Make Vauxhall Cross a forest

Make Vauxhall Cross a Forest

Vauxhall Pleasure Friday 6 August
5.30am – 8.30pm Vauxhall Cross traffic interchange
7.30pm& 8.30pm Late at Tate, Tate Britain

VAUXHALL PLEASURE draws upon the past history, present condition and future plans for Vauxhall Cross to explore the relationship between political protest and entertainment, traffic and pedestrians, pollution, breathing and song. The performance event is staged for a single day – Friday 6 August – happening both at the Vauxhall Cross traffic interchange and as a part of Late at Tate.

Vauxhall Cross, epitomising London's ruinous car culture with its thunderous traffic and polluted air, stands on the site of the legendary Pleasure Gardens, which were renowned as a place combining pastoral beauty and fresh air with the musical entertainments, fountains, fireworks and fun of C18th public urban culture. Fifty singers perform to the traffic and passers-by from the roadside. The music, composed and performed according to traffic light phases, is a rearrangement of the songs of Thomas Arne, who was composer in residence at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. Alongside the singers, a research team from Imperial College will measure the air pollution levels by a specially adapted bicycle.

For the performance at Late at Tate, recordings of the singers at Vauxhall Cross plus the interference of traffic noise, are accompanied by a live chamber ensemble performing the transformation of Thomas Arne's cantata The Morning (1755).

At the Museum of Garden History, as part of the exhibition Tempered Ground a video Roads for Prosperity and Progress, by Anna Best with Jules Mylius, (1994), will be played alongside Paul Whitty’s sound installation Dr Arne at Vauxhall Cross, (2004). Tempered Ground is open daily from 10.30am to 5.00pm and runs until August 31st. A catalogue is available. A video documentary is being made by Simon Steven and Andrea Crociani which will be screened during the autumn (see for updates). This broadsheet has been co-edited and designed by artist Amy Plant.

Vauxhall Pleasure is a collaboration between artist Anna Best and composer Paul Whitty. Past collaborations include Mecca with Camden Arts Centre, 1999 and bcnsfld with Beaconsfield, 2000.

Anna Best is an artist who works in a range of contexts, mostly urban, public and often involving live art events. Last year, she published a London guidebook Occasional Sights with the Photographers' Gallery, and some of her other projects have focused on roads and traffic, not least Texaco Love in the Netherlands, where performers engaged with drivers at Texaco petrol stations.

Paul Whitty is a composer whose work deals with random and complex systems in combination with found materials in the creation of music and score. He is co-founder of the ensemble [rout]. Paul is currently working on a collaborative opera with director Arlette Kim George, based on a cluster of narratives associated with St.. Osyth, Essex. Paul’s work is represented by BMIC (see New Voices on:

Vauxhall Pleasure is produced in partnership with Parabola and Tate Live and funding from The Arts Council England and Cross River Partnership.

Friends of the Earth
Transport Energy
Environment Agency
Petition to Ken Livingtston from community of Kennington blighted by through traffic.

"Since Pleasure’s in Fashion and Life’s but a Jest..."

SINGING AT THE TRAFFIC LIGHTS ...singing, a person, a body, an open mouth, a sound, a beautiful sound, series of sounds, all linked to one another to make a song, entering the ears of the listener like clear water down a thirsty throat. Traffic. The front gardens of main roads say it all, the leaves and petals are dusted with oily black particles. Human expression and the idea of art (and performance) in relation to that mechanistic oil-bath neoliberalism /global corporate politics...

It seems futile to sing within a noise zone like roaring motors. That many people may not hear is important. Is it futile? Recently I read a statement about needing to be clear, to make ones opinions clear, to make things very accessible, so nothing can be appropriated by the enemy, the media, the state... it was an attack on ambiguity, a beseeching for direct action over metaphorical reflection.

What is happening to you when you pass through a place and do not notice what is happening there. We know that when ensconced in a car, truck etc the driver is concentrated and cut off from the environment, indeed they may be listening to the radio oblivious of the outside world.

I want to lay it on thick about traffic and pollution and gardens... Maybe the same thinking that creates gardens, encircled zones of nature, also enables the sort of uber junction of roads that is Vauxhall Cross. The separation-out of beauty, art, pleasure from all activities of everyday life is about the industrialisation of society and the principles of capitalism. And then to have them guarded by an institution. Why need there be aesthetic poverty in certain places and a painful abundance of beauty in others? The primary school on the other side of the main road opposite this flat, has a wonderful layer of colour and decoration plastered over its surfaces in the form of paper cut out flowers and such like.

Anna Best, Harleyford Road, July 2004

“Summer Amusement”

"To analyse the entertainments at Vauxhall would be about as easy as to fix the outlines of smoke. Everything is so evanescent, so intangible and so like a vision, that it is scarcely possible to assign a distinct character to any part of the agreeable varieties with which the gardens abound."

IF YOU HAVE DECIDED TO HOLD A DEMONSTRATION, you should hold it within the terms of sections 11 to 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 (POA). You must give 6 clear days notice to the police, in writing, stating the date, time proposed route of the procession and your name and address. You do not need permission from the police, however they may impose conditions if they believe the procession may result in serious public disorder, serious damage to property, serious disruption to the life of the community, (traffic congestion or blocking shopping streets) or intimidation. If the conditions imposed by the police are not reasonable they can be challenged in court. The police cannot ban a procession without obtaining an order from the local council. There is no requirement to give advance notice of an assembly or meeting, but if you do, or the police suspect that an assembly will take place in connection with the procession, they may impose conditions, such as restricting the place, duration and number of participants. They can also impose conditions on the spot. A "public assembly" legally means 20 or more persons in a public place which is wholly or partly open to the air. If you deliberately fail to comply with any directions given by the police you are committing an offence. Sections 70 and 71 of the CJA deal with "trespassory assemblies" - an assembly of trespassing persons on private or semi-private land, as opposed to a public place. This legislation is aimed mainly at preventing free festivals such as the one at Stonehenge. Under certain circumstances, a chief police officer can apply to the local council for an order prohibiting a specified assembly. Once an order is granted, anyone who organises, takes part in or goes in the general direction of the assembly may be arrested.

“The Fond Appeal”

Shops in Kennington have suffered a 20% decrease in business as a result of Red Route parking restrictions.

The Congestion Charging zone boundary on Kennington Lane will increase local traffic by up to 15%.

Almost 40% of those who heard road traffic noise in the UK objected to it.

Tyres are responsible for the majority of noise from cars at speeds above 50km/hr. The level of tyre noise produced is dependent on the properties of the road surface.

If noise from new roads exceeds certain limits at existing houses the householders may be eligible for noise insulation grants through the local highway authority. The Highways Agency has a target to install quieter road surfaces over 60% of the trunk road network by 31 March 2011.

Labour’s transport policy is in disarray. Its 1998 White Paper claimed that the Government was committed “to giving transport the highest possible priority”.

Congestion Research for the Commission for Integrated Transport shows that, even with intensive application of the White Paper’s policies, congestion will still be as high in 2010 as it was in 96.

Congestion costs the country £19 billion every year.

The UK National Air Quality Strategy shows that Government standards for small particles and ozone will be exceeded in 2005.

Road transport emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) will be 19% higher in 2010 than they were in 1990.

According to Cambridge Econometrics it is unlikely that the UK would meet its target under the Kyoto Protocol, of a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5% by 2008- 2012. The Government’s target of a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2010 would be missed by a long way.

At the moment, three fifths of the poorest households have no access to a car, whereas 24 out of 25 of the richest households do.

Two thirds of women do not have first access to a car, two-thirds of men do.

Only a quarter of pensioners have first access to a car.

Government forecasts say that, even in 2011, a quarter of households won’t have access to a car. 45% of households will only have one car.

In 2011, millions of people will still depend on public transport, cycling and walking to get around for some or all of their journeys.

Road transport consumes almost half the oil used every year in Britain. The movement of this oil regularly leads to pollution as tankers run aground or clean their tanks.

20,000 tonnes of engine oil are disposed of improperly every year in Britain - often straight into sewers and watercourses.

The Environment Agency says that metals including lead, zinc, copper, chromium, cadmium, nickel and iron and chemicals such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons are present in the run-off from roads. This run-off is a significant risk to the environment which costs the UK £1.2 billion every year.

Friends of the Earth, with other environmental groups, and green wings of major political parties, has been campaigning to persuade the Government to set a target for traffic reduction - calling for a return to traffic levels nationally to about 90% of what they were in 1990 by 2010. Despite the support of hundreds of MPs, the Government has resisted this campaign.

“ Lyric Harmony”

Car Sharing

Car sharing is when two or more people share a car and travel together. It allows people to benefit from the convenience of the car, whilst alleviating the associated problems of congestion and pollution. You can share a car for any journey. Car sharing: Saves you money - you could reduce your transport costs by up to £1000 a year; Reduces the number of cars on the roads - resulting in less congestion, less pollution and fewer parking problems; Reduces the need for a private car. is the largest car sharing scheme on the web.

“No rivet shall close up my freedom of Soul”

Extracts from ‘The Social Ideology of the Motorcar’ by Andre Gorz

THE WORST THING about cars is that they are like castles or villas by the sea: luxury goods invented for the exclusive pleasure of a very rich minority, and which in conception and nature were never intended for the people. Unlike the vacuum cleaner, the radio, or the bicycle, which retain their use value when everyone has one, the car, like a villa by the sea, is only desirable and useful insofar as the masses don't have one. That is how in both conception and original purpose the car is a luxury good. And the essence of luxury is that it cannot be democratised. If everyone can have luxury, no one gets any advantages from it. On the contrary, everyone diddles, cheats, and frustrates everyone else, and is diddled, cheated, and frustrated in return.

This is pretty much common knowledge in the case of the seaside villas. No politico has yet dared to claim that to democratise the right to vacation would mean a villa with private beach for every family. To give everyone his or her share would be to cut up the beaches in such little strips - or to squeeze the villas so tightly together that their use value would be nil. In short, democratisation of access to the beaches point to only one solution - the collectivist one. And this solution is necessarily at war with the luxury of the private beach, which is a privilege that a small minority takes as their right at the expense of all.

Like the beach house, doesn't a car occupy scarce space? Doesn't it deprive the others who use the roads (pedestrians, cyclists, streetcar and bus drivers)? Doesn't it lose its use value when everyone uses his or her own? And yet there are plenty of politicians who insist that every family has the right to at least one car and that it's up to the "government" to make it possible for everyone to park conveniently, drive easily in the city, and go on holiday at the same time as everyone else, going 70 mph on the roads to vacation spots.

This means of transportation at first seemed unattainable to the masses. There was no comparison between the motorcar and the others: the cart, the train, the bicycle, or the horse-car. Exceptional beings went out in self-propelled vehicles that weighed at least a ton and whose extremely complicated mechanical organs were as mysterious as they were hidden from view. For one important aspect of the automobile myth is that for the first time people were riding in private vehicles whose operating mechanisms were completely unknown to them and whose maintenance and feeding they had to entrust to specialists. Here is the paradox of the automobile: it appears to confer on its owners limitless freedom, allowing them to travel when and where they choose at a speed equal to or greater than that of the train. But actually, this seeming independence has for its underside a radical dependency. Unlike all previous owners of a means of locomotion, the motorist's relationship to his or her vehicle was to be that of user and consumer and not owner and master. This vehicle, would oblige the owner to consume and use a host of commercial services and industrial products that could only be provided by some third party. The oil magnates were the first to perceive the prize that could be extracted from the wide distribution of the motorcar. The dream of every capitalist was about to come true. Everyone was going to depend for their daily needs on a commodity that a single industry held as a monopoly.

Maybe you are saying, "But at least in this way you can escape the hell of the city once the workday is over." There we are, now we know: "the city," the great city which for generations was considered a marvel, the only place worth living, is now considered to be a "hell." Everyone wants to escape from it, to live in the country. Why this reversal? For only one reason. The car has made the big city uninhabitable. It has made it stinking, noisy, suffocating, dusty, so congested that nobody wants to go out in the evening anymore. Thus, since cars have killed the city, we need faster cars to escape on superhighways to suburbs that are even farther away. What an impeccable circular argument: give us more cars so that we can escape the destruction caused by cars. Capitalist industry has thus won the game: the superfluous has become necessary.

"People," writes Illich, "will break the chains of overpowering transportation when they come once again to love as their own territory their own particular beat, and to dread getting too far away from it." But in order to love "one's territory" it must first of all be made liveable, and not trafficable. The neighbourhood or community must once again become a microcosm shaped by and for all human activities, where people can work, live, relax, learn, communicate, and knock about, and which they manage together as the place of their life in common. When someone asked him how people would spend their time after the revolution, when capitalist wastefulness had been done away with, Marcuse answered, "We will tear down the big cities and build new ones. That will keep us busy for a while."

These new cities might be federations of communities (or neighbourhoods) surrounded by green belts whose citizens - and especially the schoolchildren - will spend several hours a week growing the fresh produce they need. To get around everyday they would be able to use all kinds of transportation adapted to a medium-sized town: municipal bicycles, trolleys or trolley-buses, electric taxis without drivers. For longer trips into the country, as well as for guests, a pool of communal automobiles would be available in neighbourhood garages. The car would no longer be a necessity. Everything will have changed: the world, life, people. And this will not have come about all by itself.

Meanwhile, what is to be done to get there? Above all, never make transportation an issue by itself. Always connect it to the problem of the city, of the social division of labour, and to the way this compartmentalises the many dimensions of life. One place for work, another for "living," a third for shopping, a fourth for learning, a fifth for entertainment. The way our space is arranged carries on the disintegration of people that begins with the division of labour in the factory. It cuts a person into slices, it cuts our time, our life, into separate slices so that in each one you are a passive consumer at the mercy of the merchants, so that it never occurs to you that work, culture, communication, pleasure, satisfaction of needs, and personal life can and should be one and the same thing: a unified life, sustained by the social fabric of the community.

Le Sauvage September-October 1973

“Catch the fleeting delights as they pass”

DAPPLE investigates pollution levels exposed to cyclists in Vauxhall - by Roy Colvile

IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON are part of a consortium of five universities engaged in a major programme of research to understand what people breathe as they move around a polluted city like London. The project DAPPLE (Dispersion of Air Pollution and Penetration into the Local Environment, funded by the UK Engineering & Physical Science Research Council) looks in detail at what happens when the sheer density of city centre development forces people into close proximity to each other. We know everyone breathes their own and other people's pollution, especially where the buildings alongside roads prevent the wind from blowing the pollution away and where major routes intersect causing congestion and delays. But these effects have not been quantified before, and so are not properly taken into account when decisions are made on how to improve our urban environment.

We have therefore developed methods of measuring pollution using portable monitors people can carry with them on bicycles, in buses, in traffic jams, on foot on crossings, on the pavement, and also in roadside buildings. These are combined with a video recording of the activity of the individual, using special software developed by the Health & Safety Laboratory. At Vauxhall Cross we will be using an instrumented bicycle specially adapted to measure cyclist exposure to pollution. We will collect video and pollution data as we move around on the incomplete cycle lanes, alongside the soundscape of the traffic competing with the singers. Complementing the more scientific approach we have adopted at our main study area on Marylebone Road (see, we hope combining our measurements with this community art event will help to inform, inspire, and provide insight into what makes our cities healthy or unhealthy, pleasant or unpleasant, sustainable or unsustainable. The event also promises to be a powerful means of communicating our assessment to a wide range of people, which is increasingly recognised to be an important part of environmental management for sustainable development.

“ Colin’s Invitation” Critical Mass

All over the world, Critical Mass happens every month. London CM meets at 6pm on the last Friday of each month. The CM has usually left the meet up point by 7pm. On average the ride lasts about 2 hours but the time is flexible depending on who is there and what the weather is like. London CM meets on London's South Bank, just under Waterloo Bridge. This allows easy access to the National Film Theatre bar for pre-ride drinks. The ride goes around central London taking in all the major tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace, The Houses of Parliament and Piccadilly Circus. There is no set route, and the direction we move in is spontaneously chosen as we cycle. The ride usually ends in a conveniently placed pub for more drinks. Anyone is free to join or leave the ride while it is taking place.

a public resource : a social network : a cultural space :

Despite its congestion London abounds with 'left-over' spaces or spaces which have potential for fulfilling new social functions. The leftover spaces can be used to develop a series of prototypes for putting them to use as cycle parking stations. The bicycles: Rental bikes available for hire from hubs close to tube stations. The cycles are colour coded like the London tube lines - thus yellow bikes – circle line. The bikes act as working symbols. Different colour bicycles threading through the city map out different social circuits in the city. Locations and communities: creating hubs for cyclists: this would generate necessary facilities to coordinate a culture of cycling as a form of mass transport. This is missing in the urban landscape at present.

“The Sword must to the Sickle yield”

4500 people die on Britain’s roads each year

THESE DEATHS are depoliticised by referring to them as mere 'traffic accidents' or 'problems on the roads'; they are not in fact incidental and inevitable - they are a consequence of a particular mode of accumulation and social existence, and therefore contestable.

They are part of a vicious circle, however; concerned for their kids' safety on the busy roads, an increasing number of parents now drive their offspring to school - so contributing to the problem they're attempting to avoid.

Won't the streets be better without cars? Not if all that replaces them are aisles of pedestrianised consumption or shopping "villages" safely protected from the elements. To be against the car for its own sake is inane; claiming one piece as the whole jigsaw. The struggle for car-free space must not be separated from the struggle against global capitalism - for in truth the former is encapsulated in the latter. The streets are as full of capitalism as of cars and the pollution of capitalism is much more insidious.


“ that Beauty, & Virtue, & Valour may shine ”

Hester Brown from Living Streets discusses the future of Vauxhall

LIVING STREETS campaigns to make streets and public spaces better for people on foot. It has a 75 year old history of campaigning for the rights of pedestrians. When the car first became popular in the 1920s and 30s, thousands of people were killed, as many as had been killed in the first world war. But the Pedestrians' Association, as we were then named, had to fight hard just to get car manufacturers to put speedometers in cars! After long battles we achieved the driving test, speed limits, traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. Even then, our members argued that pedestrians had the right to walk freely, to feel at ease, and to have residential streets which were safe for children to play in. Our office is in Vauxhall and the streets around are full of mismanagement! As the streets are being remade, it is difficult to see what the final layout will be, but we wonder what purpose the big steel structure going up on Bondway serves. We've been told it is a bus terminal, but will it be useful to protect from the weather, or be in harmony with its surroundings?

The old road layout has made life very difficult for pedestrians. It was designed to move traffic first, so if you are on foot you have to get out of the way, and climb a pedestrian bridge to cross Vauxhall Bridge Road or go a long way round to find a ground-level crossing. Even now, since some of the crossings have been improved, it's clear who comes first, and it is not the pedestrian!

Actually Vauxhall is a vibrant place with lots of people working and living here. Despite the traffic, the pavements are humming with office workers and residents, great parades of shops and cafes. The residents in nearby Bonnington Square have reclaimed their little network of streets with traffic calming and agreements between themselves to restrict car movement. They have planted lots of wonderful exotic trees and shrubs, turned wasteland into gardens, built street art and opened community cafes and centres. As a result their community is safe and friendly: people know each other and children can play safely in the streets. The main roads are a greater challenge but if pavements are widened, facilities like benches, bins and public toilets put in, crossings made more pedestrian friendly and cycle lanes more clearly marked, Vauxhall could once again become the place to be!

33 Bondway 0207820101031


“ The Morning ”

No.5 of Six Cantatas, For a Voice & Instruments
(London, 1755)

Harleyford Road (recitative)
The glittering sun begins to rise
On yonder hill, and paints the skies.

Kennington Lane (air)
The lark his warbling matin sings,
Each flower in all its beauty springs.

Bridgefoot (recitative)
The village up, the shepherd tries
His pipe, and to the woodland hies.

Nine Elms Lane (arioso)
Oh! that on th’enamelled green
My Delia, lovely maide, were seen,
Fresher than the roses bloom,
Sweeter than the mead’s perfume.

Albert Embankment (air)
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away,
To Delia’s ear the tender notes convey.
As some lonely turtle his lost love deplores,
And with shrill echoes fills the sounding shores.
So I like him, abandoned and forlorn,
With ceasless plaints my absent Delia mourn.
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs along;
The birds shall cease to tune their evening song,
The winds to blow, the waving woods to move,
And streams to murmer e’er I cease to love.
Not bubbling fountains to the thirsty swain,
Nor balmy sleep to labourers spent with pain,
Nor showers to larks, nor sunshine to the bee,
Are half so pleasing as thy sight to me.

“ The Complaint ”

THE CURRENT LAYOUT OF VAUXHALL CROSS has 2 priorities no doubt backed up by the car drivers using the area daily - 1. The need to maintain, as Transport for London put it, `traffic flow` by which they mean private motor traffic flow. 2. Bus Priority. The traffic that is walking and cycling came behind both of these in the design of the junction, everywhere as you walk or cycle around the junction you have to wait for the fast moving private motor traffic, or go a long way round so the more important motor traffic has a more direct route and doesn't have to wait for you, using your benign mode of transport.

Lambeth Cyclists

The Lambeth Group of the London Cycling Campaign have been campaigning for improvements to the area for more than 10 years. Inspired by Vauxhall Pleasure we will continue campaigning with your support for as long as it takes. Join us by visiting the web site

by Clare Neely

"Vauxhall is a composition of baubles, overcharged with paltry ornaments, ill conceived, and poorly executed; without any unity of design, or propriety of disposition. It is an unnatural assembly of objects, fantastically illuminated in broken masses; seemingly contrived to dazzle the eyes and divert the imagination of the vulgar. Here is a wooden lion, there a stone statue; in one place, a range of things like coffee-house boxes, covered a-top; in another, a parcel of ale-house benches; in a third, a puppet show representation of a tin cascade; in a fourth, a gloomy cave of a circular form, like a sepulchral vault half lighted; in a fifth, a scanty flip of grass-plat, that would not afford pasture sufficient for an ass’s colt. The walks, which nature seems to have intended for solitude, shade, and silence, are filled with crowds of noisy people, sucking up the nocturnal rheums of an anguish climate; and through these gay scenes, a few lamps glimmer like so many farthing candles."

Lydia Melford’s uncle in "Humphry Clinker" by Tobias Smollett

“with Myrtle and Roses new deck’d are the Bow’rs, and every bush bears a Garland of Flow’rs”

Vauxhall Spring Gardens is Your Park
Do You Want to Protect and Improve It?

‘FRIENDS OF VAUXHALL SPRING GARDENS’ was formed in 1998 to protect one of London’s most historical open spaces. They need your support to protect this area and turn this neglected green space into a well managed and improved park area. Please contact them with any thoughts and ideas and even drawings for the new Vauxhall Spring Gardens.

Spring Gardens is located just off Kennington Road by Vauxhall Station. It is next to Vauxhall City Farm which offers educational and recreational opportunities to a variety of people living in the area.

This area was formerly the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in the 17th & 18th Century. It was later built over and the terraced houses which remained were demolished in the 1960’s. The green area now existing is still under threat of redevelopment.

The New Design of Vauxhall Spring Gardens - Ideas
  • Thematic links with city farm - nature trails, plant identification, animal grazing
  • Picnic area with benches
  • Directional path network, linking all areas of the park together
  • Cafe - indoor and outdoor seating
  • Night lighting along paths and environmental lighting
  • Tree Planting - the introduction of more trees and a shrub layer, essential to any park to create intimacy and wildlife habitats
  • Historical links - notice board and information centre.
Contact the Friends on 020 7622 4913 for membership details

Text supplied by Diane Sullock

Walnut Tree Walk
London SE11 6DN
02075671131 /

Roots and Shoots

Committed to the training of young people between 16 and 25 years of age with learning disabilities, or who are otherwise disadvantaged due to health or social problems. Root & Shoots gardening team undertake contract work at Denny Crescent and the Royal Geographic Society and at many private gardening plots in the local area. They also have a workshop making gardening furniture for sale.

Roots and Shoots

“At morn, the flow’ry plains
At noon the shady Grove”

Extract from an email from Terry Horner at PFA Consulting, Swindon

IN THE MEANTIME I thought that you might appreciate a description of how the signals work so that you can have a look yourself and get a feel for the concept.

All the sites work in a broadly similar way. The control alternates constantly between the circulating gyratory movement and the approach/access to it. The pedestrian phases here appear automatically when the other traffic movement has green. Then there is an exit movement at all sites where traffic leaves the gyratory, for example from the Kennington Lane railway bridge along Kennington Lane towards Elephant & Castle. This is a separate “stream”, as it does not conflict with the main gyratory movement. The sharp right turn from Harleyford Road back into Kennington Lane operates in this stream. The pedestrian phases here operate only on demand from the push buttons (or, in this case, the vehicle detector for this right turn, on top of the signal – looks like a camera).

Although operating only on push button demand, the time in the cycle that the pedestrian demand on this stream is allowed to appear is defined to the second. It is known as an “event” time, and a “window” opens at this event time to see if someone has pushed the button. If so, the traffic is stopped and the pedestrians are served. If not, the traffic remains on green until the same window in the next cycle.

There are currently two cycle times around Vauxhall, 88 and 96 seconds. One of the changes is at 12.00midday, when the 88 second plan changes to the afternoon/evening peak plan of 96 seconds. This is most obvious at Vauxhall Bridge, where the relatively short Bridge green time suddenly becomes noticeably longer (in readiness for the evening peak). In general the bulk of these times are given to the circulating gyratory traffic, with shorter greens on the approach/access controlling the number of vehicles into the system. There is another refinement at some sites; two sets of signals close together, with two stop lines. The outer signals change to red a few seconds before the inner set, and when they change back to traffic green again they do so at the identical time. This is best seen where South Lambeth Road gyratory traffic turns right into Parry Street. The objective is to provide a clearance period to keep the inner section clear, so that vehicles can exit from South Lambeth Place and turn right towards Parry Street to wait at that cleared stop line.

The other main facility on the approaches is a Bus Gate, and these are in Albert Embankment southbound South Lambeth Road northbound, and Wandsworth Road. There is another Bus gate in Nine Elms Lane at the St. George access. These stop the main traffic, allowing the buses to drive up to the (cleared) main stop line so they can be at the front of the queue. The remaining traffic is then only released when the main stop line is about to change to green, and limited to the number of vehicles which can clear in the green time. The remaining vehicles are held back at the bus gate until the next cycle, leaving the inner section clear for any buses which may arrive. This can be viewed well at Albert Embankment southbound turning left to go under Kennington Lane railway bridge.”

Vauxhall Cross traffic light adaptation from Terry Horner’s original
(Paul Whitty 16-vii-2004)

  1. Vauxhall Bridge - Wandsworth Road - 9/076
    plan 11 (88secs) events (secs) 24-36-42-44-50-57-64-88. (12-8-6-7-14)
    1. Vauxhall Bridge traffic green 44-50(57)
    2. ped across Wandsworth Road 42-50
    3. Wandsworth Road traffic green 64-88(24-36)
    4. ped across Vauxhall Bridgefoot 63-88(24)
    plan 12 (96secs) events (secs)14-26-34-55-(62)-68-69.(12-8-6-12-7-14-6)
    1. Vauxhall Bridge traffic green 34-55(62)
    2. ped across Wandsworth Road 32-55
    3. Wandsworth Road traffic green 69-96(14-26)
    4. ped across Vauxhall Bridgefoot 68-96(14)
  2. left slip onto Vauxhall Bridge - 9/331 (part of 9/335)
    plan 11 (88secs) events (secs) 9-15-20-30. (6-5-10)
    1. ped green 15-20
    2. ls Vauxhall Bridge traffic green 30-(9)
    plan 12 (96secs) events (secs) 24-30-35-45-72-78-83-93.(6-5-10-6-5-10)
    (two pedestrian demand windows at 24 and 72)
    1. ped green 30-35-78-83
    2. ls Vauxhall Bridge traffic green 45-72-93-(24)
  3. northbound Albert Embankment ahead slip - 9/334 (part of 9/076)
    plan 11 (88secs) events (seconds) 42-48-53-63-88. (6-5-10)
    1. ped green 48-53
    2. traffic green 63-(42)
    plan 12 (96secs) events (secs) 32-38-44-54-96. (6-6-10)
    1. ped green 38-44
    2. traffic green 54-(32)
  4. Vauxhall Gyratory - Albert Embankment Southbound 9/335
    plan11(88secs) events (secs) 4-9-15-18-24-33-38-39-88.(12-5-9-6-9-5-4-4-)
    1. Albert Embankment traffic green 18-33
    2. ped bus station 15-24
    3. gyratory traffic green 38-88-(4)
    4. ped Albert Embankment 39-88-(4)
    plan 12 (96secs) events (seconds) 70-75-81-84-93. (12-5-6-5-)
    1. Albert Embankment traffic green 84-(6)
    2. ped bus station 81-93
    3. gyratory traffic green 11-70
    4. ped Albert Embankment 12-70

“T’other day as I sat in a SYCAMORE shade”

Art projects at Vauxhall Cross and about the Pleasure Gardens
Woodwork by Nosepaint - May 23-29 1993

“An experiment in collaboration. Following precedents set over 200 years ago there will be continuous events in Spring Gardens and also in Vauxhall Underground Station - solo and ensemble performances, illuminations underground, live music and audio work, pyrotechnics, installations with bushes, flowers, balloons and photographs. Woodwork pays tribute to the present community in Vauxhall and its multi-faceted past."

Extract from publicity in 1993 - Beaconsfield Contemporary Art

The Tent Project by Platform - 1989

“A ten-week tent project in which artists lived, ate and slept in five locations along the southern banks of inner London's Thames. This 'listening project' aimed at diagnosing the state of the biological metabolism of a section of the city : its peoples, activities, flora and fauna. The results were exhibited in the Royal Festival Hall, London, as part of Common Ground's 'Tree of Life, City of Life’ project.

Collaborators: Pete Durgerian - video, Teresa Hayter - writer, Herbert Girardet - writer and broadcaster, John Jordan, Rodney Mace - historian, James Marriott, Ana Sarginson.”

Extract from

The Vauxhall Society
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Traffic psychology
Transport for London

Traffic taming at Vauxhall Cross - V4V

'one of the worst road junctions in London if not in Britain'
More than a decade of local struggle to reclaim our streets.

For years the roads were taking more and more of it over as a huge gyratory racetrack. Walkers had to scuttle long ways round through holes under the road and climb over by the draughty footbridges. Cyclists risked death or trudged around, under and over. The main roads became more and more of a barrier, and the ways through under the rail embankment became less and less inviting. Cutting us off from the river were derelict sites and a growing wall of larger and larger lumpish buildings turning their backs on us.

But people who live and work or care about Vauxhall took action. Vision for Vauxhall (V4V) is an open forum for local people’s views and for information on getting them heard and acted upon and on other proposals for our area. It was started in 1990, first as a local planning forum, by the Vauxhall Society and Vauxhall St Peter’s Heritage Centre and other people seeking to restore a heart and connection to the river to Vauxhall through the right kinds of development and by taming the traffic.

The work will make Vauxhall Cross much better, but though it makes a welcome shift of emphasis to public from private transport, it continues to prioritise Vauxhall Cross as a place to go through, not to. In addition, there are important lessons to be learnt by Transport for London, especially on the value to the scheme of consulting the locals. The much-needed traffic reduction aim of the scheme is not being mentioned now: is this because the congestion charge is diverting more traffic over Vauxhall Bridge and the proposed extension to Kensington and Chelsea with a freeway along Vauxhall Bridge Road is intended to funnel still more past us?

Above all, though Transport for London now says that its long term aim is to remove all gyratories it threw away the wonderful opportunity to get rid of this one now. And who needs Formula One’s noise and tobacco advertising when we still have a huge gyratory and traffic fumes at Vauxhall Cross?

So local pressure and vision has been instrumental in getting Vauxhall Cross improved. What a pity it’s such hard work to educate the experts and get them to update their ideas.

Mary Acland Hood, Vision 4 Vauxhall
27 July 2004

(for unedited version see - vauxhall campaigning)

Approximate DAILY figures relating to private vehicles driving through Vauxhall Cross
Courtesy PFA Consulting
Wandsworth Road Outbound 16,508
Inbound 13,258
Kennington Lane 33,320
Harleyford Road 21,598
Vauxhall Bridge Outbound 24,285
Inbound 25,332
Anna Best & Paul Whitty
Project partners
Danielle Arnaud - Parabola
Catherine Wood, Tate Live - Tate Britain
Dr Roy Colvile – Imperial College (DAPPLE Dispersion of Air Pollution & Penetration into the Local Environment Consortium Research Project)
Arts Council, England
Cross River Partnership
Production team
Siobhan Wootton LAND
Sara Watkins LAND
Ben Tomlinson LAND
Charlie Tweed LAND
Video production
Simon Steven & Andrea Crociani
Magz Hall – sound
Audio recordings
Seth Brignell
David Chin
Ingrid Plum
Michael Wright
Adrian Shaw
Amy Plant – design and editing
Anna Best – research and editing
Ella Gibbs - design advice
Kamila - Bonnington Square Café
Wilma Roest, St. Peter's Church
Theresa Simon PR
Pete Edwards – e-2
a BIG Thank You to:
Tate Late performers
Cheryl Enever / soprano
Catherine Laws / harpsichord
Helen Godbolt / cello
Caroline Welsh / flute
Emma Welton / violin
Paul Whitty / electronics
All the singers at Vauxhall Cross
see for details
Mary Acland Hood - Vision For Vauxhall
Adam Coffman - CTC working for cycling
David Gryn – artprojx
Terry Horner - PFA Consulting
Siraj Ishar – xyzlondon
John Jordan – broadsheet concept
Live Art Development Agency
Jonathan Meares - Lambeth Council Area Parks Officer
James Marriot - Platform
Peter Nicholson - Transport for London
Kathy Preece - The Kennington Association
Naomi Siderfin - Beaconsfield Contemporary Art
And lastly all others who have contributed in less tangible but equally important ways and people whose names are still not known when going to print!

Disclaimer - Every effort has been made to trace the copyright holder and obtain permission for the use of copyright material. 'Vauxhall Pleasure' will gladly receive information enabling them to rectify any error or omission in subsequent editions.

© 2004 the artists, authors & contributors

The ‘headlines’ are fragments from collections of songs written for performance at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens by Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-1778). The collections are: Lyric Harmony 1746, A Favourite Collection 1764 & Summer Amusement 1766.