Then and Now: The Tate Library and Gardens
Photographic comparisons of old and modern views of Lambeth
c. 1912 One of three libraries in Lambeth donated by Sir Henry Tate, Brixton's fine library was constructed in 1893. The space in front of the library (known as Brixton Oval) was used for sheep pasture until the end of the 19th Century. In 1905, Sir Henry Tate's widow purchased the land and donated it to the public. Note the tower of the Brixton Theatre, just visible to the far left.
(pic: Lambeth Archives)
Sept 2003 Tate's widow would be spinning in her grave if she could see what has happened to her beautiful gardens! The flower beds have been replaced by concrete slabs, with ugly metal seats providing accommodation for Brixton's all-day drinkers. The unpleasant waft of urine lingers long in the air, and it's definitely not a place to tarry. Thankfully, the Tate Library has fared better and remains a well used local resource.
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