Chartist meeting, Kennington Common (1848)

Image dated 1830

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Photo taken in a southeasterly direction · Lambeth · SE11 · Contributed by The Underground Map
November
20
2013
Chartist meeting, Kennington Common (1848)
Credit: William Kilburn

   Contemporary view of the area - viewing direction is appoximate

On 10 April 1848, William Kilburn took daguerrotypes of the Great Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common – taken from the top of The Horns tavern were the first ever photos of a crowd scene.

William Kilburn opened his portrait studio on London’s Regent Street in 1846. He was commissioned to make daguerreotype portraits of the Royal Family between 1846 and 1852 as the Royal Photographer, and was awarded a prize medal for his photographs at the 1851 Great Exhibition.

The Chartists who took their name from Magna Carta were the first British national working class movement. Their meetings had a carnival-like atmosphere.

Tensions were high on that April morning – there were those who feared that civil strife would break out. Between 6-10 April, extra troops were brought to the capital and the authorities enlisted 170 000 special constables. However, on 10th, instead of the half million expected, only about twenty to thirty thousand Chartists demonstrated, and there was little violence.

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Kennington

Kennington was a royal manor in the ancient parish of St Mary, Lambeth in the county of Surrey and was the administrative centre of the parish from 1853.

The presence of a tumulus, and other significant geographical features locally, suggest that the area was regarded in ancient times as a sacred place of assembly. The manor of Kennington was divided from the manor of Vauxhall by the River Effra, a tributary of the River Thames. A smaller river, the River Neckinger, ran through the northern part of Kennington, approximately where Brook Drive is today. Both rivers have now been diverted into underground culverts.

Harthacnut, King of Denmark and England, died at Kennington in 1041. Harold Godwinson took the Crown the day after the death of Edward the Confessor at Kennington; he is said to have placed it upon his own head. King Henry III held his court here in 1231; and, according to Matthew Paris, in 1232, Parliament was held at Kennington.

Edward III gave the manor of Kennington to his oldest son Edward, the Black Prince in 1337, and the prince then built a large royal palace in the traingle formed by Kennington Lane, Sancroft Street and Cardigan Street, near to Kennington Cross. Geoffrey Chaucer was employed at Kennington as Clerk of Works in 1389 and was paid 2 shillings. The Duchy of Cornwall still maintains a substantial property portfolio within the area.

The eighteenth century saw considerable development in Kennington. At the start of the century, the area was essentially a village on the southern roads into London, with a common on which public executions took place. The development of Kennington came about through access to London, which happened when, in 1750, Westminster Bridge was constructed. In 1751, Kennington Road was built from Kennington Common (as it then was; now Kennington Park) to Westminster Bridge. Houses along it were soon built.

On 10 May 1768, at approximately the site of the Imperial War Museum today, the Massacre of St George's Fields took place. A riot started, because of the detention at the King's Bench Prison of the radical, John Wilkes – he had written an article in which he attacked King George III. The Riot Act was read, and soldiers fired into the crowd, killing seven people.

By the 1770s, the development of Kennington into its modern form was well underway. Terraces of houses were built on the east side of Kennington Road and Cleaver Square (then called Prince's Square) was laid out in 1788. In 1796, a house in West Square became the first station in the optical telegraph, or semaphore line, between the Admiralty in London, and Chatham and Deal in Kent, and during the Napoleonic Wars transmitted messages between Whitehall and the Royal Navy.

The modern street pattern of Kennington was formed by the early nineteenth century. The village had become a semi-rural suburb with grand terraced houses. In 1852, at the initiative of the minister of St. Mark's Church, the Common was enclosed and became the first public park in south London.

The Oval cricket ground was leased to Surrey County Cricket Club from the Duchy of Cornwall in 1845, and the adjacent gasometers (themselves an international sporting landmark) were constructed in 1853. Proximity to central London was key to the development of the area as a residential suburb and it was incorporated into the metropolitan area of London in 1855.

Dense building and the carving-up of large houses for multiple occupation caused Kennington to be very seriously over-populated in 1859, when diphtheria appeared (recorded by Karl Marx in 'Das Kapital').

Kennington station was opened as Kennington (New Street) in 1890 by the City of London and Southwark Subway.

On 15 October 1940, the large trench air-raid shelter beneath Kennington Park was struck by a 50lb bomb. The number of people killed remains unknown; it is believed by local historians that 104 people died. 48 bodies were recovered.

Lambeth Council designated much of Kennington a Conservation Area in 1968, the boundary of which was extended in 1979 and in 1997. Lambeth Council's emphasis on conserving and protecting Kennington's architectural heritage and enhancing its attractive open spaces for recreation and leisure is illustrated by restoration of the centre of the listed Cleaver Square in the last decade of the twentieth century.


LOCATIONS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
City Racing:   City Racing was an artist-run space in Kennington, South London which was active between 1988 and 1998.
Eaves Housing for Women:   Eaves Housing for Women (Eaves) was a charitable company based in London.
Garden Museum:   The first museum in the world dedicated to the history of gardening.
Horns Tavern:   The first mention of the Green Man and Horns tavern near Kennington Common was in 1725.
Kennington:   Kennington was a royal manor in the ancient parish of St Mary, Lambeth in the county of Surrey and was the administrative centre of the parish from 1853.
Kennington Park:   Kennington Park is a public park in Kennington, south London.
Lambeth:   The ’Lamb’ in Lambeth really means just that.
Oval:   Oval tube station in Kennington is named after The Oval Cricket Ground, which it serves.
Ovalhouse:   Ovalhouse, formerly called Oval House Theatre, is an Off-West End theatre.


PHOTOS OF THE AREA
Beet Court (1910):   Photograph of Beet Court aka Lemon Court, in 1910.
Gunner's Cottages (1910):   Gunner’s Cottages, off Salamanca Street, Lambeth 1910.
Lambeth Bridge (1865):   Lambeth Bridge is on the site of a horse ferry between the Palace of Westminster and Lambeth Palace on the south bank.
Lambeth High Street (1860):   This photograph of the Windmill inn, Lambeth High Street, dates from 1860
Old Red Cow:   The Old Red Cow (right of picture)
Street cricket (1953):   Street cricket has been played across London since the rules of the game were formulated.
Wake Street:   Wake Street (King Street before the 1880s) was featured in photos from the Picture Post edition of 31 December 1938.
Waterloo Air Terminal (1953):   Officially known as the British European Airways Waterloo Air Terminal, the building was officially opened on the Festival of Britain site on 19 May 1953 by the then Minister of Aviation.
York Wharf:   York Wharf, photographed in 1866.


NEARBY STREETS AND BUILDINGS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
(formerly Hillingdon Street), SE5 · (formerly Lucas Road), SE5 · Ashmole Place, SW8 · Aveline Street, SE11 · Barbel Street, SE1 · Beaufoy Walk, SE11 · Bedlam Mews, SE11 · Belvedere Road, SE1 · Black Prince Road, SE1 · Bolton Crescent, SE5 · Bolton Cresent, SE5 · Bowden Street, SE11 · Bowling Green Street, SE11 · Brixton Road, SE11 · Camberwell New Road, SE11 · Cardigan Street, SE11 · Carlisle Lane, SE1 · Centaur Street, SE1 · China Walk, SE11 · Claylands Place, SW8 · Clayton Street, SE11 · Cleaver Square, SE11 · Cleaver Street, SE11 · Conwall Square Kennings Way, SE11 · Cooper Close, SE1 · Coral Street, SE1 · Cosser Street, SE1 · Courtenay Square, SE11 · Courtenay Street, SE11 · Cranmer Road, SW9 · De Laune Street, SE17 · Distin Street, SE11 · Dodson Street, SE1 · Fitzalan Street, SE11 · Gerridge Street, SE1 · Gibson Road, SE11 · Greenham Close, SE1 · Hanover Gardens, SE11 · Hanover Gardens, SW8 · Hanworth House, SE5 · Harleyford Street, SE11 · Harmsworth Street, SE17 · Hercules Road, SE1 · Hornbeam Close, SE11 · Hotspur Street, SE11 · Hurley Road, SE11 · Johanna Street, SE1 · Jonathan Street, SE11 · Juxon Street, SE11 · Kennings Way, SE11 · Kennington Lane, SE11 · Kennington Lane, SW8 · Kennington Park Gardens, SE17 · Kennington Park Place, SE11 · Kennington Park Place, SE17 · Kennington Park Road, SE11 · Kennington Park Road, SE17 · Kennington Park, SE5 · Kennington Road, SE1 · Kennington Road, SE11 · Kennington Road, SW95 · King Edward Walk, SE1 · Lambeth Bridge, SE1 · Lambeth High Street, SE1 · Lambeth Palace Road, SE1 · Lambeth Palace Road, SW1 · Lambeth Pier, SE1 · Lambeth Road, SE1 · Lambeth Road, SE11 · Lambeth Walk, SE1 · Lambeth Walk, SE11 · Launcelot Street, SE1 · Leake Street, SE1 · Lilac Place, SE11 · Lohmann House, SE11 · Lollard Street, SE11 · Loughborough Street, SE11 · Lower Marsh, SE1 · Magee Street, SE11 · Marylee Way, SE11 · Methley Street, SE11 · Milverton Street, SE11 · Montford Place, SE11 · Newnham Terrace, SE1 · Newport Street, SE11 · Norfolk Row, SE1 · Offley Road, SW9 · Old Paradise Street, SE1 · Old Paradise Street, SE11 · Pear Place, SE1 · Pegasus Place, SE11 · Pratt Walk, SE1 · Pratt Walk, SE11 · Prima Road, SW9 · Radcot Street, SE11 · Randall Road, SE11 · Ravensdon Street, SE11 · Royal Street, SE1 · Sail Street, SE11 · Salamanca Place, SE1 · Salamanca Street, SE1 · Sancroft Street, SE11 · Saunders Street, SE11 · Sedley House, SE11 · Sharstead Street, SE17 · Silk Mews, SE11 · South Street, SE11 · St Agnes Place, SE11 · St. Agnes Place, SE11 · St. Georges Mews, SE1 · Stannary Street, SE11 · Steam Pump Lane, W4 · Tanswell Street, SE1 · The Chandlery, SE1 · The Fosters Oval, SE11 · The Tunnel, SE1 · Vauxhall Walk, SE11 · Virgil Street, SE1 · Walnut Tree Walk, SE11 · Waterloo Bridge, SE1 · Waterloo Bridge, WC2R · Waterloo Centre, SE1 · Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 · White Hart Street, SE11 · Whitehorse Mews, SE1 · Whitehouse Apartments, SE1 · Whitgift Street, SE1 · Whitgift Street, SE11 · Winchester House, SW9 · Wincott Parade, SE11 · Windmill Row, SE11 · Wynyard Terrace, SE11 ·


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