Posts Tagged ‘Bermondsey St’

A Mission, More Bermondsey St & Guinness

Friday, August 12th, 2022

This post about my walk on Sunday 13th November continues from Fellmongers, Kennels, Snakes and Thomas A’Becket 1988.

Central Hall, South London Mission, Methodist Church, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-53-Edit_2400
Central Hall, South London Mission, Methodist Church, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-53

A Mission, More Bermondsey St & Guinness

Bermondsey Central Hall, BCH has been on the corner of Bermondsey Street and Decima Street since 1900 and still boasts a thriving congregation. The Methodist South London Mission has been in the area a little longer, beginning in 1889 and still providing vital services for the community, supporting mothers and children and runnning a 32 room hostel offering low cost accommodation to both working people and students.

Central Hall, South London Mission, Methodist Church, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-54-Edit_2400
Central Hall, South London Mission, Methodist Church, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-54

Back in 1988 it was offering ‘Free Beef and Butter’ to those in need and it now is a partner and distribution center for the Southwark Foodbank PECAN, a local charity, based in Peckham.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-46-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-46

I walked again up Bermondsey St. It was earlier in the day than my previous visit and the low sun was shining obliquely on the properties on its west side, among them George, a hairdressers at 126 and The Three Day Service Ltd, Printers and Stationers at 124. A stone higher up on these buildings has the initials PD and date 1828 and they are Grade II listed. The gate at the right of the picture led to Black Eagle Yard with several workshops, but the gap in the street was filled in 2015 with a passable imitation of the listed frontages and is now called Renaissance Court, though seven years later the wide gate area still looks unfinished.

Morocco St, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-32-Edit_2400
Morocco St, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-32

The corner of Morocco St, leading off to the left of the picture and Bermondsey St, with the Grocery shop of M & K Co Ltd, trading as R E Dawson. On the left you can just see one of the horses heads on the frontage of the garage on Morocco St. This is another place where a gap has been filled in with a new building in a very similar styl. The two brick-filled windows are now actual windows – Window Tax ended in 1851 and this building, now called Lantern House, may date from before this. The hoarding, then with a cigarette advert, has also of course gone.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-35-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-35

I couldn’t resist taking more pictures of these fine listed properties – my favourite building on the street which I’ve written more about on an earlier walk.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-22-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11a-22

Ash & Ash Ltd are still listed in trade directories on the web at this address, and appear to have been printers, later moving into the sale of computer peripherals. But other companies have their offices in these buildings.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-53-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-53

I turned off Bermondsey St just before the railway and went west along Snowsfields.

Guinness Trust Buildings, Snowsfields, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-63-Edit_2400
Guinness Trust Buildings, Snowsfields, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-63

A little way along are these fine tenement blocks. There is an extensive history of the Guiness Trust online. In 1889, philanthropist Sir Edward Cecil Guinness, the great grandson of the founder of the Guinness Brewery, gave £200,000 to set up The Guinness Trust in London as well as another trust in Dublin. This was a huge sum of money, the equivalent of around £20 million allowing for inflation.

The money enabled them to build eight tenement estates in the first 11 years, providing 2,597 homes for London’s working class, or at least those working men who were earning around 20 shillings a week, although they wanted to make homes that even the poorest families could afford.

Their Snows Fields estate opened in 1898, with 355 tenements including 830 rooms and by 1900 there were almost 1600 people living here. They had cost around £78,000 to build, including tht cost of the land. The South Eastern Railway provided £4,000 as presumably some of its workers were to live there. The flats were modernised in the 1950s and 1970s.

My walk will continue in a later post.


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Bermondsey St, the Green Dragon & Crucifix Lane

Sunday, July 31st, 2022

The previous post on this walk on Sunday 30th October 1988 was Dockhead, Sarsons, Tanner St and Bermondsey Square.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-63-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-63

I walked back up Bermondsey Street. There was slanting light across many of the frontages on the east side of the street and I stopped to take pictures of several of the more interesting buildings. Turner Whitehead were in these tall warehouses at 65-71, now renamed Bramah House. As I noted in an earlier, Turner Whitehead described themselves as ‘polythene converters’ meaning they made and sold a wide range of polythene products including bags etc.and these fine late Victorian buildings were said to have been tea warehouses.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-51-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-51

I’d photographed 65-71 Bermondsey St before together with this building next door at No63 and was pleased to have better lighting to take another picture. This site was occupied by the Green Dragon pub from at least 1822, probably much earlier. The building probably dates from around the end of the nineteenth century and the pub appears to have closed and been converted to commercial use in the 1920s. Now the ground floor is an estate agents.

The Green Dragon was an emblem of the Earls of Pembroke, one of whom, Japer Tudor, born around 1431 was the son of Catherine of Valois, the widow of King Henry V (and mother of Henry VI) and her Welsh clerk of the Wardrobe Owen Tudor. The couple were said to have married secretly in 1429 and managed to have at least five children before their marriage was discovered; then Owen Tudor was imprisoned and Catherine de Valois sent to live in Bermondsey Abbey. She died in disgrace in 1437 but was still buried in Westminster Abbey.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-66-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-66

Next going up Bermondsey street on the other side of what is now Vintage Yard is this fine Grade II listed 3 storey building at No 59, built as a new police station for the Metropolitan Police in 1851. When a new Tower Bridge Police Station opened in 1904 it briefly became a police section house and in 1906 was converted to commercial use. At least until the 1960s it was occupied by Read & Partners Ltd. Since I took this picture in 1988 it has been internally refurbished as offices.

Hairdresser, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-62-Edit_2400
Hairdresser, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-62

I walked back up Bermondsey Street, pausing to photograph this image in the window of a barber’s shop. That long-haired figure seemed strangely familiar.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-53-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-53

The light now made for a much better picture of Thomson Bros Ltd Knightrider Mills, the gateway shared by Tempo Leather Co Ltd, not to mention Rilling Hills Ltd and Marchant Hills Ltd.

As the notice states, these had been ‘ACQUIRED BY THE ELEPHANT HOUSE CO PLC AND DUNLOW HOUSE PLC – PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT – ALL ENQUIRIES’. Fortunately the development has retained the frontage more or less intact, almost certainly because it is Grade II listed, with gates now leading to ‘Shiva Building – Studio/Offices and ‘The Tanneries – www.lordshiva.net’, which address tells you a little about what goes on inside. It was built in 1873 to the designs of George Legg.

Crucifix Lane, Barnham St,Railway, Guys Hospital, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-45-Edit_2400
Crucifix Lane, Barnham St, Railway, Guys Hospital, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-45

This street apparently gets its name from a pub which had the sign of St Christopher who was the bearer of the cross on which Christ was crucified. The pub, named ‘The Cross of Bermondsey’ was apparently demolished in 1559.

More demolition came with the railway, which runs in a wide swathe across Bermondsey, built for the London and Greenwich Railway Company with construction beginning in 1834.

Guys Hospital was founded in 1721 by Thomas Guy who had made a fortune printing Bibles and a killing by speculating on the South Sea Bubble. An early private-public partnership it had been granted a monopoly by the to supply African slaves to South America and the South Sea Islands. Because Spain and Portugal controlled most of South America it did very little business with slaves, but in 1720 pushed up its share price by rumours of support from King and Parliament, rising from £128 to £550 in five months, before rapidly collapsing back. Guy apparently sold his shares before the collapse.

Guy’s Tower was built in 1974 and was then the tallest hospital building in the world, with 34 floors and almost 150 metres tall. According to Wikipedia it is now the world’s fifth-tallest hospital building.

Enid St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-35-Edit_2400
Enid St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-35

You can see the railway viaduct in the background of this picture on Enid St, which appears to be both the name of the street beside the viaduct and some side-streets on the Neckinger Estate. I can no longer find either the buildings and chimney but I think this may have been taken from around Enid St Playground.

This walk will continue in a later post.


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Bermondsey – Rubber, Antiques, Murals & A Martyr 1988

Monday, July 18th, 2022

The previous episode of this walk was Bermondsey Street & Guideline Stores, 1988, and the first two pictures complete my post on that. Two days later I began a new walk a little to the north in Bermondsey.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-42-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-42

Rubber, Antiques, Murals & A Martyr 1988

This row of frontages, rather tidied up, is still present on Bermondsey St, though I think there may have been considerable changes behind the facades. That at the right of my picture, then No 151 was a part of A E Bickel and Co Ltd, offering ENGINEERS TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT, INDUSTRIAL RUBBER GOODS and MANUFACTURERS OF INDUSTRIAL LEATHER AND CANVAS GOODS. This private limited company is still in business but describes this at Companies House as ‘Buying and selling of own real estate’ and there is a large development, Bickel’s Yard, with a private courtyard to the east of Bermondsey St along the north side of Bell Yard Mews.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-43-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-43

At the centre of the picture on the corner of Newham’s St is Bermondsey Market Antiques Warehouse, in a Grade II listed early 19th century cloth factory, described as “Brown brick with stone Tuscan cornice and pediment. The building now houses a pan-Asian cocktail bar and grill. You can see from the signs at the left edge of the picture that a great deal of gentrification was in progress back in 1988.

John Felton Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-31-Edit_2400
John Felton Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-31

My walk had ended at the south end of Bermondsey St, where I took a bus towards Waterloo, but two days later I was back in Bermondsey, this time getting of a bus on Jamaica Road and walking northe up George Row. Google Maps does not include John Felton Road, which was a short street running east from George Row and has been renamed Sugar Lane. This wall with a mural around some temporary open space has long disappeared with new building, but it is hard to know why Bermondsey has lost a reference to a man who stood up for his Catholic faith and paid dearly.

Catholic martyr John Felton was given a cruel execution for fixing a copy of Pope Pius V’s Bull ‘Regnans in Excelsis’ excommunicating Queen Elizabeth, to the gates of the Bishop of London’s palace near St. Paul’s. Felton’s family came from Norfolk but he lived at Bermondsey Abbey. His action was seen as a great threat to the Queen continuing to reign, an act of High Treason.

After being arrested and taken to the Tower of London he spoke of his glory in having made the Bull public, and took the diamond ring from his finger and sent it to Elizabeth to show he bore her no personal malice, but insisted she was a Pretender with no right to the throne.

He was tortured on the rack but refused to falsely implicate the Spanish Ambassador in his actions and four days later was drawn on a hurdle to St Paul’s Churchyard where he was hung briefly before being cut down alive for quartering. His daughter’s account of the event alleges that after the hangman had pulled out the heart from his body and was holding it alive he managed once or twice to utter the holy name of Jesus. His severed head and body parts were ‘carried to Newgate to be parboiled, and so set up, as the other rebels were’ as a warning to others. He was beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII.

Felton had been a man of considerable wealth, and his wife had been childhood friends with Queen Elizabeth and a maid of honour to Queen Mary. As well as the diamond rign, said to be worth £400, his plate and jewels, valued at £33,000 were seized for the queen.

East Lane, John Felton St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-34-Edit_2400
East Lane, John Felton Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-34

This long block of council flats on the Dickens Estate is Oliver House, now at the corner of Sugar Lane and East Lane, though there is no longer a mural on the wall as it was painted over around 2010. It was no great work of art and had faded badly but it seems a pity it has not been replace by something more colourful than a blank brown wall.

St Josephs, Primary School, George Row, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-21-Edit_2400
St Josephs, Primary School, George Row, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-21

The Fosters pub on George Row was The George at 19 George Row, on that site since at least 1824. Still open in 1988 on the corner of George Row and John Felton Rd and Flockton Street it closed in 2001 was demolished in 2003.

St Joseph’s RC Primary School remains in use. The Convent of the Sisters of Mercy in Bermondsey was established around 1838 to serve the growing Irish Catholic population in the area and they set up a primary school in the area. Later they educated older children too. St Joseph’s was completed in 1913, and served for years as an All Age Mixed RC School. Catholic education in the area was reorganised in 1949 and it then became St Joseph’s RC Primary School. It now has some extensive new buildings as well as the old school.

George Row, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-22-Edit_2400
George Row, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-22

The building on my right is Fleming House on George Row, part of Bermondsey Council’s Dickens Estate. At the centre of the picture is the fine warehouse still on the corner of Jacob Street, and at left the seven floors of Peter Butler House, built for Bermondsey Council in the mid-1950s as a later addition to the Dickens estate.

This walk will continue in a later post.


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Bermondsey Street & Guideline Stores, 1988

Saturday, July 9th, 2022

The previous post on this walk, Alaska, The Grange and Leather, 1988 ended at the London Leather, Hide and Wool Exchange in Weston St, Bermondsey.

Leathermarket St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-22-Edit_2400
Leathermarket St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-22

I turned into Leathermarket St and a few yards down photographed this four storey building at No. 20-22 – this was the warehouse of leather factor, for once not a typo. Factors were agents who sold goods on commission, actually storing them in their properties, on behalf of the actual manufacturers of the goods. When I made this picture it was home to some studios and a couple of other businesses, each with a floor, though the basement was vacant, and you can see the lights are on through the second floor window.

The frontage can still be seen, looking a little tidier on Leathermarket St, and standing back you can also see the stepped back two-flor loft extension. The bricked up windons on the wall just visible at the left have now been covered with false black doors and at the centre of this wall is now an artwork by Joseph Kosuth, ‘A Last Parting Look (for C.D.)’ which consists of a quotation from Dicken’s Pickwick Papers, unveiled in 2006.

Morocco St, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-23-Edit_2400
Morocco St, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-23

Taken from Morocco Street and looking across to 103 and 105 Bermondsey St the overall view at first glance remains now much the same as in 1988. The Grocer’s shop is now a café. But the lower building to the right, No 105, has mysteriously grown to be a replica of its neighbour, complete with fake crane on its upper storey.

And the pub at 99-101, of which only a small sliver is visible, was then the Yorkshire Grey – and a pub of that name had been there since at least the 1820s, though the building dates from 1908. For a while it became The Honest Cabbage restuarant and since around 2003 a Michelin rated gastropub, The Garrison.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-24-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-24

78 Bermondsey Street with its jutting out first floor window and attic was one of the buildings in the area I photographed most, and was Grade II listed. It dates from the late 17th century though the shopfront is a twentieth century alteration. Just beyond are more offices of Ash & Ash, printers suppliers who occupied these premises and later became sellers of computer printers.

Although still listed at this address in web trade catalogues the offices their name is long gone from the shopfronts and there are other companies housed here including a dedicated Pilates studio. These buildings from the mid-18th century are also Grade II listed.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-26-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-26

A more frontal view of 78 Bermondsey St. There are two logos on the plates by the right-hand door, one of which appears to be for IBI and another which looks familiar but I can’t for the moment place.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-13-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-13

The notice states that these premises have been acquired for development. Thomson Bros Ltd, established in 1857 were packaging specialists and shared the gateway with Tempo Leather Co Ltd at 55 Bermondsey St. Thomsons had move to Bermondsey St in 1952. Their sign at right of the picture is still there and the fine Victorian facade has been restored, and this is now the entry to ‘The Tanneries’.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-16-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-16

This frontage with an ornamental frieze about its first floor at 63 Bermondsey St is now an estate agents, established in 1998. To its right, Bramah House at 65-71 was in my pictures. It is said to be a former tea warehouse but recently renovated as offices for a number of companies, including architects. In 1988 the building was occupied by Turner Whitehead Industries Ltd, polythene converters.

I’m not sure what connection the building has with Bramah, who were one of the most famous names in tea, and in 1992 a Bramah Tea & Coffee Museum was opened not far away on Butler’s Wharf, later moving to Southwark St and closing in 2008 after its founder, Edward Bramah, died. Various of his ancestors invented the modern lavatory, the tea caddy and the Bramah lock and also include Sir Joseph Banks, who in 1788 suggested that tea could be grown in North East India, not just in China – with obvious advantages to the British Empire. The building in Bermondsey St was bought by life assurance company Canada Life in 2016 for £14.25 million.

Morocco St, Leathermarket St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-54-Edit_2400
Morocco St, Leathermarket St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-54

Guideline Stores on the corner of Morocco St and Leathermarket St , just a few yards from Bermondsey Street is a rather strange building with its windowless rounded corner tower. A former spice warehouse said to date from the it was converted to luxury flats in 1997. No signage was visible on the white painted area but as a part of its gentrification, a painted sign ‘THE MOROCCO STORE’ was added by the developers, who also obliterated its previous name ‘Guideline Stores’. Its address is now 1 Leathermarket Street. The building is said to be Victorian, though some sources suggest it is older. Although several buildings around were listed this remained unlisted despite – or perhaps because of – its distinctive character.

My walk was now almost complete, but 2 days later on Sunday 30th October I returned to
Bermondsey for my next walk, and I will end this one and continue in Bermondsey in a later post.


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