Best known today as a hub of gay nightlife, the headquarters of Britain's multiple security services and an urban transport hub, MultiWalks - a smartphone app revealing cities' street-level stories through walks made by artists - surfaces another Vauxhall, moving back and forth in time to uncover a place rich with culture, commerce, surprises and paradoxes.
This "digital walk" - curated by local writer Gabriel Gbadamosi - zooms in on an under-reported locality of central London, at one remove but still close to visitor and commuter hotspots. 'Invisible Vauxhall' offers an alternative journey for the curious at heart, a new way to get in touch with with the capital's diverse and ever-changing cityscape. Download the app and move beyond surface appearances to the real drama - the people, heritage and trends shaping the area.
In turn, you’ll discover the vanished grandeur of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, where eighteenth century aristocrats and commoners promenaded and mixed for the entrance price of a shilling, in a vast entertainment space that prefigured the leisure society we now take for granted.
Thousands regularly flocked to this spot from across London to hear Handel's works performed in his own lifetime by a full-scale outdoor orchestra, and remnants of the Pleasure Gardens can still be detected...
Surrounded by new and recent skyscrapers, with yet more in the pipeline, Vauxhall's listed buildings and longer-lasting streets provide an anchor to bygone times - and community bonds - amid the towering glass and steel spectacle of modern developments.
Moving to Vauxhall's eastern border, hear local residents' memories of 1930s Lambeth Walk from their childhoods and their parents’ era - the very same street made famous in the eponymous song from the 1930s musical and film 'Me and My Girl'.
To discover these and more of Vauxhall's best kept secrets, download the app for free from iTunes and Google Play stores and start exploring.
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[Images in this post courtesy of: 1. Multiwalks, 2. US Library of Congress on Wikimedia Commons, 3. Gareth Jones on Wikimedia Commons, 4. Gabriel Gbadamosi]