Copyhold lands


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F. H. W. Sheppard (General Editor)

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'Kennington: Copyhold lands', Survey of London: volume 26: Lambeth: Southern area (1956), pp. 36-56. URL: Date accessed: 21 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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The copyhold lands in this area of Kennington fall naturally into two sections, divided by Kennington Road. In the south-western section along Kennington Lane between Kennington Road and South Lambeth Road there were several copyholds, among them the Coach field or Stonebridge Close, the “Hornehalfeacre” and the Oatfield. In 1615 they were split among a number of copyholders but by 1785 the closes had been grouped into two large estates, belonging to James Bradshaw Peirson and Sir Joseph Mawbey, and a single copyhold in the hands of Edward Dawson. Of these three estates, only that belonging to Sir Jospeh Mawbey has any building of historical or architectural interest upon it. Development in this section of the Manor was orientated upon Kennington Lane. Most of the copyholds were bounded by the Lane, and side roads were laid out to give ready access to it. The shape of the holdings, with their narrow frontages to the Lane and considerable depth, was probably responsible for the pattern of this development; only on the largest of the Mawbey copyholds (fig. 3, plots 17, 18 and 19) was the area large enough to permit a more ambitious plan.

In the north-eastern section of the Manor between Kennington Road and Newington Butts lay a number of copyholds which were divided between several persons in 1615 and, unlike the south-western section, remained so. Among these was Broadgates and the closely packed collection of copyholds at the junction of Kennington Lane and Newington Butts. In this section of the Manor there was no problem of access, for nearly every estate had frontages to both Kennington Park Road and either Kennington Road or Kennington Lane. Here estates had to be developed to make use both of the main road frontages and the intervening land. Contrasting results were achieved in Cleaver Square and the network of roads on the adjoining East estate.


The Mawbey copyhold estate was the largest in this part of the Manor of Kennington, being some 28 acres in extent. Sir Joseph Mawbey, senior, who held the estate in 1785, was born in Ravenstone, Leicestershire, in 1730, the son of John Mawbey and Martha Pratt. When still a child he was brought to Surrey by his maternal uncle, Joseph Pratt, a distiller at Vauxhall. It was originally intended that Mawbey should be trained for the Anglican ministry, but in default of male issue to Joseph Pratt he was taken into the distillery business. (ref. 96) When his uncle died in 1754 the business was divided between Mawbey and his cousin, Richard Pratt, son of one of Joseph Pratt's brothers. (ref. 97) After Richard Pratt's death in 1756,” Joseph Mawbey set himself up as a landed proprietor, buying the Manor of Botleys in Chertsey in 1765 (where he lived for most of the remainder of his life), (ref. 96) as well as other property, including some in other parts of Lambeth. He was at various periods Sheriff of Surrey, Chairman of the Quarter Sessions, and Member of Parliament first for Southwark and then for Surrey. Mawbey was created a baronet in 1765, and after his death in 1798 was succeeded by the second and last baronet, another Sir Joseph. (ref. 96)

Mawbey's property in Kennington was inherited from Joseph Pratt. Pratt held a considerable amount of land in the Manor which, on his death in 1754, was divided between Joseph Mawbey and Richard Pratt. Joseph Mawbey was granted land in Vauxhall and, in addition, a house and garden ground in Kennington Lane then occupied by Richard Pratt, together with a half share of the furniture and household goods; (ref. 97) the house stood on the site of Imperial Court. (ref. 99) The greater part of the estate was bequeathed to Richard Pratt. On the death of Richard in 1756, his daughter Elizabeth inherited the Kennington property. (ref. 98) Elizabeth Pratt married Joseph Mawbey in 1760 and under their marriage settlement Sir Joseph was subsequently admitted to her property in 1767, (ref. 100) thus reuniting the Pratt estate.

Towards the end of his life Sir Joseph granted some building leases of his Kennington property, perhaps because he was in financial difficulties. After his death in 1798 (ref. 101) it was discovered that his debts, which amounted to about £45,000, could not be settled without selling property. His freehold lands in South Lambeth were put up to auction in 1800, but the proceeds were insufficient to pay the debtors. After proceedings in Chancery the Mawbey family obtained an Act of Parliament in 1805 to permit them to sell more property. (ref. 102) The greater part of the land sold under this Act was outside the Manor, but parts of the largest of the Mawbey copyholds (fig. 3, plots 17, 18 and 19) were sold in 1806. The rest of the Mawbey estate was vested in Trustees until Sir Joseph junior's death in 1817, when he too was found to be in debt. (ref. 103) The property was again vested in Trustees and gradually sold off, beginning in 1819.

No. 363 Kennington Lane

Formerly No. 173 Upper Kennington Lane, originally Eldon House or No. 3 Eldon Place

Fig. 3, plot 14

In 1615 the land on which this house and the church of St. Anne stand, together with houses in Harleyford Road, was owned partly by Garret Vanhey (or Vantry) and partly by James Allen. (ref. 2) In 1785, when it had come into the hands of Sir Joseph Mawbey, a house stood on the Kennington Lane frontage and its gardens ran southwards across the line of the present Harleyford Road. (ref. 6) The Trustees of Sir Joseph Mawbey, junior, sold the piece of copyhold in 1819 to Stephen Tayler of Dorset Place, Clapham Road for £1,570 (ref. 104) Tayler obtained a licence to demise his property in 1820 but it was not until January 1825 that he leased a portion of it, lying between Harleyford Road and Kennington Lane, to John Wright Snow of Kennington Lane. The lease was for 69 years from Lady Day 1824, and mentions three messuages “erected and built by the said John Wright Snow”. (ref. 105) It therefore appears that Snow was responsible for pulling down the existing building and redeveloping the land in 1824. The row of houses was known as Eldon Place.

Mr. Summerson attributes the design of the house (fig.8) to the architect J. M. Gandy (1771–1843). His evidence is primarily stylistic, and he describes the house as a striking example of Gandy's manner of decoration. (ref. 106) Gandy was for a short period in Sir John Soane's drawing office and Soane befriended him on several occasions. In the Exhibition of the Royal Academy in 1825, Gandy exhibited a picture of “Dwelling houses, &c. now building in Vauxhall Road, and other places”. (ref. 107) Wandsworth Road was sometimes known as Vauxhall Road, and the houses there which Mr. Summerson attributed to Gandy have recently been demolished. Since No. 363 Kennington Lane was built in 1824 and there may well have been some delay between Gandy's picture being completed and being hung, the coincidence of dates may perhaps be held to give additional weight to the attribution.

No. 363 Kennington Lane consists of a semibasement, three storeys, and an attic within the roof. The stucco-faced front is a design of marked originality, asymmetrical in composition and dominated by the large arch-headed recess which surrounds the shallow segmental bay of three-light windows—lighting the semi-basement, ground- and first-floors—and the small second-floor window. The mullions between the bay windows are grooved to form panels, and the ground- and first-floor windows have cast-iron guards of conventional wave and anthemion pattern. On the right of the arch-headed feature is the entrance doorway, with an elaborate pedimented hood borne on normal and inverted consoles, and above are two unornamented windows. The rear elevation is basically similar in composition to the front, but without a bay and finished in stock brick. The ingeniously planned interior contains a top-lit staircase of simple design but extremely elegant form. The principal rooms are adorned with plaster cornices and marble chimney-pieces in the Grecian taste, and the joinery is of unusual and interesting design.

Figure 8.: No. 363 Kennington Lane, 1824, attributed to J. M. Gandy: ground-floor plan and front elevation

Eldon Place and the land adjoining it, which was enfranchised in 1883, remained in the hands of the Tayler family until December 1891 when it was conveyed to Edward John Fooks of Lincoln's Inn in settlement of a mortgage. In the following January, Fooks conveyed the property to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Southwark, and a trust was formed to enable it to be used for a church, priests' residence, schools or cemetery. (ref. 105) No. 363, now known as St. Anne's House, was adapted for a priests' house, and a Mission with a district assigned to it from St. George's Cathedral district, was opened in 1892. (ref. 108)

St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church and Primary and Secondary Schools

Fig. 3, plot 14

In 1900 the three houses adjoining No. 363 Kennington Lane were pulled down to make way for the new church designed by Frederick Arthur Walters. The foundation stone was laid on November 3, 1900, by Bishop (later Cardinal) Bourne. (ref. 109) The church was ready for use on January 31, 1903. and the opening ceremony was performed on October 25 of the same year. The tower, with the confraternity chapel and the parish room, was added in 1906–7 and the church, which seats 500 and cost £12,000 to complete, was consecrated on March 20, 1911. (ref. 110) The contractors were Messrs. Goddard and Sons of Farnham and Dorking (ref. 111) (Plate 24).

This fine church, by reason of site limitations, is built with its major axis running north to south, the entrance front to Kennington Lane facing north and the high altar being at the south end. The deeply recessed north porch leads to the wide nave of five arcaded bays, the first four opening to narrow processional aisles, that to the east being flanked by the tower and a chapel above which is the parish room. The southernmost bay of the nave, which opens to transepts of unequal length, is canted inwards to meet the chancel arch. The chancel is short and square-ended, and is flanked by chapels.

The design is an interesting and original conception, described in The Builder (ref. 111) as “Early English” in style, but having in fact much in common with the brick Gothic churches of the Baltic countries. The exterior, of dark red brick sparingly dressed with stone, derives most of its interest from the bold modelling of its forms. The gabled porch, its moulded arch dying into splayed jambs, has one-storey flanks each containing two small lancet windows, with a hipped lean-to roof rising to the gabled north wall of the nave. This is divided into three bays by offset buttresses, the outer ones forming a prolongation of the nave side walls. The lateral bays are quite plain but the middle one contains two tall lancet windows and a vesica-shaped opening over the central pier. The very fine tower has two tiers of tall lancet arches, the lower pair with acute gabled heads. The attenuated upper pair, which are repeated on each face, contain louvred openings and are set in shallow recessions with corbelled heads. Each face of the tower is flanked by tall flat buttresses with stone gable-heads, and the saddle-back roof produces a gable on the north and south faces, each containing three narrow lancets. The side elevations, being closely hemmed in by buildings, are of no great interest, but the south end wall presents a shallow arched recess flanked by buttresses and containing three lancet windows in its upper part. There is a gabled bellcote rising above the chancel-arch wall.

Inside, the moulded arches of the nave arcades die into chamfered piers, linked to the outer walls by buttresses that are penetrated by low arches to form the processional ways. There is no clerestory, but over the arcade runs a corbeltable of open arches. The nave is ceiled with a simple hammer-beam roof of pine, its trusses resting on simply carved stone corbels, and the pitch is continued by the lean-to roofs of the aisles. The white simplicity of the nave leads the eye to the elaborate polychromy of the stencilled decoration adorning the chancel arch, the sanctuary and its side chapels, which open to the chancel by two-bay arcades, these being surmounted by a clerestory of tall lancets. The carved canopy above the high altar, the organ case, and the rood-beam add their interest to the rich concentration of colour around the sanctuary.

Schools were built in Harleyford Road in 1892; they were extended in 1926 and 1932, (ref. 111) and occupy an unpretentious three-storey stock brick building, which stands behind the church.

Nos. 48–68 (even) Harleyford Road

Formerly Nos. 4–1 (consec.) Clun Terrace and 20–14 (consec.) The Parade

Fig. 3, plots 14 and 15

This section of the Mawbey property was not developed until the Trustees of the Surrey New Roads had constructed the new road from Vauxhall to Camberwell under an Act of 1818. (ref. 19) Previously there had been no access to the Oval from Kennington Lane (see Plate 40b). The new road was named Harleyford Road to distinguish it from Harleyford Street which connected the Oval and Kennington Park Road. Harleyford, in Buckinghamshire, was the seat of the Clayton family, lessees of the demesne. Harleyford Road and Durham Street gave ready access to part of the Manor hitherto undeveloped, and building quickly followed.

Stephen Tayler, who had acquired property from the Mawbey Trustees in 1819, leased his ground fronting the south-west side of Harleyford Road to Samuel Burrows for 80 years from Christmas 1820. (ref. 112) Nos. 56–60 were built in 1821 (ref. 44) and Nos. 48–54 in 1826. Nos. 62–66 were added about 1831 (ref. 44) . The property was enfranchised in 1894. (ref. 112)

Nos. 48–54 form a plain three-storey terrace with basements. They are built in stock brick and above their cornice and blocking course is a panel reading “CLUN TERRACE 1826”. No. 56, of the same height, abuts this terrace but is not part of its composition. Nos. 58 and 60, a plain three-storey pair adjoining, have an elliptical tablet in the centre of the front wall at second-floor level reading “THE PARADE 1821”.

Nos. 62–66 are three humble two-storey houses of stock brick, forming a group with the central house projecting slightly. Each house has a cornice and blocking course to the parapet and a sill-band to the first floor windows.

The site of No. 68 was divided between the copyhold granted to Stephen Tayler in 1819 and that leased by the Mawbey Trustees to William Henry Jackson, carpenter, of Church Street, Westminster, in December 1822 (ref. 113) ; the house appears to have been erected in 1822. Jackson's lease was for 61 years, in consideration of his expenses in building a house on the property. Although the “whole of the garden at the rear together with the scullery and Part of the Kitchen with parts of the rooms over” was on Tayler's copyhold, (ref. 114) the house seems to have been regarded as belonging to the Mawbey Trustees. In 1824 their interest was sold to John Woodcock, oilman, of Honey Lane Market, Cheapside. (ref. 115) The portion of the house on Tayler's copyhold was enfranchised with the rest of his property in 1894 and the remainder by Woodcock's descendants two years later. (ref. 114) The house came into the hands of one owner in 1899 by the purchase of both parts by Robert Briant of Kennington Park Road, auctioneer and surveyor. (ref. 113)

Nos. 40 and 42 Durham Street

Formerly Nos. 11 and 12 Durham Street

Fig. 3, plot 15

The original wood shop-fronts of these houses still survive. The fronts have fascias with swept ends, and are flanked by narrow reeded pilasters. The private entrance to No. 42 is incorporated within the shop-front while No. 40 has a separate entrance with a small patterned fanlight. These houses and those opposite have recessed rectangular panels to the parapets over the first-floor windows similar to those at Nos. 76–82 Harleyford Road.

No. 337 Kennington Lane

Formerly No. 143 Upper Kennington Lane

Fig. 3, plot 15

The land on which this house stands was part of a close of pasture owned in 1615 by Ralph Hanmer; Hanmer also held the Stonebridge Close which took its name from the stone Cox's Bridge over Vauxhall Creek in South Lambeth Road. From the close of pasture a slip of land had been taken which was known as the “Hornehalfeacre”; (ref. 2) it is now covered by the buildings in Farnham Royal.

A house is shown on or near the site of No. 337 on Rocque's map of 1745, and a house is mentioned on the property in 1767. (ref. 100) It is not certain whether either of these can be identified with No. 337. Sir Joseph Mawbey obtained a general licence to demise his property in 1770, (ref. 116) and architectural evidence suggests that No. 337 was built under that licence. For some years before 1789 it was occupied by Thomas Fassett. (ref. 55) Fassett took over Sir Joseph Mawbey's distillery at Vauxhall in 1779–80 (ref. 117) and it seems possible, though by no means certain, that he built himself a dwelling-house on another part of Mawbey's property at no great distance from the distillery. The house had extensive grounds which are now covered by the buildings in Durham Street and Kennington Grove.

No.337 is a plain stock brick fronted house containing a basement, three storeys, and an attic within a mansard roof. The entrance is placed in a small single-storey wing on the east side, the doorcase being formed by panelled pilasters supporting consoles on which rests a dentilled open pediment.

Nos. 70–82 (even) Harleyford Road

Formerly Nos. 13–7 (consec.) The Parade Fig. 3, plot 16

In 1615 the copyholder of the land on which these houses stand was Frances Froome, widow, and her holding was described as a close of meadow called Hales. (ref. 2) By 1785 it had changed its name, then being called the Oatfield, and was part of the property held by Sir Joseph Mawbey, senior. (ref. 6) Harleyford Road was cut diagonally across the southern end of the plot, and these houses were built on the south-west side of the road In 1821 the Trustees of Sir Joseph Mawbey, junior, obtained a licence to demise this property, (ref. 118) but the land was not developed at that date. In May 1828 their interest in the property was sold to William Foxton the younger, of the Exchequer Office, Somerset Place. (ref. 119) The houses appear to have been built between 1828 and 1831. (ref. 44) The property was enfranchised in 1879. (ref. 120)

Nos. 68–74 are mean two-storey houses, some with semi-basements. Nos. 76–82 are two-storey houses of broader frontage with round-arched entrances at the centre which set forward slightly. The windows over these entrances are blank. There are recessed rectangular panels in the parapets over each of the two first-floor windows and the blanks, and over each of the entrances. The group of four is unified by a sill-band on the first floor. The fronts of Nos. 76 and 78 have been rebuilt with Fletton bricks.

Nos. 43–55 (odd) Harleyford Road

Formerly Nos. 1–7 Slaney Place Fig. 3, plot 16

This is a terrace of seven houses, built of stock brick, each containing a semi-basement, two storeys, and an attic within a mansard roof. Each front is two windows wide and they are combined to form a composed elevation in which a central feature, embracing three houses and crowned by a triangular pediment, is set slightly forward from wings, each of two houses. The ground storey, faced with coursed stucco, contains the doorways which have fluted quadrant reveals and patterned fanlights.

Nos. 231–245 (odd) Kennington Lane

Formerly Nos. 31–45 (odd) Upper Kennington Lane, originally Nos. 1–8 (consec.) Kennington Terrace

Fig. 3, plot 17

The ground on which these houses stand, together with the gasholder station, Imperial Court and other houses in Kennington Road, formed part of one large copyhold. In 1615 the copyholder was Edward Carpenter, whose property is described as a tenement in part newly-constructed (lying in Kennington Lane) together with an orchard and three closes of meadow and pasture. (ref. 2) On or near the site of Edward Carpenter's house was the residence of Richard Pratt, which in 1754 was inherited by (Sir) Joseph Mawbey. Imperial Court now covers the site.

On December 30, 1793, Sir Joseph Mawbey granted a lease of the site of Nos. 231–245 Kennington Lane to Thomas Cope (fn. a) for 61 years from Michaelmas 1790. (ref. 121) This evidence, connected with that from other records of the Duchy of Cornwall (ref. 122) suggests that the houses were standing by 1793 and were probably built in 1791. However, the terrace does not appear in the Rate Books of this area in 1794. In 1795 the houses were said to be new built, and all eight appear in the Rate Book of 1796. (ref. 44)

These houses were sold by the Trustees of Sir Joseph Mawbey, junior, together with other adjacent property including No. 356 Kennington Road (see page 45), to Allen Williams, surgeon, of St. Saviour's, Southwark, in 1819. (ref. 121) The property remained in the hands of the Williams family until 1904 when it was sold in two lots by the Trustees of Catherine Williams. A number of the houses were acquired later by Hayward Bros., pickle manufacturers, for for extension of their premises. (ref. 123)

Benjamin Gompertz, F.R.S. (1779–1865), mathematician and actuary, lived at No. 231 from 1811 or 1812 to 1865. He collaborated with Francis Baily in the construction of tables for the mean places of the fixed stars; he was also actuary to his brother-in-law Sir Moses Montefiore and to Nathan Rothschild, founders of the Alliance Assurance Co., as well as a consultant actuary to the Government. His law of human mortality was a basis for many later actuarial developments. (ref. 96)

Nos. 231–245 from a plain three-storey terrace raised above semi-basements, with a slated, mansard-roofed attic storey. Nos. 237 and 239 and the end houses are a little higher than the others and are set forward slightly. The centre houses have Victorian cast-iron window guards on the first floor. Except where repaired, the façades are finished with dentilled cornice bands to the parapets.

The Gasholder Station

Formerly the South London Waterworks

Fig. 3, plots 17 and 18

In 1805 an Act of Parliament was passed instituting the Company of Proprietors of the South London Waterworks for the purpose of supplying the parish of St. Giles, Camberwell, parts of the parish of St. Mary, Lambeth, and other places in Surrey with water. The Company was restricted to supplying those parts of Lambeth not already supplied by the Lambeth Waterworks on the South Bank, and was to obtain water from the Thames and Vauxhall Creek. (ref. 124) To the north of the Oval, the Company constructed an engine house, sluice house, offices, reservoirs and a canal (Plate 40b). Sir Joseph Mawbey, junior, one of the proprietors of the Company, sold the land to the Company in 1808. (ref. 125)

Water was first supplied in 1807, but in the same year the engine house and a wooden reservoir were destroyed by fire. (ref. 126) In 1822 two steam engines were in use, but because the site was low they proved inadequate and a new 45 h.p. engine was installed. Another was erected by the Thames at Cumberland Gardens, (ref. 127) on land belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury. Soon afterwards the removal of old London Bridge and the accumulation of rubbish in Vauxhall Creek affected the quantity and quality of the water supply. A tunnel was therefore laid which conveyed water from the bed of the Thames directly to the works, (ref. 126) and Vauxhall Creek was returned to the jurisdiction of the Commissioners of Sewers. (ref. 128) A new reservoir and filter bed were also constructed; they were so effective “as to render … [the water] transparent”. (ref. 127)

In 1834 the name of the Company was changed to the Vauxhall Waterworks Company, (ref. 129) and it took over the area formerly supplied by the Lambeth Waterworks. (ref. 130) In 1845 the Company was amalgamated with the Southwark Company to form the Southward and Vauxhall Water Company, and the works at Kennington were abandoned. (ref. 131) They were purchased with the site in 1847 by the Phoenix Gas Company. (ref. 126) The gasholders erected by this Company are decorated with phoenix devices; their proximity to the Oval has made them famous amongst cricketers.

Nos. 362–366 (even) Kennington Road

Fig. 3, plot 18

These houses were erected shortly after 1800. They form a dull three-storey terrace with semi basements and attics. The plain round-headed entrances have artificial stone keystones of stock pattern modelled respectively with the heads of a smiling youth, a bearded man, and a woman. The keystone masks at Nos. 362 and 366, which are in semi-profile, are identical with those over the side wings of No. 274 South Lambeth Road. Similar keystones, salved from houses demolished in Pollard Row, Bethnal Green, are marked “COADE LAMBETH 1791”.

Imperial Court, Kennington Lane

Formerly the Licensed Victuallers' School

Fig. 3, plot 19

In 1803 Sir Joseph Mawbey granted a lease of Kennington House on the south side of Kennington Lane to seven Trustees acting on behalf of the Friendly Society of Licensed Victuallers. The lease, which was dated from Christmas 1802, was for 21 years, and the rent was £100 a year. The house (Plate 33a) had formerly been occupied by Sir Joseph Mawbey and more recently by the Abbé de Broglio. It had a frontage of 85 feet, and contained a large number of rooms, including a school-room, nursery, two kitchens and a number of additions at the back. (ref. 132) A school was opened there on January 10, 1803. (ref. 133)

In 1807 Kennington House was sold under the terms of Sir Joseph Mawbey's Act of Parliament of 1805 (ref. 102) to the Licensed Victuallers for £1,080. The school was evidently successful, for in 1819 the Society acquired the next two houses on the north-east side of Kennington House from Sir Joseph Mawbey's Trustees for £2,045. (ref. 132) In 1827 Elmes described the school as “an establishment more to be regarded for the benevolent views of its patrons, than for the architectural beauty of the building”, and noted that money from The Morning Advertiser supplemented the funds of the Licensed Victuallers. (ref. 134) The two houses were subject to leases of which several years were still unexpired, and (perhaps owing to lack of money) the Society granted new leases of 21 and 28 years' duration in 1831 and 1832. Shortly afterwards it was decided to erect entirely new buildings; these two leases were surrendered and all three houses were demolished. The Society was incorporated by Letters Patent in 1836 as “The Society of Licensed Victuallers”. (ref. 132)

The foundation stone of the building now known as Imperial Court was laid by the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, on January 21, 1836. An hermetically-sealed glass vase containing plans of the building and specimens of coins of the realm was placed in a cavity in the stone, and the cavity was then covered with a brass plate with the following inscription; “GULIELMO QUARTO REGE.—The first stone of the Licensed Victuallers' School, Established Anno Domini MDCCCIII., for the Education, Clothing and Maintenance of the Orphans and other Destitute Children of Members of the Friendly Society of Licensed Victuallers, was laid by the Right Hon. William Lord Viscount Melbourne, Prime Minister of England, in the name of his Most Gracious Majesty King William the Fourth, the Patron of the School, on Thursday, the 21st day of January, MDCCCXXXVI., in the presence of the Officers of the Society.” (ref. 135) The building was designed by Henry Rose, (ref. 136) the builders were Messrs. Webb, and the cost was about £14,000. (ref. 137) (Plate 33b, fig. 9).

Figure 9.: Licensed Victuallers' School (now Imperial Court), plan based on the Ordnance Survey map of 1870

The ambitious scale of these new buildings was evidently justified, for by 1844 the number of children admitted since the school's foundation in 1803 had reached 995 of whom 112 were actually in the school at that date. Of these 995, 248 had, on leaving, been apprenticed, 403 had been sent to service, 200 had been taken by relations and friends, 22 had died in the school, 10 had been expelled for repeated misconduct, and 112 were still there. A further 30 pupils were admitted in 1844, bringing the number up to 142. (ref. 133)

The whole property was enfranchised in 1857. (ref. 133) In 1888 a house on the north-east side of the school (which had been enfranchised in 1866) was bought, (ref. 132) and a small new building was erected in 1890 on its site. In 1921 the school acquired new premises at Slough, Buckinghamshire, and the Kennington Lane Property was bought shortly afterwards by the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes and renamed Imperial Court. (ref. 132) The rear part of the building has since been very considerably altered and enlarged.

The present Imperial Court presents an imposing front which consists of a central feature and end pavilions, each of three bays, projecting boldly from wings, also of three bays. The lower stage of the front, containing the ground floor and mezzanine, is rusticated and of stucco, the centre and end pavilions being arcaded. The upper stage is of stock brick and contains two tiers of rectangular windows, those to the end pavilions having stucco dressings. The centre is adorned with a tetrastyle portico of Composite columns carrying a triangular pediment, its entablature being pitched slightly higher than that over the wings and end pavilions.

Nos. 320–326 (even) Kennington Road

Formerly Nos. 2–5 (consec.) Minerva Place

Fig. 3, plot 19

On August 3, 1793, Sir Joseph Mawbey granted a lease of land at Kennington Green “with the two new Erected Messuages … thereon” to John Adams, James Willis and Sarah Williams, widow of William Williams, for 61 years from Midsummer 1794. (ref. 103) The lease was granted in consideration of the expenses incurred by William Williams, coal merchant, before his death, and Adams and Willis thereafter, in erecting the two houses, Nos. 324A and 326. Two years later Mawbey granted a lease of property adjoining the site of Nos. 324A and 326 on the north, to John Ditcham, carpenter, of Church Street, Southward, also for 61 years. Ditcham covenanted to build “three or more good and substantial Brick Messuages” on the land within five years. (ref. 103) Nos. 320 and 322 were built on this land. Both these pieces of property remained in the hands of the Mawbey family until 1819 when, together with another piece of property fronting Kennington Road, they were sold to Henry Budd of Russell Square for £1,410. (ref. 103)

Nos. 324A and 326 are a pair of stock brick houses of three storeys and semi-basements. They share a thinly-moulded pediment with a lunette in its tympanuam, and are united by a continuous sill-band on the first floor. The wood doorcases have open pediments resting on delicately foliated consoles above fluted pilasters with foliated (324A) and plain (326) caps. Each console is faced with a patera and each door is surmounted by a semi-circular fanlight of radiating pattern. The flutings of the door pilasters are stopped at the bottom by reeding.

Nos. 320 and 322 are a plain pair of the same height, with recessed round-headed ground-floor windows and doorways. Each doorway has a simple fanlight of radiating pattern.

Nos 346–356 (even) Kennington Road

Formerly Nos. 1–6 (consec.) Kennington Green

Fig. 3, plots 17 and 19

The conformation of this part of the Mawbey property was slightly altered when Kennington Road was cut through from Westminster Bridge Road to Kennington Common, under the Act of 1751 (fig. 6). The old path which ran between Kennington Cross and Kennington Common was straightened, leaving a triangle of land on the east side of the new road where the Church of England Children's Society building (formerly the Vestry Hall) now stands. The path hand also made a right-angled detour round a pond; after the track had been straightened, the pond and the old pathway were left vacant on the west side of Kennington Road. The pond, known as Mawbey's pond, was connected by a ditch or sewer to Vauxhall Creek. In 1813 it was filled up and the area which it had covered, later known as Kennington Green, was inclosed with posts and rails. (ref. 138)

Sir Joseph Mawbey, junior, was admitted to the Mawbey property in 1800 after his father's death, (ref. 139) and the row of houses bordering the north-west side of the green was built soon afterwards (fig. 10). Nos. 346–352 were erected in 1804–5 and No. 354 in 1802–3. (ref. 44) In October 1806 these five houses were sold to Thomas Ward Blagrave, Henry Pilleau, John Austin, George Bye and Edmund White respectively, (ref. 140) to assist in the settlement of the debts of Sir Joseph Mawbey, senior. The houses were enfranchised at various periods, the first, No.350, in 1872. (ref. 141)

Figure 10.: Nos. 346–356 Kennington Road, lay-out plan

No. 356 formed part of plot 17 and was built on land leased by Mawbey in November 1802, to William Weston, for 61 years. The house was erected in 1802–3 and was sold by Mawbey in June 1819, together with other adjoining parts of his property (see page 42), to Allen Williams, surgeon, of St. Savious's South wark. (ref. 121) In 1882 most of the garden of the house was made into a builders' yard, (ref. 122) and is now part of the premises of Messrs. C. T. Kent, Ltd., oiled-silk manufacturers.

Nos. 346–356 (figs. 11, 12a) form a continuous range of stock brick houses, grouped in pairs and lying at an angle to Kennington Road to face the small ornamental garden at Kennington Green. Although they are not all uniform in height, each house has three storeys well raised above a semi-basement, and (except at Nos. 346 and 348) an attic storey with lunette dormers in a slated mansard roof.

Nos. 350 and 352 provide in effect a central feature of charming design, their united fronts forming a composition with six equally-spaced windows in each storey. The ground- and first-floor windows are set within shallow arched recesses, the former being arch-headed and the latter rectangular. Artificial stone (probably Coade) is used for the guilloche impost-bands and female-mask keystones to the ground-floor arcade (Plate 70e), and for the ram's -head impost-blocks and lunette rosettes of the first-floor arcade. A lattice-pattern balcony railing of cast-iron con tinues across the front at first-floor level; the second-floor windows are without ornament; and the front finishes with a simple entablature. A further arch extending on either side of the ground storey contains an entrance door, flanked by paired columns with slender fluted shafts and leaf capitals, carrying a transom originally enriched with compo ornaments. No. 350 still has its ornamental metal fanlight of radial design (Plate 68a).

No. 354 has a similar doorway to those last described, retaining its transom ornament of a vase flanked by guilloche bands with swagged lion-heads over the paired columns. The house front, however, is of different design with two windows in each storey. The ground-floor openings are ellipse-headed while those to the first floor are rectangular and set in arched recesses with fan-ornamented lunettes of stucco. The entrance to No. 356 has a similar transom to No. 354, borne by a single substantial column on each side of the door. The first-floor windows of this pair have cast-iron window guards of lattice pattern with chamfered corners.

Figure 11.: No. 350 Kennington Road, ground-floor plan

Figure 12a.: Nos. 146–156 Kennington Road, 1802–5

Figure 12b.: Nos. 146–156 Kennington Park Road, 1769–88

No. 346 has a rendered front and its entrance door is flanked by plain columns bearing a mutule transom. No. 348, the upper part of which has been altered, has an entrance doorway with a keystone similar to those at Nos. 350 and 352, the transom being smaller but similar in pattern to that at No. 354.


The land on which the Horns Tavern and Nos. 176, 178 and 180 Kennington Park Road stand was formerly part of an estate of approximately five acres, bounded (at the present time) by Kennington Road, Kennington Park Road and the backs of houses on the south-west side of Ravensdon Street. In 1615 it was held jointly by Jane and Elizabeth Dalton and was described as pasture land. (ref. 2) Joseph Fortee was admitted to the copyhold in 1726 and in 1764 his heir surrendered it, among other property, to Thomas Parry of Lambeth. (ref. 142) Much of the development of the estate took place during the tenure of the Parry family. The estate was a compact one, lying at the junction of Kennington Park Road, and the newly constructed Kennington Road, but unlike the adjacent Cleaver estate, it was not granted on a single lease for development. Instead, building leases were granted to a number of persons.

The land passed into the hands of the Crooke family on the marriage of Elizabeth Parry and John Crooke in 1776. Their heir, a second John Crooke, became involved in financial difficulties and in 1811 part of the estate, including the Horns and No. 180 Kennington Park Road, but excluding Nos. 176 and 178, was sold to Richard Farmer. Farmer was the owner of a vitriol factory on the site of St. Agen's Church, St. Agnes Place. (ref. 143) No. 180 Kennington Park Road was sold by Farmer to Robert Cottle in 1822, (ref. 142) but Farmer retained other parts of the property in his hands for a considerable period.

The Horns Tavern, Kennington Park Road

Fig. 3, plot 20

A tavern appears to have been the first building erected upon this copyhold. The site chosen was bounded on the south-east by Kennington Park Road, which must have carried a considerable volume of traffic from an early date and a greater volume after it was made a turnpike road in 1717. (ref. 144) The turnpike stood in the roadway near Magee Street. To the south-west the site was bounded by a track-way or path connecting Kennington Lane and Kennington Common, which later became Kennington Road. The date of the building of the first tavern is not known. There was only one building on the copyhold when Joseph Fortee was admitted in 1726 (ref. 142) and since a Coroner's Inquest was held at the Green Man and Horns in 1725, (ref. 7) it seems reasonable to assume that the tavern was the building noted in Fortee's admission. Rocque's map of 1745 also shows the tavern as the only building on the property.

The Manor court met at the Horns for a considerable period, but its records shed little light on the antiquity of the tavern. The earlier court rolls do not give the place of meeting of the court; later, in the 1720s it is stated to have met on a few occasions in Spring Garden House, (ref. 145) and in 1764 a special Court Baron was held “at the House of John Tyers, Esq., at Vauxhall”. (ref. 146) The special mention of courts being held at Spring Gardens, which Tyers had in lease, and the absence of other mention of the places of meeting of the court suggest that to meet at Spring Gardens was not normal practice. The first record of the court meeting at the Horns was on January 22, 1767, (ref. 100) when it was held “at the House of Thomas Ellis commonly called or known by the Name or Sign of the Green Man and Horns”. Thereafter meetings were regularly held there with the exception of a few held at the Crown and Cushion in Lambeth Marsh. The Horns Tavern has experienced several changes of name which can be traced in the court rolls; it appears, at various times, as the Green Man and Horns, the Surrey Hotel and Tavern and finally the Horns. (ref. 147) Apart from being the place of meeting of the Manor court, the Horns was a focal point of activities in the neighbourhood, and must also have drawn much custom from the public meetings and executions which brought crowds to Kennington Common.

As well as the tavern itself, the landlord of the Horns had premises on the opposite side of Kennington Road, part of the demesne lands of the Manor. The earliest mention of the leasing of this property is in 1755 when Thomas Smith obtained a sub-lease of a building there, together with a garden. (ref. 14) By 1785 part of this leasehold was being used as a bowling green, (ref. 6) which gave its name to the present Bowling Green Street. Later, about 1820, another landlord, Mr. Bryant, turned the demesne leasehold into a tea-garden, but the land was soon surrendered for building. (ref. 7)

The tavern was a prosperous one, and in 1826 was said to provide “ample accommodation” for the cricketers frequenting Kennington Common, and to have “a large assembly-room attached to it”. (ref. 148) Durning the next thirty years the prosperity of the tavern seems to have declined, and its landlord became bankrupt; (ref. 149) in 1856 it was reported as being closed. (ref. 20) But prosperity returned a few years later. The assembly hall (destroyed in the war of 1939–45), which was “occasionally appropriated for Horticultural and Floral exhibitions; and also used for the delivery of lectures, both scientific and amusive”, (ref. 150) was clearly an asset to the landlord. The Horns has been rebuilt on at least one occasion, and still retains its importance as a landmark in Kennington.

Nos. 176–180 (even) Kennington Park Road

Formerly Nos. 1 and 2 Kennington Row Fig. 3, plot 20

These houses were built during the period that Thomas Parry and his heirs held the property. In 1767 Thomas Parry obtained a licence to demise his copyhold, and the houses known as Kennington Row were built a few years later. The building leases were granted between 1769 and 1775. (ref. 142) Although the lease for No. 178 has not been found, the house was standing in 1780, when John Law was paying Land Tax for it. (ref. 55) The house was surrendered by John Crooke, junior, to George Pearson in 1811. Between 1824 and 1830 wings were added and a shopfront built across its front garden. The house has subsequently been divided into two, Nos. 176 and 178 Kennington Park Road. The building lease for No. 180 was granted on June 24, 1771, to James Spencer, for 60 years at an annual rent of £5. (ref. 142)

The house now Nos. 176–178 is uninteresting except for the well-designed shop-front with engaged Ionic columns supporting its fascia and dentilled cornice. No. 180, a refronted house of three storeys with a mansard attic behind its corniced parapet, retains a richly detailed entrance porch of wood. Doric-type columns and pilasters with fluted shafts support an entablature which has its architrave enriched with guttae, its frieze adorned with fluting between wreaths, and a mutule cornice. The porch ceiling has a keyornamented panel.

Kennington Manor Secondary School, Kennington Road

Fig. 3, plot 20

This school was built by the London School Board and opened on August 23, 1897. The architect was T. J. Bailey and the contractors were J. and M. Patrick of Rochester; their tender for a school for 894 children was for £17,308. (ref. 151) The School (Plate 35b, fig. 13) is a long three-storey building with the centre portion flanked by towers containing the staircases. The pedimented wings are joined to the centre by lower links of five storeys which have smaller windows. The southern wing was not built until 1900.

Figure 13.: Kenington Manor Secoindary School, ground-floor plan


In 1554 Thomas Gon (or Gan) held a close containing 11 acres known as “Brodegates” or Broad-gates, another of three acres called the “Pightell” and a third containing eight acres, all lying on the south side of the road from Southwark to Kingston-on-Thames (Kennington Lane). (ref. 1) Gon's holding seems to have comprised most of the copyhold land lying between Newington Butts and Kennington Road. By 1615 his estate had been broken up. John Bardesley and his wife had acquired Broadgates, now three closes, and the rest of the property had been divided between Daniel Wynch and Elizabeth and Jane Dalton. (ref. 2) Later, Broadgates was itself subdivided, part being incorporated in the Cleaver east and part coming into the hands of the East family. In 1785 Sir William East's copyhold, although said to have been formerly Broadgates, was estimated as only 6 ac. 35 p. (ref. 6) compared with 11 acres in 1554.

The East family was related by marriage to the Claytons, lessees of the demesne. The daughter of Sir William East, copyholder in 1785, married (Sir) William Clayton, the last lessee. The East family had other property in Lambeth, including the site of St. John's Church, Waterloo Road. (ref. 152) Part, at least, of the Kennington property remained in their hands until recent years. (ref. 153)

Methley, Radcot, Ravensdon And Milverton Streets

Fig. 3, plot 21

Hodskinson and Middleton's survey of 1785 shows no development on the site of these streets, (ref. 6) but when Horwood's map of 1799 was published, Queen's Row, now Ravensdon Street, connected Kennington Park Road and Kennington Green, and some houses were standing on the south-west side of it. The ground between Queen's Row and Prince's later Cleaver, Square appears to have been laid out as a garden. The laying out of Methley, Radcot, Ravensdon and Milverton Streets belongs, therefore, to the period of redevelopment in Kennington.

In 1868 Sir Gilbert East was admitted to the estate on the death of his father, and he obtained a licence to demise his property for a term not exceeding 65 years. (ref. 22) Sir Gilbert had already submitted a plan for developing the land between Queen's Row (Ravensdon Street) and Cleaver Square to the Metropolitan Board o_ Works. The old buildings in Queen's Row were to be pulled down and the road widened. In addition, three new roads, Methl_y, Radcot and Milverton St_eets, were planned. Since the area had little access to the adjacent main roads, Sir Gilbert agreed with the adjoining copyholders to extend the new Methley Street and provide a route to Kennington Lane by what is now Bowden Street (fig. 14). To facilitate the passage of traffic from Kennington Road, Kennington Place, now Stannary Street, was extended to meet the new Radcot Street. A further proposal to rebuild the houses facing the north side of the Vestry Hall and widen the road there had to be delayed as Sir Gilbert's tenants were unwilling to sell their leases. As a temporary measure, the forecourts of the houses were taken back to give a roadway of 40 feet, on the understanding that rebuilding would be carried out when the leases fell in. (ref. 154) The houses were rebuilt a few years later.

The estate was designed by Alfred Lovejoy architect and surveyor, of Cannon Street, E.C. (ref. 154) The houses form terraces with simple elevations of grey brick and are generally of two storeys raised above semi-basements (Plate 49c). Something of a polychromatic effect is achieved by the linking of the sills and windows heads with red brick bands and by the alternating of red and blue brick in the arches over the windows and over the recessed entrance porches. The long terraces are articulated by the separate setting forward of the fronts of each of the houses, and Methley, Radcot and Ravensdon Streets are formalized in an easy manner by the addition of an extra storey to the centre groups of houses in each street.

Figure 14.: Ravensdon Street area, lay-out plan

The houses in the west corner of the estate near the old Vestry Hall, Kennington Road, were built a little later. They form no part of the uniform development of the rest of the estate.

Nos. 140–170 (even) Kennington Park Road

Formerly Nos. 2–17 (consec.) Queen's Place Fig. 3, plot 21

Sir William East obtained a licence to demise his property in 1769 and in 1785 Nos. 140–146 and 150–154 had already been built. (ref. 6) Nos. 148 and 156–162 had been added by 1788 and Nos. 164–170 shortly afterwards. (ref. 44) Sir Gilbert East was admitted to the estate in 1868 on the death of his father and in 1887 wished to rebuild Nos. 140–162, but this project was never carried out (see page 20).

Nos. 140–162 form a long regular three-storey terrace of which the centre houses, Nos. 148–152, are a storey higher. These houses are also defined by the cast-iron window guards at their first-floor windows. Nos. 140–146 have wood doorcases with full pediments carried on consoles, while the others have open pediments resting on simple pilasters. The whole terrace has a plain parapet from end to end, and is raised above a semi-basement storey (fig. 12b).

Nos. 164–170 form a similar three-storey terrace which has been much spoilt by refronting. Nos. 164 and 166 have pedimented doorcases with Doric-type engaged columns and patterned fanlights; the others have poor quality roundheaded entrances with moulded archivolts and fluted pilasters.


In 1615 the Cleaver estate was owned partly by Daniel Wynch and partly by John Bardesley. (ref. 2) Mary Cleaver was admitted to the estate in 1743 on the death of her husband (ref. 155) and the property then consisted of one large field, known later as the White Bear Field, (ref. 156) and other land lying along Kennington Lane and Kennington Road, including the triangle at the junction of these two roads (see page 53). During Mary Cleaver's tenure of the estate, the triangle and other small pieces of land were sold to the Trustees of the Surrey New Roads for making the new Kennington Road, (ref. 157) and another small parcel in Kennington Lane was sold to William Allen, but the bulk of the property was leased at some date before 1783 to Thomas Ellis, victualler, of the Horns, Kennington Road. (ref. 158) Ellis, was responsible for developing the greater part of the estate and he granted a number of building subleases to various persons, notably William Brooks and William Ingle. Development had advanced considerably by the time that Mary Ann Cleaver was admitted on her mother's death in 1797. (ref. 155)

Mary Ann Cleaver held the estate until Sep-tember 1815, when she surrendered it to John Bowden, then of Fulham but later of Grosvenor Place, in exchange for an annuity of £200. (ref. 159) The later development of the property took place while it was in the hands of the Bowden family. Under a deed of 1853 the estate was divided between the Rev. Henry George Bowden and the Rev. Charles Bowden, both of Brompton Oratory. The Rev. C. Bowden acquired all the property north-east of a line drawn from Cleaver Street to Kennington Park Road, and the Rev. H. G. Bowden all the property to the south-west of that line. (ref. 23) The estate remained divided between various members of the family until 1906, when it was reunited in the hands of the Rev. H. G. Bowden, and was enfranchised in 1907. (ref. 157)

Nos. 309–341 (odd) Kennington Road

Formerly Nos. 18–2 (consec.) Marlborough Place Fig. 3, plot 22

As far as can be judged No. 317 Kennington Road was the first building erected during Thomas Ellis' development of this section of the Cleaver property. The formation of Kennington Road had left the Cleaver estate with a long, straight frontage which invited building development. No. 317, then known as Marlborough House and at a later date as No. 14 Marlborough Place, first appears in the records in 1787. It was then occupied by William Edridge. (ref. 55) No building sub-lease for the house has been found, but that for an adjacent house indicates that the site was in lease to Edridge; (ref. 160) the initials “W E” on a tablet on the house further suggest that Edridge at least commissioned the house if he was not himself responsible for building it

For a few years Marlborough House stood alone on this part of the Cleaver estate. Then under a series of building sub-leases granted by Ellis in 1790 and 1791 Nos. 299–315 and Nos. 319–343 were built. Nos. 299–305 were rebuilt in the latter part of the 19th century; they were formerly Nos. 2–5 (consec.) Brooks Place, a name probably derived from William Brooks, mason, of St. George, Bloomsbury, who was responsible for building most of the new houses. (ref. 161) Sub-leases were also granted to John Ashley of Lambeth, bricklayer, (ref. 162) for one house, George Lovell of Red Lion Street, St. George the Martyr, Middlesex, for two houses, (ref. 163) and John Jeffkins Clarke of St. Giles in the Fields, plumber and glazier, for one house. (ref. 164)

In 1872 permission was given for No. 343 to be taken down and the site exchanged with Sir Gilbert East for another small piece of land. At the same time the Metropolitan Board of Works sanctioned the erection of shop-fronts to the remainder of the houses then standing. (ref. 23) According to Clowes' History of the Manor, No. 317 was for a period used as a “picture palace”. (ref. 7)

Nos. 309–341, a long stock brick terrace of three-storey houses, mostly with attic storeys in slated mansard roofs, have been spoiled by the shops which were built across their front gardens in 1872. The front of No. 317 is five windows wide, the middle three windows being embraced by a slight forward break which is crowned by an open mutule pediment. The tympanum contains an elliptical tablet inscribed “WE MARLBOROUGH HOUSE” and is flanked by festoons joined by a ribboned knot at the top.

No. 165 Kennington Lane

Formerly No. 165 Lower Kennington Lane, originally No. 10 Kennington Cross

Fig. 3, plot 22

On Harbord's map of 1636 a house, described as the property of Sir Richard Manley, stood at the junction of Cleaver Street and Kennington Lane near the site of No. 165, (ref. 3) and a house and gardens are shown on approximately the same site on Rocque's map of 1745. In July 1773 George Matthews obtained a lease of land with a frontage of 77 feet to Kennington Lane for sixty years, but no description of the property at this date has survived. (ref. 165) Matthews is described in a rental of 1783 as a surveyor (ref. 168) and it seems possible that he was responsible for building the three houses, Nos. 165–169 (odd), which later stood on his leasehold. The houses were certainly standing in 1780, when Matthews was paying Land Tax for No. 165. (ref. 55) No. 167, which was for some years a police section-house, was demolished to make way for the During Free Library.

Although most of the Cleaver property passed into the hands of the Bowden family, Matthews' leasehold was an exception. In 1793 the three houses were sold to William Allen of Clifford's Inn (ref. 165) and this property was never reunited with the larger part of the Cleaver estate.

No. 165 has a rebuilt front but retains its original doorcase of wood, consisting of a rusticated architrave surround surmounted by a triangular pediment resting on consoles. The competence of the design suggests the craftsman's use of an 18th century pattern-book.

The Durning Free Public Library

Fig. 3, plot 22

This building and its site were provided by Miss J. Durning Smith at a cost of £10,000. The architect was Sidney R. J. Smith, and the builders were Messrs. Hall, Beddall and Co. (ref. 166) The library (Plate 38b) was opened on November 6, 1889, by Alderman Sir James Clarke Lawrence. It is a four-storey building designed in the North Italian Gothic manner favoured by late Victorians, and built in Fareham red bricks freely ornamented in stone and terracotta, the latter being made by Messrs. Stiff of Lambeth. (ref. 167) It has steeply pitched slate roofs and a tower surmounted by a lantern on the east side. The projecting single-storey arcaded entrance is approached from a raised terrace.

Cleaver Square

Formerly Prince's Square

Fig. 3, plot 23

Cleaver Square had not been laid out when Hodskinson and Middleton's survey of the Manor was made, (ref. 6) but building began there soon afterwards. In 1789 Thomas Ellis, lessee of a large part of the Cleaver property, granted a building sub-lease to John and Thomas Corpe, carpenters, of Kennington, of land on the north-west side of the square (fig. 15). (ref. 156) This was followed in 1791 by a similar sub-lease of land on the north side of the square to William Brooks, mason, (ref. 168) and in 1792 Nos. 8 and 9 in the square, described as lately erected, were leased to William Ingle, builder, of St. Mary, Newington. (ref. 169) By the time that Mary Ann Cleaver was admitted to her mother's property in 1797 there were stated to be 36 houses in the square, (ref. 155) although the Rate Book evidence suggests that the number was nearer 40. (ref. 44) Ellis' Trustees continued the development of the square after his death, and in 1806 granted a lease of land on the south side to John Cartwright, bricklayer, of Kennington Cross. (ref. 170) Of the development during the period of Ellis' lease some houses, Nos. 2–20 (consec.) and Nos. 34–41 (consec.), are still standing. No. I was also built about this time, but it forms part of a terrace in Cleaver Street, and was not part of the original layout of the square.

Figure 15.: Cleaver Square, lay-out plan

Between 1815 and 1824, when the Cleaver property had passed into the hands of the Bowden family, Nos. 42–46 (consec.) were built. (ref. 44) Henry Bowden was admitted tenant in 1844 (ref. 171) and between this date and 1853 Nos. 21–33 (consec.) were added to the square and Nos. 49–61 (consec.) rebuilt to the designs of William Rogers of Palace Chambers, Old Lambeth. (ref. 172)

The houses surrounding Cleaver Square (Plate 46a) are mostly of three storeys with semi-basements and all are built of yellow stock brick. Nos. 34–41 form the most interesting terrace as the houses have suffered less refronting than the others. Generally there is little ornament, though there are a few simple door fanlights of radiating pattern; No. 7 has a plain wood door case with a pediment on fluted brackets Nos. 26–33 and 21–25, which stand at the southeast ends of the long sides of the square, have the end houses in each terrace set forward slightly with stucco quoins at the corners. These two terraces have channelled or plain stuccowork to their ground storeys. The cornices and blocking courses to the parapets, the window architraves and the Soanic fret pilasters marking the party walls are also of stucco. All the house fronts have parapets except for the terrace, Nos. 56–61, which was rebuilt to the designs of William Rogers and has brick dentilled eaves. The red brick and terracotta fronted public house, the Prince of Wales (No. 48), was rebuilt in 1901.

Nos. 114–136 (even) Kennington Park Road

Formerly Nos. 1–12 (consec.) Princes Place

Fig. 3, plot 23

At the time of Hodskinson and Middleton's survey of 1785 the Kennington Park Road frontage of the Cleaver estate had not been developed. (ref. 6) Princes Place was built in 1788, for on October 25 of that year, Ellis granted sub-leases of Nos. 1–6 and 9 Princes Place, now Nos. 114–124, and 130 Kennington Park Road, to James Hall of Southwark, painter, (ref. 173) John Sergeant of Bermondsey, bricklayer, (ref. 174) John Poynder of St. Mary at Hill, City of London, plumber, (ref. 175) George Britton of Bermondsey, paper stainer, (ref. 176) William Gates of Old Swan, Thames-side, mason, (ref. 177) John Dowley of Fish Street Hill, City of London, smith, (ref. 178) and William Ingle of Newington, builder, (ref. 179) respectively, in consideration of their expenditure in building the houses. The Rate Books show that all of Princes Place was built at this period (ref. 44) and it seems probable that the building work was carried out by Ingle, and that the other lessees were responsible for other work on the houses (Plate 50a, fig. 16). A tablet on No. 124, bearing the device of a phoenix, records that it was rebuilt in 1789, and suggests that the original house was burnt down almost immediately after its erection, and was quickly replaced. Part of the property seems to have been enfranchised in 1880, and the remainder in 1907.

Figure 16.: Nos. 122–124 Kennington Park Road, ground-floor plan

In 1879 the City and Guilds Institute established an art school at Nos. 122 and 124, and built additional studio accommodation at the rear of these houses. (ref. 157) The Institute had been established by the City Corporation and Certain of the Livery Companies in the previous year to encourage the application of science and the fine arts “to productive and technical industries especially and to commerce and industry generally”. (ref. 180) The school was founded to provide further training for artists already working in the local industries, among them Doulton's pottery works on the Albert Embankment, and the first courses covered carving, modelling and architectural decoration. (ref. 181) In June 1880 it was reported that “The success of the Technical Art Schools erected recently at Nos. 122 and 124 Kennington Park Road necessitates their immediate enlargement (almost before completion),” (ref. 157) and it was proposed to add further studio accommodation at the rear of adjoining houses, but this does not appear to have been done until 1936. Nos. 122 and 124 were bought by the Institute in 1926 and Nos. 118 and 120 in 1933. (ref. 182) The scope of the school's curriculum has increased to meet the developing needs of modern processes, but the school retains its original purpose in offering craftsmen an opportunity to develop their skills.

Nos. 114–124 and 126–136 (excluding No. 134, destroyed in the war of 1939–45) are two continuous ranges built in pairs, and are symmetrically grouped about the roadway leading to Cleaver Square. The pairs Nos. 122 and 124 (now the City and Guilds of London Art School), and 126 and 128, flank the roadway; each of these two pairs shares a pedimented attic storey with a lunette window; the other houses have attics in mansard roofs behind plain parapets. All have three main storeys and are linked by narrow entrance wings, which are generally of two storeys. The arched entrances have vermiculated voussoirs and triple keystones, and the ground-floor windows are recessed in round arches, linked by plain imposts. Nos. 122 and 124 had pediments added to the first-floor windows and jalousies fixed to the upper windows in the late 1920s. The doorways of some of the houses have neat fanlights of radiating pattern, and cast-iron scrollornamented railings inclosing the semi-basements.

Kennington Cross

Fig. 3, plot 24

The triangle of land bounded by Kennington Lane, Windmill Row and Kennington Road (fig. 6), formed part of the copyhold estate of Mary Cleaver It had long been a detached piece of land, and is shown as such on Harbord's map of 1636. (ref. 3) In 1752 and 1754 the Trustees of the Surrey New Roads purchased some land from Mary Cleaver for the making of Kennington Road but they were never admitted to it in the Manor court. The triangle was not required for the road and was let “to various tenants who used it for gardens”. (ref. 157)

In 1823 the triangle was considered as a site for St. Mark's Schools, but negotiations could not be brought to a satisfactory conclusion and it re mained undeveloped. The land became increasingly valuable as vacant land in Kennington was taken up for building and in 1842 the Trustees applied to be admitted as copyholders so that they could sell their interest. Although their title could not be established by copy of court roll, it was conceded two years later by Henry Bowden, who had inherited the copyhold formerly held by Mary Cleaver. Meanwhile in 1842 it had been proposed “to build a Police Court for the Metropolitan Police District” on the site, but this was abandoned because of the opposition of the local residents. The interest in the land was said to have been sold by the Trustees in 1843 to Mr. Howard, a builder, but in 1845 a licence was granted to the Trustees to demise the property to Thomas Lee, builder, of Blackfriars Road; Lee had already started building on the land in September of the previous year. (ref. 157)

Figure 17.: Nos. 75 and 77 Kennington Lane, paired doorcases


Nos. 57–61 And 67–87 (odd) Kennington Lane

Formerly Nos. 57–61 and 67–87 Lower Kennington Lane, originally Nos. 17–19 and 22–31 (consec.) Portsmouth Place

Fig. 3, plot 25

The land on which these houses stand was owned in 1615 by Robert Manchester. At that date there were four houses on the property, which had been built during Manchester's ownership. (ref. 2) When George Rogers was admitted to it in 1742 on the death of Thomas Rogers, the four houses were still standing. (ref. 183) In 1763 Rogers was granted a licence to demise his property at Kennington for 61 years from Michaelmas 1763 (ref. 184) and these houses were built under that licence. It is not possible to be precise about the date of their erection, but they were certainly standing in 1780. (ref. 55)

Nos. 57–61, old buildings of two storeys with mansard roofs, are now somewhat altered and each has a shop-front. Nos. 67–77 form a stock brick two-storey terrace with a slate-roofed mansard attic storey. Except at No. 69, which has been mutilated by a shop-front, the houses have their entrances paired to share wood doorcases formed by pilasters supporting triglyphed entablatures (fig. 17). Nos. 79–83 are poor three-storey buildings and have original flush-framed doublehung sashes to their windows. Nos. 83A and 85 are mean two-storey houses wedged between the last terrace and No. 87. The latter has two storeys with a slate-roofed mansard attic; the centrally placed doorcase has an architrave-lining and a hood borne on consoles.

Nos. 10–28 (even) Kennington Park Road

Formerly Nos. 5–14 (consec.) York Row Fig. 3, plot 25

In 1615 the copyholder of the land on which these houses stand was Benjamin Kirwyn, whose tenement is described as a beautiful brick messuage, with another messuage adjoining and three acres of land. Kirwyn also held the adjoining five closes of demesne on lease, and Norden notes that an orchard on one of these was “excluded by a strong quick sett hedge from the reste which time may easilie wynn from the demeisnes… if the succedinge tenantes shoulde be of corrupt mindes”. (ref. 2) Kirwyn himself does not seem to have been above sharp practice, for Harbord reported in 1636 that he had encroached upon the roadside waste, and that the boundaries between copyhold and demesne land at this point were not clearly defined. (ref. 3)

In 1629 Kirwyn's property was surrendered to Lawrence Whitaker, Steward of the Manor and a Member of Parliament. (ref. 5) In 1649 Whitaker's house, called the Buckshorns (probably to be identified with Kirwyn's beautiful messuage), was said to be on demesne land. (ref. 4) It was listed in particulars for the sale of Crown lands in Kennington in 1650 (ref. 185) and was sold to a Mr. Graves (ref. 5) A protest was made by Whitaker, and in 1652 those appointed to decide the matter reported that after inspecting Whitaker's copy of court roll and hearing the evidence of the homage at the Manor court, they had concluded that the Buckshorns and the smith's forge beside it were on copyhold land, but that a lean-to roofed “with Panntiles” and an old thatched shed adjoining the Buckshorns were built on demesne. (ref. 5) Whitaker's house seems to have stood between No. 26 Kennington Park Road and the Red Lion public house.

The part of Whitaker's copyhold on which these houses stood came into the hands of George Rogers in 1742. (ref. 183) He was given a licence to demise his property for 61 years from Michaelmas 1763. (ref. 184) It is not known exactly when these houses were built, but they were certainly standing in 1785. (ref. 6)

Nos. 10 and 12 are a plain pair of three-storey stock brick houses with semi-basements. No. 10 has a pedimented wing of full height over an alleyway at the side, which leads to the South London Plaster of Paris Works. Over the entrance to the alleyway is a life-size statue of a craftsman with a small bust at his feet. No. 12 has a doorcase with an open pediment borne on consoles. Several houses in the terrace Nos. 14–28, which is of the same height and materials, also have open pedimented doorcases. The terrace has suffered much from refronting and mutilation.

Nos. 45–55 (odd) Kennington Lane

Formerly Nos. 45–55 Lower Kennington Lane, originally Nos. 1–6 (consec.) Portsmouth Place

Fig. 3, plot 25

In 1615 the copyholder of the land on which these houses were later built was Mary Lee, whose property was described as consisting of seven tenements. (ref. 2) In the succeeding century there was further development of the property, for when Daniel Merigeot, peruke-maker, was admitted in 1726, there were 19 houses along the Kennington Lane frontage. (ref. 186) Elisha Biscoe inherited the property in 1779, (ref. 187) when only 16 houses were recorded along Kennington Lane; these are described in Hodskinson and Middleton's survey as small and old. (ref. 6)

Nos. 45–55 were built during Biscoe's ownership of the copyhold. The Rate Books suggest that redevelopment took place in 1808–9. (ref. 44) Certainly, when Trustees were admitted on the death of Elisha Biscoe, the property listed included “Six Brick Dwelling Houses (called Portsmouth Place)” (ref. 188)

Nos. 45–55 are a symmetrical group of threestorey houses built in stock brick; several have been mutilated or altered and No. 55 has been rebuilt. Nos. 49 and 51 (fig. 18) project slightly and share a flat pediment beneath which is the inscription “PORTS MOUTH” PLACE”. They are joined by plain bands at ground-floor window-head and first-floor sill levels, and the paired entrances are flanked by pilasters supporting an entablature, its frieze adorned with wreaths.

Nos. 1 and 3 Kennington Lane

Formerly Nos. 1 and 3 Lower Kennington Lane, originally Nos. 1 and 2 Manifold Place

Fig. 3, plot 25

The land on which these houses stand was formerly part of a copyhold held in 1615 by Benjamin Kirwyn; neither at this date not in 1636 (ref. 3) were there any buildings on the property. Rocque's map of 1745 shows a group of buildings on the tongue of land between Kennington Park Road and Kennington Lane, but as far as can be judged, the site of Nos. 1 and 3 Kennington Lane was undeveloped. Hodskinson and Middleton's survey describes the property, which was then in the tenure of Mary Frye, as an old dwelling-house, warehouse, sheds, etc., situated at Harrow Corner. The name Harrow Corner was derived from a public house, the Plough and Harrow, which stood on the adjoining copyhold and abutted directly on the site of No. 1 Kennington Lane. (ref. 6)

Figure 18.: Nos. 49 and 51 Kennington Lane, probably 1808–9

Horwood's map of 1813 shows that there were as yet no buildings where Nos. 1 and 3 now stand, and when John Vincent, spur-maker, was admitted to the property in October 1815, the description corresponds with that of Hodskinson and Middleton 30 years earlier. (ref. 189) Vincent paid £400 for the property, but sold it two years later to Abraham Young, auctioneer, for £800. As well as the old dwelling-house, warehouse, etc., Young's admission records “new Erections and Buildings lately erected and built” on the copyhold. (ref. 190) The Rate Books do not provide completely satisfactory evidence that Nos. 1 and 3 were among the newly-built houses but Horwood's map of 1819 shows that Nos 1 and 3 were then standing, and it seems almost certain that the houses were built during Vincent's ownership.

These two houses share a curved frontage and have three storeys with attics. The fronts are faced with stucco and contain shop-fronts of austere design, having reeded wood frames with elliptical stops at the heads.


a Possibly Thomas Corpe; see Index.


1. P.R.O., E 36 /168, pp. 95–101.
2. C.R.O., “A breife abstracte of the Survey of the manor of Kennington taken by John Norden 1615".
3. D.C., Harbord's survey of the demesne lands of the Manor of Kennington, 16 36.
4. P.R.O., E 31 7/Surrey 33.
5. Ibid., E 31 7/Surrey 34.
6. D.C., Survey of the Manor of Kennington, 17 85–1786, by John Hodskinson and John Middleton.
7. M.P.L., History of the Manor of Kennington in the Country of Surrey (MS.) by E. R. L. Clowes.
14. 16 Geo. III c. 58, private.
19. 58 Geo. III c. 76, local.
20. D.C., Kennington Copyholds 95a, 105c and 105m, Correspondence.
22. Ibid., Kennington Copyhold 106, Correspondence.
23. Ibid., Kennington Copyhold 170c, Correspondence.
44. R.B.
55. Newington Sessions House, Land Tax Books of St. Mary, Lambeth.
96. D.N.B.
97. P.C.C., 144 Pinfold.
98. Ibid., 18 Glazier.
99. D.C., Kennington Court Rolls, June 4, 1754.
100. Ibid., Jan. 22, 1767.
101. P.C.C., 494 Walpole.
102. 45 Geo. 111 c. 112, local.
103. Deeds held by Messrs. Parsons Lee.
104. D.C., Kennington Court Rolls, Sept. 16, 1819.
105. Deeds held by Messrs. Arnold, Fooks, Chadwick & Co.
106. Heavenly Mansions, by J. Summerson, 1949, p. 118.
107. The Exhibition of the Royal Academy, 1825 (catalogue), No. 884.
108. Roman Catholic Diocese of Southwark, Records, Appeal for the new Vauxhall Church, 1900.
109. Roman Catholic Dioces of Southwark, Records.
110. Final Report of the Church Building Committee, 1908 (copy with parish priest).
111. The Builder, Oct. 31, 1903, p. 439.
112. D.C., Kennington Copyholds 93a & 95b, Correspondence.
113. Deeds held by Messrs. Pritchard, Englefield.
114. D.C., Kennington Copyhold 95g, Correspondence.
115. Ibid., Kennington Court Rolls, Oct. 29, 1824.
116. Ibid., Kennington Court Rolls, G. f. 133.
117. Kent's Directory, 1776, 1779, 1780.
118. D.C., Kennington Court Rolls, May 16, 1882.
119. Ibid., June 19, 1828.
120. Ibid., Kennington Copyholds 88a/4.2, 88a/5.2 & 94e, Correspondence.
121. Ibid., Kennington Court Rolls, July 27, 1819.
122. Ibid., Kennington Copyholds 100 p. 1, 100 p. 2, 100 p. 3 &100 p. 4, Correspondence.
123. Deeds held by Hayward Bros.
124. 45 Geo. 111 c. 119, local.
125. D.C., Kennington Court Rolls, Oct. 28, 1808.
126. London Water Supply, by Sir Francis Bolton, revised by P. A. Scratchley, 1888, pp. 82–85.
127. Hydraulia; An Historical and Descriptive Account of The Water Works of London …, by W. Matthews, 1835, p. 126.
128. L.C.C. R.O., Surrey and Kent Commissioners of Sewers, Court Minutes, March 22, 1833.
129. 4 & 5 Will. IV c. 78, local.
130. Survey of London, vol. XXIII, p. 51.
131. 8 & 9 Vict. c. 69, local.
132. Deeds held by the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes.
133. D.C., Kennington Copyholds 100a and 100t, Correspondence.
134. Metropolitan Improvements of London in the Nineteenth Century, by J. Elmes, 1827, P. 157.
135. The Morning Herald, Jan. 22, 1836.
136. A Biographical Dictionary of English Architects 1660–18&40, by H. M. Colvin, 1954, p. 514.
137. Architectural Magazine, vol. 3, 1836, p. 140.
138. D.C., Kennington Court Rolls, April 3, 1813.
139. Ibid., April 29, 1800.
140. Ibid., Oct. 28, 1806.
141. Ibid., Kennington Copyholds 100d and 100h, Correspondence.
142. Deeds held by Mr. T. H. Gardner.
143. Survey of London, vol. XXV, p. 99.
144. 4 Geo. 1 c. 4, private.
145. D.C., Kennington Court Rolls, passim.
146. Ibid., Nov. 27, 1764.
147. Ibid., Oct. 3, 1813.
148. Allen, p. 384.
149. Montgomery, op. cit. (ref. 32), p. 50
150. Brayley, vol. 3, part 2, p. 361.
151. L.S.B. Minutes, Dec. 19, 1895; Jan. 30, 1896; Oct. 7, 1897
152. Survey of London, vol. xxiii, p. 32
153. Deeds held by Messrs. E. G. and J. W. Chester.
154. M.B.W. Case 8564.
155. D.C., Kennington Court Rolls, Oct. 27, 1797.
156. M.P.L., Deed 3457.
157. D.C., Kennington Copyholds 107b and 107c, Correspondence.
158. M.P.L., Deed 3506.
159. D.C., Kennington Court Rolls, Sept. 14, 1815.
160. M.P.L., Deed 3520.
161. Ibid., Deeds 3520, 3528, 3529 & 3530.
162. Ibid., Deed 3527.
163. Ibid., Deed 3522.
164. Ibid., Deed 3521.
165. D.C., Kennington Court Rolls, Aug. 23, 1793.
166. The Metropolitan, Sept. 8, 1888.
167. The Builder, Aug. 11, 1888, p. 106.
168. M.P.L., Deed 3525.
169. Ibid., Deed 3532.
170. Ibid., Deed 3538.
171. D.C., Kennington Copyhold 107, Correspondence.
172. Ibid., Bowden's Copyhold—Plans and Specification.
173. M.P.L., Deed 3510.
174. Ibid., Deed 3511.
175. Ibid., Deed 3512.
176. Ibid., Deed 3513.
177. Ibid., Deed 3514.
178. Ibid., Deed 3515.
179. Ibid., Deed 3516.
180. City and Guilds of London Institute (pamphlet). 1952
181. The City and Guilds of London Art School, prospectus 1954–1955, p. 4.
182. City and Guilds of London Institute, Records.
183. D.C., Kennington Court Rolls, Oct. 20, 1742.
184. Ibid., May 13, 1763.
185. P.R.O., E 320/R20.
186. D.C., Kennington Court Rolls, Oct. 21, 1726.
187. Ibid. Oct. 28, 1779.
188. Ibid., Aug. 8, 1829.
189. Ibid., Oct. 30, 1815.
190. Ibid., Oct. 28,1817.