The manor of Vauxhall was a sub-manor of South Lambeth and is not mentioned in
;the name is derived from Fawkes Hall, the seat of Falkes di Breauté, who held the manor ofSouth Lambeth in the early 13th century. As mentioned above the area lies at the border of theparishes of Lambeth and Battersea, and it is probable that the many watercourses in the vicinity(i.e. the mouths of the Effra and the
), prevented any settlement activity, instead beingused as a water meadow or for growing osiers. By the medieval period, the road infrastructurewas extending from the more suburban areas to the east of the site with the development ofWandsworth Road (known by 1340) and South Lambeth Road. A bridge over the Effra on thelatter route (called
, or Cox’s Bridge) is also
known from 1340. The Thames wasalso used as a transport route; a timber wharf (its precise location is unknown) was constructed inVauxhall in 1476-7 for loading building stone to be used in works at Westminster Abbey.
Further west, at locations such as Chelsea and Putney, riverside settlements were popular asrural retreats for wealthier members of society, and during the 17th century, a similar trend can benoted in the Vauxhall area, with the construction of Carroone House for the Dutch ambassadorand the development of the Spring Gardens, a pleasure garden which had opened by 1661 andremained in use until 1859. Utilization of the Thames continued with the construction of abargehouse in the mid 17th century for three City Livery Companies (the Fishmongers, theMercers and the Clothworkers). The site probably lay just outside the Civil War defensive ditch,dug c1642 to 1646 and it was in 1645 that the hamlet of Nine Elms was so named, after a row of
trees bordering the road. Thomas Hill’s 1681 map of the Manor of Vauxhall depicts a largely
undeveloped agricultural district, with light industry in the area in the form of a glasshouse,distillery and a timber yard.
Vauxhall’s proximity to the urban hubs of London and Westminster
eventually led to the area developing a more industrial nature during the later 17th and early 18
centuries. There was another glasshouse, a brewery, a gunhouse, mills for processing marbleand corn, pothouses and a soapworks, with the waterfront dominated by manufacturing industry,such as a vinegar factory and distillery and a timber yard.With the exception of Belmont House (also known as Brunswick House), housing in the areabecame increasingly suburban in nature, although market gardening and dairy farming remainedpopular (and profitable) occupations. The construction of the cast-iron Vauxhall Bridge began in1813 and it was opened in 1816. This development clearly made the suburb more accessible,and rapidly accelerated the industrialisation of the area. By 1824 the Roman Cement and Plasterof Paris Factory was established while the timber yard continued in use to the west, and historicprints
show Randall’s tide mill at the water’s edge, together with working wharves. T
heconstruction and opening in May 1840 of the London to Southampton Railway
later the Londonand South Western Railway Company, radically changed the area. In 1848 the line was extendedfrom Nine Elms to Waterloo Bridge in 1848; prior to the extension, steam ferryboats tookpassengers to Westminster and the City. A goods depot was constructed, and a jetty, Railway orNine Elms Pier, was built out onto the foreshore. A dock is also shown on the 1862 map,presumably continuing to exploit the inlet created by the
dyke. The cement factoryappears to remain in use through the 1860s, probably as part of the London and South WesternRailway Company (LSWR) site eventually becoming
derelict during the early 1870’s. The site
remained in use by the railway throughout the 19th century. Some embankment seems to havebeen undertaken at the centre of the site and the pier was removed (and appears to have beenrebuilt further west), and replaced by a wharf by 1894. Vauxhall Bridge was replaced with a newstructure by 1906.In 1941, Nine Elms was damaged in an air raid and after World War II, the area becamesomewhat neglected. By the mid 20
century, the Railway Dock entrance had been infilled, andthe original goods shed or depot demolished and the railway tracks were extended over its formerarea. The railway station and yards were demolished in the 1960s and by 1976, Nine Elms Lanehad been re-routed further north across the area of the site to allow for construction of the NewCovent Garden Market building to the south.