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Bermondsey

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Bermondsey

Bermondsey

St Mary Magdalen Church, Bermondsey
Bermondsey is located in Greater London
Bermondsey
Bermondsey
 Bermondsey shown within Greater London
OS grid reference
   – Charing Cross 2.5 mi (4.0 km)  WNW
London borough Southwark
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district SE1, SE16
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Bermondsey and Old Southwark
London Assembly Lambeth and Southwark
List of places
UK
England
London

Bermondsey () is a district in south London, and a part of the London Borough of Southwark. To the west of Bermondsey lies Southwark/Borough, to the east Rotherhithe and Deptford, and to the south, Walworth and Peckham. To the north is the City of London and Whitechapel in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Contents

  • History 1
    • Toponomy 1.1
    • Anglo-Saxon and Norman period 1.2
    • 14th century 1.3
    • 17th century 1.4
    • 18th century 1.5
    • 19th century 1.6
    • 20th century 1.7
    • Local government 1.8
  • Governance 2
  • Sport 3
  • Geography 4
    • Places of interest 4.1
    • Nearest places 4.2
  • Transport 5
    • Nearest stations 5.1
    • Bus connections 5.2
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

History

Toponomy

Bermondsey may be understood to mean 'Beornmund's island'; but, while "Beornmund" represents an Old English personal name, identifying an individual once associated with the place, the element "-ey" represents Old English "eg", for "island", "piece of firm land in a fen", or simply a "place by a stream or river". Thus Bermondsey need not have been an island as such in the Anglo-Saxon period, and is as likely to have been a higher, drier spot in an otherwise marshy area.[1] Though Bermondsey's earliest written appearance is in the Domesday Book of 1086, it also appears in a source which, though surviving only in a copy written at Peterborough Abbey in the 12th century, claiming "ancient rights" unproven purporting to be a transcripton of a letter of Pope Constantine (708-715), in which he grants privileges to a monastery at Vermundesei, then in the hands of the abbot of Medeshamstede, as Peterborough was known at the time.[2]

Anglo-Saxon and Norman period

A Fête at Bermondsey by Joris Hoefnagel c. 1569, with the Tower of London in the distance.

Bermondsey appears in Domesday Book as Bermundesy and Bermundesye. It was then held by King William, though a small part was in the hands of Robert, Count of Mortain, the king's half brother, and younger brother of Odo of Bayeux, then earl of Kent. Its Domesday assets were recorded as including 13 hides, 'a new and handsome church', 5 ploughs, 20 acres (81,000 m2) of meadow, and woodland for 5 pigs. It rendered £15 in total. It also included interests in London, in respect of which 13 burgesses paid 44d (£0.18).[3]

The church mentioned in Domesday Book was presumably the nascent Bermondsey Abbey, which was founded as a Cluniac priory in 1082, and was dedicated to St Saviour. Monks from the abbey began the development of the area, cultivating the land and embanking the riverside. They turned an adjacent tidal inlet at the mouth of the River Neckinger into a dock, named St Saviour's Dock after their abbey. But Bermondsey then was little more than a high street ribbon (the modern Bermondsey Street), leading from the southern bank of the Thames, at Tooley Street, up to the abbey close.

The Knights Templar also owned land here and gave their names to one of the most distinctive streets in London, Shad Thames (a corruption of "St John at Thames"). Other ecclesiastical properties stood nearby at Tooley (a corruption of "St Olave's") Street, located in the Archbishop of Canterbury's manor of Southwark, where wealthy citizens and clerics had their houses, including the priors of Lewes and St Augustine's, Canterbury, and the abbot of Battle.

14th century

King Edward III built a manor house close to the Thames in Bermondsey in 1353. The excavated foundations are visible next to Bermondsey Wall East close to the famous Angel public house.[4]

17th century

Former Alaska factory in Bermondsey

As it developed over the centuries, Bermondsey underwent some striking changes. After the Great Fire of London, it was settled by the well-to-do and took on the character of a garden suburb especially along the lines of Grange Road, as Bermondsey Street became more urbanised, and of Jamaica/ Lower Road. A pleasure garden was founded there in the 17th century, commemorated by the Cherry Garden Pier. Samuel Pepys visited "Jamaica House" at Cherry Gardens in 1664 and recorded in his diary that he had left it "singing finely". Jamaica Road still remains.

Though not many buildings survive from this era, one notable exception is the church of St Mary Magdalen in Bermondsey Street, completed in 1690 (although a church has been recorded on this site from the 13th Century). This church came through both 19th-century redevelopment and The Blitz unscathed. It is not just an unusual survivor for Bermondsey; buildings of this era are relative rarities in Inner London in general.

18th century

In the 18th century, the discovery of a spring from the river Neckinger in the area led to the development of Bermondsey Spa, as the area between Grange and Jamaica Roads called Spa Road commemorates.[5] A new church was built for the growing population of the area, and named St John Horsleydown.

19th century

It was from the Bermondsey riverside that the painter J.M.W. Turner executed his famous painting of The Fighting "Temeraire" Tugged to her Last Berth to be Broken Up (1839), depicting the veteran warship being towed to Rotherhithe to be scrapped.

By the mid-19th century parts of Bermondsey, especially along the riverside had become a notorious slum — with the arrival of industrial plants, docks and immigrant housing. The area around St Saviour's Dock, known as Jacob's Island, was one of the worst in London. It was immortalised by Charles Dickens's novel Oliver Twist, in which the principal villain Bill Sikes meets a nasty end in the mud of 'Folly Ditch' an area which was known as Hickmans Folly — the scene of an attack by Spring Heeled Jack in 1845 — surrounding Jacob's Island. Dickens provides a vivid description of what it was like:

"... crazy wooden galleries common to the backs of half a dozen houses, with holes from which to look upon the slime beneath; windows, broken and patched, with poles thrust out, on which to dry the linen that is never there; rooms so small, so filthy, so confined, that the air would seem to be too tainted even for the dirt and squalor which they shelter; wooden chambers thrusting themselves out above the mud and threatening to fall into it — as some have done; dirt-besmeared walls and decaying foundations, every repulsive lineament of poverty, every loathsome indication of filth, rot, and garbage: all these ornament the banks of Jacob's Island."

Bermondsey Town Hall was built on Spa Road in 1881 but Blitzed in 1941. The area was extensively redeveloped during the 19th century and early 20th century with the expansion of the river trade and the arrival of the railways. London's first passenger railway terminus was built by the London to Greenwich Railway in 1836 at London Bridge. The first section to be used was between the Spa Road Station and Deptford High Street. This local station had closed by 1915.

Leather, Hide and Wool Exchange, at laft and Leather Market at right

The industrial boom of the 19th century was an extension of Bermondsey's manufacturing role in earlier eras. As in the East End, industries that were deemed too noisome to be carried on within the narrow confines of the City of London had been located here — one such that came to dominate central Bermondsey, away from the riverfront, was the processing and trading of leather and hides. Many of the warehouse buildings from this era survive around Bermondsey Street, Tanner Street, Morocco Street and Leathermarket Street including the huge Lether Market of 1833 and the Leather, Hide and Wool Exchange of 1878; virtually all are now residential and small work spaces or offices). Hepburn and Gale's tannery (disused as of early 2007) on Long Lane is also a substantial surviving building of the leather trade. The Exchange building had a fine private club, effectively a gentlemen's club for the leading merchants and manufacturers. In 1703 they had acquired a royal charter from Queen Anne to gain a monoploy of trading and training of apprentices for within 30 miles of the ancient parish, similar to a City livery company, the Bermondsey Tanners.

  • Southwark London Borough Council - Bermondsey
  • SE16 community forum

External links

  1. ^ Ekwall, E., The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, 4th edn., Oxford University Press, 1960, pp. 39, 161 (for "eg").
  2. ^ See e.g. Stenton, F.M., 'Medeshamstede and its Colonies', in Stenton, D.M. (ed.), Preparatory to Anglo-Saxon England Being the Collected Papers of Frank Merry Stenton, Oxford University Press, 1970, and Blair, J., 'Frithuwold's kingdom and the origins of Surrey', in Bassett, S. (ed.), The Origins of Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms, Leicester University Press, 1989.
  3. ^ Williams, A. & Martin, G.H. (eds.), Domesday Book A Complete Translation, Penguin, 2002, pp. 72, 80.
  4. ^ Staff. The London Borough of Southwark English Heritage. (cached) "This page provides an overview of the Borough’s fascinating archaeology..."
  5. ^ Bermondsey Spa Gardens, Sean Spurr, Bermondsey.org, Accessed 5 August 2012
  6. ^ Peek Frean's Biscuit Factory in Bermondsey, London
  7. ^ Biscuit Factory Makes 'Comeback', BBC News, 8 Feb 2005
  8. ^
  9. ^ Wee Willie Harris, Rockin' At The Two I's
  10. ^
  11. ^ R. Unterberger, "British Rock & Roll Before the Beatles", Allmusic retrieved 24 July 1209.
  12. ^ en Bermondeshey en Southwark entry 1381- 82 referring to location of a tenement in Rotuli Parliamentorum III, 130: and in John Stow's Survey of London II, 142, 66-68 he describes St Mary Magdalen Church, Bermondsey as lying in the borough of Southwarke
  13. ^ Farrell, Jerome: Big in Bermondsey: Colonel Sam Bevington, in the Leathersellers' Review, 2009-10, pp 16-17
  14. ^

References

See also

London Buses routes 1; 42; 47; 78; 188; 381;C10; P12 and night routes N1; N47; N381 all serve the Bermondsey and South Bermondsey area.

Bus connections

Nearest stations

Transport

Nearest places

Places of interest

Geography

Millwall F.C., was originally formed in 1885, in Millwall on the Isle of Dogs, east London, hence its name and played there before moving to New Cross in 1910. In 1993 they moved to their current stadium, The Den. The team has a strong local following but has never been based in Bermondsey. The nearest railway station is that at South Bermondsey.

Sport

In 1983, the area played host to the famous Bermondsey by-election in which Labour's Peter Tatchell lost the previously safe Labour seat to the Liberal Simon Hughes on a swing of 44%. Hughes has represented the area ever since, although parliamentary boundaries (and constituency names) have changed since then. At the 1983 general election (which took place several months after the by-election), a new Southwark and Bermondsey constituency was created, becoming North Southwark and Bermondsey in 1997, and in 2010 Bermondsey and Old Southwark, (although a small part of south east Bermondsey is transferred to Camberwell and Peckham in the 2010 changes).

Bermondsey's parliamentary representation has fluctuated with its population. Since at least the 13th century, it had formed part of the Surrey County seat until the 1868 Reform Act when it became part of Southwark constituency. From 1885 to 1918, a separate Bermondsey constituency existed, which included part of the older Southwark constituency. 1918 saw the seat split between two new constituencies: Rotherhithe and Bermondsey West, both of which were in place until the 1950 general election when the old Bermondsey seat was recreated.

Southwark London Borough Council has divided the borough into a number of community council areas. The wards of Grange, Riverside and South Bermondsey form the Bermondsey Community Council area.[14]

Governance

The first 'Bermondsey' is that known as the location of an Metropolitan Borough of Bermondsey. The Borough's first Mayor was Samuel Bourne Bevington (1832-1907), leather producer and one of the area's largest employers; his statue still stands in Tooley Street.[13] This Borough disappeared into the London Borough of Southwark, in the Greater London reorganisation of 1964.

A map showing the wards of Bermondsey Metropolitan Borough as they appeared in 1916.
Bermondsey Antiques Market

Local government

Wee Willie Harris, known as "Britain's wild man of rock 'n' roll", came from Bermondsey[9] and had worked as a pudding mixer at Peek Freans.[10] He is usually credited as the first British rock and roll player.[11]

The Blue serves as the central market place for Bermondsey as a whole.

Bermondsey had been host to London's first railway, from Bermondsey tube station on the London Underground's Jubilee Line Extension and the East London Line forms part of the new London Overground system reopening direct links with the City and north London.

Millwall F.C. moved to a The Old Den on Coldblow Lane in 1910, having previously played in Millwall, but have kept their original name despite playing at the opposite side of the River Thames to the Millwall area. They played at The Old Den until 1993, when they relocated to The Den nearby. A public sports centre is also included in their stadium.

Bermondsey Fashion and Textiles Museum (March 2007)

To the east of Tower Bridge, Bermondsey's 3½ miles of riverside were lined with warehouses and wharves, of which the best known is Butler's Wharf. They suffered severe damage in World War II bombing and became redundant in the 1960s following the collapse of the river trade. After standing derelict for some years, many of the wharves were redeveloped under the aegis of the London Docklands Development Corporation during the 1980s. They have now been converted into a mixture of residential and commercial accommodations and have become some of the most upmarket and expensive properties in London. In 1997, US President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair visited the area to dine at the Le Pont de la Tour restaurant at Butler's Wharf.

Butler's Wharf and Courage Brewery, 1971

20th century

[8][7][6]

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