‘From Bethlehem Hospital the road leads direct through Church Street to old Lambeth Church and Palace. To the left are some narrow streets, now traversed by the viaduct of the South Western Railway, and worth looking at as vestiges of the old riverside habitations.’.. says Bradshaw in 1862.
Church Street became Lambeth Road in 1876. At the moment there are considerable roadworks outside the Imperial War Museum (Bethlehem Hospital); the viaduct crosses the road, but the road itself is generally quite shabby although genteel in its time with villas and residents such as Captain Bligh.
The narrow side streets are ‘… tenanted by soap-boilers, whitening manufacturers, and the proprietors of bone factories and potteries; the dense smoke vomited forth from the tall chimneys and the noisome odours resulting from the various processes by no means contributing to increase the salubrity of the locality..’, says Bradshaw. Today the ‘narrow streets’ are filled with council housing, flats, and the occasional Victorian pub such as The Jolly Gardeners, and the past is remembered street and estate names. (Tyers Road.)
This was a manufacturing district. Doulton ware started when John Doulton joined a small pottery in Lambeth Walk and eventually set up Doulton & Watts in partnership with the foreman of the business in 1815, mainly producing stoneware bottles. John Doulton’s two sons, Henry and John, joined the business. Henry Doulton manufactured sanitary ware and earthenware pipes at 63 Lambeth High Street, adjacent to Doulton and Watts. In 1863 the company started working with the Lambeth School of Art to produce domestic and ornamental stoneware. The Lambeth factory only closed in 1956 as a result of the clean air act. (More information about the company here and an excellent article with photographs here.)
Today you can still see the building seen at the left of the above photograph, on the junction of Lambeth High Street and Black Prince Road.
This area was also famous for glassmaking. Buckingham’s Glassworks belonged to the Duke of Buckingham, having been started in 1612 by Sir Edward Zouche. The site of the Buckingham Glassworks looks very similar to the site of the Albert Glass Works, the precursor of the Nazeing Glass Works which also originated in Vauxhall and Kennington. John Baker’s Glass Works was on the site of the MI6 building, and started some time before 1681. And a third maker was John Bellingham.
JC & J Field manufactured candles and soap in Upper Marsh; Price’s Candles began in Vauxhall; Alfred Hunt manufactured soap on what is now the Albert Embankment. (A brief and interesting survey of the past manufacturing in the area is here.) Slightly later than Bradshaw, Horatio Myer started manufacturing iron beds and chairs in Vauxhall Walk, the factory only closing in 1982!
These businesses prospered because they access to transport – the river and and the nearby Waterloo Station. But it was a poor area in which to live, as Bradshaw tells us – polluted and unhealthy – with major outbreaks of cholera.
You may be interested in
The history of Royal Doulton
Doultons in Lambeth
Glassworks in England & Wales in 1696
Glassmaking in London, Vauxhall Glass, Vauxhall Glass Jewellery
Manufacturing in Lambeth
Field Candles and Soap
A History of the area