Lambeth is notable for just two things: Lambeth Palace, and its fine views of Parliament across the Thames.
This area of London was for a long time covered in swamps and mud-banks – its name derives from loam hithe, meaning
mud place – and it is believed that one of these mud banks made it the easiest place for the Romans to ford the river. Their first bridge may have been across to Thorney Island, just south of where the Houses of Parliament stand today.
The area remained largely undeveloped until the early 18th-century when Westminster Bridge was opened, and is nowadays filled with uninteresting shops, estates and offices.
Lambeth Palace has been the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury since 1207. The oldest surviving part of the Palace is Lollard’s Tower, which dates from 1440. The large brick gatehouse dates from 1495.
Due to the South Bank’s undeveloped charm he largely had the area to himself, and commuted across the river by barge.