The Borough of Lambeth is an inner London borough on the south bank of the Thames. It was formed in 1965 from the old Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth with the addition of Streatham and Clapham, previously in the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth. Neighbouring bouroughs are Wandsworth, Merton, Croydon and Southwark.

Population change

1966: 339,000 people
1998: 265,200 people

Lambeth's old inland centres are Brixton, Clapham and Streatham, all of which became built up during the 19th century when the railways arrived. Nearer the river, the districts of Lambeth and Vauxhall have long been part of central London's development. Vauxhall was the site of one of London's 18th century pleasure gardens. Lambeth Palace, the official London Residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, has stood for centuries on Lambeth's riverside.

Until the 20th century much of Lambeth's riverside was taken up by industrial concerns: breweries, potteries, factories and warehousing. In the 1950s part of the river bank was cleared to create the main exhibtion site of the Festival of Britain. The Royal Festival Hall was built on the site and the area was subsequently developed to become the 'South Bank' cultural complex, including the National Theatre, the National Film Theatre and the Hayward Gallery. The development of Waterloo station as the first London terminal for Eurostar trains also brought a new significance to this part of Lambeth.

During the 20th century Lambeth also developed as a centre for London's Afro Caribbean community. Many of the first generation of arrivals from the Caribbean settled in Brixton, and the area became the home ot many black community initiatives, among them the Black Theatre of Brixton founded in 1974. In 1986 Linda Bellos became the Leader of Lambeth Council, one of London's first Black women council leaders. By the end of the 20th century 34% of Lambeth's population were from ethnic communities and 132 languages were spoken in the borough. After English, the main languages found in the borough are Yoruba and Portuguese.

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