Do you have memories of the Loughborough Road area?

Nellie Roberts painting at home at 72 Loughborough Road. From Louis M. Boyle’s Out West: Growing Cymbidium Orchids and Other Flowers
Nellie Roberts painting at home at 72 Loughborough Road. From Louis M. Boyle’s Out West: Growing Cymbidium Orchids and Other Flowers

Do you remember the Loughborough Road neighbourhood from the past?

On Friday 15 February the San Mei Gallery in what was once the Loughborough Hotel on Loughborough Road (which many will remember as the home of the Mambo Club) , will host a free event that will share highlights of a Heritage Lottery funded project organised by a local tenants and residents association – LEAF, standing for Loughborough, Evandale, Akerman, Fiveways, four local roads.

The idea for the project came after a LEAF exhibition of local artists’ work in the gallery (under different ownership) in 2016. Lambeth Archive images of the area inspired people to talk about their recollections of shops and pubs from years ago.

A main aim of the project is to collect and record people’s memories of the changing area.

One of the people who will feature at the 15 February meeting at 7pm will be Nellie Roberts, who lived all her life – from 1872 to 29 March 1959, 60 years ago next month – at 72 Loughborough Road.

For 56 years she was the official orchid artist of the Royal Horticultural Society, painting up to 5,000 award-winning orchids and private commissions. She was discovered as a teenager when a passing orchid-fancier saw one of her paintings in the window of her father’s jewellery shop at 72 Loughborough Road.

She never moved and never married – a possible reason may be her younger sister, cruelly described as an “imbecile” in the 1939 census.

Now Nellie lies in an unmarked grave at Lambeth Cemetery in Blackshaw Road, Tooting.

Thanks to Vauxhall History for much of the information about Nellie Roberts.

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