Loughborough Road project

Loughborough Road, its shops, pubs and people is a project to uncover the hidden stories of the people who have lived and worked on this south London street over the past 200 years.

The project is led by LEAF TRA, the tenants and residents association for Loughborough Road (Brixton Road to fiveways junction), Evandale Road and Akerman Road (Mostyn Road to fiveways junction). Lambeth Archives, the Brixton Society, shop owners, local businesses and importantly residents have all been involved.

The idea for the project really came about following LEAF TRA’s art exhibition of local artists’ work in the gallery in the old Loughborough Hotel in 2016. Some of Lambeth Archive’s images of the street were on show in the exhibition and people loved them and started talking about what they remembered about the shops, pubs and street from years ago. Residents talked of the chemist, now a house, and nights at the Loughborough Tavern, now flats and the gallery.

In 2018 LEAF TRA secured funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund to explore more stories of the history of the street. They spent time in Lambeth, London Metropolitan and Royal Horticultural Society Archives looking at maps, photographs and lots of documents, directories, electoral registers and more exploring the history of Loughborough Road. They talked to family and neighbours past and present, recording oral histories and using social media to ask people about their memories. Some of the history and stories were shared through talks – one at Jamm, the former White Horse pub and the other at the San Mei Gallery the formerly Loughborough Tavern.

The Heritage Lottery Funded project culminated in a series of exhibitions and events in September 2019 as part of the month long Lambeth Heritage Festival 2019. This included:

  • An exhibition along the street with posters outside some of the shops and pubs telling histories and stories of individual businesses.
  • An exhibition of the life and works of Nellie Roberts, Royal Horticultural Society orchid artist who lived and painted on Loughborough Road all her life. 5-22 September held at the San Mei Gallery, 39 Loughborough Road, supported by the Royal Horticultural Society and their Orchid Committee.
  • An exhibition at Lambeth Archives about the history of Loughborough Road shops and pubs.
  • Talks at San Mei Galleryat the Loughborough Hotel about the people that lived on the street and ran the shops and pubs including a talk on 12 September 7pm by current Royal Horticultural Society orchid artist Deborah Lambkin and 19 September 7pm talk about the shops and people of Loughborough Road.

The project continues and the Loughborough History blog has been launched sharing more of the stories of the street and neighbourhood online https://loughboroughroadsw9histories.wordpress.com.

The work commemorating orchid artist Nellie Roberts continues. An application has been submitted to English Heritage for a blue plaque at 92 Loughborough Road (formerly 72), where Nellie painted all her orchids and lived all her life.

Contacts for the project:        Email leaftra@gmail.com             Facebook            @RoadSW9

Thank you to all our supporters including the Royal Horticultural Society Lindley Library and