Rebel Rebel

From Inktober posts in October 2018 – part of my Pick and Choose History of Courtenay Street, Kennington and Lambeth:


Rebel Rebel – in fact so many I went for a double page spread! Kennington and North Lambeth have a long history of protest and free thinking, maybe it’s having the Thames safely between us and the establishment that makes us a little more radical? We have here the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381- they sacked Lambeth Palace – mainly destroying documents and ledgers that could be used to identifyand locate people

for tax / military service purposes. The Jacobites of 1745 captured at Culloden were shipped to London and then most were executed at Kennington Common. Guy Fawkes and his crew stored their gunpowder at his house on Fore Street in Lambeth – handy for transportation by river to Westminster. In 1848 the Chartists rallied at Kennington Common, their leader and main speaker for the rally was Feargal O’Connor – all they wanted was for everyone to have a vote! In 1990 the poll tax protesters mustered at Kennington Park before marching on Westminster – it didn’t end well. William Blake, visionary and poet, lived at Hercules Road.

Muriel Matters an Australian suffragette lived in Kennington and is famous, whilst in London, for using a hot air balloon to deliver suffrage leaflets to/on the people of London. Rather more effectively Emma Cons was a social campaigner who worked in Lambeth for better housing and conditions for the poor, she also set up Morley College and rescued the Old Vic from dereliction beginning a programme of Shakespeare, classical music and penny lectures (which they are now still doing at Morely College). Her work at the Old Vic was taken over by her niece Lillian Baylis and her legacy there of creating an acting company who could put on classics and new plays led eventually to the setting up of the National Theatre. Oh and me and the women from WEP Lambeth – we’re here too! I haven’t covered here all the other bits of Lambeth – such as Brixton and Norwood – maybe another page for them and I’m still working on the research!

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