Loughborough Junction – south of the tracks
Since 1865, Loughborough Junction has been bisected by the highest of its railway viaducts – the one that runs approximately east to west. South of this viaduct, and in contrast to the almost entirely flat ground that stretches northwards all the way to the Thames, the land starts to rise in elevation, leading up towards the top of Herne Hill. Prior to the arrival of the railways, this was farmland, with market gardens occupying the fields closer to Coldharbour Lane, and meadows on the gradually rising slopes beyond.
Starting in the early 1860s, however, development began to make its way up the hill. The new viaduct would have been constructed across largely open land, but the area to its south quite rapidly became built up in the years following. Herne Hill Road appears to have been laid out in stages and by around 1865 had made it as far as the site of St Saviour’s Church, completed in 1867 (the original church was demolished in 1981 and its position is now occupied by the playground of St Saviour’s primary school).
Herne Hill Road runs roughly parallel with Hinton Road, which partly follows the long-standing route of Poplar Walk (see the “Towards Poplar Walk” section here for more detail on this). Between Hinton Road and Herne Hill road were built Hardess Street, Wanless Road and Wingmore Road, which between them formed the first three urban blocks south of the viaduct. Wingmore and Wanless Roads remain today, while Hardess Street became broken into two cul-de-sacs by the industrial estate built in the late 1970s.
Meanwhile, further to the east, Lewis Road (later renamed as Padfield Road) and Cambria Road made their way southwards. Lewis Road became blocked by the viaduct but a bridge allowed Cambria Road to pass under the railway lines and access another portion of land subsequently developed as housing.
In between Herne Hill Road and Cambria Rd, there is now a short cul-de-sac which forms a continuation of Wanless road. This short stretch was originally named Harris Road (seemingly after a local landowner) and it’s possible that it was originally intended that it would continue further – but it became terminated by the line of the railway viaduct.
If there is to be a southern “boundary” of Loughborough Junction, some might argue that it should be on the line of the viaduct. However an alternative would be to take the old fence line that at one point marked the edge of meadowland and which roughly coincides with the beginning of the sloping ground – perhaps a reasonable way of defining where Loughborough Junction ends and Herne Hill begins. Because this line also marked a change in land ownership it is still visible today – this is explored further in the “more detail” section below.
Click on the 3d images below to enlarge them. Click the left and right arrows to see changes through time, or to see different parts of the model highlighted.
A ghost boundary
Looking carefully at a map or satellite image, a wandering line is visible, setting the limit of back gardens along Wingmore Road, Alderton Road, Herne Hill Road, Kemerton Road and Cambria Road. It’s indicated by the dotted yellow line on the satellite image below.
This line corresponds with one that can be seen quite clearly on various maps drawn up before this area was developed. On tithe maps from the 1840s, the accompanying notes on land ownership indicate that the fields to the south of this line were used as meadow, while the fields to its north were used for growing fruit and vegetables. This distinction is also visible in graphical form on other maps, for example the Greenwood Map of London surveyed in the 1820s. The tithe map notes confirm that the land on each side was owned by different people, and this is one of the reasons it remains visible today.
Elizabeth Ann Villa
The “Stanford’s Library Map of London and its suburbs” of 1862 shows a house and outbuilding labelled as “Elizabeth Ann Villa”. This does not seem to be shown on earlier maps, so looks to have been relatively newly built at that point, which would fit with the pattern of “villa” type houses being built along Coldharbour Lane in the period before the area became more densely built up (as described in the LJ’s East End section).
A map dated 1864, which is an updated version of the same map, indicates the proposed route of the railway line and appears to suggest that this house has been (or will be) demolished as it sits in the way. In fact the house seems to have survived, because it is shown on the Ordnance Survey map surveyed around 1870.
Although it’s hard to be entirely certain that no. 30 Wanless Road is the same building as “Elizabeth Ann Villa”, it does appear to be in the same location. The fact that a house of this kind is so close to the viaduct suggests that it was built before the viaduct – otherwise it would surely have been located further away, closer to the southern edge of its plot. Assuming it’s the same house, it lost a substantial portion of its grounds when the railway was built.
Maps from the late 1890s and early 1900s suggest the house became used for more industrial purposes with various outbuildings being added over time. It’s currently in use as part of the St Mickalos fast food factory which now occupies this site. Its neighbours also have interesting histories. No. 28 is labelled as “Coroner’s Court and Mortuary” on maps from around 1910, and today is home to the Society of Model and Experimental Engineers. No. 26 (or at least, the outbuildings to its rear) is labelled as a “Disinfecting Station” in the 1910s and today houses Lambeth council’s Pest Control Department.
One of the streets to appear soon after the construction of the railway viaduct was Hardess Street. Starting from its eastern end (which survives today) it ran alongside the viaduct before deflecting to the left and connecting with Hinton Road at right angles. Relatively dense terraced housing was built along both sides. The street survived in this form until the late 1970s when the construction of the Hardess Street Industrial estate bisected it – leaving a stub at each end, the one at the Hinton Road end being renamed Wellfit Street.
Wanless Road initially ran between Herne Hill Road and Hinton Road – the short, dead end stretch extending to the east of Herne Hill Road was called Harris Road at first, later renamed to become part of Wanless Road.
The street today is wider than the street that was originally built: at some point around 1910, the terrace on its north side was demolished, along with the corner buildings at each end; one house on Hinton Road and some shops at the Herne Hill Road end. This may have been to facillitate the construction of new tram lines that ran up Herne Hill Road, turned into Wanless Road, then turned left into Hinton Road to continue towards Herne Hill: this replaced a previous route that ran along the lower part of Hinton Road, from the junction with Coldharbour Lane. The widening of the street also allowed quite a wide-radius sweep on the Herne Hill Road / Wanless Road corner, which remains the case today.
The re-routing of the tram lines was associated with the electrification of the previously horse-drawn network, carried out by the London County Council when it took over operations from the London Southern Tramways Company in 1906. The railway bridge over Hinton Road did not offer sufficient clearance for electric trams and their overhead wires.
After the street widening, the north side was rebuilt with an early Salvation Army hall (see here for a more detailed history) and a button factory. The hall building survives today, and the button factory was squatted for a period of time prior to being demolished around 2002 and replaced with the housing block now on the site.
The Herne Arms (later Harriers) pub
Some time in the late 1860s a pub named the “Herne Arms” was built on the corner of Wanless Road and Herne Hill Road. The building was extended at various points in its history, and by the 1990s its name had changed to “The Harriers”. It was demolished around 2003 leaving a vacant plot until the housing block that currently exists there was built in 2015. Some more detailed history of the pub can be found here and here.
The Lord Stanley pub
The Lord Stanley stood at the eastern end of Wingmore Road, on the corner with Hinton Road. Like the Herne Arms, it appears to have been built in the late 1860s, when the immediate area was first developed. It survived until 1999 and was replaced with the housing block which stands on the site now (this block also occupies the site that was next to the pub, and which seems to have stood vacant for some time following wartime bombing).
Another ghost boundary
The Stanford’s map of 1862 indicates a field boundary running parallel with the future route of Herne Hill Road. Unlike the more established boundary discussed at the top of this page, this does not appear in earlier maps, and seems to subdivide a piece of land that is noted as being in the same ownership in the 1840s tithe records. This subdivision might have been made in anticipation of selling land to developers – something that must have been under consideration at the time.
The land on each side of that boundary might have been sold off to different developers, some evidence for which can be seen by looking closely at the terraces of houses on Wanless Road and Wingmore road. At about the same point on each road there is a change in house design and this seems to correspond with a land boundary in about the same place as shown on that early map.