexperience of many more.

The consultation presents The Thames Path as a route for pedestrians and then ‘without hint of irony’ goes on to discuss the Path’s role ‘as a route for cyclists’.

‘Very much larger numbers’ of pedestrians and cyclists are due to use the riverside. Where stretches of the Thames Path are legally closed to cyclists, the restriction ‘ought to be enforced’, the Forum urges.


SOS: Lambeth’s libraries, two down, five to go? Crisis meeting 20 April

durning library exterior

durning library exteriorThe Friends of Kennington’s Durning Library have sent out an SOS to Vauxhall Society members.

The SOS reads ‘Your local libraries are in danger – please help!’

The Friends add that the Durning is just one of the libraries ‘threatened with closure’ under Lambeth’s ‘Culture 2020’ cutbacks, even though the threat is ‘by no means obvious’ from the messages Lambeth Council is sending out.

Lambeth’s plan for ‘Cultural Services by 2020′ is in libraries and http://brasfieldgorrie.com/cialis-tablet at www.lambeth.gov.uk/culture2020consultation. Few have read it – or understood its dangerous implications.

The Culture 2020 paper proposes to:

  • CLOSE two libraries (Minet, Waterloo) and sell the buildings.
  • STOP RUNNING three libraries (Carnegie, Durning, Upper Norwood), leaving local people to staff and largely fund them (page 18).

This is completely impractical. It effectively means CLOSURE.

Volunteer-run libraries have no record of success in boroughs such as Lambeth. Where they survive at all, they do not provide anything resembling a full library service.

The Friends add:


The library service in North Lambeth is to be shrunk into the tiny Tate South Lambeth Library in Vauxhall’s South Lambeth Road. Yet even the visit web site Tate’s existence is not guaranteed after 2020. Libraries and their Friends groups double (and treble) as community-activity and learning centres, and are an important guarantor of community cohesion.

The council’s budget cuts can be made in far less damaging ways, the Durning Friends argue, adding




  • Forward this message as widely as you can.
  • Write: drop into box in library or post (no stamp needed) to Freepost RSYJ-KJAK-HUTC, Room 113, Brixton SW2 1RW
  • Email: culture2020@lambeth.gov.uk
  • Sign the petition: http://tinyurl.com/nuv4f87
  • COME TO THE MEETING ON 20 APRIL, 7pm at Durning Library, 167 Kennington Lane.

Friends of Durning Library website

Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library website