The lands on which modern Vauxhall now stands belonged in the thirteenth century to Margaret de Redvers, a wealthy widow. She married Fulk le Breant, a mercenary soldier who was made Sherriff of Oxford and Hertford by King John, for services rendered. He was also granted the Manor of Luton, and adopted a griffin emblem as part of his coat of arms. The house they built was named Fulk's Hall, which name was gradually corrupted over time, first to Fox Hall, then Vaux Hall and finally Vauxhall. Vauxhall was home to the once divine Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, London's playground for two centuries. The arrival of the railways in the 1850s saw Vauxhall becoming a high-residence, light industrial area, the gardens broken up. In 1857 the Vauxhall Iron Works was founded in the area, to build industrial machinery. The company adopted the a modified form of Fulk le Breant's griffin as its emblem, and later became Vauxhall Motors.
Now a major transport hub within minutes of central London, Vauxhall was neglected for many years. Many of its streets were also destroyed during World War 2 or through poor city planning. To many Londoners, Vauxhall has been seen merely as a bleak place of transit. But a significant - and fast growing - community lives here.
Most Vauxhall dwellers still live in social housing - mostly quality low-rise, 1930s stock of four or five stories. Much of the area is light industrial (like New Covent Garden flower and vegetable markets). Vauxhall also has a high security service presence. It houses MI6 - Britain's foreign spy service; and a number of other policing agencies.
Some 18th and 19th century property also survives: most famously Bonnington Square, a community which emerged from the 1970s/ 1980s squat scene in London, and remains mostly housing co-operativesa today. The local MP for Vauxhall is Kate Hoey (Labour) - the area has traditionally been very left wing.
The late 1990s/early 2000s explosion in London property prices has led to a boom in riverside developments and property re-developments. Notorious ex-MP and criminal Lord Jeffrey Archer is perhaps Vauxhall's most famous resident, living in a large apartment on the river.
The impact of this new house-building - and the rise in house prices - is creating a dramatic change in Vauxhall's make-up. As the numbers living here rise steeply, long-term Vauxhall residents are being driven out of the area, replaced with monied people.