Doin’ the Lambeth Walk (amongst the things)

Lambeth, a Borough of London that seems most famous for a song (the Lambeth Walk) and a Palace. But there’s more to this small-but-central London borough than you might think. South of the River to Westminster – with a total area of just over 10 square miles, it’s a place nearly 320,000 people call home. Lambeth’s history has strong links to the Church has some notable landmarks, across Government, Faith and Transport.

It’s hard to imagine now, but Lambeth started life as a dock for livestock – more specifically Sheep – with the first record of the area being recorded in 1062 as Labehitha – which means ‘Landing Place for Lambs’.

Here then is ABC Selfstore’s quick guide to Lambeth…

Sandwiched between Southwark to the East and Wandsworth to the West, (which means it gives you a choice of two ABC Selfstore London storage locations!) Lambeth sits on the Southside of the Thames, directly opposite Westminster. The northern riverside reaches of Lambeth Marsh were reclaimed from marshland that was drained in the 1700’s. Lower Marsh Street – where there’s a great street market – provides a nod to the former geography.

Most people probably know the area best for Lambeth Palace – which has been the official London Residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury for over 800 years. As well as being a significant location for Christianity, you’ll also find County Hall & the London Eye, the “Shell Centre” and Britain’s busiest Railway station – Waterloo within Lambeth Borough.

Despite its relatively small size, Lambeth claims host to a number of significant people and businesses. John Doulton – along with Martha Jones and John Watts embarked on a pottery business in Lambeth in 1815. It was to become Royal Doulton and the factory was in the Vauxhall area of Lambeth until 1882, when they moved to Staffordshire and the centre of ceramics – “The Potteries”. Another Victoria leviathan – this time of the Entertainment industry – Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan), was born in Lambeth in 1842, whilst 19th century comedy groundbreaker Charlie Chaplin spent his early years in Kennington, a District of Lambeth.

One other building of note – for the James Bond and spy thriller fanatics – is the Vauxhall Cross Building. Home to MI6, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, it’s also affectionately known as VX, Legoland, Babylon-on-Thames, Ceausescu Towers and The Vauxhall Trollop. With so many recent appearances in major blockbusting moves and TV series, nest to the Pentagon and Langley, Virginia, it’s probably the least secret Secret Service building in the world.

It’s a far cry from Lambeth’s earlier high profile in music and movies – “The Lambeth Walk” was composed by Noel Gay as part of the musical “Me and My Girl” in 1937. Having given its name to a cockney dance in the same year – the play was also made into a movie in 1939.

If you’re another of Lambeth’s performance art geniuses and need somewhere to store props and costumes – then a self storage unit with ABC Selfstore in Wandsworth or Southwark might be the perfect place.


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