The challenges of building on Lambeth Marsh meant this was one of the last parts of central London to be extensively developed.


In 1768, when Philip and Patty Astley staged the world’s first circus here, the land around was still used for farming and pleasure gardens. What became Roupell Street was Halfpenny Hatch – it was a short cut, costing half an old penny to use. The name lives on in Hatch Row, at the Hatfields end of Roupell Street.


Three decades later John Roupell bought the land. It was the beginning a property empire which made our founding family one of the most influential in Lambeth. But they hid secrets and scandal which would ultimately catch up and bring them crashing down in disgrace.


Our streets remained in single landlord ownership for about 150 years, until in the 1970s the Lambeth Estate Company decided to begin selling them to individual owners. At about the same time, LERA was founded. It’s been the focus of the community ever since.


Find out about the different periods in the history of our conservation area below.

Where circus began

The Roupells

How we used to live