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.

In 1860 the actress and dancer Phyllis Broughton was born at 90 Hercules Buildings. She became a Gaiety Girl who made a fortune from her success.[7]

Hercules Road was a location for the film Passport to Pimlico.[8] 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.[9]



  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. ^ Ackroyd, Peter (1996). Blake. Vintage. ISBN 0749391766.
  5. ^ "William Blake's House, Hercules Road, Lambeth". landmark.lambeth.gov.uk. UK: Lambeth Council.
  6. ^ "10 things to know about William Blake". BBC London. UK: BBC.
  7. ^ Innes, Eilidh (9 November 2023), "Broughton [real name Phyllis Harriet Wright; married name Thomson], Phyllis (1860–1926), dancer and actress", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/odnb/9780198614128.013.62580, ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8, retrieved 10 February 2024
  8. ^ "Documenting the 'then' and 'now' of movie locations worldwide". ReelStreets. Retrieved 19 February 2024.
  9. ^ "The Pineapple". london-se1.co.uk. UK: London SE1.

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