Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Parks, Commons and Heaths - Vauxhall Park

    On Monday, July 7, the new small public park of eight acres, formed of the grounds of Lawn House and Carron House, in South Lambeth, near the Vauxhall railway station, was opened by the Prince of Wales, accompanied by the Princess of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Princess Louise, the two latterbeing president and vice-president respectively of the Kyrle Society, to whose exertions in the main the neighbourhood owes the park. Lawn House was formerly inhabited by the late Right Hon. Henry Fawcett, M.P. The Royal party, who arrived at half past five, were conducted to a covered platform, where a guard of honour from the 4th Volunteer Battalion of the Royal West Surrey Regiment was stationed. The proceedings commenced with the reading of an address of welcome to the Prince by Mr. Lester, representing the Working Men's Committee. The Prince, in reply, expressed the pleasure he felt in the proceedings, and in the fact that Mrs. Fawcett and her daughter were present.The Duke of Edinburgh presented duplicate keys of the park to the Prince of Wales, who keeping one himself, handed the other to the Rev. Canon Pelham, the Chairman of the Lambeth Vestry. The Prince and his party then left the park, amid hearty cheering.

Illustrated London News, July 12, 1890

          Sir, - The eight acres in Lambeth which are to-day opened to the public under the name of Vauxhall Park have been secured by a long and difficult struggle, in which many people and all classes have helped. We have
had here, bound together for one good cause, some of every station; from the Prince and Princess of Wales, and the Archbishop of Canterbury to the day labourer, all have done their share - the lawyer, the vestryman, the artist, the clergy, the contributor to the press, the member of Parliament, the generous from among the wealthy - not only from the neighbourhood, but even from far away among the hills and woods of rural England, where the need of open space can only be realised by the sympathetically imaginative. To one who watched the struggle throughout, what memories rise of the helpful and humble who have each contributed what they could at the needed moment! The memory of the day, when all are gathered to celebrate the consummation of their work, will long be remembered by many of us. It is to such a union of all, for the good of all, that England owes her strength. It is not strange that the memory of the great and good man who lived here has been a powerful factor in saving the ground, so that in chronicling all who are bound with us
in the completion of the work, we may count as it were, the fellowship of those who have gone before as uniting with us who are left!
          The ground, as it is well known, is situated in the heart of Lambeth, and will form one of those all too few central gardens to which the very young and the very old, the over-worked in brief intervals of work, the
convalescent, and the quite poor may find near to their own houses the rest, the air, the outside peace they so often need.
          I speak of the consummation of the work - and, indeed, the land is saved for all time, and the 2000 expended by the Kyrle Society in draining, fencing, and laying it out leaves it thoroughly done and ready for use; but if the hearts of any are full of gratitude for mercies they have received, and they wish to do what may make it fuller of sources of pleasure for their fellow citizens, much may be added. The Kyrle Society has plans for gymnasium, for shelter, for drinking and playing fountains, which they would readily aid.
          May I also tell your readers that the purchase, to which thousands were contributed by our society, in addition to the cost of laying out, has strained our resources to the uttermost; that we are left wholly without a
working balance, and that we have just now important pioneer work in prospect, for which we would ask to have our hands strengthened by money? Time and thought, and experience and knowledge, we have ready; and I do not myself doubt but that those who have helped us so generously before will do it again. 

Octavia Hill, letter to the Daily Graphic, 1890