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The zone is approximately 640m long and up to 80m wide at its greatest extent; it is bounded by Camelford House and the borough boundary with Wandsworth. There is a single access point, via the boat slipway, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge. The ground conditions on the site are generally firm (gravels), however there is a large area of scoured foreshore immediately in front of the MI6 building. Due to the high security presence in the area, it is very important to inform the relevant authorities prior to visiting the site.
archaeological and historical background
prehistoric Of note with regard to the topography of the area is the presence of the River Effra, a major tributary, comparable in size to the Fleet. The stream rises in Norwood, runs through Dulwich and Brixton, past the Oval, and enters the Thames just upstream of Vauxhall Bridge. Cartographic research suggests that, until the late 19 th century the Effra flowed into the Thames further upstream than it does today, and that originally the tributary (also known as Vauxhall Creek) ran in two separate streams from Oval to meet the Thames. The topography of the area may give further clues as to the nature of any activity during the prehistoric period. The location of the site near the mouth of the Effra may mean that the area was prone to flooding and therefore unsuitable for permanent settlement. The construction of a bridge, as mentioned below, may therefore represent a form of ritual activity near the river (for example, a platform for disposal of items, or access to a now vanished island), rather than a crossing point of the main channel. This zone is one of the most archaeologically significant stretches of foreshore along the Thames. In addition to a range of post-medieval features it is the location of a number of prehistoric structures: upstream of Vauxhall Bridge is a Middle Bronze Age structure, interpreted as the remains of a bridge, elevated trackway or jetty-type structure. This structure consists of 22 roundwood oak timbers set in two irregular lines, standing approximately 4m apart. Even at the lowest tides the tops of the furthest timbers are rarely exposed and the structure probably continues further out into the river. Also nearby was an Iron Age fish trap, (two staggered lines of 13 small stakes of oak/alder) and peat and tree exposures, representing the remains of a land surface. Artefacts eroding from these deposits include animal bone, lithics and sherds of Middle Bronze Age Deverel-Rimbury type pottery. Recent survey has recorded further evidence for prehistoric activity, downstream of the bridge: sherds of early Neolithic pottery and a possible structure of six timbers, samples of which have been radiocarbon dated to the Mesolithic period. roman The area immediately around Vauxhall is not well-known. There are no examples of excavated Roman structures in the immediate area, and artefactual evidence is limited to a single sherd of (possible) Roman glass. The Roman routeway in the area, Stane Street (the London to Chichester road) runs to the south of the site, along the line now traced by Clapham Road. early medieval Limited evidence for activity has been found further to the north on the Albert Embankment, where ditches dating from the 10th century onwards have been excavated. Artefacts are also rare; a single 9th century spearhead has been noted from Vauxhall. The dyke known as the Battersea ditch originally marked the boundary between the parishes of Lambeth and Battersea; the modern day borough boundary between Wandsworth and Lambeth follows its course. This feature is believed to be Saxon in origin and was originally known as the Hesewall (or Hetheswall) and later as the Heath Brook sewer. An early Saxon fish trap has recently been recorded on the foreshore at Nine Elms, upstream of the site.
later medieval The manor of Vauxhall was a sub-manor of South Lambeth and is not mentioned in Domesday; the name is derived from Fawkes Hall, the seat of Falkes di Breauté, who held the manor of South Lambeth in the early 13th century. As mentioned above the area lies at the border of the parishes of Lambeth and Battersea, and it is probable that the many watercourses in the vicinity (i.e. the mouths of the Effra and the Hesewall), prevented any settlement activity, instead being used as a water meadow or for growing osiers. By the medieval period, the road infrastructure was extending from the more suburban areas to the east of the site with the development of Wandsworth Road (known by 1340) and South Lambeth Road. A bridge over the Effra on the latter route (called Coklesbrugge, or Cox’s Bridge) is also known from 1340. The Thames was also used as a transport route; a timber wharf (its precise location is unknown) was constructed in Vauxhall in 1476-7 for loading building stone to be used in works at Westminster Abbey. post medieval Further west, at locations such as Chelsea and Putney, riverside settlements were popular as rural retreats for wealthier members of society, and during the 17th century, a similar trend can be noted in the Vauxhall area, with the construction of Carroone House for the Dutch ambassador and the development of the Spring Gardens, a pleasure garden which had opened by 1661 and remained in use until 1859. Utilization of the Thames continued with the construction of a bargehouse in the mid 17th century for three City Livery Companies (the Fishmongers, the Mercers 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 th centuries. There was another glasshouse, a brewery, a gunhouse, mills for processing marble and 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 area became increasingly suburban in nature, although market gardening and dairy farming remained popular (and profitable) occupations. The construction of the cast-iron Vauxhall Bridge began in 1813 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 Plaster of Paris Factory was established while the timber yard continued in use to the west, and historic prints show Randall’s tide mill at the water’s edge, together with working wharves. The construction and opening in May 1840 of the London to Southampton Railway – later the London and South Western Railway Company, radically changed the area. In 1848 the line was extended from Nine Elms to Waterloo Bridge in 1848; prior to the extension, steam ferryboats took passengers to Westminster and the City. A goods depot was constructed, and a jetty, Railway or Nine 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 Hesewall dyke. The cement factory appears to remain in use through the 1860s, probably as part of the London and South Western Railway 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 have been undertaken at the centre of the site and the pier was removed (and appears to have been rebuilt further west), and replaced by a wharf by 1894. Vauxhall Bridge was replaced with a new structure by 1906. In 1941, Nine Elms was damaged in an air raid and after World War II, the area became somewhat neglected. By the mid 20th century, the Railway Dock entrance had been infilled, and the original goods shed or depot demolished and the railway tracks were extended over its former area. The railway station and yards were demolished in the 1960s and by 1976, Nine Elms Lane had been re-routed further north across the area of the site to allow for construction of the New Covent Garden Market building to the south.
A101 A102 A103 A104 A105 A106 A107 A108 A109 A110 A111 A112 A113 A114 A115 A116 A117 A118 A119 A120 A121 A122 A123 A124 A125 A126 A127 A128 A129 A130 A131 A132 A133 A134 A135 A136 A137 A138 A139
Agradation Deposit Deposit Consolidation Agradation Deposit Timber Timber Structure (unclassified) Furniture Timber Structure (unclassified) Timber Timber Agradation Deposit Consolidation Consolidation Agradation Agradation Agradation Consolidation Consolidation Consolidation Fenders Agradation Agradation Vessel Degradation Timber Timber Structure (unclassified) Structure (unclassified) Structure (unclassified) Timbers. Structure (unclassified) Agradation Structure Structure
Sand and shingle Dump. Large concrete boulders scatter. Dump. Concrete boulders scatter, smaller lumps than A102. Concrete, old. Mud. Dump. Concrete debris. Vertical. Plank? Timber. Vertical. Small. Timber. Row of 3 verticals, parallel to shore. Associated with Gunhouse Stair? Cranebase?. Timber. 5 vertical planks surrounding base of concrete/gravel. Timber. Vertical. Timber. Large square timber vertical with unusual timbers going across the top at diagonals and middle. Timber. Horizontal plank and chain. Timber. Squared. Mud. Dump. Concrete, brick, large pebbles, pottery, litter, metal debris. Clay. Orange clay Concrete, pottery. Mud. Dip in foreshore. Erosion line. Gravel. Raised foreshore. Brick. Stone. Semi-consolidated boulders. Concrete, old. Timber Gravel. Raised area. Significantly raised area. Barge. Lee board. Drop in foreshore. Softer, less pebbles. Timber. Vertical, halved. Timber. Vertical, small, rectangular. Causeway? Crane base? Causeway? Crane base? Crane base? Dolphin? Timber. Two timber boxes close together. Two, long, horizontal, paralell to shore. Crane base? Dolphin? Timber Shingle. Bridge? Jetty? Timber. Two rows. Bronze Age Fishtrap? Two rows of timber stakes. Some evidence for wattles between.
A140 A141 A142 A143 A144 A145 A146 A147 A148 A149 A150 A151 A152 A153 A154 A154 A155 A156 A157 A158 A159 A160 A301 A302
Degradation. Deposit. Timber. Agradation Structure (unclassified) Consolidation Consolidation Consolidation Consolidation Drain Timber Timber Timber Deposit Deposit Deposit Forest Mooring feature Mooring feature Dock Drain Drain Structure (unclassified) Deposit
Hollow/scar. Peat/organic clay. Intermittent exposure. Stake. c.40mm square. Gravel. Cranebase? Timber/concrete. Square, shuttered. Chalk. Chalk. Chalk: two areas. Chalk. area of brick, broken glass and chalk. Apron. Concrete for outfall. Driftwood? Timber. With metal foot, lying on foreshore. Driftwood? Timber. With metal foot, lying on foreshore. Driftwood? Timber. With metal foot, lying on foreshore. Dump. Area of rubble/concrete. Blue/green sandy clay with few inclusions. Occ. organic fragments. Sequence.of 8 deposits. Tree stump. Other roots observed. Dolphin. Timber. Us of Bridge Dolphin. Timber. Ds of Bridge Stone Outfall. Timber. Us of Bridge Outfall. Timber. Ds of Bridge Group of six timbers; late Mesolithic Artefact scatter: early Neolithic ceramics
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