Water Lambeth

Pages 142-143

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

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In this section


[See plate 112.]

The old village of Lambeth, often appropriately called “Water Lambeth,” consisted of a few houses near the church and a narrow strip of buildings bordering the river up to Vauxhall. There were houses along Church Street (now Lambeth Road) and Lambeth Butts (now Black Prince Road), but otherwise little building further from the river than the High Street (then known as Back Lane) until the end of the 18th century. In 1815 John Doulton set up in business in High Street, and during the 19th century his firm and that of James Stiff gradually bought up the ground between High Street and Fore Street, with the many little courts and alleys, Brothers Row, Harpur's Walk, King's Head Yard, Calcots Alley, etc., many of them the sites of earlier potteries. (fn. 7)

Sir Henry Doulton

The burial ground

The burial ground on the east of High Street was given to the parish by Archbishop Tenison and consecrated in 1705. It was enlarged in 1815 by the purchase and demolition of adjoining premises in High Street and Paradise Row. (fn. 3) When it became a public open space in 1884 the gravestones were placed round the borders, but the ground contains little either to attract or interest. A stone from the watch-house incised—
has been fixed to the boundary wall.

Archbishop Tenison's School

Archbishop Tenison erected a school at the west end of Lambeth churchyard for the education of 12 poor girls of Lambeth, and by his will, dated 1715, he devised the schoolhouse and property in Water Lambeth (see p. 138) to trustees for the benefit of the school. (fn. 6) He also left to the school a portrait of Mrs. Tenison, painted by Mary Beale, a pupil of Peter Lely, in memory of her “constant and prudent Care” for “that Charity House.” (fn. 8) In 1816 the school was rebuilt, and at this time the parochial school for girls was combined with it. (fn. 6) The present building was erected in 1863. The grant of clothing to 12 girls was continued until 1939. The traditional dress is still worn by the older pupils on ceremonial occasions.

Lambeth Ragged Schools

These schools in Newport Street (Plate 116b) were built by Henry Beaufoy in 1851 as a memorial to his wife, who had taken an interest in the school which had previously been held in one of the railway arches. (fn. 4) All but the southern wing was pulled down about 1904 when the railway was widened and the school removed to temporary premises in Auckland Street, Vauxhall (fn. 5) and later to Wandsworth Road.

Figure 50:

Plan of Ragged Schools in Newport Street

Lambeth Walk

Lambeth Walk was in the 18th century a country lane known as Three Coney Walk. Lambeth Wells, a place of public entertainment, was opened there towards the end of the 17th century. It flourished for about 50 years, but became disreputable and was closed. The premises were for a time used as a Methodist meeting house. (fn. 1)

The Mill

Rocque's map (1741–45) shows a circular building to the west of Three Coney Walk approximately on the site of Mill Street (now Juxon Street). The rate book for 1773 has an entry after Paradise Row “Thomas Corner for ye Mill,” (fn. 2) but there is no similar entry in subsequent years. Walford's Old and New London gives a view of the mill which is almost identical with that reproduced on Plate 108a except that the latter shows the river on the left (see p. 26n.). Walford states that the mill belonged to the Apothecaries' Company and was used for the grinding of drugs, but nothing has been found in the records of the company to confirm this.


  • 1. The history and antiquities of the Parish of Lambeth, by T. Allen, 1826.
  • 2. Lambeth M.B.C. Poor rate books.
  • 3. St. Mary, Lambeth, Vestry Minute Books.
  • 4. The history and antiquities of Lambeth, by J. Tanswell, 1858.
  • 5. The annual charities register and digest.
  • 6. Endowed Charities Return, Vol. IV, 1901.
  • 7. Deeds of Messrs. Doulton, Ltd.
  • 8. P.C.C., 3 Fox.