South London Herbs – Nicholas Culpepper (1653)

The 17th century London herbalist, astrologer and radical republican Nicholas Culpepper was the author of The Complete Herbal (1653). As well as containing lots of information about herbs and their (presumed) medicinal properties, Culpepper also records places where some plants are to be found growing, including various South London locations:Langue de Boeuf -  'It grows ...

David Bowie’s Lambeth Murder Ballad

Tonight at at South East London Folklore Society, Paul Slade (author of 'Unprepared to Die') will be giving a talk on murder ballads'Cheerfully vulgar and revelling in gore, murder ballads are tabloid newspapers set to music, carrying word of the latest 'orrible murders to an insatiable public. Victims are bludgeoned, stabbed or shot in every ...

‘Violence in Brixton follows poll tax protest’ (March 1990)

Twenty five years ago today, on 31 March 1990, one of the largest demonstrations of the 20th century set off from Kennington Park to protest against the Conservative government's planned new poll tax (officially known as the 'community charge'). The demonstration ended up in Trafalgar Square and was followed by rioting throughout the West End. ...

The transpontine people in Exile (1846)

Here's some more 19th century uses of the word 'transpontine' in a South London context. Interestingly two of them feature Westminster Bridge. If the word literally means something like 'over the bridge', we should remember that Westminster Bridge was the only the third bridge to be built over the Thames in London, after London Bridge ...

A teacher remembers Mandela’s visit to Brixton

Graham Jameson (on the right in above picture), who some of you may know from his time as head of Edmund Waller Primary School in New Cross, recalls the day in July 1996 when he took children from Walnut Tree Walk school in Kennington to meet Nelson Mandela on his visit to Brixton:'The picture I ...

Nelson Mandela House and other London anti-apartheid traces

The movement against apartheid inspired and mobilised people throughout the world. The ending of that racist system was a great victory, even if today the poor in South Africa are still facing repression (such as the massacre at Markikana mine last year). At the peak of the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s, streets and buildings ...