World War II and Lambeth’s Parks and Open Spaces

Later this week we commemorate and celebrate the 75th Anniversary of VE day albeit not in the way that any of us would have been anticipating at the start of this year. We’ve been looking through the fantastic online resources from Lambeth Archives – and found this great photo of a VE day street party on Tivoli Road in Norwood and this one of York Road in Waterloo. We also have this image of the then Mayor making a speech from the Steps of the Town Hall. The exterior of the Town Hall hasn’t changed much since then, but the surroundings have.

It got us thinking about the reminders from the Second World War that can be found throughout the borough. For example the Deep Level Air Raid Shelters at Clapham South and Stockwell which are still visible today (in Stockwell it is part of the war memorial mural). The Clapham South Shelter went on to be shelter for some of the Windrush Generation in 1948. Staying in Clapham the funfair site was established during the Second World War as a part of the “Holiday at Home” where members of the Showman’s guild were given special dispensation and ration books to enable them to travel and bring Fairs to the people.

On your next walk through Kennington Park take time to admire the beautiful sunken flowerbeds, where there is a memorial to those who lost their lives in one of the most devastating bombings which resulted in a direct hit on the bomb shelters there and the loss of over 40 lives – further information can be found on the Friends of Kennington Park website.

In our Thameside park of Albert Embankment there is a statue of Violette Szabo one of the brave SOE operatives who paid the ultimate price while working in France, Violette lived in Brixton.

Across Lambeth on Remembrance Sunday, in November, you will see people gathering at our war memorials to pay tribute to those lives that were lost in conflict. Memorials which aren’t always located in parks but in places that you may have passed through daily. Such as train stations, High streets and the Town Hall. The stories behind most of the names may not be known but the dedication and bravery of all will be remembered.