A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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THE BOROUGH OF SOUTHWARK
Suthringa geweorc (fn. 1) (x cent.); Sudgeweorke, (fn. 2) Sudwerche, (fn. 3) Sudwerca (fn. 4) (xi cent.); Suwerc (fn. 5) (xiii cent.); Suthwerk (fn. 6) (xiv cent.); Southwerk (fn. 7) (xvi cent.).
The historical, as distinguished from the metropolitan, borough of Southwark would appear to have had an area coincident with the Gildable manor, the King's manor, the Great Liberty manor and the Clink Liberty. This territory is divided by irregular lines from Bermondsey on the east, from Camberwell and Newington on the south, and from the liberty of Paris Garden and Lambeth on the west. A tongue of land which reached south-eastwards between Bermondsey and Newington, in such a way as to inclose a long stretch of the Kent road as far as St. Thomas Waterings, was included in Southwark. (fn. 8)
Paris Garden Liberty, now the parish of Christchurch, was outside the jurisdiction of the borough, and neither it nor the Clink Liberty was within the parliamentary area. They were commonly regarded, however, as liberties in Southwark, and Christchurch was entered as a parish of Southwark in the Population Returns of 1831, and they were both included in the borough by the Reform Act of 1832. The Paris Garden Liberty extends westwards to a point near the Barge House Oilworks, where it meets the boundary of Lambeth.
Excavations have proved that there was a Roman settlement in Southwark. The remains of houses have been found on either side of the High Street from the river to the vicinity of St. George's Church, and wall paintings and other evidence prove that these were the dwellings of people of some wealth. Near the water the houses stood upon piles, from which it may be deduced that the southern side of the river was not embanked. (fn. 9) The opinion of experts supports, on the whole, the Roman foundation of the first London Bridge (fn. 10); and the present Stoney Street marks the end of the Roman way which led to the crossing.
In the Anglo-Saxon period Southwark appears to have been a centre of local government in Surrey. In the document known as the 'Burghal Hidage,' assigned approximately to 900, there is the entry: 'To Eschingum and to Suthringa geweorc 1800 hides.' (fn. 11) This has been interpreted to mean that the assessment of the whole of Surrey was 1800 hides, appendant for certain purposes to the two boroughs of Eschingum and Suthringa Geweorc. (fn. 12)
The Anglo-Saxon name of Suthringa Geweorc or Sud Geweorc also implies that it was then part of the system of defence for London, an outpost for the guarding of the bridge. It consequently became very important when the war against the Danes was waged, in the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries, in the Thames Valley. (fn. 13) Some coins prove that Ethelred II had a mint in the town (fn. 14); and therefore he probably held in it a defensible house. In 1016 the Danes were round about Southwark, besieging London, and Cnut's men dug a ditch round the southern end of London Bridge, and by its means dragged their ships round the bridge, across the low-lying land intersected with ditches, into the upper river. (fn. 15)
In the 11th century there were a number of houses in Southwark appurtenant to manors in the northeastern part of Surrey; and this is adduced in support of the theory of the military relation of boroughs to the shires in which they were situated. Of these houses sixteen belonged to Merton, (fn. 16) one each to Mortlake, (fn. 17) Banstead, Walton, (fn. 18) Talworth (fn. 19) and Oxted, (fn. 20) seven to Blechingley, (fn. 21) eight to Beddington, (fn. 22) fifteen to Walkhampstead (fn. 23) and three closes to Chivington in Blechingley. (fn. 24)
On the whole the evidence favours a supposition that Southwark in the Anglo-Saxon period enjoyed considerable importance. It may be that, like some other English towns, it suffered degradation after the Norman Conquest. The Tundich (fn. 25) of Southwark, to which there are many references in 13th and 14th-century documents, may have existed in AngloSaxon times. In 1086 Southwark had a strand, a water street, a herring fishery and a minster. (fn. 26) As to the manner in which Southwark may have fallen from its early position, it is known that the Conqueror burned the town in 1066. (fn. 27) Moreover, territory and rights in the borough were certainly an object of acquisition to the Norman lords. From the Domesday entry it appears that Count Eustace had appropriated a toll and its close. (fn. 28) In Domesday also there is record of another encroachment. In 1086 the Bishop of Bayeux had in the town a minster and a tideway. 'King Edward had it on the day on which he died. He who had the church held it of the king. . . . The men of the hundred, both French and English, testify that the Bishop of Bayeux began a suit as to those tolls,' which belonged to the king and Earl Godwin, 'with Ranulf the sheriff; but he, understanding that the suit was not being justly conducted to the king's advantage,' withdrew from it. The bishop had given the church and the tidal stream to Adelold, and afterwards to Ralph in exchange for a house. The sheriff denied that he had ever received the king's precept or seal with regard to the matter. (fn. 29) The Crown clearly resumed its rights over Southwark, probably when the Bishop of Bayeux was disgraced, but 12th-century grants to the abbey of Bermondsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury (see under 'Manors') and the Count of Mortain (fn. 30) must have greatly diminished the rights of the Crown.
The western part of the parish probably became more populous in the 12th century, under the protection of the religious houses who had become landlords in that part. In the fire of London which occurred in the reign of John the place suffered considerable damage. (fn. 31) Towards the end of the 13th century there were established on or near the river bank a number of inns or town houses of great ecclesiastics and other magnates, to whom it was a convenience to live where the river provided them with an easy means of access to Westminster. A house within the manor of the Bishop of Winchester, a little to the south and west of Winchester House, was acquired by the Prior of St. Swithun in Winchester in 1299. (fn. 32) In modern Tooley Street a house next to the church of St. Olave was held by the Abbot of St. Augustine's in Canterbury probably after 1233, (fn. 33) and certainly in 1281. It is described by Stow as 'a great house of stone and timber . . . an ancient piece of work.' (fn. 34) On the other side of the street the Prior of St. Pancras, Lewes, acquired a capital messuage in 1278. (fn. 35) There is mention in 1373 of the ancient door of his inn and of stables and shops to be built as appurtenant to it, (fn. 36) and in 1448 of the great gate of the hostel of the prior and convent (fn. 37); and Stow speaks of 'one great house built of stone, with arched gates,' the lodging of the prior when he came to London. (fn. 38) The site of the house is now occupied by part of the yard of London Bridge station, but before the building of the railway it was approached by Carter Lane, a narrow turning out of Tooley Street immediately opposite to St. Olave's Church. On the south side of the courtyard of the inn there was until 1831 a vaulted room below the ground level, which certainly had been part of the prior's hostel. Its character is well recorded in a series of drawings by Mr. C. E. Gwilt. (fn. 39) The roughly groined roof was supported on a circular central column from which sprang four bands resting against the walls on plain square responds. Evidently the work dated from about the year 1130. One pier of the gatehouse of the inn stood across Carter Lane until 1831. (fn. 40) To the west were certain other buildings, probably part of the same property, (fn. 41) which were demolished in order to allow the approach to new London Bridge. The holders were then the parishioners of St. Olave, and the superstructure, which formed Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, was a medley of Tudor and later work (fn. 42); but the substructures were of earlier date. Their main room lay north and south (40 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft. 6 in.) and was roofed with a grained vault in one span. It had four bays marked by plain bands springing from responds against the walls, of which the caps bore carving slightly varied in each instance and finished with square abaci and mouldings of the 1130 period. This apartment communicated with a second, much smaller, but also groined, on the northeast; and the other buildings included two barrel-vaulted chambers to the north and the north-west, measuring 31 ft. by 14 ft. and 39 ft. by 18 ft. respectively. (fn. 43) A round-headed doorway, probably opening to the screens, which was discovered in the north wall, was part of the superstructure of the first undercroft, apparently the hall of the house.
The inn of the Abbot of Battle may have existed in 1228, (fn. 44) and certainly stood in 1430 on the south side of Tooley Street, on the site now indicated by Battle Bridge Lane and Battle Bridge Stairs. In 1430 the property appurtenant to it was considerable, and included a gatehouse, a brewhouse and gardens. (fn. 45) A messuage in Southwark was conveyed to the Abbot of Waverley (fn. 46) in 1309, and he had, according to Stow, an inn in the borough. (fn. 47) The most famous of these houses was on the east side of the way, now Borough High Street, nearly opposite to St. Margaret's churchyard. (fn. 48) It was the 'fair house' for the Abbot of Hyde and his train 'when he came to that city to parliament.' (fn. 49) The actual lodging of the abbot was peculiar in that it consisted at one time only of a reserved portion of the inn of the Tabard, all of which was held by his house at the date of the Dissolution (fn. 50) and probably from 1306, (fn. 51) but of which a great part was an inn in the modern sense. Chaucer's pilgrims lay 'in Southwerk at the Taberd' before they began their travels:
'The chambres and the stables weren wyde
And wel we weren esed attë beste.' (fn. 52)
A dower house of the Countesses of Pembroke throughout the 14th century, known latterly as Hastings Inn, occupied a site within the manor of the Bishop of Winchester, and was probably granted by Aymer de Lusignan, bishop from 1250 to 1260, to his brother. (fn. 53) In the next century Sir John Fastolf, kt., the well-known captain in the French wars, was among the inhabitants of Southwark and there maintained a considerable establishment. He was accused by Cade's rebels of having garrisoned his house against them and they plundered his goods. (fn. 54) At the time of his death in 1459 he owned two water mills and four messuages on the river bank in the parish of St. Olave and other messuages in this parish and that of St. Margaret. His houses included 'le Bores Head,' 'le Harte House' or 'le Bucke Head' and the 'High Bere House,' and he owned tenements and gardens called 'le Walles' and a dyehouse. His son and heir was Alexander Fastolf of Gapton in Suffolk, who was aged twenty-one in 1460 (fn. 55); but most or all of the Southwark property was in other tenure in 1464. (fn. 56) The Beer House is shown on a map of 1560 and stood near the site of Tower Bridge. (fn. 57) A capital messuage called Fastolfs or Fostall Place retained such name in 1611. (fn. 58)
Although, however, Southwark was fashionable for the residence of great men, it had already in 1326 acquired a character for disreputability. This was due in part to its suburban and waterside situation and the weakness of its local government, in part to the exemption from liability to arrest enjoyed within the liberties of Paris Garden and of the Clink. In the latter the notorious Stews were situated. The condition of the borough was not sensibly bettered by its assignment to the City (see below), and it acquired an even darker reputation after the dissolution of religious houses, for the inns of ecclesiastics and other great houses came for the most part to be divided into small dwellings or to give place to such. The inn of the Prior of St. Swithun passed for a short time into the tenure of the Bishops of Rochester, (fn. 59) and it appears in Anthony den Wyngaerde's map as Rochester House, (fn. 60) a two-storied building of some pretension which gave its name to Rochester Street, near Clink Street. But it was ruinous in the time of Stow, (fn. 61) and had in 1649 been divided into thirty-seven tenements. (fn. 62) The house of the Abbot of St. Augustine's was after the Dissolution in the tenure of Sir Anthony St. Leger of Ulcombe in Kent (fn. 63) and then in that of his son Warham, (fn. 64) and it was variously called St. Austin's House or St. Leger House (fn. 65); but it also by the end of the century had been divided into small tenements. (fn. 66) Hastings Inn had been acquired by several holders at an earlier date, in 1400 or 1401. (fn. 67) There is mention in 1598 of divided houses and of base alleys and new buildings. (fn. 68) In 1637 many houses had been divided, numbers of people were chargeable to the parish and a 'multitude of poor' in Southwark were in great want and misery. (fn. 69) The place suffered from visitations of the plague in 1577 and 1578, (fn. 70) 1603, (fn. 71) 1625, (fn. 72) 1635, 1636 and 1637, (fn. 73) and 1641. (fn. 74) The privileges of mediaeval liberties, which had encouraged crime, tended to decline, but those of the Rules of the King's Bench prison more than filled their place from the 17th century onwards.
Southwark in 1598 was more creditably famed for 'many fair inns for receipt of travellers,' situated especially in the road from London Bridge, (fn. 75) and this distinction was not lost until the middle of last century. At the present day there is in High Street hardly an entry or a blind alley which does not represent the courtyard of an ancient hostelry. In the 16th century the inn of the Prior of St. Pancras had become, as the 'Sign of the Walnut Tree,' (fn. 76) a 'common hostel for the use of travellers,' (fn. 77) and the 'Tabard' maintained its old reputation as a house of entertainment. (fn. 78) The mediaeval features of the inns, as of other buildings, were with few exceptions destroyed by the considerable fires which occurred in the Borough High Street in 1676 (fn. 79) and 1689 (fn. 80); but of the inns again erected in the 17th century several remained standing until recent years. The historic 'Tabard' was rebuilt after 1676 and gave place only in 1875 to the modern public-house of the same name. It was a two-storied building, having a picturesque range of dormer windows in the roof and a gallery which surrounded three sides of its courtyard. Another Jacobean inn of the galleried type was the 'White Hart,' also in High Street, which is said to have occupied the site of the house in which Jack Cade established his head quarters. It may be identical with Fastolf's 'Harte House' and it is the subject of Dickens's well-known description. In 1889 it was demolished.
The George Inn in Southwark High Street, once south of the 'White Hart,' is, except a much later building in Theobalds Road, the only remaining example in London of the galleried inn so important as the prototype of the Elizabethan theatre. Such houses were commonly gaileried on three sides of the first courtyard, while the fourth side was occupied by the great entrance into the street, and there is little doubt that their distinctive features were of late mediaeval origin. Even in the 'George' the northern galleries were destroyed in 1889 and only the galleries on one side of the court survive. They are in two stages, with entrances to the first and second floors and balustraded handrails of late 17th-century type, and they are reached by a staircase of like date and open to the inn. The tiled roof is brought to the front of the upper gallery and supported on wooden posts with moulded capitals and bases, carried down to the level of the first floor. The 'King's Head,' which stood immediately to the north of the 'White Hart,' was demolished in 1889. It had galleries on two sides only, with an open fretwork of square bars in place of turned balusters.
At No. 19 High Street was an inn known apparently in 1545 as the 'White Lion,' afterwards as the 'Sign of the Chequers,' and eventually as 'Baxter's Coffee House.' It was pulled down in the course of the London Bridge alterations in 1831, when it was a fine timber building, dating from about the year 1610, which had a gable front enriched with pargeting and two projecting bays. Behind it was another inn, 'The Holy Water Sprinklers,' an Elizabethan house which contained fine panelling and plaster ceilings, and had in the designs of its decoration the royal arms and the initials E.R. The 'Queen's Head,' next to the 'Tabard' on the south, was another Elizabethan building which escaped the fire, a halftimbered house three stories high which had undergone much patching and alteration when it was demolished in 1900. In Blackman Street three gabled tenements, each with a projecting bay, timber-framed and plastered on the face, still remain, and appear to date from about the year 1650 and to be part of the old Unicorn Inn, of which the Society of Antiquaries possess an elaborate plan of the 17th century. Nearly opposite St. George's Church is an old weatherboarded structure, a portion of the Dun Horse Inn, which was closed in 1877.
From the 16th century until the outbreak of the Civil War Southwark was, however, less famous as the site of great inns than as a pleasure ground of the citizens of London, a character for which, with its privileged places and its exclusion from regulations which bound the City, it was peculiarly fitted. It contained in the 16th century rings for the baiting of bears and bulls and bowling alleys. Several famous theatres were erected in the Clink and Paris Garden Liberties after play-actors had, in 1575, been formally expelled from the City by the Corporation.
In the period after the Restoration the town, true to its disorderly tradition, was a stronghold of faction and dissent. (fn. 81) A reason urged in 1664 in favour of a bridge from Westminster to Lambeth was that it would provide for soldiers better access to Southwark, 'the nest of fanatics' (fn. 82); and in 1665 most of the sectaries about London were said to be lodged in the borough. (fn. 83)
In 1715 the buildings were still clustered about the streets mentioned by Stow, of which the chief were also the roads of mediaeval Southwark. The street which leads from London Bridge southwards through the Borough to Newington, now called Borough High Street, Blackman Street and Newington Causeway, must always have been an important thoroughfare. The name of Blakman Street occurs in 1441 (fn. 84) for that part of it which is south of St. George's Church. Stow calls the more northerly portion Long Southwark. (fn. 85) In 1715 the street to the north of the junction of modern Stoney Street was known as the Borough, and between that point and St. George's Church as St. Margaret's Hill. Blakmanstrete retained its ancient designation. (fn. 86) The course of the street has been altered to allow the approach to new London Bridge. There were in it on its west side the priory and church of St. Mary Overy, whose places are occupied by Montagu Close and St. Saviour's Church. The former derived its name from its possession in the 16th century by Lord Montagu. (fn. 87) In 1542 there was a bull-ring in the centre of St. Margaret's Hill, and near it a well and a sink, both inclosed. (fn. 88) St. Thomas's Church is to the south of St. Saviour's and on the other side of the street. It is near the early site of St. Thomas's Hospital, of which the mediaeval buildings appear to have survived both the great Southwark fires and to have remained intact until 1692, by which time they had become as ruinous as they had always been damp and unhealthy. A public subscription was then opened to provide for the rebuilding of the hospital, and the response was such that within thirty years extensive new buildings were completed. These remained in great part until the purchase of the site by the South Eastern Railway Company in 1862 and the removal of the hospital to its present site on the Albert Embankment.
The buildings, standing on the east side of Borough High Street immediately to the north of St. Thomas's Street, consisted of four successive quadrangles, one behind another, of which the first was open at the west side to the High Street and entered by handsome iron gates. The administrative section occupied the whole of the second court and divided the women's wards in the first from those assigned to male patients in the third. The most noticeable feature was the open colonnades of the Doric order around the first three quadrangles, which supported the main walls of the buildings above. The first court, erected at the expense of Thomas Guy in 1707 and Thomas Frederick in 1708, was rebuilt early in the 19th century. The central bay of its eastern side was ornamented with a statue of Edward VI and figures of four cripples. The second or administrative court was flanked on the south by the church of St. Thomas and the treasurer's house, on the north by the hospital chapel and on the east by the hall or court room. A statue of Edward VI by Sheemakers, erected in 1737, occupied the centre. The court room, a fine apartment (48½ ft. by 32 ft.) on the first floor, was built on three ranges of Doric columns forming an open ambulatory between the second and third courts. The third quadrangle was built mainly at the expense of Sir Robert Clayton, whose statue, erected in 1701, stood in its centre.
On the purchase of the property by the railway company the whole of the buildings were pulled down with the exception of the church, the adjacent treasurer's house, and a modern range of stone-faced buildings which formed the south side of the outer court. The statues of Edward VI and Clayton with the figures of the four cripples were removed to the new buildings on the Albert Embankment. The treasurer's house has been much altered on the south side, but retains the fine gateway with a cleft pediment, once the ordinary patients' entrance into the hospital. The north front of the building is untouched and with its deep wooden cornice, attenuated Ionic pilasters and the Doric columns of the courtyard colonnade presents a very charming example of early 18th-century work.
Guy's Hospital was founded in 1721 by Thomas Guy on land which belonged to the earlier institution. The original buildings are from the designs of Dance (d. 1733). They consist only of the two main quadrangles of the present structure, with the central connecting wing, which formerly contained the hospital chapel. This wing rests on open arcades with plain square piers and semicircular arches, which formed round both the courtyards an open ambulatory, now filled in and utilized to enlarge the ground-floor wards. The building is three stories high with a basement, and has a stone façade to the north front erected about 1780 and adorned with statues of Hygeia and Aesculapius by John Bacon, R.A., who was a Southwark man. The earliest enlargement of the hospital was the addition of the great courtyard on the north, open on one side to St. Thomas's Street and separated from it by a handsome railing and wrought-iron gates. In the centre of the court on a stone pedestal is a bronze statue of Guy by Sheemakers (1734). The eastern wing, begun in 1738 (Stear, architect), forms the administrative portion of the building. The vestibule has some richly carved overdoors, and two Ionic columns which support the floor above it are excellent both in proportion and effect. The great staircase is of somewhat remarkable character for so late a date. The carved balusters are handsome, with a heavy rail carried over the newels; but the most notable feature is the double band of carving which ornaments the continuous string—oak leaves below and the Greek wave above. The court room on the first floor has an elaborate plaster ceiling coved at the sides, with a central oval panel on which the apotheosis of the founder is allegorically represented. The adjacent committee room, panelled to the ceiling, has a painting of still life above the fireplace. The western wing, built 1774–80 (Jupp, architect), follows closely the external design of its eastern counterpart. It contains the later chapel of the hospital, a small rectangular building with the altar at the west end. Galleries surround it on three sides and the plaster groined ceiling is supported on columns of a nondescript character. Against the east wall is an elaborate white marble monument to Thomas Guy designed in 1779 by John Bacon, and near this stands a baluster-stemmed font of the same material. Later buildings have largely increased the accommodation of the hospital, notably the wards erected from the bequest of Mr. William Hunt.
In the hospital gardens is a stone summer-house which was one of the refuges on old London Bridge and dates from about 1760. It is of Portland stone and is roofed with a semi-dome having the 'Southwark mark' carved on the keystone. Another relic of the old bridge is a fine carving of the royal arms of George II (altered to those of George III), which were once above the southern gatehouse, but are now fixed on the front of the ' King's Arms' public-house in Newcomen Street.
St. Margaret's Church, eventually desecrated to be the town hall, was to the north of the junction of the way from London Bridge and Stoney Street. It was rebuilt, to fit its later purpose, in 1676, a structure with a heavily projecting cornice, which stood on an open arcade, and was adorned by a statue of Charles II. This hall was in 1793 replaced by a modern building, and the statue was removed to Three Crowns Court and thence to the Old Kent Road.
From the north end of Borough High Street Tooley Street, once St. Olave's Street, leads eastward near the river bank towards Bermondsey, and thence to Rotherhithe, Deptford and Greenwich. It must be as old as the church of St. Olave, to which it is the way. In 1542 the pillory and the cage stood in it near the boundary of the Gildable manor. (fn. 89) Elizabeth's Free Grammar School is a little to the east of St. Olave's churchyard, and has given its name to Queen Elizabeth Street, called Free School Lane in the 18th century. The present school buildings date from 1895 and are of brick and stone. They are freely designed in a classical style approximating to that of the end of the 17th century, and are good and typical examples of the work of the late 19th century. Bankside continues the way by the river on the east side of the High Street. Bermondsey Street led from Tooley Street to Bermondsey Abbey. There is mention of it in 1379. (fn. 90) Bermondsey Cross was in 1542 near its northern end. (fn. 91) In 1715 (fn. 92) it occurs as Barnaby Street.
Long Lane leads from the High Street, by St. George's Church, to the site of Bermondsey Abbey; and its convenience for that important house must have been such that it is probably ancient. It is mentioned by Stow. (fn. 93) Tabard Street and the Old Kent Road follow the line of Kentish Street, so called in 1519. (fn. 94) This was the way from Southwark and London into Kent, and thence to France. In 1370 the king ordered that Southwark and the vicinity should be cleansed and the pavements repaired, 'because many prelates, earls, barons and other magnates' were about to come through the town 'to London city, with the body of Philippa, late queen of England, our most dear consort.' (fn. 95) In 1396 the hackneymen were instructed to charge only 12d. for a hackney from Southwark to Rochester, instead of their previous fare of 16d. (fn. 96) There is evidence that in mediaeval times the drainage of the Bishop of Winchester's liberty and Paris Garden was incomplete (fn. 97); hence the way westwards from London Bridge was probably less important than St. Olave's Street. In the bishop's liberty, and beside the river, was the King's Pike Garden, which was held by a lessee from the Crown in 1609. (fn. 98) When surveyed in 1649 it contained a wharf and four fishponds stocked with 100 pike and 80 carp. (fn. 99) The king's barge house was situated, perhaps in the reign of Henry VI (fn. 100) and certainly in 1501, (fn. 101) at the western limit of Paris Garden, near the present Barge House Oilworks and Old Barge House Stairs. The barge within it was described in 1593 as containing 'two splendid cabins beautifully ornamented with glass windows, painting and gilding.' (fn. 102) In 1605 a warrant was submitted to the king for payment to Philip Henslowe, then a holder in Paris Garden, of £20 a year for a dock and yard provided for the royal barges (fn. 103); and in 1652 the Barge House, a timber building much out of repair, still held 'the late king's barge of state.' (fn. 104) There is no evidence that either the Barge House or the Pike Garden reverted to the Crown at the Restoration.
The Bridge House, according to Stow, 'seemeth to have taken beginning with the first founding of the bridge, either of stone or of timber.' It was situated on 'a large plot of ground on the bank of the River Thames,' between the inn of the Abbot of St. Augustine's on the west and that of Battle Abbey on the east. (fn. 105) Rent from it was paid to the Earl of Surrey and his successors. (fn. 106) There is a record of gifts of land in the parish of St. Olave to the bridge in 1214 and 1221 (fn. 107); in 1243 property of the bridge was next to that of the Abbot of Battle, (fn. 108) and in 1272 Isabella la Juvene made a bequest to the house of the bridge of London. (fn. 109) Bridge House dock is mentioned in 1501 (fn. 110); and in 1521 a hall, a parlour and a counting-house were in the building. (fn. 111) The secondary use of Bridge House as a storing-place for wheat and a bakehouse began in the 16th century. Stow says that it was a storehouse for whatever was necessary for repairs of the bridge, and that it contained also 'divers garners for laying up of wheat, and other grainers for service of the city, as need requireth. Moreover there be certain ovens built, in number ten, of which six be very large, the other four being half so big. These were purposely made to bake out the bread corn of the said grainers to the best advantage for relief of the poor citizens when need should require. Sir John Thurstone, knight, sometime an embroiderer, then a goldsmith, one of the sheriffs in 1516, gave by his testament towards the making of these ovens two hundred pounds.' (fn. 112) In 1519 twelve bays or granaries were made in the Bridge House, (fn. 113) and in 1522 a new oven was erected in it for the use of the City. (fn. 114) Four mills were set up in 1588 on the east side of London Bridge and near its south gate, and in these meal was ground for the citizens at a moderate charge. (fn. 115) In 1593 a committee was appointed to view a site for the erection of a brewery at the Bridge House, (fn. 116) and Stow relates that 'there was of late, for the enlarging of the said Bridge House, taken in an old brewhouse called Goldings, which was given to the city by George Monex sometime mayor, and in place thereof is now a fair brewhouse new built, for service of the city with beer.' (fn. 117) In 1594, a year of dearth, the City companies were ordered to lay up a store of imported corn in the Bridge House (fn. 118); and the conditions discovered in 1656 by a committee of the Bridge House Estates were probably the result of this or like measures. It was reported in that year that there were many buildings in the Bridge House, of which some had been converted into warehouses, and were possessed by the City companies. They had been intended for granaries in time of dearth, but had been lent or farmed to bakers, corn-brokers and others. In 1667 corn was stored in the Bridge House by forty-three companies. (fn. 119) Five wharves were then attached to it. (fn. 120) In 1802 some old granaries in Tooley Street, said by an inscription on the building to have been constructed in 1587 at the charge of the Bridge House Estates, were demolished. They were of chestnut wood. The Bridge House, with some adjoining premises, was let to the government before 1828 and used as storehouses. (fn. 121) A drawing of it made in 1830 is in existence. (fn. 122) There is no mention of the house in the account of the fire of 1861, which consumed the property on its site, (fn. 123) and it had probably made way for modern buildings before that date. The Bridge House Estate is still an important property of the Corporation.
Drawings of Southwark in the 16th century show houses with gardens and many open spaces. Paris Garden, Winchester Park, St. George's Fields to the south of modern Great Suffolk Street, much or all of the manor of the Maze, and, to the south of it and the north of Long Lane, the land called Snow Fields in the 18th century, as well as Horsleydown, contained only a few buildings. (fn. 124) Such a condition was gradually modified in the succeeding years, but from the middle of the 18th century the character of Southwark was fundamentally altered by the making of bridges. The Act of Parliament for the construction of Blackfriars Bridge was passed in 1756 (fn. 125) and had great effect in the borough. A writer to The Times alleged in 1810 that it had converted the bog of St. George's Fields into a mart of trade and industry and had increased the value of that property by many thousands a year. (fn. 126) In 1799 Blackfriars Road, called Great Surrey Street, led as at present in a straight line from the bridge to the Obelisk (fn. 127) in St. George's Circus, and was there met at right angles by the line of Westminster Bridge Road and the Borough Road, which connected it with Westminster Bridge and with the Borough High Street. From the Circus also a branch of Lambeth Road leads, as in 1799, towards Lambeth, and London Road joins Newington Causeway at its junction with St. George's Road and the New Kent Road. The former is connected with Westminster Bridge Road and the latter with the Old Kent Road. (fn. 128)
Southwark Bridge was opened in 1819 and Southwark Bridge Road leads from it to Borough Road, and is connected by Southwark Street with Blackfriars Road and the High Street. Waterloo Bridge and the roads which communicate with it were constructed under Acts passed in 1809, (fn. 129) 1812, (fn. 130) 1816 (fn. 131) and 1818. (fn. 132) The bridge is joined to St. George's Circus by Waterloo Road.
The streets which followed on bridges brought to Southwark a great increase of buildings, of trade and of traffic. Between 1801 and 1851 the population of the borough was nearly doubled. (fn. 133) In the latter half of the 19th century it was, however, affected by that movement which led to the migration of the wealthier residents from the central to the outlying districts of London. It was considerably diminished between 1851 and 1891, (fn. 134) and it is to this period that the growth of the non-residential part of the place must be ascribed. There was much poverty in 1842 in the poorer streets and alleys, especially in the parishes of Christchurch, St. Olave and St. George. (fn. 135) In 1861 a great fire occurred which burnt much of Tooley Street from St. Olave's Church eastward. (fn. 136) Tower Bridge was opened in 1894 (fn. 137) and Tower Bridge Road leads from it across Tooley Street into Bermondsey. The population of Southwark remained almost stationary between 1891 and 1904, (fn. 138) because, presumably, the place had been abandoned by all not obliged by business or poverty to live in it. Bankside, Clink Street and Tooley Street are now given up to wharves and warehouses. There are offices in Southwark Street and the northern part of Southwark Bridge Road and of the High Street. The rest of the borough is occupied by small shops and dwelling-houses. Tabard Street and some of the lesser streets and alleys are very poor.
Few of the buildings in these streets have any architectural interest. A red brick house, No. 71 High Street, was built by Nicholas Hare, grocer, in 1677, and bears an interesting sculptured sign of a hare and the sun; and another sign, dated 1689, can be seen in the yard of the comparatively modern Half Moon Inn. A few old brick and timber buildings occur here and there along the western side of the High Street, and others of very picturesque effect are in the neighbourhood of Bankside. In Collingwood Street are five timber cottages with tile roofs which were probably built in the first quarter of the 18th century, and No. 61 Holland Street dates from about the year 1690. In the latter street, known formerly as the Green Walk, are Hopton's Almshouses, two-storied buildings of stock brick with tile roofs, which are ranged with pleasing irregularity in two groups, to form a large front quadrangle and a smaller quadrangle at its rear. In the centre of the east block of the lesser courtyard is the committeeroom, which occupies the whole height of the structure and is crowned with a pediment of brick. The panelling of its interior, which rises to the ceiling and is finished with a wooden entablature, and the fireplace are excellent examples of the decoration of the period immediately before that of the brothers Adam. A tablet over the entrance doorway has the inscription 'Chas. Hopton Esq. sole founder of this Charity Anno 1752.' The houses of the original foundation were twenty-six in number, but two were subsequently added to them. Behind the buildings are small garden plots, one to each house, and a dryingground. In Burrell Street are Edward's Almshouses, which have been rebuilt within recent years, and a tablet with the following inscription has been placed on the wall: 'Edward's Almshouses, Founded 1753–91, Rebuilt 1891–92.' Nelson Square, at the southern extremity of the parish, built some time within the first quarter of the 19th century, presents a pleasing old-world appearance. The houses along Blackfriars Bridge Road are mainly of the same date, designed in what might be termed the 'Neo-Adam' type. No. 18 Stamford Street is interesting from the fact that Rennie, the engineer-architect of Waterloo, Southwark and London Bridges, died there in 1821. A tablet has recently been affixed to the house recording this fact. To the rear of the Garibaldi Tavern, which stands at the corner of Stamford Street and Blackfriars Bridge Road, stands what is still known as the 'Rotunda,' a circular brick building with a conical slated roof. A gallery runs round the interior supported on Doric columns. The ceiling is domed, with a circular skylight in the centre. The Rotunda is entered from a vestibule lit by elliptical skylights. This is the building erected by James Parkinson in or about the year 1788 for the reception of Sir Ashton Lever's collection of objects of natural history, originally housed in Leicester House, Leicester Square, and known as the 'Holophusikon.' This collection was disposed of by lottery in that year and won by Parkinson, who continued to exhibit it to the public in the Rotunda till the year 1806, when it was dispersed by auction. The building was subsequently occupied by the 'Surrey Institution' and is now utilized as a warehouse. In the Blackfriars Bridge Road is the circular brick building once known as the 'Surrey Chapel,' erected in the first quarter of the 19th century, of which Rowland Hill was the original minister. It is now known as 'The Ring,' and is utilized for boxing displays and cinematograph shows.
The earliest certain mention of the bear-gardens at Paris Garden is by the poet Crowley, who wrote in 1550:—
At Paris Garden each Sunday a man shall not fail
To find two or three hundred for the bearward's vale. (fn. 139)
It has been conjectured, however, that the place of amusement to which it refers was outside the lordship. It may have been established on certain property on Bankside acquired by Henry VIII from Henry Polsted. (fn. 140) While there are many allusions in the latter half of the 16th and in the 17th century to the bear-baiting in Paris Garden, maps of 1560, 1572 and 1593, as well as other evidence, show the Bear Garden as occupying a more eastern situation within the Clink. (fn. 141) It may be that this amphitheatre had superseded an earlier place of the same kind which was in Paris Garden, and that the name of the lordship came to be applied, in common speech, to a district which included the later building. In 1578 Fleetwood, the Recorder of London, described Paris Garden as a place notorious for the secret meetings of ambassadors and their agents, and one so dark with trees that a man must have 'lynceos oculos or els cattes eys' if he would find his fellows in it. (fn. 142) In 1639 a writer praised its many attractions, its scented shrubs and flowers, its music and its bearbaiting. 'There have you the shouting of men, the barking of dogs, the growling of the bears, and the bellowing of the bulls, mixed in a wild and natural harmony.' (fn. 143)
Several bear-gardens are known to have been within the Clink. In 1620–1 John Taylor, the water poet, in giving evidence in the Court of Exchequer, stated that he remembered 'that the game of bear-baiting hath been kept in four several places, at Mason Stairs on the Bankside, near Maid Lane by the corner of the Pike Garden, at the beargarden which was parcel of the possession of William Payne, and at the place where they now are kept.' (fn. 144) The two former references are to the amphitheatres marked as 'The bolle bayting' and 'The Beare bayting,' the first westward of the second, on Agas's map drawn in 1560. (fn. 145) They seem to have been superseded before 1598 by the other rings to which Taylor alludes, and which are described by Stow: 'There be two bear-gardens, the old and new places, wherein be kept bears, bulls and other beasts to be balted. As also mastiffs in several kennels, nourished to bait them. These bears and other beasts are there baited in plots of ground, scaffolded about for the beholders to stand safe.' (fn. 146) The 'old' Bear Garden has been identified with the 'parcel of the possession of William Payne,' and has been located at the north end of the lane known as the Bear Garden and next the river. (fn. 147) In 1620–1 it is evident that only the 'new' Bear Garden, which was at the north end of the same lane, was in use. Shakespeare lodged in 1596 near the Bear Garden in Southwark. (fn. 148)
The functions of the master of the game of Paris Garden were connected with the bull and bear baiting. In 1573 the queen granted to Ralph Bowes the mastership of 'our games, pastimes and sports, that is to say of all and every our bears, bulls and mastiff dogs,' as Cuthbert Vaughan or Sir Richard Long had held the office. (fn. 149) Later in the year Ralph, as master of her Majesty's game at Paris Garden, received payment for bringing the game before the queen at Westminster and Greenwich. (fn. 150) From this it seems possible that the animals were still kept within the lordship, although the amphitheatres were outside it. In 1595 a royal grant gave to Philip Henslowe twelve tenements and their appurtenances in Bankside, (fn. 151) and in 1611 he and Edward Alleyn, his son-in-law, (fn. 152) were masters of the game and were paid for keeping two white bears and a young lion. (fn. 153) Henslowe in such capacity engaged Gilbert Katherens, carpenter, in 1613 to demolish the game place or house where bulls and bears had been usually baited and to build a 'game place or playhouse' 'convenient in all things both for players to play in, and for the game of bears and bulls to be baited in same.' The stage was to be made in a frame and placed upon trestles, so that it could be removed for exhibitions of 'the game of bears and bulls.' (fn. 154) Thus arose the Hope Theatre. The company who played in it were known as the Princess Elizabeth's Servants and they performed Ben Jonson's 'Bartholomew Fair' in 1614. (fn. 155) After Henslowe's death in 1615–16 they entered into a fresh agreement with Alleyn. (fn. 156) In 1632 it was said of this playhouse that 'though wild beasts and gladiators did most possess it, yet the gallants that came to behold those combats, though they were of a mixed society, yet were many noble worthies amongst them.' (fn. 157) At a somewhat later date plays were performed on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and the bears were baited on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (fn. 158) The Council of State ordered in 1653 that 'the bear baiting, bull baiting and playing for prizes by fencers hitherto practised in Southwark' and elsewhere should cease. (fn. 159) In 1655 a company of soldiers shot seven of the bears to death by command of Thomas Pride, and in the next year Thomas Walker, then lord of the Clink, pulled down the playhouse and built tenements on its site. (fn. 160) At the Restoration, however, the Bear Garden was reinstated in its old place, but it does not appear to have been again devoted to any but its primary use. In 1682 a reference occurs to 'the Hope on the Bankside being his Majesty's Bear Garden.' (fn. 161) In 1714 'a new built court well inhabited called Bear Garden Square' was so named 'as built in the place where the bear garden formerly stood, until removed to the other side of the water; which is more convenient for the butchers and such like, who are taken with such rustic sports as the baiting of bears and bulls.' (fn. 162) The once royal game had thus changed its public.
The tenement called 'le Rose' at 'le Stewes' or 'les Stewes side' in the parish of St. Margaret was acquired in 1585 by Philip Henslowe, (fn. 163) and in 1592 he had built on it the Rose Theatre. (fn. 164) This playhouse was first used by the company known as Lord Strange's men, and among the plays produced were those of Marlowe, Greene, Peele and Nash, and the first part of 'Henry VI.' (fn. 165) From the end of 1593 the company of the Earl of Sussex played in the Rose. They produced Titus Andronicus for the first time on 23 January 1594. (fn. 166) The actors in these years included Edward Alleyn and Shakespeare. (fn. 167) In 1594, however, Shakespeare's connexion with the theatre was severed. Henslowe and Alleyn in the Rose were still successful, until the decline of the playhouse began in 1599 with the building of the Globe. (fn. 168) Between 1602 and 1603 it was occupied by the Earl of Worcester's company of actors. (fn. 169) After this date it would appear to have been used until 1620 not as a theatre, but for occasional exhibitions of fighting, sword-play and puppets. From that time there is no evidence of its existence. (fn. 170) The name has survived in that of Rose Alley, the lane which marks its site.
The playhouse called 'The Swan' was within Paris Garden. In 1594 the Lord Mayor wrote to the Lord Treasurer to petition that Francis Langley, then lord of the manor, might be deterred from his intention of erecting a new stage or theatre on the Bankside, (fn. 171) and in 1598 the vestry of St. Saviour's petitioned against its enormities, but at the same time took steps for rating it for the poor and for tithes. John de Witt, however, gave it as his opinion that 'of all the theatres . . . the largest and most distinguished is that whereof the sign is a swan, commonly called the Swan Theatre, since it contains three thousand persons and is built of a concrete of flintstones, which greatly abound in Britain, and the stage is supported by wooden columns, painted in such excellent imitation of marble that it would deceive the most cunning.' (fn. 172) This theatre was used for athletic sports as much as, or more than, for the production of plays (fn. 173) and was also a bear-pit. The stage was removable for such performances to take place. It was the scene also of trials of extempore versification. (fn. 174) In 1632 the describer of Holland's Leaguer wrote that the amphitheatre was falling to decay. (fn. 175) No later mention of the playhouse has been found, and it probably fell soon afterwards into disuse. It must have stood almost exactly on the line of the present Blackfriars Road, not far from the bridge. A picture and description of it by Van Buchell preserved at Utrecht are well known. The Hope was built on the model of this theatre.
The Globe Theatre was built in 1599 by Richard Burbage and his brother Cuthbert. It was a round building (fn. 176); on its signboard Atlas was depicted as supporting the world and the motto 'Totus mundus agit histrioniam' was inscribed. (fn. 177) It is referred to unmistakably as a new theatre in the prologue to 'Henry V,' first acted in 1599—perhaps its opening piece. In this theatre the Lord Chamberlain's company, called the King's Servants after 1603, played. The house was rebuilt, probably in 1611, in an octagonal form. (fn. 178) In 1613 it was burnt during a performance of 'Henry VIII,' and in the following year it was erected again 'in far fairer manner than before.' (fn. 179) It was demolished in 1644. (fn. 180) With this playhouse Shakespeare was closely associated as part proprietor, as an actor of the king's company and as a dramatist. Many of his plays were there produced, as were many of those of Ben Jonson, Dekker, Webster, Fletcher, Massinger, Field, Ford, Killigrew and Suckling. (fn. 181) In 1676 Richard Baxter preached in a wooden meeting-house erected on the site of the theatre. It was indicated in the 17th and 18th centuries by Globe Alley, which led westwards from Deadman's Place and was parallel with Maiden Lane (fn. 182); and it served to name modern Globe Wharf. Mr. William Martin, by a careful collation of all available evidence, has fixed the site of the playhouse as 'within the area covered by the brewery of Barclay, Perkins & Co., Limited, about 120 yards west from the south-east corner of east-and-west Park Street and from 100 ft. to 200 ft. south of the Globe Memorial Bronze.' (fn. 183) The bronze is that in a wall of the brewery, unveiled by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree in October 1909 and inserted by the Shakespeare Reading Society to mark the supposed place of the theatre. (fn. 184)
In 1783 Charles Hughes, a famous performer of equestrian and other feats, opened, with Charles Dibdin the song-writer, the Royal Circus, near the Obelisk, in Blackfriars Road. It was intended at first as a school for actors, and Mrs. Charles Kemble and others of note appeared in it as children. It was burnt in 1803, but reopened in the following year. In 1809 it was converted for several years into a theatre, known as the Surrey. (fn. 185) It was distinguished in 1829 by the first production of Douglas Jerrold's 'Black-Eyed Susan,' for the sake of which 'all London went over the water.' Since 1901, the date which marked the end of George Conquest's management, it has lost all prestige. (fn. 186) It is now the Surrey Vaudeville Theatre.
Some 18th-century pleasure gardens were in Southwark. An inn known by the sign of 'The Dog and the Duck' existed in St. George's Fields in 1642, and probably derived its name from some neighbouring ponds which allowed the sport of hunting ducks with spaniels. It was near mineral springs of which the waters acquired between 1754 and 1770 a repute since pronounced to have been fictitious. Their use was, however, recommended by Johnson to Mrs. Thrale, and a breakfast room, bowling green and swimming bath were constructed to serve numerous visitors. There was a pretty tea-garden and music and dancing took place at night in the Long Room of St. George's Spa. In 1775 the company which came to the gardens had degenerated. (fn. 187) The gardens were finally suppressed in 1799 and their site became that of the new Bethlehem Hospital, of which the first stone was laid in 1812. (fn. 188) The sculptured sign of the Dog and Duck, which appears in Hogarth's 'Southwark Fair,' can still be seen built into the boundary wall of the hospital.
Finch's Grotto Garden was on the west side of St. George's Street and bounded on the south by Dirty Lane, and therefore was within the Rules of the King's Bench prison. It was founded in 1760 by Thomas Finch, an heraldic painter, and contained some lofty trees, evergreens and shrubs, and a spring, said to be medicinal, over which a grotto was constructed. Balls and concerts were sometimes held in a hall called the Octagon Room, and further amusement was supplied by occasional displays of fireworks and by an orchestra in the grounds. Mrs. Hardcastle inquires 'Who can have a manner that has never seen the Pantheon, the Grotto Gardens, the Borough, and such places where the nobility chiefly resort ?' (fn. 189) From this it would seem that the fashion which frequented the garden was as spurious as that found among the brawling inhabitants of the Mint. In 1773 the grotto was demolished, and its place was taken by a skittle ground in connexion with a tavern. The gardens were bought by the parish of St. Saviour in 1777, and part of them became a burial-ground consecrated in 1780. Some buildings on their site were removed to make Southwark Bridge Road. (fn. 190)