Shot Tower and Lead Works, No. 63 Belvedere Road

Page 47

Survey of London: Volume 23, Lambeth: South Bank and Vauxhall. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1951.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.


In this section


The shot tower stands on part of Float Mead, of which Henry Warburton, M.P., obtained a building lease commencing from 1824. (fn. 2) The tower was built in 1826 to the design of David Riddal Roper for Thomas Maltby & Co. It was taken over in 1839 (fn. 1) by Walkers, Parker & Co., the firm which was operating the square shot tower east of Waterloo Bridge, and it continued in their hands as a going concern until 1949. It is the only one of the old buildings to be left on the Festival site.

Architectural Description

[See plates 29 and 30.]

The tower is built in stock brick, it tapers slightly, being 30 feet in diameter at the base, where the wall is 3 feet thick, and 20 feet in diameter at the gallery, where the wall is 18 inches thick. The gallery is 163 feet from the ground and is reached by a spiral staircase cantilevered from the inside face of the wall. There was a floor at half-way level where lead was formerly melted and dropped to make small shot. At gallery level was a chamber from which lead was dropped for large shot. The chamber was surmounted by a parapet and cornice. The continuity of the open parapet was broken by four solid piers on each of which was bedded a capping stone.

The gallery has an iron balustrade supported by iron console brackets. Below these the tower is ringed by a stone band carried on small corbels, while at various stages there are small segmental headed windows.

In 1950 the gallery chamber was demolished and a steel-framed superstructure erected to serve as a radio beacon for the Festival of Britain.


  • 1. P.O. and other London Directories.,
  • 2. Church Commissioners: Deeds 86901.