BOROUGH HIGH STREET
Borough High Street is one of the oldest roads in the London area
and from the earliest times of which we have any knowledge it has been well
supplied with inns for the convenience of travellers. A number of these were
used in the 18th and 19th centuries as depots for carrier wagons and for
passenger coaches to and from Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire. (ref. 17) Some
of the old inn yards still remain, but only one of the old inn buildings (the
George) survives, and that in a mutilated state. In 1676 a fire swept the
northern end of the street, obliterating the houses on both sides of the way
so that a special court had to be set up to settle disputes as to the ownership
of the various plots. (fn. a) (ref. 18) A few of the houses erected after the fire still survive,
though in a much altered state.
The street follows its original alignment except at the northern end,
where in 1824–31 the new London Bridge was built about 180 feet to the
west of the old, and the line of the road altered and widened to form the new
approach. As at this point the borough boundary runs along the east side of
Borough High Street, the site of the old street, north of St. Saviour's Church,
now lies within the Metropolitan Borough of Bermondsey and is outside the
scope of this volume. Pepper Alley, formerly on the west side of the street,
and Whitehorse Court, Chequer Alley, Boars Head Court and Swan Alley,
etc., on the east side, are also excluded.
The other big changes which have taken place in the neighbourhood
of Borough High Street have been the result of the building of London
Bridge Station in 1843–4 (partly rebuilt in 1847 and subsequently enlarged)
and the formation of the Charing Cross Railway line between London Bridge,
Waterloo and Charing Cross in 1862–3, crossing Borough High Street just
south of St. Saviour's. The line cut right across the ground and buildings of
St. Thomas's Hospital and the hospital was, therefore, forced to move from
the site which it had occupied for over 600 years.
Borough High Street in 1542
The plan of circa 1542 now in the Public Record Office and reproduced on Plate 8 gives some idea of the lay-out and appearance of the
street in the Tudor period, though the buildings are for the most part represented only by conventional symbols. The pillory is shown in the middle of
the road a little north of the King's Head. It remained there until 1620 when,
by order of the Court of Aldermen, it was taken down and stored in the
Bridgehouse. (fn. b) (ref. 20) Beside the pillory was a well which in 1540 the masters of the
Bridge House were ordered to mend because it stood too low and was "dawngerous for chylders." (ref. 21) St. Margaret's Church is shown on the island site in
the middle of the road now occupied by Old Town Hall Chambers. Two or
three houses are shown to the east of it and an archway to the west is labelled
"ye court house." The church itself was shortly afterwards converted into a
court or sessions house.
From the manor records it appears that the sides of the triangle on
which the church stood were formed by two kennels or sewers which met at
a point beyond a well. (ref. 21) A third well is shown on the plan in the middle of the
street opposite the Horse's (later the Nag's) Head.
St. Margaret's Church
We know that St. Margaret's Church was in existence at the beginning of the 12th century, but there is little information to be found concerning
it until the 15th century. (fn. a) In 1449 the Guild or Fraternity of the Assumption
of the Virgin Mary was established in the church by Royal Letters Patent. (ref. 7)
This guild was the forerunner of the Corporation of Wardens of St. Saviour's
In 1536 the church wardens obtained authority by Act of Parliament (ref. 23)
to buy an acre of land for a new churchyard, the old one being "in the mydell
off the kynges high way" and so full that recently they had been compelled
to bury "flower deade boddyes... in one Sepulchre" to the "Right perillous
daungyer and pestyferous infeccon off the ayre."
At the Reformation when St. Mary Overy became the church for the
old St. Margaret's parish, St. Margaret's Church and its precincts were sold
to John Pope, (ref. 24) who promptly disposed of them to William Emerson. (ref. 25) In
1555 William Emerson and others were said to have built nine tenements
there, presumably on part of the old churchyard. (ref. 21) Early in Elizabeth's reign
Humphrey Emerson granted part of the property, described as the Court
House or Sessions Hall and the chamber above to William Danby, (ref. 25) who in
1583 sold it to Sir Rowland Hayward and other aldermen of the City of
London. (ref. 25) It was described as being 40 foot long by 43 foot wide and having
a chamber above on the south side. The sale reserved the rights of the
Justices to use the building for Gaol Deliveries and Sessions of the Peace,
and for the Marshalsea Court to be held there on Tuesdays.
The old church (or court house) was burnt down in the fire of 1676
and for several years nothing was done about rebuilding. (fn. b) In 1682 the Court
of Aldermen appointed a commission to consider the petition of the inhabitants that the Court House and Compter should be rebuilt. (ref. 20) The new Court
or Sessions House was completed in 1685 and a statue of the King, made at
a cost of £50 by the Bridgehouse mason, was set up on the front (Plate 13a). (ref. 20)
A plan of the new sessions house and counter with the King's Arms Tavern
and other messuages was made for the City by William Capell in 1686 and
is reproduced on Plate 3. The Sessions House was replaced by a Town Hall
(Plate 13b) in 1793 and the statue was removed to Three Crowns Court. By
the middle of the 19th century the jurisdiction of the Court of Aldermen in
Southwark had been reduced to a formality and the Town Hall had fallen
into decay. (ref. 20) The building was therefore taken down and the materials sold. (fn. a)
The Counter or Compter
Stow, writing in 1598, states that St. Margaret's Church was turned
into a court house and that part of it became the Counter Prison or Compter. (ref. 26)
In 1608, however, the Court of Aldermen ordered (ref. 20) that one of Emerson's
houses should be turned into "a Compter for receipt and keeping of prisoners
within the sayd borough." In 1649 Samuel Cartwright, citizen and stationer
of London, bought (ref. 27) the Counter (then described as a messuage 36 feet wide
on the N. side) and the adjoining houses for £575. All this property was
destroyed in the fire of 1676 and a new prison was built in 1685.
The Borough Compter remained in existence until in December
1855 the Grand Committee of the Bridge House Estates ordered that it
should be taken down "and the materials disposed of." (ref. 28) In the following
year Mr. Alderman Humphrey was granted a lease of the site. Counter
Court behind the Old Town Hall Chambers preserves in its name the
memory of the old Borough prison.
The Borough Market
The market place is shown on the plan of 1542 to the south of St.
Margaret's Church and Southwark Fair seems originally to have been held
there, but within a few years and, probably as a result of the building of
houses by William Emerson on St. Margaret's Hill, the market was moved
into Borough High Street. In 1561 it was ordered in the manor court of
Southwark "that no Collyer from hensforthe shall sett their cartes in the
streate vppon the market daye... for the cause is that yf ther shoolde be
affraye made ther it is not possyble for no man to come & helpe, the cartes
ther doo stande so thicke, that is betwene the Pyllory & Sainte Margretes
Hill." (ref. 21) The Court Leet of Southwark, in 1691, ordered that the "Market
shall be kept on the West side of the Channel of the High Street within this
Borough begining at the Bridge Foot & ending at Compter Lane within
Three Foot of the said Channel upon Pain that every one Standing out of
that Verge shall pay vjs. viijd." (ref. 29)
The engraving reproduced on Plate 11a depicts the market circa
1750. Though the picture is not topographically accurate it gives a vivid
impression of the chaotic conditions created by the market in such a narrow
thoroughfare. The market continued to be held in the street until 1755. In
that year the Mayor and Commonalty of the City of London, in whom the
market rights had been vested by Edward VI, petitioned for its abolition
because of "the great increase of coaches, carts and other carriages passing"
through the street. The market was abolished by the Act of 28 Geo. II
cap. 9 and in the same session the churchwardens and parishioners of St.
Saviour's obtained the right to open a new market on ground called the
Triangle to the S.W. of the church where it still remains. (ref. 30)
Tallis's Elevations of the East side of Borough High Street, circa 1840
Of recent years much of Borough High Street has been rebuilt, and
much was destroyed by enemy action during the war, but many houses still
retain features dating from the late 17th or 18th centuries. Taking first the
east and then the west side and working from north to south an attempt has
been made in the following pages to describe what remains and to give a
brief history of individual buildings where anything of interest is known.
Changes in the street frontage during the past 100 years can be seen by
comparing the modern elevations with the elevations drawn by Tallis circa
1840, reproduced on pp. 12 and 26. All the houses were renumbered in
1870, so that the odd
numbers are on the
east side and the even
on the west instead
of running consecutively.
Elevations of the East side of Borough High Street, 1948
East Side. No. 31 (formerly 47)
This is a fourstorey house in red
brick with a string
course at the thirdfloor level. The shop
front is modern and
the interior is of no
No. 31 is now in
the occupation of Messrs.
Kleyser & Co., watchmakers, but for nearly a
hundred years previously it
was occupied by John
Wells and his descendants,
butchers. (ref. 31) At the close of
the 18th century the shop
was a linen draper's. (ref. 32)
Nos. 33 and 35 (formerly 48 and 49)
at the rear of these
premises has a fine
staircase of a bold
character with heavily moulded solid strings,
pendants, three-inch spiral-turned balusters and moulded handrail. The staircase, a sketch of which is reproduced here, extends through all floors, the
walls up to the second floor being panelled to dado height. The rooms are
panelled and have a moulded wood cornice. On the first floor is a wood
mantelpiece of Adam character.
33 Borough High Street
No. 33 has been tenanted by Messrs. Wild, Neame & Co., hop factors, and their predecessors, Messrs. Collard & Neame, since 1877. The previous occupiers were John Clutton and his
descendants, solicitors. John Clutton was the godfather of John Clutton founder of the well-known
firm of surveyors of that name. (ref. 33) The elder John Clutton was for many years treasurer of St.
Saviour's Grammar School.
No. 35 is now occupied by Miss E. Skinner, nurses' outfitter, and Mathew Arnold,
hosier, and for the last century and a half it seems to have been tenanted alternately by hosiers and
No. 45. The King's Head (formerly 54)
Practically the whole of the buildings in King's Head Yard and the
houses on either side of it were destroyed by enemy action in 1940.
The King's Head was known as the Pope's Head prior to the Reformation and it is marked
on the 1542 map. At the beginning of Elizabeth's reign it was the property of Thomas Cure, the
founder of Cure's College (see p. 83), and in 1588 passed to the family of Humbles. It was in the
possession of Humble Ward, Baron Ward, in 1647. (ref. 17)
The King's Head was burnt down in the Borough fire of 1676. Part of the building
erected after the fire survived until 1885. A view of it is given on Plate 15 together with a photograph of the bust of Henry VIII, its sign. The court of the Surrey and Kent Sewer Commission
met there in 1699. Roman remains were found on the site of the inn in 1879–81 which indicated
that an inhabited building had stood there during the Roman occupation. (ref. 1) The inn was the property
of St. Thomas's Hospital in the 18th century and was leased to Henry Thrale and afterwards to
Barclay Perkins and Co. Ltd. (ref. 34)
No. 53 (formerly 58)
This house has a staircase of the open newel type with heavy balusters.
The premises are now occupied by Louis F. Petyt, hop factor, and William B. Gibson
Ltd., ophthalmic opticians. From 1778 until 1840 various firms of indigo blue manufacturers were
No. 61 (formerly 62). The White Hart
The White Hart was the badge of Richard II and the sign of this inn probably dated
from his time. In 1450 the inn was the headquarters of Jack Cade, a fact which is recalled by
Shakespeare in Henry VI, part II. The inn was owned by Humphrey Collet in 1555 (ref. 21) and it was
still in the possession of his family when it was burnt down in 1676. In 1720 Strype described the
new building as "one of the best Inns in Southwark." (ref. 35) The White Hart has been immortalised by
Dickens in Pickwick Papers as the place in which Sam Weller is first introduced to the reader. A
view of the inn just prior to its demolition in 1889 is reproduced on Plate 20a.
No. 65 (formerly 64)
No. 65 has a staircase similar to that in No. 53.
Messrs. Winkley & Son, printers, now occupy this house, but for over 80 years, from
1850–1933, it was a tailor's. The earliest known occupant, John Slade (1773), was a grocer.
No. 71 (formerly 67)
The house built after the fire in 1676 by Nicholas Hare, grocer, was
demolished in 1928, but the carved stone panel from the west front, a sketch
of which is reproduced on the next page, still survives. The house is described
by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments in the volume on East
London. There is a monument to William Hare, grocer, who died in 1698,
and his family, in the cathedral.
No. 77 (formerly 70), the George Inn
Of the 17th century inn, built round a courtyard, only the south side
now remains. This is of three storeys and attic with wood dormers in a tiled
roof, the walls being partly of brick and partly timber-framed.
The western half has two ranges of galleries at the first and second
floors, the lower one being supported on cantilever beams, and the upper one
and roof with weather-boarded parapet, on wooden Doric columns which
divide each gallery into six bays. Both galleries have a wood balustrade of
turned balusters with moulded handrail. The wall behind the galleries is
partly of brick and partly timber with pegged posts and flush face. It has
windows overlooking the galleries, and openings at the eastern end giving
access to the staircase. On the ground floor there is a range of windows on
either side of the entrance.
The sign of the Hare. Sketch by M. H. Leefe
The eastern half is mainly of limewashed brickwork with brick stringcourses below and above the first floor windows, and a wide eaves soffit. The
ground floor has two entrance doors and a range of windows over which is a
continuous entablature with horizontally grooved architrave and a slightly
projecting plain frieze. The cornice has a cyma bead and fillet with mutules,
and sunk roundels beneath. Of the first floor windows, two have double-hung
sashes, flush frames and glazing bars and the remaining four are casement
type with mullions and transomes, two having shallow segmental arched
heads. The six windows on the second floor have casements mostly with
flush frames and with glazing bars; their heads are almost level with the eaves.
The rear of the building facing south is of brick and has a large
projecting chimney stack with tiled weatherings to its diminishing stages.
Some of the windows on this side are suggestive of an earlier period than the
The George, 77 Borough High Street
The staircase is centrally placed within the building. It has solid
strings and the balusters are similar in pattern to those in the balustrade of
The westernmost room on the ground floor has a fireplace with segmental wood-faced lintel, stone-faced jambs and projecting iron fire basket.
On the first floor the room to the east of the staircase is panelled in
pine with moulded framing, cornice and dado rail. The mantelpiece of grey
figured marble has moulded jambs and a shaped and moulded lintel with
fluted keystone. In the south-west corner is an angle cupboard with shaped
shelves, the door of which is formed to match the panelling in the room.
The George is marked on the 1542 plan, and there is little doubt that the sign, originally
Saint George, dates back to the mediaeval period. In the reign of Edward VI it was held by
Humfrey Collet, M.P. for Southwark in 1511–12 and 1536. By his will, dated 4th October,
1558, (ref. 36) he left his mansion and inn called the George in the tenure of Nicholas Marten, to his son
Thomas, together with his other property on the east side of the High Street. William Grubb is
shown as the tenant in the Token Books for 1596–1621, and his widow, Elizabeth, in 1622–24. (fn. a)
In 1626 Henry Blundell or Blunden appears. He was still the tenant in 1634/5 when the inn was
included in a return of new buildings made to St. Saviour's Wardens. It is there described as "2
seu'all buildinges part Timber and parte brick worth 6 li per Annum" built on "old foundacons
aboute 12 yeares past." The landlords were then stated to be Mr. Sawyer and Mr. Thomas Stone.
The George Inn. Panelling. Measured drawings by F. A. Evans
In 1668 Nicholas Andrewes, who had acquired a long lease of the George from John
Sawyer, granted a sub-lease of it to Thomas Underwood at a rent of £150 a year. Underwood's
widow, Mary, married Mark Weyland, and he was the tenant when in 1670 part of the inn and all
the barns and stables were burnt down by a "sad and violent fire" said to have begun in some tow
and hops in a shed in the inn yard. (ref. 38) As some compensation for his expense in rebuilding, Weyland
was granted a 40 years' extension of his lease. Six years later the George was destroyed by the fire
which consumed most of Borough High Street. Weyland rebuilt the inn probably on the old plan. (ref. 17)
It is the southern part of this building which still survives.
In 1692, John Sayer, son of John Sayer or Sawyer, the previous owner, sold (ref. 39) the George
and "three little roomes with appurtenances leased to William Peck, Grocer, lying at or neare the
gateway" of the inn, to John Sweetapple of Lombard Street, who in the same year sold (ref. 40) it to
Daniel Wight, distiller, for £1,600. Daniel's grand daughter, Valentina, married Philip Aynscombe,
and the George (then in the tenure of William Golding) and some houses on the west side of the
street near Counter Alley, were granted to Thomas Aynscombe, father of Philip, in trust for her. (ref. 41)
By an Act of 30 George II, this property was vested in trustees and it ultimately passed to Lillie
Smith Aynscombe, son-in-law of Philip, and his daughters, Valentina, Mary and Charlotte Anne.
In 1849 it was sold by their heirs to the Governors
of Guy's Hospital. (ref. 42) The inn was then in the
tenure of Frances Scholefield, widow of Westerman
Plan of the George Inn, 1874. From a deed in the possession of British Railways
An old advertising card dating from circa
1830 states that coaches set out from the George
"Maidstone, Malling and Wrotham, four
times a day. Folkestone, Hythe and
Ashford, 6 every morning; Mon., Wed.,
and Sat. evening.
Tenterden, Cranbrook and Staplehurst, Sun.,
Tues., and Thurs. mor.
Wateringbury, Teston and Mereworth, daily.
Brenchley, Matfield Green, and Peckham,
Tue., Wed., and Sat. afternoon.
Deal, Dover, Margate, Ramsgate, and Canterbury, twice a day.
Rochester, Chatham, and Gravesend, four
times a day. Orpington, St. Mary Cray,
Chiselhurst, and Eltham, Mon., Wed., Sat.
Hastings, Boxhill, Battle, Robertsbridge, Lamberhurst, Tunbridge, Sevenoaks, Worthing,
Horsham, Dorking, Brighton, Cuckfield and
Reigate, daily." (ref. 17)
The George was also the depot for a
number of goods wagons to the south-east of
England. In the middle of the 19th century, the
Great Eastern Railway Company opened an office
in rooms on the north side of the inn yard. In 1855
a report on the condition of the premises (ref. 42) shows
that Messrs. Beeman and Hotchkins, hop merchants,
and the Great Northern Railway Company
occupied most of the buildings on the north side
of the yard, Messrs. Evans and Company, hop
merchants, had rooms at the east end of the south
side, and the George Inn proper was at the west
end of the south side. Most of the east end of the
yard was occupied by stabling.
In 1874 the President and Governors of
Guy's Hospital, having walled off the eastern
portion of the yard for incorporation in the hospital
premises, sold the remainder to the Great Northern
Railway Company. The plan attached to this sale
is reproduced here. It shows the original extent
of the inn. The buildings on the north side were
pulled down by the railway company, but
fortunately those on the south side were preserved and are the sole surviving example of a
galleried inn in London.
In 1937 the London and North Eastern Railway Company made a deed of gift of the old
inn building to the National Trust. The ground remains the property of the railway (now incorporated in British Railways).
No. 81 (formerly 72)
The staircase above the first floor level is of mid–18th century date
and has solid moulded strings, turned balusters, ball-capped square newels
and plain handrail. On the first floor is a pinepanelled room with wood cornice.
83 Borough High Street
The earliest known tenant (1748) was Malachi Blake,
druggist, who subsequently moved to No. 119.
No. 83 (formerly 73)
A sketch of the staircase in this house
is reproduced on Plate 21b. It is similar to that in
No. 81, but has spiral-turned balusters. On the
second floor is a fireplace with a wood bolection
moulded architrave and cast-iron grate with fluted
No. 83 is now in the occupation of Rawlings, a firm of
machine rulers. It had previously been in the tenure of various types
of traders including Edward Coronel, cigar manufacturer, who was
in occupation for 39 years (1870–1909).
No. 85. The Tabard
The old Tabard Inn was pulled down in 1875,
though a modern building bears the name.
The Tabard was probably one of the earliest inns in this street
of inns, for there is mention of it in 1306 when the Abbot of Hyde
had lodgings adjoining. It is certainly the most famous of
the Borough inns as the meeting place of Chaucer's Canterbury pilgrims. Henry Bailley, M.P. for
Southwark in 1376 and 1379, was then host of the Tabard—
"A semely man oure hooste was withalle
For to han been a marschal in an halle;
Boeld of his speche, and wys, and wel y taught,
And of manhod hym lakkede right naught." (ref. 43)
Chaucer's inn was probably pulled down in 1629, for in 1635 the "Talbut" is said to be
"a newe building of brick" erected on an old foundation about six years previously by William
Garford, the landlord. After two rebuildings in the 17th century it is extremely unlikely that any
of the mediaeval building survived. The view of Chaucer's pilgrims setting out from the Tabard in
Urry's Chaucer of 1721 (Plate 14a) may have been based on an earlier drawing, though it is
difficult to reconcile with what we know of the Borough of the 14th century.
The history of the inn has been very fully related in Rendle and Norman's The inns of
old Southwark, to which the reader is referred for further particulars. A drawing of the inn by
T. H. Shepherd made a few years before its demolition is reproduced on Plate 14b.
No. 91 Borough High Street. Plans and elevations. Measured drawings by
R. G. Absolon
No. 91 (formerly 77)
These premises comprise four storeys with a single room and staircase
on each floor, the ground floor being a shop. There is a small addition at the
rear. The building is of brick with rubbed brick dressings and moulded brick
string course at second floor level, a moulded brick cornice at third floor
level and a tiled roof behind a parapet. The first floor room has painted
pine panelling to the full height with ovolo moulded framing, fielded panels,
moulded chair rail and wood dentilled cornice. In the window recesses are
panelled box seats and panelled folding shutters. The door has three panels
and is surrounded by an enriched architrave.
A section of the panelling on the east wall is hinged and conceals a
wood semicircular half-domed cupboard with three shaped shelves, carved
spandrils, and a carved and gilded cornice at the springing of the half dome,
with ornamental keyblock. The dome has painted male and female figures in
a pastoral setting (Plate 23).
The second floor room has painted pine panelling similar to that on
the first floor but with plain panels and moulded cornice. The door is of two
panels with plain moulded architrave. Next the fireplace a portion of the
panelling is hinged and forms the door to a square cupboard. There are
panelled folding shutters to the windows and panelled box seats in the
recesses beneath the windows. The fireplace has a marble surround with
shaped lintel and fluted keystone and a hob grate of simple pattern.
The third floor panelling is also of painted pine with bolection mouldings suggestive of an earlier date than that on the floors below. It does not
fully extend round all sides of the room, part being plain square-framing.
The windows have seats in the recesses and panelled shutters. There is a
cupboard behind the panelling next the fireplace.
The staircase, of the open well type, occupies the rear of the building.
The upper flights are contemporary with the main fabric. They have a
moulded handrail and between the first and second floors there are three
types of balusters to a step. The newels are in the form of fluted Doric
columns and there are cut strings and carved step ends to the first and second
floors and solid strings to the remaining flight (Plate 22).
No. 91 was from 1907 to 1934 in the occupation of Robert John Herbert, hosier, but it
has had very varied uses in the past. In the middle of the 18th century it was known as the Bell and
Bear Inn and it was subsequently occupied by a toyman, a tallow chandler, an oilman and as "oyster
Nos. 93 and 95 (formerly 78 and 79)
These premises now form one building. The 18th century character
of the façade of the upper storeys has been retained and is of red brick with
plain brick string courses above and below the second floor windows and a
slate mansard roof with dormer windows behind the parapet. The ground
floor front is of later date.
Both houses have for over fifty years been in the occupation of Messrs. A. C. Horsley,
hop merchants. No. 93 was a cheesemonger's during the second half of the 18th century. No. 95
is shown on Tallis's view (p. 12) as in the occupation of Anderton & Lee, confectioners, but in
1768–73? the tenant was Joseph Coates, hop factor.
Nos. 97 and 99 (formerly 80 and 81)
These buildings, both of mid–18th century date, have recently been
demolished to first floor level. No. 97 had a stucco front with a balustraded
parapet above the cornice. No. 99 was of red brick with string courses
between floors. The first floor front room was panelled with simple ovolo
moulded framing and wood dentilled cornice. In the corner next the fireplace
was a semicircular headed cupboard with moulded jambs and fluted keystone,
shaped shelves and panelled doors. Part of the well staircase remains. It has
spiral-turned balusters and moulded handrail and string.
Both these houses have been occupied by hop merchants from the 18th century to the
20th with the exception of short periods when they have been used by other tradesmen.
No. 105, The Queen's Head
Not even the name remains to recall the memory of the Queen's Head
Inn which occupied the site of No. 105 until 1886. A drawing of it made
in 1888 is reproduced on Plate 20b.
The Queen's Head was, in the 15th century, the property of the Poynings family, one of
whom, Robert Poynings, was sword bearer to Jack Cade. It was originally known as the Cross
Keys or Crowned Keys and was probably renamed in compliment to Queen Elizabeth. (ref. 17)
John Harvard inherited a lease of the Queen's Head Inn from his mother Katherine
who died in 1635 (ref. 44) just before her son sailed for America. She was a much married lady. Her
first husband, Robert Harvard, butcher, had a house on the east side of Borough High Street near
London Bridge (the site is now in Bermondsey). Robert died in the autumn of 1625 (ref. 45) and she
married John Elletson, lessee of the Queen's Head, in the following January. (ref. 46) Elletson died a year
later, (ref. 47) and, soon after, Katherine married her third husband, Richard Yearwood, a neighbour. (ref. 48)
The freehold of the inn belonged to Hugh Browker (ref. 49) and afterwards to Gregory Franklin from
whom it passed to his cousin Margaret, wife of Gilbert Kinder. It was sold to John Applebee,
owner of a brewery in Deadman's Place (see p. 79), in 1669. (ref. 50) Franklyn bequeathed (ref. 51) his tenements behind the inn for charitable uses, half to the Sadlers' Company and half as an endowment
for St. Saviour's Grammar School (p. 91).
Nos. 113 and 115 (formerly 88 and 89)
These buildings have been badly damaged by enemy action, but have
the remains of a mid-18th century staircase above first floor level. A fireplace
on the second floor has a bolection moulded surround.
These two houses, which are tenanted by S. Garth Wicking & Co. as a music warehouse,
have been occupied together for the last two centuries.
No. 121, The Grapes and Kentish Buildings
Kentish Buildings is a narrow court opening into Borough High
Street between Nos. 121 and 123. On its northern side it still retains the
red brick fronts of several 18th century houses. They are of three storeys,
with steep tiled roofs, eaves, plain brick strings, and flush framed sash
windows to the two upper floors. The ground floor has been reconstructed
to form part of the Grapes public-house in Borough High Street.
The narrow entry to the yard is spanned by a four-storey 18th
century building with wide sash windows at the back. The front has been
cemented and altered out of character.
Until the beginning of the 19th century Kentish Buildings (fn. a) was known as Christopher
Alley. It occupies the site of the inn yard of the Christopher, an inn marked on the plan of 1542,
and probably so named after the patron saint of travellers, Saint Christopher. The first mention of
the Grapes occurs in 1842.
Nos. 127 and 129 (formerly 96 and 97). Remains of the Spur Inn
In the flank walls of the covered way between Nos. 127 and 129 are
some remains of the half-timbered work of the Spur Inn.
The Spur is shown next to the Horse's Head on the plan of 1542. In 1560 it was in the
possession of William Emerson, (ref. 21) a well-known Southwark worthy of his time (see p. 32). It was
sold in 1604 by Emme Emerson, (ref. 52) widow of his son, Humphrey, to Hugh Browker (fn. a) "one of the
Prothonotaryes of his Majestyes Courte of Common Plees" who devised it in 1608 to his son,
Hugh. (ref. 49) The Spur is one of the "fayre Innes for receipt of travellers" mentioned by Stow. (ref. 26) It
was partly burnt in 1667, (ref. 17) but in 1720 (ref. 35) is described as "pretty well resorted unto by Waggons."
It ceased to be an inn in 1848. (ref. 17) No. 127 is shown on Tallis as occupied by Pole & Maylard,
"linnen drapers." This firm, founded by George Pole, carried on business there from 1814
Nos. 137 and 139 (formerly 102)
Although the front of these premises has been much altered, the
original tile roof and dormers remain. On the first floor there are portions of
an old elliptical staircase and a small wood mantelpiece.
These premises are now used as the Nag's Head Inn and booking offices. In 1542 the
inn south of the Spur is marked as the "Horse hede." This name was in use till the end of the
century but in the return of new buildings made in 1634–5 it has been corrupted to Nag's Head,
the version which has been in use ever since. At that time there were a number of tenements in
the inn yard. Strype (ref. 35) describes the buildings as "old and sorry" and they have all been rebuilt
since that date, though some earlier work may have been used in the rebuilding. (ref. 17)
No. 22 (formerly 14) and No. 4 Green Dragon Court
The part of these premises fronting Borough High Street dates from
the re-alignment of the frontage in the early 19th century. It is of brick with
stucco dressings. The western portion probably dates from the late 17th
century though the actual front to Green Dragon Court is of later date. The
chief feature of interest was the elaborately carved shopfront and doorway.
It consisted of two bow windows, one large and one small on each side of the
doorway, which was flanked by carved Corinthian pilasters and had a pediment above containing a cartouche with the date "1663."
Tallis. Elevation of West side of Borough High Street
The door and its surround were brought from Holland by the tenant
of the premises, and were set up in Green Dragon Court in 1919 by Messrs.
Cooksey and Partners, architects and surveyors, who made the rest of the
ground floor frontage to correspond, and fitted part of the interior with
panelling from other premises. The upper part of the house was reconditioned in 1922. The shopfront and doorway were removed in 1948,
and have been placed in store by the City of London Corporation, who own
Nos. 38–52 (formerly 248–241)
These houses form a terrace which dates from the early part of the
18th century. Except for three which have been refaced with stucco the
houses are of red brick with a plain brick string course at second floor level.
The windows have double-hung sashes with flush or semi-flush frames. All
have ground floor shops of later date (Plate 24).
The interiors of the houses have been much altered but some interesting features remain. The first floor front room of No. 40 has fielded
panelling in pine with panelled shutters to the windows, but on the north
wall part of the panelling has been replaced by a modern fireplace and plywood. Next the fireplace is a semicircular niche cupboard with shaped shelves
and a half-dome with painted shell and head ornament. The cupboard has
an eight-panelled door with moulded surround. The staircase of this house
above first floor level has spiral-turned balusters and a moulded handrail and
West of Borough High Street
No. 48 has a panelled room on the first floor, and it too retains part
of its original open newel staircase with turned balusters and square handrail.
The first floor front room of No. 52 has mid-18th century panelling
and wood cornice and a wood and composition mantelpiece with half-round
reeded Corinthian pilasters and enriched frieze and cornice, white marble
slips and an elaborate cast-iron grate probably later in date than the surround. The two front rooms on the second floor have bolection moulded
panelling and wood cornices. Above the ground floor the original staircase
with spiral turned balusters remains.
Backs of houses in Borough High Street
At the rear of Nos. 50 and 52 is a 17th century timber-framed and
plastered two-storey building known as Calvert's Buildings (Plate 24b). It
has a twin-gabled roof and the upper storey overhangs on the south side.
Inside the building are some of the original oak beams.
The tenants of these houses can be traced in the directories and the rate books back to
1748, but the houses are probably older. A large proportion of the occupiers have been connected
with the hop trade. Calvert's Buildings takes its name from Felix Calvert, brewer, who occupied
No. 52 (formerly 241) from 1786 to 1794. It may be noted that premises known as Calvert's
Buildings on the south side of Southwark Street also take their name from this firm of brewers.
St. Margaret's Court (formerly Fishmongers' Alley)
This small court turns out of Borough High Street between Nos. 62
and 64. In the time of Henry VIII this alley and the surrounding property
belonged to the Fishmongers' Company who sold it to various tenants in
1554–5. The name Fishmongers' Alley survived until circa 1835, when it
was changed to St. Margaret's Court.
52 Borough High St. Southwark Detail of Panelled Room 2nd Floor
No. 66 (formerly 234)
This house is now united with Nos. 68 and 70. It dates from the
early part of the 18th century. The windows have red brick dressings and
retain their flush frames. The staircase is of heavy construction with turned
balusters, square newels and moulded string, and moulded and chamfered
The first floor front room has panelling of a simple design, with wood
cornice, and it contains an alcove cupboard.
Nos. 66 and 68 have been in the tenure of the firm of Edward Strauss & Co., hop merchants since 1893 and the previous occupants, W. H. & H. Le May, were in the same trade.