Vauxhall facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsVauxhall
River Thames looking upstream from Vauxhall Bridge showing (left) St George Wharf Tower and (centre) Battersea Power Station, and the shorelines, left to right, of Vauxhall, Nine Elms, Battersea and Pimlico
|Population||14,262 (Princes ward, 2011)|
|OS grid reference|
|• Charing Cross||1.59 mi (2.6 km) NNE|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Vauxhall ( VOKS-(h)awl) is a district of South London, England. Vauxhall was part of Surrey until 1889 when the County of London was created. Named after a medieval manor "Fox Hall", it became well known for the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
From the Victorian period until the mid-20th century, Vauxhall was a mixed industrial and residential area, of predominantly manual workers' homes, many demolished and replaced by Lambeth Council with social housing after the Second World War, and business premises, including large railway, gas, and water works. These industries contrasted with the mostly residential neighbouring districts of Kennington and Pimlico. As in neighbouring Battersea and Nine Elms, riverside redevelopment has converted most former industrial sites into residential properties and new office space.
Vauxhall has given its name to the Vauxhall parliamentary constituency and Vauxhall Motors.
It is generally accepted that the etymology of Vauxhall is from the name of Falkes de Breauté, the head of King John's mercenaries, who owned a large house in the area, which was referred to as Faulke's Hall, later Foxhall, and eventually Vauxhall. The area only became generally known by this name when the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens opened as a public attraction. Initially most visitors would have approached by river, but crowds of Londoners of all classes came to know the area after the construction of Westminster Bridge in the 1740s.
There are competing theories as to why the Russian word for a central railway station is "вокзал" (vokzal), which coincides with the canonical 19th-century transliteration of "Vauxhall". It has long been suggested that a Russian delegation visited the area to inspect the construction of the London and South Western Railway in 1840, and mistook the name of the station for the generic name of the building type. This was further embellished into a story that the Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, visiting London in 1844, was taken to see the trains at Vauxhall and made the same mistake.
The locality of the L&SWR's original railway terminus, Nine Elms Station, was shown boldly and simply as "Vauxhall" in the 1841 Bradshaw timetable. Another likely explanation is that the first Russian railway, constructed in 1837, ran from Saint Petersburg via Tsarskoye Selo to Pavlovsk Palace, where extensive Pleasure Gardens had earlier been established. In 1838 a music and entertainment pavilion was constructed at the railway terminus. This pavilion was called the Vokzal in homage to the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in London. The name soon came to be applied to the station itself, which was the gateway that most visitors used to enter the gardens. It later came to mean any substantial railway station building (a different Russian word, станция (stantsiya), is used for minor stations).
There is no mention of Vauxhall in the 1086 Domesday Book. The area originally formed part of the extensive Manor of South Lambeth, which was held by the de Redvers family. Falkes de Breauté acquired it in 1216 when he married Margaret, widow of Baldwin de Redvers; de Breauté's lands reverted to the de Redvers family after his death in 1226. In 1293 South Lambeth Manor and the Manor of "la Sale Faukes" passed, probably by trickery, to Edward I. In 1317 King Edward II granted the manor of Vauxhall, Surrey, to Sir Roger d'Amory for his "good services" at the Battle of Bannockburn.
From various accounts, three local roads – the South Lambeth Road, Clapham Road (previously Merton Road) and Wandsworth Road (previously Kingston Road) – were ancient and well-known routes to and from London.
The land was flat and parts were marshy and poorly drained by ditches, and only started to be developed with the draining of Lambeth Marsh in the mid-18th century, but remained a village. Prior to this it provided market garden produce for the nearby City of London. Vauxhall Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge Road were opened in 1816. By 1860 the village had been subsumed by the town of Lambeth. Many of Vauxhall's streets were destroyed during the construction of the railway to Waterloo station, by German bombing in World War II or ravaged through poor city planning.
|Westminster||Lambeth||Elephant and Castle|
The explosion in London property prices during the late 1990s and early 2000s has led to a boom in riverside construction, such as the large St George Wharf development by Vauxhall Bridge. This area is continuing to be redeveloped with several newbuilds under construction.
Several gentrified areas have developed, and areas of terraced townhouses on streets such as Fentiman Road and Heyford Avenue have higher property values in the private market; however, by far the most common type of housing stock in Vauxhall is flats, both conversions and purpose-built blocks. Vauxhall is also a popular residential area for members of parliament and civil servants due to its proximity to the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall; Kennington is within the area wired for the Commons' Division bell. Some 18th- and 19th-century properties also survive – most famously Bonnington Square, a community that emerged from the 1970s–1980s squat scene in London and remains as mostly housing co-operatives today.
Vauxhall is a very ethnically diverse area, with about 40% of residents originating from a non-white ethnic group. There is a significant Portuguese community, some with a connection to Madeira; many Portuguese restaurants and bars are located in South Lambeth Road and the surrounding area. There is also a Muslim community, with almost 6% of residents declaring themselves as Muslim in the 2001 census.
By Vauxhall Bridge stands the central headquarters of the British Secret Intelligence Service (more commonly referred to as MI6), which occupies offices built between 1989 and 1992 and commonly referred to as Vauxhall Cross. Since 1992 a large complex of apartments and offices has been built to the south of Vauxhall Bridge at St George Wharf. Part of this development includes the St George Wharf Tower, completed in 2014.
The MI6 building has featured in several James Bond films, initially filmed without permission but then condoned by then Foreign Secretary Robin Cook with his memorable "After all James Bond has done for Britain..." quip. It appears in GoldenEye, The World Is Not Enough (wherein it suffers a fictional terrorist attack that prefigured a genuine incident), Die Another Day, Skyfall (where it also comes under a fictional terrorist attack) and Spectre (2015) (where it is demolished). Die Another Day featured a fictional London Underground station, Vauxhall Cross, a fictional closed stop on the Piccadilly line now employed by MI6 as an extension to its HQ. (In fact, the Piccadilly line does not come south of the river at all; only the Victoria line passes anywhere nearby, and the secret entrance to the station shown in the film is on the east side of Westminster Bridge, some considerable distance downriver.)
Vauxhall is also home to Brunswick House, a listed Georgian mansion and former home to the Dukes of Brunswick. Built in 1758, it once stood in three acres of riverside parkland – now it sits overshadowed by the St George Wharf complex. The building was in a state of disrepair and was on the English Heritage 'Buildings at Risk' list until LASSCO (the London Architectural Salvage and Supply Company) acquired it in 2004 and restored it as a premises from which to sell architectural salvage. It also has a restaurant and is an events venue.
St Peter's Church in Kennington Lane was designed by the 19th century architect John Loughborough Pearson, who also designed Truro Cathedral and Brisbane Cathedral in Australia, as well as being responsible for restoration work at Rochester, Bristol, Peterborough, and Lincoln cathedrals. As of 2015[update] the church building serves as a community centre and arts venue as well as a church. Next to St Peter's is Vauxhall City Farm.
Gay Village and "Voho"
Vauxhall is a popular place to socialize among the gay community and thus became known as a "gay village".
Vauxhall has also become colloquially known as "Voho" (a portmanteau of the names Vauxhall and Soho) within the gay community, due to the emergence of Vauxhall as a gay village after Soho.
Vauxhall is well connected even by central London standards. London Underground, National Rail trains, and London buses are all available at Vauxhall station. The tube stop is on the boundary of zones 1 and 2 of the London Travelcard area on the Victoria line, and Northern line stations are within walking distance of many parts of Vauxhall, though the nearest is Nine Elms. The railway station is served by South Western Railway to and from London Waterloo, which is one stop away. Vauxhall bus station has 14 routes serving various parts of London.
The availability of underground, trains, and buses has given Vauxhall a PTAL rating of 6b at its centre.
In addition to public transport, Vauxhall is accessible by major roads and the Thames Path pedestrian and bicycle trail. Vauxhall also has two 17-space Santander Cycles docking stations and Cycle Superhighway 7 runs through the area.
Vauxhall Cross is immediately to the southeast of Vauxhall Bridge, where six major roads converge, including the Albert Embankment, which exits the Cross to the north and is the southernmost point of entry into the London congestion charge area. Vauxhall Cross was described as "one of the most unpleasant road junctions in South London" in Nikolaus Pevsner's architectural guide to London. Through 2002 to 2004, the Cross underwent a gradual redesign to accommodate a bus interchange linked to the Vauxhall mainline railway and tube stations, both of which are located to the southeastern end of the cross.
Work has involved design changes to traffic lanes, improved pedestrian and cycle crossings, refurbishment of walkways beneath the mainline railway viaduct, and the construction of a bus station, completed in December 2004 featuring an undulating steel-frame canopy and ribbed steel walls. An interesting feature of the canopy is a series of photoelectric cells generating electricity to offset the energy used by the bus station.
Vauxhall Cross bus station will be redeveloped to create a new mixed-use development consisting of offices, hotels, and shopping areas. The project will be managed by Great Marlborough Estates and has an apparent budget of £600 million, and is estimated to make the developers over £45 million.
Nearest tube stations
Vauxhall Park contains an area of miniature model houses (also in Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne) as well as tennis courts, day care in the "one o'clock club", and children's playground. It is open daily for recreation and has an "open day" once a year.
Vauxhall City Farm, located within Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens is open daily and contains a range of animals including alpacas, sheep, goats and pigs.
Vauxhall is the home of Vauxhall Gardens Estate Residents and Tenants Association (VGERTA) that represents 2,500 residents in Vauxhall Gardens Estate which is the biggest Presidents and Tenants Association in Lambeth. VGERTA and their committee has received a number of awards for their contributions to the local community.
VGERTA's biggest success to date is the fundraising of £165,000 for the full regeneration of the Glasshouse Walk Playground that was successfully completed in July 2013.
Much of the area in Vauxhall contains light industry, offices, and government buildings. Many companies and organisations were attracted in the past by Vauxhall's central location and comparatively cheap rent compared to Westminster on the other side of the river. In recent years, Vauxhall's riverside has undergone major redevelopment with the construction of a number of modern residential and office blocks, most notably the distinctive SIS Building at Vauxhall Cross. Also, a number of new commercial businesses have moved into the area.
In Spanish: Vauxhall (Londres) para niños
Vauxhall Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.