Lambeth

As part of Inner London, the London borough of Lambeth is a close part of one of the most vibrant cities on earth. The Lambeth borough lies in South London, and is twinned with the Vicennes district of Paris, Bluefields in Nicaragua, Moskovoretsky in Russia, Shinjuku in Japan and Spanish Town in Jamaica.

Lambeth is a very thin borough, measuring approximately three miles wide and seven mile long. However, within this thin strip of geography, there are some 266,169 residents; making Lambeth the London borough with the highest density population. It is also set apart from it’s neighbouring boroughs in it’s political leanings; unlike the nearby boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth is largely left-wing. The borough produces through MPs, all of which are currently Labour, including Tessa Jowell, a former Cabinet minister and current Minister for the Olympics (which are being held in London in 2012). Lambeth is also represented by a Labour politician in the London Assembly; Valerie Shawcross.

LambethLambeth borough is home to some popular tourist attractions, most notably the London Eye. The giant Eye, which resembles a large fairground wheel, was erected to mark the turn of the Millennium and sits within Lambeth borough on the edge of the river Thames. Other prominent areas of interest within the borough include Lambeth Palace – the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury – as well as the Florence Nightingale Museum and the Hayward Gallery.

Lambeth is an intriguing borough for various reasons. It has recently courted controversy, when the traditional Christmas lights were referred to as ‘winter lights’ and ‘celebrity lights’ within the local administration. This was leaked to the press and many newspapers, most noticeably the right-wing Daily Mail, derided Lambeth for what they perceived to be an over zealous attempt at political correctness. This move was also labelled as an attempt to ‘ban Christmas’, a hot topic for many newspapers. Lambeth Council defended the move, claiming it had been a junior level decision that had gone into print by error.

Lambeth is also unique in how it elects it’s Mayor. Since 1994, the Mayor must be elected unanimously by their fellow councillors with each of the main political parties supplying a candidate in rotation. This is said to be so that the Mayoral role of representing the people, and not as that of a politician, is all the more enforced. The current Mayor for the 2008 – 2009 municipal year is Councillor Angie Meader.

It is almost impossible to visit the sights and sounds of London without passing through Lambeth borough, as it is either the direct host to the attractions, or to reach them it needs to be crossed. Perhaps for these reasons, Lambeth has a truly staggering array of transport links. Within Lambeth town itself is Waterloo, the station which the Eurostar departs from, and many connecting rail links. There are also 10 London underground stations in the borough; astonishing, considering it’s size. Lambeth is the thriving transport and tourist heart of London, as well as having a couple of historical quirks that make it all the more interesting.