Documenting Dorset Road

I wasn’t quite sure where to post these pics. But since the original Dorset Road historical pics first appeared here, then it seemed to make sense to host them on m’blog.

And so what we have here is Dorset Road in 1973.






I LOVE social history from a time period that I can just about remember. I wasn’t around Dorset Road in 1973, but from looking at these images, it seems that plenty has changed.

You can just make out in the fourth photo the corner of Palfrey Place and Dorset Road, and the run of local shops that have now disappeared. Fairly bland, but functional housing is here now.

Given the ‘slum clearance’ reason for much of the changes along Dorset Road, then it’s quite remarkable how Palfrey Place has managed to remain more or less untouched.

The back passageway that links Dorset Road with the other end of the Clap’ham Road is now far from a slum. The average selling price is creeping up towards £1m.

The images came via blog reader Benedict, who still lives along Dorset Road.

Benedict explains:

“I got these photos from the London Metropolitan Archives. I went there to try to find a photo of our house so that we could replace the correct style of railings that had been removed during the war.

I had no luck with finding a photo of the South Lambeth Road end of the street, but seeing these, I acquired them anyway. They have been stored in a box for many years and I only came across them again recently while going through old family photos and bits paperwork.

My guess is that they were taken by the GLC archive people just before demolition of these bits of Dorset Road around the end of the 60s and beginning of the 70s. My wife and I moved to no. [XX] in the middle of 1976 and I think these bits of Dorset Road in the photos had already come down.

They were still going on with the slum clearance mania that did away with the potentially pretty little houses of the Carroun Road area between Fentiman Road and Clayland Road, over our side of the South Lambeth Road, and the demolition of the whole Mawbey Brough estate on the other side of the South Lambeth Road – the area bordered by the north side of Thorne Road, Hartington Road and the South Lambeth Road up to and beyond the Tate Library as far as Wheatsheaf Lane.

I remember going in the early 70s with a friend to look at a house on the north side of Thorne Road that she was thinking of buying. It was a pretty little house and not as nice as the surviving ones on the south side of the road, but she could not get a mortgage for it as the demolition was already planned.

Dorset Road between Heyford Avenue and Meadow Road was still all shops in the 70s, but had already started retreating from this, and as the businesses stopped being sufficiently profitable, one by one they were turned into living areas.

It was quite a Maltese and Italian area in those days, and the delis along the South Lambeth Road from Tony’s on the corner of Fentiman Road down to Luigi’s and Delecata’s by Aldebert Terrace were mainly run by Italians.

Good local shops back then included a fine butcher where the Portuguese fish shop is now. The Portuguese came in later on – I suppose in the 80s and 90s.

I wish I had taken lots of pictures of the area as it was when we arrived, but it did not occur to me that it should have been documented.”

…which kinda justifies what I do 😉

Has anyone got any other old pics of Dorset Road / Palfrey Place / South Lambeth Road etc that they would like to share?


THIS remains one of my favourite pieces of photographic social history.

I Woz / Am ‘Ere etc.


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