There is a place you may have heard of down South London way called Lambeth Walk. It’s a good couple of miles from our restaurant in Clapham Common, but it has a bit of history that is well worth reflecting upon.
In fact the Lambeth Walk is not just a street. It is also a popular market, a song, a dance, a walk, two films and a photograph.
The song, “Doin’ the Lambeth Walk”, is a music hall classic and was written by Noel Gay for the 1937 Douglas Furber musical “My and My Girl”, not to be confused with the later American musical of almost the same name, which starred Judy Garland. The song is usually accompanied by a walking, strutting dance which is, indeed, the “Lambeth Walk”.
In 1939 “Lambeth Walk” was released as a film starring Lupino Lane, who had first popularised the dance a couple of years before. In the meantime the song somehow caught on in the United States, where it was adopted by a number of well-known orchestras and eminent performers, including the legendary Duke Ellington.
So just what does any of this have to do with pizzas?
Well, Lambeth of course is the borough in which Clapham resides (actually part of Clapham Common falls within the borough of Wandsworth, but it is maintained by Lambeth by mutual agreement). Although not in the East End, thanks to Gay and Furber Lambeth and in particular its walk have established themselves in the public mind as a part of the Cockney culture.
It’s all a bit different now, much of the borough becoming gentrified and plush eating houses having replaced the traditional cockle stalls as the place to go for a bite to eat. But you can still hop, dance or strut along to Eco, one of the really good restaurants in Clapham, if you want the exercise before enjoying one of our delicious and healthy pizzas.