Hercules Road

Hercules Road runs north from Lambeth Road near Lambeth Palace, on the site of Penlington Place, in the London Borough of Lambeth, south London, England.[1][2]

Pineapple public house and view north along Hercules Road.

The road is named after Hercules Hall, which was built by and was the home of Philip Astley (1742–1814), riding instructor, horse-trainer, and acknowledged as the inventor of the modern circus.[3] Performing nearby in an open field behind the present site of St John's Church, Waterloo, Astley realised the advantages of riding in a circle, and thus invented the circus ring. He was a principal among the many performers who made Lambeth a popular entertainment resort at that time.

Historically, Hercules Road is most well known for a former resident, the poet and visionary artist William Blake (1757–1827), who lived in a large house, 13 Hercules Buildings, and his address was Mr Blake Engraver, Hercules Buildings, Westminster Bridge.[4][5] There is a series of mosaics inspired by Blake in a tunnel nearby.[6] The site is marked with a plaque.

Hercules Road was a location for the film Passport to Pimlico.[7] At the conclusion of filming, the site had to be returned to the same bomb-damaged state as before, to enable the locals to claim war damage compensation. It is also the setting for Tracy Chevalier's 2007 novel Burning Bright.

The Pineapple public house is located at 53–55 Hercules Road.[8]



  1. ^ Weinreb, Ben; Hibbert, Christopher, eds. (1983). "Hercules Road". The London Encyclopædia. London: Macmillan. p. 374.
  2. ^ "Hercules Road". london-se1.co.uk. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  3. ^ The book of days: A miscellany of popular antiquities in connection with the calendar, including anecdote, biography, & history, curiosities of literature and oddities of human life and character p.474. W. & R. Chambers, 1864
  4. ^ Blake by Peter Ackroyd, 1996, Vintage, ISBN 0749391766
  5. ^ "William Blake's House, Hercules Road, Lambeth".
  6. ^ 10 things to know about William Blake, BBC London, UK.
  7. ^ "Reel Streets".
  8. ^ The Pineapple, London SE1.

Coordinates: 51°29′48″N 0°06′53″W / 51.49667°N 0.11472°W / 51.49667; -0.11472