Place:Lambeth, London, England

Alt namesMetropolitan Borough of Lambethsource: formal name
Lambeth Holy Trinitysource: ecclesiastical parish
Lambeth Emmanuelsource: ecclesiastical parish
Lambeth St. Marysource: ecclesiastical parish
Lambeth St. Mary the Lesssource: ecclesiastical parish
Lambeth St. Philipsource: ecclesiastical parish
South Lambeth All Saintssource: ecclesiastical parish
South Lambeth St. Annesource: ecclesiastical parish
South Lambeth St. Stephensource: ecclesiastical parish
Southvillesource: area within parish
TypeParish, Borough (metropolitan)
Coordinates51.495°N 0.12°W
Located inLondon, England     (1889 - 1965)
Also located inSurrey, England     ( - 1889)
See alsoBrixton Hundred, Surrey, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Lambeth (London Borough), Greater London, EnglandLondon borough in which it has been located since 1965
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

The area covered by the Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth (1900-1965) was part of the large ancient parish of Lambeth St Mary in the Brixton Hundred of Surrey. This article covers both the parish and the borough.

The parish was elongated north-south with a two mile River Thames frontage to the west. In the north it lay opposite the cities of London and Westminster and extended southwards to cover the contemporary districts of Brixton, Kennington, Stockwell, West Dulwich and West Norwood, almost reaching Crystal Palace. Lambeth became part of the Metropolitan Police District in 1829. It continued as a single parish for Poor Law purposes after the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 and a single parish governed by a vestry after the introduction of the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1855. In 1889 it became part of the County of London and the parish and vestry were reformed in 1900 to become the Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth, governed by Lambeth Borough Council.

In the reform of local government in 1965 the Streatham and Clapham areas that had formed part of the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth were combined with Lambeth to form the London Borough of Lambeth.


Lambeth opened a parish workhouse in 1726. In 1777 a parliamentary report recorded a parish workhouse in operation accommodating up to 270 inmates. On 18 December 1835 the Lambeth Poor Law Parish was formed, comprising the parish of St Mary, Lambeth, "including the district attached to the new churches of St John, Waterloo, Kennington, Brixton, Norwood". Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of twenty Guardians. (Source: "Lambeth (Parish of St Mary), Surrey, London")


The ancient parish was divided into the six divisions of Bishop's Liberty, Prince's Liberty, Vauxhall Liberty, Marsh and Wall Liberty, Lambeth Dean and Stockwell Liberty. It covered and area more than 7 miles (11.3 km) north to south, but only 2.75 miles (4.4 km) at its widest east to west. In addition to the historic riverside area of Lambeth, this included Kennington, Vauxhall, Stockwell, Brixton, the western part of Herne Hill, Tulse Hill and West Norwood. After Waterloo Station was opened in 1848 another neighbourhood named "Waterloo" covering the area around the station was also formed.

In 1965 the borough was amalgamated with the Streatham and Clapham parts of the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth to form the new London Borough of Lambeth.

Ecclesiastical parish

Lambeth St Mary was the ecclesiastical parish in Brixton Hundred that was foremost among the various churches in Lambeth. It became a civil parish early [no date given in A Vision of Britain through Time], and was also considered to be a vestry (a type of civil parish administration with members appointed rather than elected).

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description for Lambeth from John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles of 1887:

"Lambeth, parl. bor. and par., Surrey, on [river] Thames, in SW. of London, 3942 acres, population: 253,699. Lambeth Palace (1197) has for centuries been the official residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury; the library contains records of the see dating from the 13th century. St Thomas' Hospital is situated on the Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament. Lambeth Bridge is 1040 ft. long, with 3 spans of 280 ft. each. The bor. returns 4 members to Parliament (4 divisions--viz., North, Kennington, Brixton, and Norwood, 1 member for each division); the old parl. bor. of Lambeth (which included parts of Camberwell and Lambeth pars. and the whole of Newington par.) returned 2 members until 1885."

This description was published on the brink of Lambeth becoming a Metropolitan Borough of the County of London (1889). Attempts have been made to find an earlier one on the web. The "London Encyclopaedia" (link below) describes Lambeth on page 470.

The ancient parish, dedicated to St Mary, was in the Diocese of Winchester until 1877, then the Diocese of Rochester until 1905, and then finally in the Diocese of Southwark. From 1824, as the population of Lambeth increased, a number of new ecclesiastical parishes were formed:

  • Lambeth Emmanuel in 1869
  • Lambeth Holy Trinity in 1841
  • Lambeth St. Mary the Less in 1842
  • Lambeth St. Philip in 1864
  • South Lambeth All Saints in 1874
  • South Lambeth St. Anne in 1869
  • South Lambeth St. Stephen in 1861
  • Brixton St. Jude in 1869
  • Brixton St. Matthew in 1824
  • Brixton Angell Town St. John the Evangelist in 1853
  • Brixton Hill St. Saviour in 1876
  • Brixton Loughborough Park St. Catherine in 1877
  • North Brixton Christ Church in 1856
  • Kennington St. Mark in 1824
  • Kennington St. John in 1872
  • Kennington St. James in 1875
  • Kennington South St. Barnabas in 1851
  • Kennington Cross St. Anselm in 1901
  • Stockwell St. Michael in 1845
  • Stockwell Green St. Andrew in 1868
  • Stockwell Ferndale Road St. Paul in 1882
  • Herne Hill Road St. Saviour in 1868
  • Tulse Hill Holy Trinity in 1856
  • Upper Tulse Hill St. Matthias in 1900
  • Vauxhall St. Peter in 1861
  • Waterloo St. John the Evangelist in 1824
  • Waterloo St. Andrew in 1846
  • Waterloo St. Thomas in 1846
  • Waterloo All Saints in 1847
  • West Norwood St. Luke in 1824

In addition, as the population of neighbouring areas increased, parts of Lambeth parish were included in new parishes:

  • Herne Hill St. Paul in 1845 with parts of Camberwell St. Giles
  • Kennington Park St. Agnes in 1874 with parts of Newington St. Mary

These ecclesiastical parishes have all been redirected to the general area of Lambeth in which they were located (e.g., Brixton St. Jude has been redirected to Brixton, North Brixton Christ Church has also been redirected to Brixton.

The "London Encyclopaedia" (link below) describes Lambeth on page 470.

Greater London Research Tips

A reminder that Greater London was not formed until 1965 and covers a much greater territory than its predecessor, the County of London formed in 1900. The City of London was only a part of the County of London. A map of the boroughs of Greater London is reproduced on all Greater London borough pages. A map of the boroughs of the smaller County of London is reproduced on all County of London borough pages.

Researching ancestors in London will probably be more successful than researching ancestors in the rest of England, particularly for the period before 1837 and the advent of civil registration. Baptisms, marriages and burials are available online for County of London parishes, and possibly for parishes throughout Greater London as well.

  • Anglican Parishes in London is a wiki here on WeRelate listing the places of worship of the established church throughout London. The churches are grouped within the post-1965 boroughs and for each is the street address, a link to the Booth Map (inner boroughs only), the time span for which the database AIM25 holds records, the FamilySearch Wiki link (see below), the Wikipedia link, and further notes. This is a work-in-progress and not all churches are listed as yet, but it is a guide to a great deal more information on those for which information has been gathered.
  • The London Metropolitan Archives (40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB) holds records relating to the whole of Greater London. Ancestry (subscription necessary) has produced transcriptions and provides images of lists of baptisms, marriages, and burials in churches across Greater London. Many of these lists start in 1813 and stretch into the 20th century; some start even earlier.


  • A street-by-street map of London (both sides of the Thames, and stretching from Limehouse, Stepney and Greenwich in the east to Hyde Park and Kensington in the west) drawn by Edward Mogg in 1806. Blows up to a very readable level. Highly recommended viewing. Shows named areas on the edge of the County of London (1900-1965) as the small villages they were in 1800. Streets in the City are named, but churches are missing.
  • The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers edited by Cecil Humphery-Smith and published by Phillimore & Co Ltd (edition of 1995) provides a map of the City of London indicating all the parishes and includes dates of commencement of registers for parishes formed before 1832.
  • Wikipedia has an expandable map of the area of devastation of the 1666 fire. The map includes the location of Pudding Lane where the fire started.
  • A map of London in the 1890s provided by the National Library of Scotland. There are a few steps between the home page index and the individual maps which may be difficult to follow for those who don't know London, but the maps themselves are produced at the scale of 5 feet to the mile on the original and are very clear. Houses on streets are marked, but not numbered.
  • Ordnance Survey map of London 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing London parishes just after the reorganization of 1899. The map was originally drawn over a street map at a scale of 1 inch to the mile and can be blown up to inspect a single borough. Only the major streets are marked and are only visible at maximum magnification. The City of London is an inset in the top right hand corner.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Middlesex 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing the parishes remaining in Middlesex after the reorganization of 1899 when much of the former area of Middlesex had been transferred into London.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Surrey 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing Surrey parishes (chiefly Southwark) just after the reorganization of 1899 when the most urban parts of Surrey were transferred into London.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Kent 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing Kent parishes just after the reorganization of 1899 when the western part of Kent had been transferred into London.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Essex 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing Essex parishes (West Ham, East Ham, Ilford) which were absorbed into Greater London in 1965.

Registration Districts

  • Registration Districts in London, Registration Districts in Middlesex, Registration Districts in Surrey, Registration Districts in Kent, and Registration Districts in Essex are lists of the registration districts used for civil registration (births, marriages and deaths, as well as the censuses). There are linked supporting lists of the parishes which made up each registration district, the dates of formation and abolition of the districts, the General Register Office numbers, and the local archive-holding place. This work has been carried out by Brett Langston under the agency of GENUKI (Genealogy United Kingdom and Ireland) and UKBMD - Births, Marriages, Deaths & Censuses on the Internet, and has been updated into the 21st century. If the only information about an individual has been obtained from UKBMD, the name of the registration district is considered a "placename" within WeRelate and can be used to provide a broad estimate of the location.


  • Deceased Online includes four of the "Magnificent Seven" cemeteries (Brompton, Highgate, Kensal Green, and Nunhead) in its inventory of 65 London cemeteries. Transcripts for Abney Park are free with registration online at Ancestry (international subscription necessary) has "London, England, City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Registers, 1841-1966". That leaves West Norwood without comprehensive online access to burial records. (Deceased Online and Ancestry may have increased their provision since this was written in 2016.)
  • As of October 2019 Ancestry has a file titled "England & Scotland, Select Cemetery Registers 1800-2016" which includes Abney Park Cemetery, Greenford Park Cemetery, Acton Cemetery, Ealing & Old Brentford Cemetery, Havelock Norwood Cemetery, Hortus Cemetery, South Ealing Cemetery, Queens Road Cemetery, and Chingford Mount Cemetery.
  • The City of London Cemetery, at Manor Park, near Wanstead in the London Borough of Redbridge also contains remains transferred from former parishes in the City of London whose graveyards have been replaced by streets and commercial buildings.
  • Brookwood Cemetery, beyond the Greater London borders in Surrey, was opened in 1854 for burials for Londoners. See the Wikpedia article.

Other online sources

  • See the FamilySearch Wiki under "London" and also under "Middlesex", "Surrey", "Essex" and "Kent" for key information about Greater London's jurisdictions and records, plus links to indexes, reference aids and Family History Library holdings.
  • GENUKI has a long list of websites and archive holders in addition to London Metropolitan Archives above. (The list from GENUKI is not maintained so well that there is never a dead link in it. However, it is often worth googling the title given on the page just in case the contributor has reorganized their website and GENUKI has not picked it up.)
  • GENUKI also has a list of the Archives and Local Studies Libraries for each of the boroughs of Greater London.
  • The London Encyclopaedia by Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert. An e-book available online through Google, originally published by Pan Macmillan. There is a search box in the left-hand pane.
  • London Lives. A very useful free website for anyone researching their London ancestors between the years 1690-1800. This is a fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.
  • London Ancestor, a website belonging to one of the London family history societies, has a list of transcriptions of directories from the 18th century, listing in one case "all the squares, streets, lanes, courts, yards, alleys, &C. in and about Five Miles of the Metropolis..." In other parts of the same website are maps of various parts of 19th century London and Middlesex.
  • The proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's central criminal court, 1674-1913. A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. This website is free to use.
  • Lambeth St. Mary was one of many ecclesiastical parishes in Lambeth. For a list of all of them with locations on a map, see England & Wales Jurisdictions 1851. For Lambeth St. Mary, parish records began in 1539 and bishops transcripts in 1800. Separate registers exist for Lambeth Workshouse from 1803.
  • Also from England & Wales Jurisdictions 1851: "The following non-Church of England denominations were located somewhere in Lambeth, but the exact parish has not been identified: Baptist, Bible Christian, Bible Christian Methodist, Christians, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Countess of Huntingdon Methodist, Independent/Congregational, Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterian, Primitive Methodist, Protestant Dissenters, Society of Friends/Quaker, Unitarian, Wesleyan Methodist, Wesleyan Methodist Association, and Wesleyan Methodist Reform."
  • A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4, chapter on Lambeth first published 1912 and available online through British History Online.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Lambeth. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.