Survey of London: Volume 26, Lambeth: Southern Area. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1956.
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In the last quarter of the 19th century London was expanding with unprecedented speed, and many buildings of great architectural interest were destroyed to make way for street after street of new surburban houses. In 1894 the public conscience was stirred by the demolition of the Old Palace of Bromley, a Jacobean house in Poplar whose site was later used for the erection of a school. As a result of this incident a voluntary committee, known as the Committee for the Survey of the Memorials of Greater London, was formed to compile a register or survey of whatever was still left of architectural interest in the eastern districts of London. In 1897 the London County Council agreed to print the first volume of the Survey which was published in 1900. Subsequently a formal agreement was made with the London Survey Committee by which the Committee and the Council prepared alternate volumes and the Council Printed them all. The area to be covered was enlarged to include the whole of the administrative County of London.
Twenty-four volumes of the Survey were published between 1900 and 1952, each volume dealing with all or part of a parish; independently of the Council the Survey Committee also published a number of monographs dealing with individual buildings of architectural importance. After the publication in 1952 of the fourth and last volume dealing with the parish of St. Pancras the Survey Committee reluctantly decided that it could not undertake to prepare any more parish volumes, and the Council therefore decided to complete the Survey alone. The management of the undertaking was placed in the care of the Architectural and Historical Buildings Sub-Committee of the Town Planning Committee, and a General Editor was appointed in 1954. The thanks of the Council are due to Mr. J. H. MacDonnell, Mr. Ian L. Phillips, Mr. T. F. Reddaway, M. A., F. S. A., and Mr. John Summerson, C. B. E., F. S. A., who as co-opted members have provided the Sub-Committee with their expert knowledge.
This new phase of the Survey's development has presented the Council with a useful opportunity to take stock of the present position of London's architectural inheritance. During the war many buildings of great interest were damaged or destroyed, and the rebuilding schemes which are proceeding in many parts of the County threaten many more. The completion of the Survey, whose main purpose is to record the ancient fabric of London, is therefore a matter of great urgency. At the same time the Council has decided that the Survey must take serious note of 19th century buildings, to which many students of the history of architecture have paid increasing attention inrecent years; and this decision has meant a considerable enlargement of the scope of the Survey, particularly in the outer areas of London such as southern Lambeth.
The problem facing the Council is therefore how best to make use of its necessarily limited resources for historical and architectural research. It has decided that while the publication of the Survey should continue with all possible speed, the recording of threatened buildings in those parts of the County which have not yet been covered must be under-taken while there is still time. The material assembled in this way will be incorporated in future volumes.
In order that as much information as possible may be included in the Survey, the format of the volumes has been modified to prevent their becoming unduly expensive or unwieldy. Most of the text has been set in double columns, and buildings of secondary importance have been illustrated with smaller photographs than have hitherto been used. An introduction prefixed to each future volume will provide a general view of the historical development and architectural wealth of the area under consideration.
The present volume completes the Survey of the parish of Lambeth. Relatively little building took place in the area before about 1800, and the volume is therefore largely concerned with various aspects of surburban expansion in the 19th century. The important part played in this process by the Manors, particularly those of Kennington, Vauxhall and Lambeth, has been emphasized.
The Council is much indebted to the Secretary of the Duchy of Cornwall for kindly permitting members of the Council's staff to examine the exceptionally interesting records of the Duchy relating to the Manor of Kennington; much valuable help has also been received from members of the Duchy Office staff. The Church Commissioners granted similar facilities for the study of their voluminous records, many of which relate to the Manors of Vauxhall and Lambeth. The Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, the British Transport Commission and the Royal Institute of British Architects kindly allowed the Council's officers access to their records. Much use has also been made of the Inclosure Award, Rate Books, Vestry Minutes and deeds in the possession of the Lambeth Borough Council, and of the large collection of records in the Minet Public Library. To all these bodies, and to the clergy and ministers of churches and chapels, and the owners or custodians of property deeds, the Council tenders its grateful acknowledgment.
This volume has been prepared under the general editorship of Mr. F. H. W. Sheppard, M. A., Ph. D., who has received much assistance from Mrs. Marie P. G. Draper, B. A., and Miss P. M. Barnes, B. A., of the Clerk's Department, and from the officers of the Athlone Press of the University of London, to whom the publication of the Survey has been entrusted. Valuable contributions on the architectural aspects of the volume have been received from Messrs. W. A. Eden, M. A., F. S. A., F. R. I. B. A., W. Ison, F. S. A., and K. S. Mills, A. R. I. B. A., A. M. P. T. I., of the Architect's Department; many of the photographs are the work of the Photographic Unit of the Architect's Department.
Chairman of the Town Planning Committee.