London Borough of Lambeth

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London borough
Coat of arms of Lambeth
Coat of arms
shown within Greater London
shown within Greater London
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region London
Ceremonial county Greater London
Status London borough
Admin HQ Brixton
Created 1 April 1965
 • Type London borough council
 • Body London Borough Council
 • Leadership Leader & Cabinet (Labour)
 • Mayor None (vacant)
 • MPs Kate Hoey (Lab)
Helen Hayes (Lab)
Chuka Umunna (Lab)
 • London Assembly Valerie Shawcross (Lab) AM for Lambeth and Southwark
 • EU Parliament London
 • Total 10.36 sq mi (26.82 km2)
Area rank 313th (of 326)
Population (mid-2014 est.)
 • Total 318,216
 • Rank 27th (of 326)
 • Density 31,000/sq mi (12,000/km2)
 • Ethnicity[1]

% White British
% White Irish
% White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
% Other White
% White & Black Caribbean
% White & Black African
% White & Asian
% Other Mixed
% Indian
% Pakistani
% Bangladeshi
% Chinese
% Other Asian
% Black African
% Black Caribbean
% Other Black
% Arab

% Other
 • ONS code 00AY
Time zone GMT (UTC0)
 • Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
Postcodes SE, SW
Area code(s) 020
Police force Metropolitan Police

Lambeth (Listeni/ˈlæmbɪθ/) is a London borough in south London, England, which forms part of Inner London. Its name was recorded in 1062 as Lambehitha ("landing place for lambs") and in 1255 as Lambeth. Although Lambeth Marsh was drained during the 18th century, it is commemorated by the street name of Lower Marsh.


For the borough's history from 1900 to 1965, see Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth.


Main article: Lambeth

Lambeth was part of the large, ancient parish of Lambeth St Mary, the site of the archepiscopal Lambeth Palace, in the hundred of Brixton in the county of Surrey.[2] It was an elongated north-south parish with 2 miles (3.2 km) of River Thames frontage opposite the cities of London and Westminster. Lambeth became part of the Metropolitan Police District in 1829. It remained a parish for Poor Law purposes after the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, and was governed by a vestry after the introduction of the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1855.[2]

Borough origins[edit]

Until 1889, Surrey included the present-day London borough of Lambeth. When it drew the boundaries for the London boroughs, the government initially suggested that the Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth and the Metropolitan Borough of Southwark be merged into a new borough; the southern and eastern sections of the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth (including Clapham, Streatham and Tooting) would form another. South Shields town clerk R.S. Young was commissioned to make final recommendations to the government on the shape of the future London boroughs, and he noted that the Wandsworth council opposed the partition of their borough. However, Wandsworth's suggestion to merge Lambeth with the Metropolitan Borough of Battersea was rejected by both councils involved. Young believed that residents of Clapham and Streatham would be more familiar with Brixton than with Wandsworth, and recommended a new borough formed from the Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth and six wards and portions of two others from the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth.[3]

Political events[edit]

In 1979, the administration of Edward ("Red Ted") Knight organised the borough's first public demonstration against the Thatcher government.[4][5] In 1985 Knight's Labour administration was subjected to rate-capping, with its budget restricted by the government. Knight and most of the Labour councillors protested by refusing to propose budgets. As a result of the protest, 32 councillors were ordered to repay interest lost by the council due to budgeting delays and were disqualified from office.

In 1991, Joan Twelves' administration failed to collect the poll tax and opposed the war in the Persian Gulf.[4][5] The following year, Twelves and 12 other councillors were suspended from the local Labour Party by regional officials for advocating non-payment of the poll tax and other radical ideas.[4][6] Twelves' equally-militant deputy leader at this time was John Harrison.[7]

From 1978 to 2002 the council comprised 64 members, elected from 20 three-member and two two-member wards. Before this, the council had 60 members elected from 20 three-member wards. Just before the 2010 election, its political balance was 37 Labour members, 18 Liberal Democrats, seven Conservatives and one Green, giving Labour an eleven-member majority. In the 2010 Lambeth Council election, Labour gained seats and the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Greens lost seats. In 2014 the Liberal Democrats lost their seats, Conservatives were reduced to three and the Greens to one. Labour, gaining seats from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, had 59 seats.


Lambeth is a long, thin borough, about 3 miles (4.8 km) wide and 7 miles (11 km) long. Brixton is its civic centre, and there are other town centres. The largest shopping areas are (in order of size) Streatham, Brixton, Vauxhall, Clapham and West Norwood.

In the northern part of the borough are the central London districts of the South Bank, Vauxhall and Lambeth; in the south are the suburbs of Gipsy Hill, Tulse Hill, West Dulwich and West Norwood. In between are the developed and inner-city districts of Brixton, Brixton Hill, Streatham Hill, Clapham, Clapham Park, Herne Hill, Stockwell and Kennington, which are each at different stages of gentrification and have suburban and urban elements. Vauxhall and South Lambeth are central districts in the process of redevelopment with high-density business and residential property. Streatham is between suburban London and inner-city Brixton, with the suburban and developed areas of Streatham, Streatham Hill and Streatham Vale.

Parks and green space[edit]

Despite the borough's population density, Lambeth has open spaces. They include Brockwell Park and Lido, Streatham Common, half of Clapham Common, West Norwood Cemetery, Archbishop's Park, Norbury Park, Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and Ruskin and Kennington Parks.


Along and around the South Bank, a tourist area has developed around the former Greater London Council headquarters of County Hall and the Southbank Centre and National Theatre. Also on the river is the London Eye and Shell Centre. Nearby is St Thomas' Hospital, Lambeth Palace and the Florence Nightingale Museum.

A landmark in the centre of the borough is the Art Deco Sunlight Laundry on Acre Lane. Nearby is Brixton, home of Lambeth Town Hall and the Brixton Murals.

Large Ferris wheel at twilight
London Eye
Long white building in winter, with trees in front
Sunlight Laundry

Landmark church buildings include:

  • St Mary Lambeth (now the Garden Museum)
  • The four "Waterloo Churches" in the former Lambeth Parish:
    • St Matthew, Brixton
    • St Mark, Kennington
    • St Luke, West Norwood
    • St John, Waterloo
  • St Oswald's Parish Church, Norbury
  • Holy Trinity, Clapham
  • St Leonard, Streatham
  • Christ Church, Streatham Hill
  • Christ Church, Brixton Road, North Brixton
  • All Saints' Church, West Dulwich
  • Holy Trinity, Trinity Rise, Tulse Hill
  • St John the Divine, Vassall Road
Red brick church with tall spire
St John the Divine on Vassall Road

The Oval cricket ground in Kennington is the home of Surrey County Cricket.


Lambeth is the birthplace of talent scout Simon Cowell.[8]

Civic affairs[edit]

Borough Council[edit]

Since 2002, Lambeth Borough Council has had 63 members elected in 21 three-member wards by means of a plurality bloc voting system. The wards are Bishop's, Brixton Hill, Clapham Common, Clapham Town, Coldharbour, Ferndale, Gipsy Hill, Herne Hill, Knight's Hill, Larkhall, Oval, Prince's, St Leonard's, Stockwell, Streatham Hill, Streatham South, Streatham Wells, Thornton, Thurlow Park, Tulse Hill and Vassall.


Since 1994 the mayor of Lambeth has been elected unanimously by their fellow councillors, with each of the three political parties supplying a candidate in rotation. According to the borough's website, this underscores the mayor's apolitical role and enables them to represent all the borough's citizens.

The council is run by a leader and cabinet, chaired by council leader Lib Peck. All cabinet members are from the ruling Labour Party. The leader of the opposition is Alex Davies (Liberal Democrat), and the leader of the Conservative opposition is John Whelan. The chief executive is Derrick Anderson, former chief executive of the Wolverhampton Council.

Mark Bennett became mayor in March 2013, and died in February 2014.[9] The mayoralty remains vacant, and deputy mayor Adedamola Aminu is fulfilling all civic duties until further notice.[10]

Coat of arms[edit]

The borough's coat of arms is that of the former Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth, with two gold stars (mullets) in the second and third quarters of the shield indicating the addition of the districts of Clapham and Streatham. Its motto is "Spectemur agendo" ("Let us be judged according to our conduct").

Westminster Parliament[edit]

The borough has three Parliamentary constituencies: Dulwich and West Norwood (shared with Southwark), Streatham and Vauxhall.


The former Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth and its successor have been twinned with the Vincennes district of Paris in France since 1955. Lambeth is also twinned with Bluefields, Nicaragua; Brooklyn, New York; Shinjuku, Japan and Spanish Town, Jamaica.


The borough contains the London Waterloo railway station, the Waterloo tube station network and (until 2007) the London terminus for Eurostar. National Rail service in Lambeth is provided by South West Trains, Southeastern, Southern, First Capital Connect and London Overground.

Bridges and tunnels[edit]

Modern rail bridge
Hungerford Bridge and the Golden Jubilee Bridges, seen from the north
Aerial view of large railway station
Waterloo Station from the London Eye
Round air-raid shelter, with a colourful mural
Stockwell war memorial and shelter

Railway stations[edit]

London Overground stations[edit]

Tube stations[edit]


In March 2011, the primary forms of transport borough residents used to travel to work were the London Underground, metro, light rail or tram (21.4 percent of residents aged 16–74); bus, minibus or coach (10 percent); train (10 percent); automobile (8.6 percent); bicycle (5.7 percent), or walking (5.4 percent). A small percentage (3.2 percent) worked mainly at—or from—home.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2011 Census: Ethnic group, local authorities in England and Wales, Office for National Statistics (2012). See Classification of ethnicity in the United Kingdom for the full descriptions used in the 2011 Census.
  2. ^ a b Youngs, Frederic (1979). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England. I: Southern England. London: Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0-901050-67-9. 
  3. ^ "London Government: The London Boroughs", Ministry of Housing and Local Government, HMSO, 1962. See in particular paragraphs 51–57.
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ a b Kate Hoey MP and Lambeth Labour Party – Brian Deer investigates. (8 August 1993). Retrieved on 17 July 2013.
  6. ^ Bennett, Will (29 July 1995). "The rise and fall of Red Ted's loony lefties". The Independent. 
  7. ^ GLATUC News. Retrieved on 17 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Results for Birth, Marriage, Death Records". findmypast. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  9. ^ De Peyer, Robin. "Tributes flood in for Lambeth Mayor Mark Bennett, who has died suddenly aged 44". London Evening Standard. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  10. ^ "The Mayor, the leader of the Council and Cabinet members – guide". Lambeth Council. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  11. ^ "2011 Census: QS701EW Method of travel to work, local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 November 2013.  Percentages are of all residents aged 16–74 including those not in employment. Respondents could only pick one mode, specified as the journey's longest part by distance.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°27′37″N 0°07′17″W / 51.460218°N 0.121445°W / 51.460218; -0.121445