This is History

Sunny Stockwell

And so there you are, pondering which direction the newly formed Stockwell Historical Society should take, and out of the blue comes an email that serves as the perfect piece of research for the local historians of SW8 to investigate further:

One of the branches of my family had a greengrocers shop from roughly 1860 to 1930 on Dorset Road (#51). I have a charming picture of my great grandfather, James Kingdon, with his delivery horse. I am not certain but surely there were stables behind his shop and they may have been accessed by Oval Place and even Palfrey Place.

If you would like the photo, let me know.


I have blogged before about Palfrey Place, pondering the out of place architecture of the narrow passage, and more recently, the anti-social behaviour of the Palfrey Place fly tippers. And so out of a negative situation comes something rather positive.

About those pictures, Trish – yes please…

Here is the photo, Jason. I have visited Dorset Road several times in the last several years, but always managed to get there on very cold days (I live in Canada so it is an effort to get there). If you have access to the census, there were two James Kingdons who ran the greengrocers at #51 Dorset Road. His father got there about 1860 (having come to London in 1848 when he married at St. Marks). James died prematurely in 1877 (TB) and his son, James ‘Jas’ (married at St. Stephen’s) ran the store until he retired in 1932 to my grandparents’ home in Ashford, Middlesex where he died. He and his wife lived at 147 Dorset Road (not there anymore unfortunately) where she died. My Grandmother was born at 147 and married at St. Marks.

It is always somewhat emotional for me to walk those streets. My very first time into Lambeth was in 2007 and I am very grateful to the wonderful cab driver who patiently waited for me to rush out and take pictures and all that. Now, thanks to Google Maps, I can go to Dorset Road and its environs, anytime I like. It is certainly a bit less expensive but not quite the same.

I have discovered wonderful stories about my ancestors from my persistence and tireless research. It is great fun. Are you aware that there was once a brewery where The Phoenix is now? I just discovered that while looking through the 1871 census. I am sure there are all kinds of history. I want to visit the War Museum some day (when I have time to burn) and find out how extensive the bomb damage was in the area during WW2.

My Mother was born above a pub (The King and Queen is not there now) at 105 Newington Butts and I know that Dante Road got some bad hits. Do you know how Dorset Road faired the bombs? I know the old St. Stephen’s was bomb damaged and that is why it was replaced in the 60’s but I am glad to see some of the old houses still remain on the St. Stephen’s Terrace.

Thanks for your response, Jason. I took a chance on contacting you when I saw your Palfrey Place article. Now you maybe know a little more about your street.

Wow! What wonderful information! Just wait until you see the amazing images…

Sunny Stockwell

Sunny Stockwell

I have searched the Lambeth Archives and beyond, for photographs of Dorset Road and the surrounds. All that I have found so far have been images of the nearby (and haunted) South Island Place. I wonder where Trish got these amazing photographs from? A personal, family collection? It’s a question that I have put to my new friend from across the pond.

The first photo looking down Dorset Road seems to have been taken from adjacent to my house. The view is very different now. I find it quite heartbreaking to see how such wonderful old houses were knocked down and replaced by a hideous estate.

I had no idea that there were any shops here, as late as 1964 as well. The date confirms that it wasn’t bomb damage that led to their demolition. I wonder why such dignified architecture had to be replaced by a soulless estate? I often think the brutal architecture and environment is to blame for the circumstances leading to the recent inclusion of Dorset Road as a Police Dispersal Zone.

Many, many thanks to Trish for sharing these photographs. In return, my weekend will be spent shooting some more contemporary images of the mean streets of SW8, to send across to Canada. It may seem a trivial task, but the very same process undertaken by an unknown photographer from Dorset Road’s past, has given the perfect start to the Stockwell Historical Society.

10 thoughts on “This is History

  1. I lived at Number 7 Dorset road in the early 2000’s, a flat in a block of terraces. Does anyone out there know when this street was developed, when this block would have been built. This information will provide interest to my architecture studies here in New Zealand.

    Was great to see the old photo’s of the area. It is a shame that wonderful old architecture has been replaced with that God awful estate, another breeding ground of crime.

  2. Trish’s photo is fascinating – I would love to see more. I am interested in reading more about Palfrey Place and the Dorset Road area generally, especially the social history.
    Thanks for your efforts.

  3. I appear to be about six years out of touch with the blog but I am pleased to see that I can still access it. The surviving Dorset Road houses from 1 – 27 and Heyford Avenue were built around 1889 according to the deeds.

    I have lived in Dorset Road since moving here in 1976 and have just rediscovered these photos that I was able to find at the London Archive place in Farringdon in the 90s when I was trying to find out what kind of railings our house at no. 23 Dorset Road would have had before the war.
    /Users/benedictkatiacruft/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Previews/2015/01/20/20150120-142122/%m8X6PDMTP2XREAyFDSC+w/Scan 2.jpeg

    This may not be working – is there another way I can send you the photos?

    Best wishes


  4. I would like to send you a picture of my grandparents wedding day in 1902. This picture was taken in the backyard of the Kingdon house at 51 Dorset road. Looking at the houses in the background, I think they are the houses along Clapham Road. Because 51 Dorset was on the corner with Palfrey, I suspect this photo was taken in that direction. All of this is conjecture on my part but I have stood and studied it quite a bit. I think the lean to at the back of the picture might be the horse barn. I did send you the photo of Great Grandfather James Kingdon with his cart horse. The horse looks very much like a Palfrey horse to me. Wonder if that is where the name of the street came from?? Let me know how to send the photo. Trish

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *