Waterloo Road


English Heritage



Sir Howard Roberts and Walter H. Godfrey (editors)

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'Waterloo Road', Survey of London: volume 23: Lambeth: South Bank and Vauxhall (1951), pp. 25-31. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=47033 Date accessed: 20 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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Cuper's Garden

[See plates 6 and 7]

The immediate approach to Waterloo Bridge was formed on a piece of ground which had for many years been part of a famous pleasure ground, known as Cuper's (or Cupid's) Garden. The site was originally part of Lambeth Marsh. In the later Middle Ages it had belonged to the Earls of Arundel and in 1559 it was sold by Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, with Norfolk House and other property in Lambeth (see p. 137) to Richard Garthe and John Dyster under the description of “three acres of medowe” in “the bishopp of Canterburyes marshe.” (ref. 59) It changed hands several times during the following thirty years, and in 1589 (ref. 60) Thomas Cure, gentleman, who owned the demesne lands of Paris Garden Manor, sold it to Richard Hanburie, citizen and goldsmith of London. The ground was then described as three acres “used as a great garden nowe or late in the tenure … of Richard Love.“ In 1634 Augustine Skinner, who had acquired the property by his marriage, sold it to Thomas, Earl of Arundel, (ref. 61) the owner of considerable property in Paris Garden Manor as well as of Arundel House on the opposite side of the river. Arundel leased it to Abraham Boydell Cuper, who was employed in his household, and either Abraham or his son opened it as a public pleasure garden. (fn. a)

In 1680 Thomas Bedford bought the ground in trust for Sir Leoline Jenkins. The latter, who had been Principal of Jesus College, Oxford, from 1661 to 1673, died in 1685 and bequeathed both this ground and the Hopes farther west along Narrow Wall (see p. 56) to the College. (ref. 60)

In 1686 Bodwyn Cuper acquired a lease of the adjoining ground, 7 acres in extent, from the Archbishop of Canterbury (ref. 62) and extended the gardens. Hatton, in 1708, described the “pleasant Gardens and Walks with Bowling greens … whither many of the Westerly part of the Town resort for Diversion in the Summer Season.” (ref. 63) In 1738 the gardens and the Feathers Tavern were taken over by Ephraim Evans, who did much to make them more attractive. Among other things he built an orchestra in which was installed an organ by Bridge. (ref. 64) Evants died in 1740, (ref. 65) but the gardens continued to flourish under the management of his widow.

“Cuper's Gardens. This is to acquaint all Gentlemen and Ladies, that this present Saturday, the 25th instant, will be perform’d several curious Pieces of Musick, compos'd by Mr. Handel, Sig. Hasse, Mr. Arne, Mr. Burgess, etc., in which will be introduced the celebrated Fire-Musick, as originally compos'd by Mr. Handel … the Fireworks consisting of Fire-Wheels, Fountains, large Sky-Rockets, with an Addition of the Fire-Pump, etc., made by the ingenious Mr. Worman … play'd off from the Top of the Orchestra by Mr. Worman himself … The Widow Evans hopes, that as her Endeavours are to oblige the Town, they will favour her Gardens with their Company; and particular Care will be taken there shall be better Attendance, and more commodious Reception for the Company.” (ref. 66)

Jesus College, Oxford

This advertisement from a newspaper of 1741 is typical of many which appeared between 1740 and 1752. In the latter year the gardens, which had always attracted pickpockets and other undesirable clientele in spite of the shilling admission charge, fell under the ban of the Act “for the better preventing thefts and robberies, and for regulating places of publick entertainment.” (ref. 67) For a few years Mrs. Evans continued to run the place as an unlicensed tea garden in connection with the Feathers Tavern, with occasional private evening concerts and firework entertainments open only to subscribers, but it finally closed in 1760. In 1761 it was in the hands of the Jesus College authorities, who sold the lead from the roof of the “Great House” and felled some of the trees. The house near the entrance and other outbuildings were let out in tenements and the skittle ground was let temporarily to a Mr. Pillford. (ref. 60) In 1762 Mark Beaufoy, who is described as vinegar merchant, was granted a 20 year lease of the premises with permission to pull down the house and to use the materials to erect others. (ref. 60) (fn. b) distilled both wine and vinegar; in the flowery words of Pennant— (ref. 69)

“The genial banks of the Thames opposite to our capital, yield almost every species of white wine; and, by a wondrous magic, Messrs. Beaufoy pour forth the materials for the rich Frontiniac, to the more elegant tables … There is a magnificence of business in this ocean of sweets and sours, that cannot fail exciting the greatest admiration: whether we consider the number of vessels, or their size … On first entering the yard, two rise before you, covered at the top with a thatched dome; between them is a circular turret, including a winding staircase, which brings you to their summits, which are above twenty-four feet in diameter. One of these conservatories is full of sweet wine, and contains fifty-eight thousand one hundred and nine gallons … Its superb associate is full of vinegar …”

Besides these, is an avenue of lesser vessels … (fn. c)

In 1813 the Strand Bridge Company purchased the three acres belonging to Jesus College for the formation of the Waterloo Bridge approach. The plan on Plate 3 shows the line of Waterloo Road cutting across the gardens. The remainder of Waterloo Road was formed on land belonging to the Archbishop of Canterbury. (ref. 70)

Waterloo Bridge Approach

The southern approach to Waterloo Bridge was carried on a series of brick arches with a gradual descent to the York Road and Stamford Street level. The result was that the houses on the bridge approach had a very extensive cellarage, and the Feathers Tavern on the east side (built by the landlord of the old tavern of the same name on the foreshore, illustrated in Plate 7b) was really two public houses one above the other, the lower one being in Commercial Road, now Upper Ground, and the upper in Waterloo Road. Albert Smith (ref. 71) gave a lurid description of this street above a street in the 1840's—

“It is well ventilated … by the wind, which rushes up frightful chasms from unknown depths, and through the gratings in the pavement. Its atmosphere is as light and rarefied as the housekeeping of its inhabitants, by reason of its elevation. For its houses are all cellars stories under stories of cellars the lowest of which no eye may fathom, but which terminate in subterraneous regions inhabited only by dray-horses, and lumbering wains, and burly coal-heavers. The commerce of Waterloo Road is limited; judging from the shop windows, it appears chiefly confined to bonnet-shapes, playbills and pale dry cigars.”

Sketches of the front and back elevations of the houses on the west side just prior to their demolition in 1949–50 are given in Plate 24. This row was known as Southampton Terrace. The present generation will, perhaps, chiefly remember it for the tattooist's shop at No. 72 (1918–49).

The Royal Hospital for Children and Women

[See plates 11a and 5]

One of the earliest buildings in Waterloo Road was the Royal Universal Infirmary for Children. This institution was the successor of the Universal Dispensary for Sick and Indigent Children founded in 1816 by Dr. J. Bunnell Davis in premises in St. Andrew's Hill, Doctors' Commons. A four-storey building, two storeys being below the level of the road, was erected in 1823 at the north-east corner of Waterloo Road and Stamford Street, and was opened as a dispensary in the following year. (ref. 72) The design was made gratuitously by David Laing, architect of the Customs House. Although the institution enjoyed the patronage of various royal personages and of the Lord Mayor of London it was perpetually short of funds, and, until 1851, treatment was given only to out-patients, part of the building being let as a school. (ref. 47)

In 1851 a surgical ward was opened, and in 1852 arrangements were made with the trustees of the Hayles Estate for the reception of a certain number of poor women from the parish of Lambeth. (ref. 72)

The infirmary was built on land which was part of the triangular slip of ground bought by the Waterloo Bridge Company from Jesus College, Oxford, and assigned to the Duchy of Cornwall in exchange for ground given up to form the bridge approaches. In 1876 (ref. 47) the Prince of Wales sold the freehold to the trustees of the infirmary John Fisher Eastwood, Frederick Lincoln Bevan and the Rev. Frederic Tugwell and a new storey was added to the building. Five years later they acquired the freehold of the adjoining properties in Waterloo Road and Stamford Street. (ref. 47)

The hospital was entirely rebuilt in 1903–05, with the exception of the nurses’ home, which was completed in 1927. (ref. 73)

Architectural Description

The present hospital has five storeys and basement. It is of red brick with brown terra-cotta dressings and has a corner turret over the glazed-ware porch which bears the Royal Arms. On the Waterloo Road elevation an arcaded balcony serves each of the first, second and third floor wards.

The nurses' home adjoining is also of red brick with brown terracotta dressings. It has six storeys above the basement.

The firm of Messrs. Waring and Nicholson designed the hospital and the nurses' home and also prepared the scheme of conversion after the recent war for the nurses' home annexe in York Road opposite the York Hotel.

The present hospital was planned with the ground floor for administration purposes and the first, second and third floors as wards giving accommodation for two hundred beds. The entrance porch of glazed ware was the gift in 1905 of H. Lewis Doulton.

Nos. 77–119

Most of the original houses of Waterloo Road have been pulled down. Waterloo Station, the Union Jack Club (1907–09), and the offices at the corner of Stamford Street accounted for a large number, and others have been rebuilt piecemeal. A few houses of the 1830's survive in Alfred Place (Nos. 77 and 79) at the south-east corner of Exton Street and in Maude Place (Nos. 115–119) just north of The Cut, but they have been much altered.

Figure 2: No. 86 Waterloo Road. Detail of railings

Nos. 80–86 (formerly Nos. 40–43)

[See plates 21 and 22]

These houses date from the formation of the bridge approach. They were erected on part of a piece of ground at the corner of York Road and Waterloo Road which had been purchased by the Archbishop of Canterbury from the proprietors of Waterloo Bridge, and by him granted to John Field, wax chandler, and Agnes Bazing, spinster, by a building lease dated 25th March, 1824. (ref. 74) These houses and those on the return front in Boyce Street (formerly Anne Street) were designed by L. N. Cottingham, who occupied No. 86 from its erection until his death in 1847. (ref. 48) Cottingham's drawing (dated 1826) of the elevation of Nos. 80–86 is reproduced on Plate 23a.

Nos. 80–86 form an impressive terrace in stock brick. They have four storeys above pavement level with recessed round-headed windows atthe first floor and gauged flat arches to the upper floors. There are shop fronts to Nos. 84 and 86. No. 86 has an enriched arched entrance on the Boyce Street return.

Figure 3: No. 86 Waterloo Road. Detail of doors on first floor. Measured drawings

The York Hotel has a simple pilaster treatment to its stuccoed ground storey. At first floor level to both frontages it has a continuous paterae band to the fascia.

The parapets of the terrace have a cornice and blocking course surmounted by stele heads on short pedestals at the corners and over the party walls. There are pseudo-triglyphs to the horizontal panels over the third floor windows, while the main cornice with its flat brackets is at this floor level. Both second and third storeys have panelled cills, those at the lower level being linked by a continuous band.

Historical Notes

No. 80 has been used as the York Hotel since the date of its erection.

No. 86 (formerly No. 43) was built by Lewis Nockalls Cotungham, architect and antiquary, for his own residence, and its rooms were specially designed to receive the library which he had formed and the many specimens of Gothic carving in stone and wood he had preserved from buildings that had been destroyed. A catalogue was published but the collection was dispersed a few years after his death. (fn. d)

Figure 4: No. 86 Waterloo Road. Doorway to Boyce Street. Measured drawing by A. R. Hansen

Cottingham actively supported the retention of the Lady Chapel at St. Saviour's, Southwark, and was employed on the restoration of the Temple Church and of St. Alban's Abbey. He was largely responsible for laying out the estate of John Field in the Waterloo district. At the time of his death on 13th October, 1847, he was engaged on the restoration of Hereford Cathedral, a task which was completed by his son, Nockalls Johnson Cottingham. (ref. 75) The latter lived at No. 86 Waterloo Road until 1851. Since his departure the house has been used for commercial purposes.

Nos. 88 and 90. These houses date from the same period and are similar in character to Nos. 80–86, but have been much altered.

The Royal Swimming Bath. This building (Plate 11b) stood on the west side of Waterloo Road a little to the north of Lower Marsh. The site is now covered by Waterloo Station.

The Cut (formerly the New Cut)

The New Cut was developed as a roadway continuing Lower Marsh cast of Waterloo Road circa 1820. The houses on the south side were built by Samuel Short, carpenter, between 1818 and 1821. Under the terms of his lease they were “third-rate” houses with the front walls faced with stock bricks and having rubbed and gauged arches to the windows and stone coped parapets; (ref. 76) none of these houses now remains. Short had a lease of the ground bounded by the New Cut, Webber Street, and Short Street, and developed the whole property at this time. The ground was originally a meadow called Chalcroft which, in the 18th century, had been let out as garden ground. (ref. 77)

Figure 5: Nos. 96–100 Waterloo Road. First floor iron balustrade. Measured drawing by B. Shawcroft

Prior to the 19th century the ground between The Cut and Prince's Meadows (Stamford Street) on the eastern boundary of Lambeth was known as Wild Marsh. (ref. 78) This area was developed in the 1820's by John Roupell, who is described in the deeds as a gold refiner. (ref. 79) From him Roupell Street derives its name.


a When Arundel House was pulled down Cuper had some of the Arundel marbles to decorate his gardens. Later the statues were sold to John Freeman of Fawley Court and Edmund Waller of Beaconsfield for £75. (ref. 37)
b Beaufoy had set up in business there (ref. 68) some years previously. Among the records of the firm is a letter from Mark Beaufoy dated “28th January, 1756, Vinegar Yard, Cuper's Gardens,” and other documents suggest that he was there even earlier.
c There is a drawing in the Guildhall Library, attributed to Paul Sandby and reproduced on Plate 108a, which has been entitled “Near Cuper's Bridge.” It shows a windmill in the foreground which may have been the windmill shown near the bend of the river on the map of north Lambeth in the 1755 edition of Strype's Stow. On the other hand, the topographical details, and in particular the rural aspect of the opposite bank of the river, suggest that the view has been wrongly titled. It may possibly represent a mill further upstream (see p. 143).
d a Cottingham published a useful book on the balcony railings of the Regency period, The Ornamental Metal Workers' Director.


37. Historical anecdotes of some of the Howard family, by The Hon. Charles Howard, 1769.
47. St. Thomas' Hospital Group, Records of the Royal Hospital for Children and Women.
48. P.O. and other London Directories.,
59. P.R.O., C 54/559.
60. Jesus College Deeds.
61. P.R.O., C.P. 25(2), Surr. Mich. 9 Car. I.
62. Church Commissioners: Deeds, 90782.
63. A new view of London, by E. Hatton, 1708.
64. The London pleasure gardens of the 18th century, by W. Wroth, 1896.
65. Gent. Mag.
66. Newspaper cutting, 30th June, 1741.
67. An Act for the better preventing thefts and robberies …25 Geo. II, cap. 36.
68. Family tradition, 1641–1941, an unpublished account of British firms of distillers, by H. Sarson.
69. Some account of London, by Thos. Pennant, 2nd ed., 1791.
70. Church Commissioners: Deeds, 86901.
71. Christopher Tadpole, by A. Smith, 1848.
72. The origin and progress of the Royal Hospital for Children and Women. Privately printed, 1899.
73. The Times.
74. L.C.C. Solicitor's Dept., Deeds.
75. Annual Register, 1847.
76. Church Commissioners: Deeds, 87156–8.
77. Church Commissioners: Deeds, 90782.
78. Church Commissioners: Deeds, 90783.
79. Church Commissioners: File, 17760.