Last week I went to Morley Gallery to see an exhibition called Lambeth Prospects. It was followed by a lecture from Jon Newman, an archivist and co-curator of the exhibition.
The first part of the exhibition was about early Lambeth. Once called Lambehitha, it was the place where lambs were arrived from ships and was central and accessible by river to the rest of London. “From Lambeth we began our foundations lovely Lambeth!” (William Blake, 1808).
The second part of the exhibition was about portraits. Its proximity to the city of London and Westminster has meant that Lambeth has been home to some famous and powerful people over the centuries. There are long lists of Archbishops of Canterbury, Dukes of Norfolk and members of parliament and government ministers including Herbert Morrison. There are social reformers like Lillian Bayliss, architects and developers like Thomas Cubitt, writers and artists including William Blake and Angela Carter, entertainers and musicians such as DanLeno and Linton Kwesi Johnson, explorers like Edward Whymper and war heroes including field Marshall Montgomery and Violette Szabo.
The third part was about modern Lambeth. It looked at the settlement of north Lambeth and had images in a selection of oil paint, water colour paint, print, photography and film to provide an insight into Lambeth over the centuries.
The fourth part was about the suburbs of Brixton, Clapham, Norwood and Streatham.