Vauxhall, Oval & Kennington

Vauxhall Cross, Nine Elms and Battersea


This was the year when the Nine Elms developments began to take physical shape. (Vauxhall's architecture was rather different - see further below.)

Opinions differed as to the inspiration behind the new buildings along Nine Elms Lane. They were to be marketed mainly in the Far East and mainly as investments - never to be lived in. But as they were to be near the new US Embassy, maybe some would be sold to Americans who might have fond memories of New York tenements, such as these ... ?

Maybe, too, the developers had fond memories of Malvina Reynolds' song?...

Or maybe the developers took their inspiration from UK post-war 'new brutalist' planners and architects who had won prizes for high density public housing - in which they themselves would of course never choose to live? One prominent example - 'an icon of its time' - was Park Hill in Sheffield:

Another source of inspiration - quite nearby in London - may have been the Aylesbury Estate.

Nearer to Nine Elms, here was Chelsea Bridge Wharf, just beyond Battersea Power Station and the railway line to Victoria:

Whatever the reasons, this was the developer's vision for the dense residential blocks that would soon lie east of Nine Elms Lane.

Similarly dark and dense housing was accordingly soon to be found springing up all along Nine Elms Lane. Here is the Riverlight development under construction, followed by Embassy Gardens nearing completion.

Vauxhall Cross

A quite different approach was being taken at Vauxhall Cross, where the buildings to be much taller, but more spaced out. This is a photo taken on Wandsworth Road, near the corner with Wilcox Road. The building in the foreground is Nine Elms Point with the already completed St George Tower in the background and the initial stump of Vauxhall Sky Gardens to the right.

And here, for future comparison purposes, is the view from Ruskin Park, well to the south of Vauxhall.

Finally, here is an aerial view of Nine Elms towards the end of 2015. Down from the top of the picture you can see Battersea Park, the Battersea Power Station, Riverlight, Embassy Gardens, the new US Embassy, and St George Tower/Wharf. On this side of the railway line, from the left, are Nine Elms Point and Vauxhall Sky Gardens (both under construction) and Keybridge House (about to be demolished). Vauxhall Park is in the foreground.

There are lots more photos of Vauxhall's skyscrapers in subsequent web pages.

Martin Stanley