On the Beach: Vauxhall

Posted: March 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of joining two fellow Members, Victor Keegan and Hannah Renier, on a mooch around the Thames foreshore with the good people from the Thames Discovery Programme (Sunny, Eliott, John, Roger). They are a volunteer archaeology group whose mission is to discover and record as much as possible of the river’s shoreline: it is in constant flux and requires essential and frequent monitoring.

Afterwards we stopped at the local caff for much needed hot coffee and I was introduced to David Coke, co-author of the award-winning book Vauxhall Gardens: A History. I remember seeing this magnificent tome at the Vauxhall Gardens exhibition at the Foundling Museum last year, so it was nice to make the connection. My eyes popped out on cartoony stalks as David produced over a dozen historical maps of the tightly focused stretch of the river we had just explored going back many centuries and then right up until quite recent Ordnance Survey. Fascinating stuff.  David’s web site on Vauxhall Gardens is here.

On our beach stroll itself, Vic Keegan has beaten me to it (of course he has: he’s a Journalist with a capital J) and written this up on his fine blog, London My London. So I’ll simply share some captioned pictures.

If you’re a London Historians Member, we’ll be organising an outing with the Thames Discovery Programme later this year, look out for it on the web site and in your monthly newsletter.

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Mooching about the foreshore with the Thames Discovery Programme.

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Hardy LH Members, Vic and Hannah, with Ed the Dog.

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Wooden moldings for a concrete structure, not yet identified or dated.

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One of several bronze age piles thought to have supported a jetty or possibly even a bridge. As featured in the unlamented (by me) Time Team.

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Upriver or down, it’s impossible to take a photo of lovely Vauxhall Bridge without an ugly tower stinking up the joint.

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Vauxhall Bridge, very pretty. Opened in 1906, it replaced the original bridge of 1816.

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One of eight statues representing arts, sciences and manufacturing which decorate the bridge. This one is Pottery. Sculptors Drury and Pomeroy also made Justice on the Old Bailey.

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Vauxhall Bridge showing structure from the old paddle steamer jetty from before any bridge existed.

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Where lesser know tributary the Effra meets the Thames. Prior to embankement it was a tad upstream from here.

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Downstream of the bridge, the Albert Embankment, by the mighty Bazalgette. Serpentine lamposts reflect those on the Middlesex bank opposite.

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