The road is named after Hercules Hall, which was built by and was the home of Philip Astley (1742–1814), riding instructor, horse-trainer, and acknowledged as the inventor of the modern circus. Performing nearby in an open field behind the present site of St John's Church, Waterloo, Astley realised the advantages of riding in a circle, and thus invented the circus ring. He was a principal among the many performers who made Lambeth a popular entertainment resort at that time.
Historically, Hercules Road is most well known for a former resident, the poet and visionary artist William Blake (1757–1827), who lived in a large house, 13 Hercules Buildings, and his address was Mr Blake Engraver, Hercules Buildings, Westminster Bridge. There is a series of mosaics inspired by Blake in a tunnel nearby. The site is marked with a plaque.
Plaque on William Blake Estate building in Hercules Road, marking the location of the artist and poet William Blake's former house.
- Weinreb, Ben; Hibbert, Christopher, eds. (1983). "Hercules Road". The London Encyclopædia. London: Macmillan. p. 374.
- "Hercules Road". Lonson SE1 Community Website. Retrieved 18 January 2015. External link in
- The book of days: A miscellany of popular antiquities in connection with the calendar, including anecdote, biography, & history, curiosities of literature and oddities of human life and character p.474. W. & R. Chambers, 1864
- Blake by Peter Ackroyd, 1996, Vintage, ISBN 0749391766
- "William Blake's House, Hercules Road, Lambeth".
- 10 things to know about William Blake, BBC London, UK.
- "Reel Streets".
- The Pineapple, London SE1.
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