The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 36 Lambeth and Battersea


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At the corner of St. George's Road, opposite Bethlem, on the very spot where the 'No Popery' rioters assembled in 1780, stands St. George's Cathedral, the Roman Catholic cathedral for the diocese of Southwark, built by Pugin in 1840-48. The tower is still lacking. At the farther end of the left aisle is a modern example of a chantry. Lambeth Road ends at St. George's Circus, an important tramway centre, with a clock-tower in place of the former obelisk. Six great roads diverge here. LONDON ROAD runs south-east to the Elephant and Castle. BOROUGH ROAD, with the Borough Polytechnic Institute, runs east to the Borough High St. BLACKFRIARS ROAD runs north to Blackfriars Bridge, passing the Surrey Theatre (opened in 1782), once a famous home of 'transpontine' melodrama, but closed at present, and (farther on) The Ring, a boxing arena, occupying the old round Surrey Chapel, famous for the ministrations of the Reverend Rowland Hill (1744-1833). WATERLOO ROAD runs north-west to Waterloo Station, terminus of the Southern Railway (opened in 1848, rebuilt in 1912-22), and Waterloo Bridge, passing the Royal Victoria Hall and the Union Jack Club. The Royal Victoria Hall, or 'the Old Vic', built in 1817 as the Coburg Theatre, was rechristened Victoria Theatre in 1833, and, after passing through a phase of lurid melodrama, was acquired in 1880 by the late Miss Emma Cons, who changed its character and made it a popular home for grand opera, Shakespeare's and other classic plays, and lectures, at popular prices. The work has been admirably carried on by Miss Lilian Baylis, niece of Miss Cons, and in 1923 the 'Old Vic' absorbed the premises formerly occupied by the Morley Memorial College, which formed part of the same general scheme. The UNION JACK CLUB, 91A Waterloo Road, opened in 1907 as a National Memorial to the men who fell in the South African war, is open to every British sailor and soldier below commissioned rank, and during the Great War every non-commissioned officer and man of Allied forces in London became an honorary member in virtue of his uniform. During the War no less than 1,131,338 men slept here. A new wing was erected as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the Great War. In Stamford St. (running east from Waterloo Road), at the corner of Cornwall Road, is Cornwall House, built as the King George Hospital but now occupied by the Controller of the London Telephone Service.