Survey of London: Volume 23, Lambeth: South Bank and Vauxhall. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1951.
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In this year of the Festival of Britain, the “South Bank” has become the cynosure of all eyes. Accordingly this volume contains much that is of contemporaneous interest. Its value as a record of the topography and buildings of North Lambeth will, however, remain long after the South Bank Exhibition has become part of Lambeth history. At a cursory glance the area seems lacking in architectural and historical interest, but a detailed survey has proved richly rewarding.
The “South Bank” is somewhat of a misnomer. The Thames between Vauxhall Bridge and Waterloo Bridge does not run west to east as is commonly supposed, but south to north, so that in fact most of the riverside area of Lambeth is on the east side of the river. The term “South Bank” has, however, become so customary that its use is now inevitable though it complicates the topographical descriptions of particular places. A further difficulty which has arisen in elucidating the topography of the area prior to the 1820's is the vagueness of the term Lambeth Marsh which was applied generally to much of North Lambeth. It has, for instance, proved impossible to decide the exact viewpoint of Capon's drawing of the Marsh reproduced in the frontispiece.
The records of the Archbishop's Manor and of Vauxhall Manor are exceptionally full, and by kind permission of the Church Commissioners they have been freely used in preparing the volume. Thanks are due to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury for allowing access to the records preserved at the Palace and for permission to make drawings and photographs there.
Unfortunately, the majority of the Duchy of Cornwall records could not be brought back to London from their war-time depository in time to be of service, but in writing the history of the Manor of Kennington the manuscript history compiled some years ago by Mr. Rollo Clowes, a former member of the Duchy Office staff, has proved invaluable. As always in this series the resources of the Public Record Office, the British Museum and Somerset House have been widely used.
The parish records of Lambeth are not so complete as those of Southwark, and in particular the set of Poor Rate books has been sadly depleted. Such records as remain either at the Town Hall or in the care of the Librarian have been readily produced, and the Church authorities have been most helpful both in allowing access to records and in giving facilities for drawing and measuring the buildings under their control. Mr. T. F. Garnish of the Lambeth Endowed Charities has helped in many ways, as have a number of local residents and firms among whom special mention must be made of Doulton & Co., Ltd.
The historical parts of the volume and its compilation are the work of Miss Ida Darlington, M.A., the Council's Librarian, who has been assisted by Miss M. P. G. Christie, B.A. The architectural descriptions and drawings have been prepared under the direction of the Architect by Mr. J. H. Farrar, A.R.C.A., who wishes to acknowledge the assistance he has received from Mr. Kenneth S. Mills, A.R.I.B.A., A.M.T.P.I. and Mr. F. R. Buggey and other officers in his department.