The average sightseer in London is apt to avoid Southwark,
thinking of it as a gloomy and crowded area of wharves and
factories. The railway and commercial development of the
nineteenth century has indeed obscured the old street pattern
and there are practically no open spaces except where bombs have
cleared them during the war; yet for those who have the patience to
seek them out, Southwark has many survivals of its long and interesting
history. Seventeenth and eighteenth century houses remain wedged
between high modern factory buildings and, particularly in the neighbourhood of Bankside and Borough High Street, narrow alleys and
streets retain the lines and the names given them in the seventeenth
century when Southwark was in its hey-day.
Perhaps the most astonishing survivals are the remains of Winchester
Palace, which are now built into the walls of the flour warehouses of
Clink Street. Long and careful research into the records of this property
in the possession of the Church Commissioners has enabled the ground
plan of the palace to be reconstructed, for the old landmarks and
boundaries have never been obliterated even in three centuries of
The most interesting part of the volume to many people will be
the chapters which deal with Bankside and its literary and dramatic
associations. This ground has been so thoroughly worked over in the
past that no sensational discoveries could be expected, but several
new facts have come to light, while the 1618 map mentioned below
settles finally the vexed question of the site of the Globe Playhouse.
Many private householders and firms of Southwark too numerous
to acknowledge individually have given the Council's officers access
to their premises and their records so that this survey might be complete.
Special thanks are due to Mr. Bentley, Clerk to the Corporation of the
Wardens of St. Saviour's, who has so kindly provided facilities for
research among the wonderful series of records belonging to the
Wardens, and to Mr. Jones, of the City Records Office, who drew
attention to a number of freshly discovered records of Southwark in
the City Comptroller's office when the book was almost ready for the
press. The map of Southwark in 1618 (Plate I), reproduced by
permission of the City Corporation, throws new light on the early
topography of the area. The story of its origin from the City Records
is given in the Appendix.
Among other persons and institutions who have given assistance,
mention must also be made of Barclay Perkins & Co., Ltd., Dulwich
College, the Church Commissioners, the Guildhall Library, Guy's
Hospital, the John Marshall Trustees, St. Thomas's Hospital, Southwark Borough Council and Reference Library, the Trustees of Hopton's
Charity, and the Unitarian Chapel, Stamford Street, while the resources
of the Public Record Office, the British Museum, and Somerset House
have been freely drawn upon.
The historical part of the volume and its general editorship are
the work of Miss Ida Darlington, M.A. (Lond.), an assistant in my
department. The architectural descriptions, together with the drawings
and diagrams, have been prepared under the direction of the Architect to
the Council, who desires that his appreciation shall be recorded of the
work done by Mr. J. H. Farrar, A.R.C.A., Mr. F. R. Buggey, and other
assistants in his department.
Clerk of the London County Council.
The County Hall,
Westminster Bridge, S.E.1.