London SE1 community website

Thatcher and SE1: GLC, Lambeth Palace, Rose Theatre and LDDC

London SE1 website team

Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Simon Hughes paid tribute to Baroness Thatcher in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Mr Hughes described the former prime minister as "one of the strongest and most determined leaders that our country has ever known".

"After she died this week, I worked out that I had engaged with her across the House on 19 occasions between 1983 and her final debate in November 1990," he said.

"I was able to thank her for supporting work on the Rose Theatre, which had been excavated – she did have an interest in culture and the arts.

"On a few occasions, I had to have a strong go at her with regard to London matters. There was a need to reform London government, but abolishing the Greater London Council was absolutely not the way to go."

The abolition of the GLC and, later, the Inner London Education Authority, had a profound effect on the local economy of Waterloo, and it is sometimes argued that Lower Marsh market has never recovered from the loss of so much lunchtime trade as thousands of jobs at County Hall disappeared and buildings were left empty.

Mr Hughes also noted the Thatcher government's creation of the unaccountable London Docklands Development Corporation, whose remit included swathes of Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.

"There was a need to mobilise the Docklands and urban areas for regeneration, but having no democratic participation was not the way to go," he said.

Mr Hughes recalled their final exchange in the Commons: "In her very last speech I put it to her that, sadly, she had left the gap between the rich and the poor much wider. I have to say that the gap continued under the Labour Government.

"She accused me of saying that we would rather the poor were poorer provided the rich were less rich. That was never our view. We needed a fairer society and sadly we did not get one."

Speaking in the House of Lords the Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd John Pritchard, revealed that Lady Thatcher had been a regular visitor to North Lambeth where she would stroll in the gardens of Lambeth Palace.

Noting that Lady Thatcher had retained a respect for the church despite its clashes with her government, the bishop said: "It was entirely fitting that the place where she particularly enjoyed the chance to walk securely and privately in her latter years was the grounds of Lambeth Palace, which successive archbishops placed at her disposal."

A book of condolence has been opened at City Hall by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Funeral: Wednesday 17 April

Next Wednesday Baroness Thatcher's funeral will be held at St Paul's Cathedral.

A 19-gun salute will be fired from the Tower of London and will be visible and audible on The Queen's Walk near City Hall.

Transport for London has announced that Blackfriars and Westminster Bridge will be closed for much of the day and that Waterloo Bridge will have restricted access.

The SE1 website is supported by people like you
We are part of
Independent Community News Network
Email newsletter

For the latest local news and events direct to your inbox every Monday, you need our weekly email newsletter SE1 Direct.

News archive from February 1999 to January 2001
Got a story for us?
Contact us with your tip-offs and story ideas.