The name Lambeth translates as 'muddy landing place', attesting to the fact that this, like nearby Waterloo, was largely marsh land and polder dams until the 18th century. Apparently, the only notables brave enough to live here earlier were archbishops of Canterbury, who began coming and going in barges from waterside Lambeth Palace in the 13th century. It was the arrival of bridges and the railways centuries later that finally connected Lambeth to London.


@ 7416 5320;; Lambeth Rd SE1; admission free; Sl0am-6pm; ■©■Lambeth North; ®

Despite the threatening pair of 15in naval guns outside the front entrance to what was once Bethlehem Royal Hospital, commonly known as Bedlam, this is for the most part a very sombre, thoughtful museum. Most of its exhibits are given over to exploring the human and social cost of conflict.

Although the museum's focus is officially on military action involving British or Commonwealth troops during the 20th century, it gives 'war' a wide interpretation. So it not only has serious discussion of the two world wars, Korea and Vietnam, but also covers the Cold War, 'secret' warfare (ie spying) and even the war on apartheid in South Africa.

The core of the six-floor museum is a chronological exhibition on the two world wars on the lower ground floor. In the Trench Experience you walk through the grim day-to-day reality of life on the Somme front line in WWI, and in the more hair-raising Blitz Experience you cower inside a mock bomb shelter during a WWII air raid and then emerge through ravaged East End streets.

On the upper floors you find the two most outstanding - and moving - sections: the extensive Holocaust Exhibition (not recommended for under 14s) on the 3rd floor, and a stark gallery called Crimes against Humanity devoted to genocide in Cambodia,



See St James's, Westminster & Whitehall Map p100

See The South Bank Map p1 26


Westminster Bridge 2


See Brixton, Clapham & Battersea Map p200


SIGHTS (pp197-202)

BritOval 1 B4

Florence Nightingale Museum 2 A2

Imperial War Museum 3 B2

Kennington Park 4 B4

Lambeth Palace 5 A2

Museum of Garden History 6 A2

Wansey St Housing 7 C3

EATING Q] (pp235-75)

Dragon Castle 8 C3

Kennington Tandoori 9 B3


Pot 10 C3

Ministry of Sound 11 C2


Brit Oval (see 1)

GAY & LESBIAN (pp331-37)

Area 12 A3

Crash 13 A3

Fire 14 A4

Hoist 15 A4

Vauxhall Tavern 16 A3

Yugoslavia and Rwanda (not recommended for under 16s). The 2nd floor features war paintings by the likes of Stanley Spencer and John Singer Sargent.

Audioguides to the permanent collection cost adult/concession £3.50/3. Temporary exhibits, which charge an admission fee, cover such topics as war reporting, camouflage and modern warfare and - our favourite - the role of animals in conflicts from WWI to the present day.


The redbrick Tudor gatehouse beside the church of St Mary-at-Lambeth leads to Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Although the palace is not usually open to the public, the gardens occasionally are; check with a tourist office for details (see p400).


Map p198

@ 7401 8865;; St Mary-at-Lambeth, Lambeth Palace Rd SE1; admission free, requested donation £3; S 10.30am-5pm Tue-Sun; -6- Lambeth North

In a city holding out the broad attractions of Kew Gardens, the modest Museum of Garden History housed in the church of St Mary-at-Lambeth is mainly for the seriously green-thumbed. Its trump card is the charming knot garden, a replica of a 17th-century formal garden, with topiary hedges clipped into an intricate, twirling design. Keen gardeners will enjoy the displays on the 17th-century Tradescant pére and fils - a father-and-son team who were gardeners to Charles I and Charles II, globetrotters and enthusiastic collectors of exotic plants (they introduced the pineapple to London). Nongardeners might like to pay their respects to Captain William Bligh (of mutinous Bounty fame), who is buried here (he lived and died nearby at 100 Lambeth Rd). The excellent café has vegetarian food.


Map p198

@ 7620 0374; www.florence-nightingale; St Thomas's Hospital, 2 Lambeth Palace Rd SE1; adult/senior, student & child/family £5.80/4.80/16; S 10am-5pm Mon-Fri, to 4.30pm Sat & Sun; -e-Westminster or Waterloo; ® Attached to St Thomas's Hospital, this small museum tells the story of feisty war heroine Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), who led a team of nurses to Turkey in 1854 during the Crimean War. There she worked to improve conditions for the soldiers before returning to London to set up a training school for nurses at St Thomas's in 1859. So popular did she become that baseball card-style photos of the gentle 'Lady of the Lamp' were sold during her lifetime. There is no shortage of revisionist detractors who dismiss her as a 'canny administrator' and 'publicity hound'; Nightingale was, in fact, one of the world's first modern celebrities. But the fact remains she improved conditions for thousands of soldiers in the field and saved quite a few lives in the process. We can hardly think of a more glorious achievement.

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