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The Lambeth Walk - Home of the 'cockneys'


The Lambeth Walk was the main shopping market for all the SE11 postcode area plus parts of SE1, SE17 SW8 and SE5. Following a long and chequered history, in 1937 it shot to international fame when the stage musical Me and my Girl was first performed. Starring Lupino Lane, the stage musical broke all box office records both in the USA and Great Britain. The songs from the show, "Doing the Lambeth Walk" and "Me and my Girl" became worldwide hits. The subsequent film, (called Lambeth Walk) also became a massive hit. People came from all over the world to see the famous market. The Lambeth Walk brought to the world terms like cockney slang, and pie and mash.

Picture on home page shows a crowded Lambeth Walk waiting to see Lupino Lane, who could not appear due to safety reasons. He, and all the cast of Me and my Girl, did visit Lambeth Walk shortly after.

In the 18th and 19th Centuries families flocked to The Lambeth Walk and surrounding areas to live and to work in the many industries located there. The huge world famous glassworks in Glasshouse Walk (off Tyers Street), founded by the Duke of Buckingham. The even more massive factory of Doultons pottery, whose designers lent their names to surrounding dwellings, the most prominent being Tinworth House and Randall House (now demolished). in Vauxhall Walk, and Wedgewood House. The very first Vauxhall car was built by the Vauxhall Iron Works at Vauxhall, who then had a panel factory in Vauxhall Walk, (later occupied by Myers Beds). Schweppes drinks, Marmite, United Dairies. NAFFI, headquarters in Kennington Lane, St Thomas's Hospital, Lambeth Hospital, Lambeth Palace and Bethlehem (Bedlam) Hospital all had or still have premises in or within a stones throw from Lambeth Walk. Even the House of Parliament are less that 1000yds away. Large families, some with as many as 15 children or more, were crammed into two or three rooms. Disease was rampant and there many premature deaths. During the Twentieth century thousands emigrated to Australia, Canada and the United States.

But the biggest change came when the Lambeth Council decided to "redevelop" the Lambeth Walk. The result was the demolition of virtually all the landmarks, houses and shops and replacing them with concrete boxes called flats. The area was ethnically cleansed, most of the indigenous residents being shipped off to areas outside London.

The "redevelopment" achieved what two World wars and the great recession of the nineteen thirties failed to do, the abolition of a cockney community. And the loss of the pie and mash shop.






The Lambeth Walk 2014

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