Doing the Lambeth Walk

Anytime you’re Lambeth way,
Any evening, any day,
You’ll find us all doin’ the Lambeth walk…

You may think this is some old London or Cockney song – but you’d be wrong – it’s from the 1937 Hit Musical Me and my Girl.

The Lambeth Walk that I did was from Waterloo Station to Vauxhall Station, meandering and zigzagging between Kennington Road and the Albert Embankment.

The first photo is of the Lambeth Walk pub – in Lambeth Walk – which at one time used to house a street market. The pub is closed down – but the building is in good condition and will probably end up as some sort of gastro pub.

In Lambeth Palace Road, close to Waterloo Station, is a new student tower – awaiting the external claddings and completion of the roof garden. The sales board for it talks about 24-hour concierge, WiFi throughout and en-suite for every room. Very posh sounding – no doubt to accommodate post graduate medical students at the nearby Kings College Medical School at St Thomas’ Hospital. I have a couple of photos of the Hospital – including the Elvina Children’s Wing designed by Hopkins and a one-time contender for the Sterling Prize.

I missed the best pictures of Lambeth Palace by not walking into the Archbishops Garden, where instead I just snapped the children’s playground from the Garden entrance. Still there is a photo of the main entrance to the Palace – the Gatehouse. The gardens are open to the public; they are very old (the White Marseille Fig tree was planted in 1556) and no doubt well worth a visit.

Much of the rest of my photos are of the wonderful LCC style housing blocks; there being little in the way of new swanky towers. (Though there will be plenty of them soon at the Vauxhall end as part of the redevelopment of the Battersea Power and adjacent sites) The one marked Lambeth 2 shows an NHS Health Centre which is staffed by trainee doctors from the Kings College Medical campus. The Health centre is on the China Walk Estate, where the individual blocks are named after china pieces from the big English clay china manufacturers, like Wedgewood. There is a blue plaque (which I did not find) for Charlie Chaplin who spent his early years in this area. Some of the photos are of the magnificent Georgian Kennington Road, which forms one boundary of this part of Lambeth.

The area is still a mixed area – not the single class area that the big developers seem to want to turn every part of London into – but of course the area is much changed from the time of the Me and my Girl musical – for example only some of the local working class are now white, and some of the people do look quite poor.

The last two photographs are of St Peter’s Church Vauxhall – which is clearly a very High Anglican church since I took it to be a Catholic church at first.

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