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|OS grid reference|
|• Charing Cross||1.5 mi (2.4 km) W|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Southwark ( // ( listen ) SUDH-ərk) is a district of Central London situated on the south bank of the River Thames, forming the north-western part of the wider modern London Borough of Southwark. The district, which is the oldest part of South London, developed due to its position at the southern end of the early versions of London Bridge, the only crossing point for many miles.
London’s historic core, the City of London lay north of the Bridge and for centuries the area of Southwark just south of the bridge was governed by the City. By the 12th century Southwark had been incorporated as an ancient borough, and this historic status is reflected in the alternative name of the area, or at least part of it, as Borough. In the middle ages, not far from the bridge was the Liberty of the Clink, which was just beyond the City's jurisdiction, allowing for more relaxed governance and an area of sometimes disreputable entertainment, nightlife and theatre.
The urban area expanded over the years and Southwark was separated from the City in 1900 and a separate Diocese of Southwark was established in 1905. Local points of interest include Southwark Cathedral, Shakespeare's Globe theatre, The Shard, Tower Bridge and the City Hall offices of the Greater London Authority.
The name Suthriganaweorcor Suthringa geweorche is recorded for the area in the 10th-century Anglo-Saxon document known as the Burghal Hidage and means "fort of the men of Surrey" or "the defensive work of the men of Surrey". Southwark is recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as Sudweca. The name means "southern defensive work" and is formed from the Old English sūþ (south) and weorc (work). The southern location is in reference to the City of London to the north, Southwark being at the southern end of London Bridge. In Old English, Surrey means "southern district (or the men of the southern district)", so the change from "southern district work" to the latter "southern work" may be an evolution based on the elision of the single syllable ge element, meaning district.
Southwark is sited on a once slightly marshy area south of the River Thames. Recent excavation has revealed prehistoric activity including evidence of early ploughing, burial mounds and ritual activity. Much of the district was, in pre-Roman years, a series of tidal islands in the Thames, formalised into ditches such as the so-called River Neckinger.
It was at the lowest bridging point of the Thames in Roman Britain, providing a crossing from Londinium, and for centuries had the only Thames bridge in the area, until a bridge was built upstream more than 10 miles (16 km) to the west.
This formed the best place to bridge the Thames and the area became an important part of Londinium, owing its importance to its position as the endpoint of the Roman London Bridge. Two Roman roads, Stane Street and Watling Street, met at Southwark in what is now Borough High Street. Archaeological work at Tabard Street in 2004 discovered a plaque with the earliest reference to 'Londoners' from the Roman period on it. Londinium was abandoned at the end of the Roman occupation in the early 5th century and both the city and its bridge collapsed in decay. The settlement at Southwark, like the main settlement of London to the north of the bridge, had been more or less abandoned by the end of the fourth century.
Southwark appears to recover only during the time of King Alfred and his successors. Sometime about 886, the burh of Southwark was created and the Roman city area reoccupied. It was probably fortified to defend the bridge and hence the reemerging City of London to the north. This defensive role is highlighted by the use of the bridge in 1016 as a defence against King Sweyn and his son King Cnut by Ethelred the Unready and again, in 1066, against Duke William the Conqueror. He failed to force the bridge during the Norman conquest of England, but Southwark was devastated.
At Domesday, the area's assets were: Bishop Odo of Bayeux held the monastery(the site of modern Southwark Cathedral) and the tideway, which still exists as St Mary Overie dock; the King owned the church (probably St Olave's) and its tidal stream (St Olave's Dock); the dues of the waterway or mooring place were shared between King William I and Earl Godwin; the King also had the toll of the strand; and 'men of Southwark' had the right to 'a haw and its toll'. Southwark's value to the King was £16. Much of Southwark was originally owned by the church – the greatest reminder of monastic London is Southwark Cathedral, originally the priory of St Mary Overie.
During the early Middle Ages, Southwark developed and was one of the four Surrey towns which returned Members of Parliament for the first commons assembly in 1295. An important market occupied the High Street from some time in the 13th century, which was controlled by the city's officers—it was later removed in order to improve traffic to the Bridge, under a separate Trust by Act of Parliament of 1756 as the Borough Market on the present site. The area was renowned for its inns, especially The Tabard, from which Geoffrey Chaucer's pilgrims set off on their journey in The Canterbury Tales .
The continuing defensive importance of London Bridge was demonstrated by its important role in thwarting Jack Cade's Rebellion in 1450, and in resisting the Siege of London by the Bastard of Fauconberg in 1471.
Just west of the Bridge was the Liberty of the Clink manor, which was never controlled by the city, but was held under the Bishopric of Winchester's nominal authority. This area therefore became the entertainment district for London, with attractions such as bull and bear-baiting. It also hosted a concentration of brothels.In the 1580s, Reasonable Blackman worked as a silk weaver in Southwark, as one of the first people of African heritage to work as independent business owners in London in that era. In 1587, Southwark's first playhouse theatre, The Rose, opened. The Rose was set up by Philip Henslowe, and soon became a popular place of entertainment for all classes of Londoners. Both Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, two of the finest writers of the Elizabethan age, worked at the Rose.
In 1599 the Globe Theatre, in which Shakespeare was a shareholder, was erected on the Bankside in the Liberty of the Clink. It burned down in 1613, and was rebuilt in 1614, only to be closed by the Puritans in 1642 and subsequently pulled down not long thereafter. A modern replica called Shakespeare's Globe, has been built near the original site. The impresario in the later Elizabethan period for these entertainments was Shakespeare's colleague Edward Alleyn, who left many local charitable endowments, most notably Dulwich College.
On 26 May 1676, ten years after the Great Fire of London, a great fire broke out, which continued for 17 hours before houses were blown up to create fire breaks. King Charles II and his brother, James, Duke of York, oversaw the effort.
There was also a famous fair in Southwark which took place near the Church of St George the Martyr. William Hogarth depicted this fair in his engraving of Southwark Fair (1733).
Southwark was also the location of several prisons, including those of the Crown or Prerogative Courts, the Marshalsea and King's Bench prisons, those of the local manors' courts, e.g., Borough Compter, The Clink and the Surrey county gaol originally housed at the White Lion Inn (also informally called the Borough Gaol) and eventually at Horsemonger Lane Gaol.
One other local family is of note, the Harvards. John Harvard went to the local parish free school of St Saviour's and on to Cambridge University. He migrated to the Massachusetts Colony and left his library and the residue of his will to the new college there, named after him as its first benefactor. Harvard University maintains a link, having paid for a memorial chapel within Southwark Cathedral (his family's parish church), and where its UK-based alumni hold services. John Harvard's mother's house is in Stratford-upon-Avon.
In 1836 the first railway in the London area was created, the London and Greenwich Railway, originally terminating at Spa Road and later extended west to London Bridge.
In 1861, another great fire in Southwark destroyed a large number of buildings between Tooley Street and the Thames, including those around Hays Wharf (later replaced by Hays Galleria) and blocks to the west almost as far as St Olave's Church.
The first deep-level underground tube line in London was the City and South London Railway, now the Bank branch of the Northern line, opened in 1890, running from King William Street south through Borough to Stockwell. Southwark, since 1999, is also now served by Southwark, Bermondsey and London Bridge stations on the Jubilee line.
Southwark is thought to have become a burh in 886. The area appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 within the hundred of Brixton as held by several Surrey manors.
The ancient borough of Southwark, enfranchised in 1295, initially consisted of the pre-existing Surrey parishes of St George the Martyr, St Olave, St Margaret and St Mary.
St Margaret and St Mary were abolished in 1541 and their former area combined to create Southwark St Saviour. Around 1555 Southwark St Thomas was split off from St Olave, and in 1733 Southwark St John Horsleydown was also split off.
In 1855 the parishes came into the area of responsibility of the Metropolitan Board of Works. The large St George the Martyr parish was governed by its own administrative vestry, but the smaller St John Horsleydown, St Olave and St Thomas parishes were grouped together to form the St Olave District. St Saviour was combined with Southwark Christchurch (the former liberty of Paris Garden) to form the St Saviour's District. In 1889 the area became part of the new County of London.St Olave and St Thomas were combined as a single parish in 1896.
The ancient borough of Southwark, was traditionally known simply as The Borough—or Borough, to distinguish it from 'The City', and this name has persisted as an alternative name for the area. The medieval heart of Southwark was also, simultaneously, referred to as the ward of Bridge Without when administered by the city (from 1550 to 1900) and as an aldermanry until 1978.
The local government arrangements were reorganised in 1900 with the creation of the Metropolitan Borough of Southwark. It comprised the parishes of Southwark Christchurch, Southwark St Saviours, Southwark St George the Martyr and Newington. The Metropolitan Borough of Southwark was based at Walworth Town Hall.The eastern parishes that had formed the St Olave District instead became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Bermondsey. In 1965 the two boroughs were combined with the Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell to form the current London Borough of Southwark.
Southwark was outside of the control of the City of London and was a haven for criminals and free traders, who would sell goods and conduct trades outside the regulation of the city's Livery Companies. In 1327 the City obtained control from King Edward III of the manor next to the south side of London Bridge known as the Town of Southwark (called latterly the Guildable Manor—i.e., the place of taxes and tolls). The Livery Companies also ensured that they had jurisdiction over the area.
From the Norman period manorial organisation obtained through major lay and ecclesiastic magnates. Southwark still has vestiges of this because of the connection with the City of London. In 1327 the city acquired from Edward III the original vill of Southwark and this was also described as "the borough". In 1536 Henry VIII acquired the Bermondsey Priory properties and in 1538 that of the Archbishop. In 1550 these were sold to the city.
After many decades of petitioning, in 1550 Southwark was incorporated into the City of London as the ward of Bridge Without. However, the Alderman was appointed by the Court of Aldermen and no Common Councilmen were ever elected. This ward was constituted of the original Guildable Manor and the properties previously held by the church, under a charter of Edward VI, latterly called the King's Manor or Great Liberty. These manors are still constituted by the City under a Bailiff and Steward with their Courts Leet and View of Frankpledge Juries and Officers which still meet—their annual assembly being held in November under the present High Steward (the Recorder of London). The Ward and Aldermanry were effectively abolished in 1978, by merging it with the Ward of Bridge Within. These manorial courts were preserved under the Administration of Justice Act 1977. Therefore, between 1750 and 1978 Southwark had two persons (the Alderman and the Recorder) who were members of the city's Court of Aldermen and Common Council who were elected neither by the City freemen or by the Southwark electorate but appointed by the Court of Aldermen.
The Borough and Bankside Community Council corresponds to the Southwark electoral wards of Cathedrals and Chaucer.They are part of the Bermondsey and Old Southwark Parliament constituency whose Member of Parliament is Neil Coyle. It is within the Lambeth and Southwark London Assembly constituency. Southwark is the location of City Hall, the administrative headquarters of the Greater London Authority and the meeting place of the London Assembly and Mayor of London. Since 2009, Southwark London Borough Council has its main offices at 160 Tooley Street, having moved administrative staff from the Camberwell Town Hall.
In common with much of the south bank of the Thames, the Borough has seen extensive regeneration in the last decade. Declining wharfage trade, light industry and factories have given way to residential development, shops, restaurants, galleries, bars and most notably major office developments housing international headquarters of accountancy, legal and other professional services consultancies, most notably along London Bridge City and More London between Tooley Street and the riverside. The area is in easy walking distance of the City and the West End. As such it has become a major business centre with many national and international corporations, professional practices and publishers locating to the area. London's tallest skyscraper, the Shard, is next to London Bridge Station.
To the north is the River Thames, London Bridge station and Southwark Cathedral. Borough Market is a well-developed visitor attraction and has grown in size. The adjacent units have been converted and form a gastronomic focus for London. Borough High Street runs roughly north to south from London Bridge towards Elephant and Castle. The Borough runs further to the south than realised; both St George's Cathedral and the Imperial War Museum are within the ancient boundaries, which border nearby Lambeth.
Its entertainment district, in its heyday at the time of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (which stood 1599–1642) has revived in the form of the post-1997 reinvention of the original theatre, Shakespeare's Globe, incorporating other smaller theatre spaces, an exhibition about Shakespeare's life and work and which neighbours Vinopolis and the London Dungeon. The Southbank area, primarily in Lambeth but shared with Southwark also hosts many artistic venues.
At its heart is the area known as Borough, which has an eclectic covered and semi-covered market and numerous food and drink venues as well as the skyscraper The Shard. The Borough is generally an area of mixed development, with council estates, major office developments, social housing and high value residential gated communities side by side with each other.
Another landmark is Southwark Cathedral, a priory then parish church, created a cathedral in 1905, noted for its Merbecke Choir. The area at an advanced stage of regeneration and has the City Hall offices of the Greater London Authority.
The area has three main tube stations: Borough, Southwark nearby and one close to the river which is combined with a major railway station above, London Bridge.
Bermondsey is a district in South East London in the London Borough of Southwark, England, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) southeast of Charing Cross. To the west of Bermondsey lies Southwark, to the east Rotherhithe and Deptford, to the south Walworth and Peckham, and to the north is Wapping across the River Thames. It lies within the historic county boundaries of Surrey.
The London Borough of Southwark in south London forms part of Inner London and is connected by bridges across the River Thames to the City of London. It was created in 1965 when three smaller council areas amalgamated under the London Government Act 1963. All districts of the area are within the London postal district. It is governed by Southwark London Borough Council.
Newington is a district of South London, just south of the River Thames, and part of the London Borough of Southwark. It was an ancient parish and the site of the early administration of the county of Surrey. It was the location of the County of London Sessions House from 1917, in a building now occupied by the Inner London Crown Court.
Rotherhithe is a residential district in south-east London, England, and part of the London Borough of Southwark. Historically the area was the most northeastern settlement in the county of Surrey. It is located on a peninsula on the south bank of the Thames, facing Wapping and Limehouse on the north bank, and is a part of the Docklands area. It borders Bermondsey to the west and Deptford to the south east.
The Metropolitan Borough of Southwark was a metropolitan borough in the County of London from 1900 to 1965. It was created to cover the western section of the ancient borough of Southwark and formed the northwestern part of the current London Borough of Southwark. In common with the rest of inner London, the borough experienced a steady decline in population throughout its existence. The borough council made an unsuccessful attempt to gain city status in 1955.
Bankside is a district of London, England, and part of the London Borough of Southwark. Bankside is located on the southern bank of the River Thames, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) east of Charing Cross, running from a little west of Blackfriars Bridge to just a short distance before London Bridge at St Mary Overie Dock to the east which marks its distinct status from that of 'the Borough' district of Southwark. It is part of a business improvement district known as Better Bankside.
Winchester Palace was a 12th-century palace which served as the London townhouse of the Bishops of Winchester. It was located in the parish of Southwark in Surrey, on the south bank of the River Thames on what is now Clink Street in the London Borough of Southwark, near St Saviour's Church which later became Southwark Cathedral. Grade II listed remains of the demolished palace survive on the site today, designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument, under the care of English Heritage.
Tooley Street is a road in central and south London connecting London Bridge to St Saviour's Dock; it runs past Tower Bridge on the Southwark/Bermondsey side of the River Thames, and forms part of the A200 road.
Bermondsey Abbey was an English Benedictine monastery. Most widely known as an 11th-century foundation, it had a precursor mentioned in the early eighth century, and was centred on what is now Bermondsey Square, the site of Bermondsey Market, Bermondsey, in the London Borough of Southwark, southeast London, England.
St Saviour's Grammar School was a free grammar school for boys located in the borough of Southwark, south of the River Thames in London, England. It existed as a separate entity from 1559 until 1896, when it was amalgamated with St Olave's Grammar School, which was renamed St Olave's and St Saviour's Grammar School For Boys.
The Liberty of the Clink was an area in Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames, opposite the City of London. Although situated in Surrey the liberty was exempt from the jurisdiction of the county's high sheriff and was under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Winchester who was usually either the Chancellor or Treasurer of the King.
The A200 is an A road in London running from London Bridge to Greenwich. It runs east from the A3 road along Duke Street Hill, then Tooley Street and Jamaica Road, following the River Thames until the junction with Rotherhithe Tunnel when it turns south down Lower Road. It follows the Thames again in Deptford, after passing Surrey Quays and becoming Evelyn Street. At the junction with Deptford Church Street it turns due east along Creek Road, over Deptford Creek to finish by the Cutty Sark at Greenwich Church Street, part of the A206 road.
Devon Mansions are a set of five residential mansion block buildings situated along the south side of Tooley Street in Bermondsey, London. The buildings are located within the London Borough of Southwark and are included in both the Tower Bridge and Tooley Street Conservation Areas.
Southwark St Saviour was a civil parish in the metropolitan area of London, England, and part of the ancient Borough of Southwark. It was formed in 1541 from the union of the parishes of St Margaret and St Mary. It was abolished in 1930, however residents of the former parish receive a rebate against local taxation because of the presence of Borough Market.
St John Horsleydown was the Anglican parish church of Horsleydown in Bermondsey, South London. Built for the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches to the designs of Nicholas Hawksmoor and John James in 1726–1733, it was noted for its distinctive spire in the form of a tapering column.
St Mary Magdalen Bermondsey is an Anglican church dedicated to St Mary Magdalen in Bermondsey in the London Borough of Southwark. The present building is late 17th century and is Grade II* listed.
The King's Manor - formally 'The City of London's King's Manor of the Town and Borough of Southwark' - is an institution of the City of London which is not a Livery Company as it is territorially rather than trade based, being the organisation of the Juror freemen of the Court Leet. The Manor covers the area from the western-side of Borough High Street, Southwark, to the borders of Newington and Lambeth. The manor originally lay in Surrey.
St Olave's Church, Southwark was a church in Southwark, England which is believed to be mentioned in the Domesday Book. It was located on Tooley Street which is named after the church, i.e. 't'olous'. It became redundant in 1926 and was demolished. It is now the location of St Olaf House, which houses part of the London Bridge Hospital.
St Olave was a local government district within the metropolitan area of London, England from 1855 to 1900. It was formed by the Metropolis Management Act 1855 and was governed by the St Olave District Board of Works, which consisted of elected vestrymen.
Southwark St Olave was an ancient civil and ecclesiastical parish on the south bank of the River Thames, covering the area around where Shard London Bridge now stands in the modern London Borough of Southwark. The boundaries varied over time but in general the parish stretched east from London Bridge past Tower Bridge to St Saviour's Dock. Southwark St Olave and St Thomas replaced the civil parish in 1896. It was abolished in 1904 and absorbed by Bermondsey parish.