Posts Tagged ‘Grange Walk’

Gardens, Neckinger, Silver Sea, Special Girls & Deaf Boys

Sunday, August 14th, 2022

This post about my walk on Sunday 13th November continues from A Mission, More Bermondsey St & Guinness

Leathermarket Gardens, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-52-Edit_2400
Leathermarket Gardens, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-52

Gardens, Neckinger, Silver Sea, Special Girls & Deaf Boys – 1988

We have the Luftwaffe to thank for Leathermarket Gardens, opened to replace a bombsite where formerly there had been a tannery and a warehouses in 1958. Kids at that time had long been making their own adventure playgrounds on derelict sites such as this, it was then opened by the council as a public garden with a rather tamer children’s play area. Perhaps the wooden posts on the mound here are the remains of parts of this. The shed-like building at left is Bermondsey Village Hall, a community centre run by a trust and I think fairly recently erected when I made this picture.

To the right of the hall is the Guiness Trust’s Snow Fields Estate block, and towering above that Guy’s Hospital. Now I think the Shard would be higher still.

Morocco St,  Bermondsey, Southwark, 198888-11b-54-Edit_2400
Morocco St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-54

Mastermail House was the home of Direct Addressing Ltd at 8 Morocco St, and has I think been completely replaced by more recent buildings. It is now at the back of the White Cube Gallery on Bermondsey St, and the street leads on to City Walk developed around 2007, its blocks of flats including Antonine Heights. Properties here have been found to have similar cladding to Grenfell Tower.

Back in 1988 Morocco Street was a dead end, but you can now walk through along City Walk to Long Lane.

Neckinger House, Neckinger Estate, Neckinger, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-31-Edit_2400
Neckinger House, Neckinger Estate, Neckinger, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-31

These two arches on the entrance to a council estate reminded me of whalebone arches I had walked under in Whitby. At the left you can see the word SHELTER on the wall, a residue from World War 2. These flats were typical of the large council blocks built in the mid-1930s by Bermondsey Borough Council.

Although my contact sheet confidently states this was the Aylwin Estate, I now recognise it as Neckinger House on the Neckinger Estate, on Neckinger, named after the river now long underground, close to the end of Grange Walk. This large estate was completed in 1938 on the site of old tanneries.

Abbey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-33-Edit_2400
Abbey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-33

I turned up Neckinger, taking a picture (not on-line) of the row of Victorian houses leading to the distinctive Victorian pub on the corner with Abbey Street. The Fleece was here from 1869, but closed in 2000, and was then converted to residential use. The buildings next door to the pub are in my picture above and have also survived and been converted. The Silver Sea restaurant was fairly comprehenisively rebuilt around 2009 and the rest, which early had become a garage and hand car wash, shortly after.

The Silver Sea Chinese Restaurant there in 1988 had replaced an earlier eating establishment there in 1940, Mrs Emma Florence Evans Dining Rooms, but 156 was still the premises of W R Jewiss, described in the street directory as a chain tester – but you can read rather more in my picture. Also at 156 in 1940 were Broadbent & Mobbs, motor engineers, but a sign at the end of the building in the picture suggests that Jewiss was by then the only business.

Maltby St,  Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-24-Edit_2400
Maltby St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-24

Maltby St leads up to run alongside the long railway viaduct coming from London Bridge station that divides the area in two. The viaduct is still there, but both sides of the street have been completely redeveloped.

Pope St,  Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-12-Edit_2400
Pope St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11b-12

There are still two school gateways on Pope Street, one with the legend SCHOOL-KEEPER and this one for SPECIAL GIRLS. The building behind them is now Old School House but most of the rest of the large school site has been redeveloped.

Pope Street gets its name not from the Vatican but from Sir Thomas Pope (c1507-1559) who was one of those responsible for confiscating the properties of religious institutions and somehow managed to end up owning around 30 of them. One was Bermondsey Abbey, and he demolished most of it to build himself a grand mansion, Bermondsey House, where Queen Elizabeth came to visit him in 1570. Later he sold it to the Earls of Sussex. It was in a rather unsavoury area, particularly with the smells from the tanneries and the house was neglected, eventually became a ruin which was demolished in 1820.

Almost the whole block between Tanner St, Riley Road and bounded on two sides by Pope St was occupied by Riley Street Schools, with a fine tall four floor building from 1874 on the corner of Tanner St and Riley St. Later this became part of Southwark College and was then demolished, I think in the 1990s. Part of the site in the early twentieth century was Riley Street Mentally Defective Council School – and it may be this was what made the girls “special”.

Deaf Boys, Old Kent Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-41-Edit_2400
Deaf Boys, Old Kent Rd, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11c-41

I think I walked back down Tower Bridge Road to the Bricklayers Arms and then along to the junction with Albany Street without taking any more pictures, though I may well have taken a bus. I wandered around a few streets then walked back west to where I found another school gate, this one reading DEAF BOYS.

This gate is still there just off the Old Kent Rd in Mason St, but it has lost its legend and the upper parts of the wall, and now leads into the back of Charlotte Court on the Old Kent Road, a gated Victorian school conversion.

This was the site of the innovative Asylum for the Support and Education of the Deaf and Dumb Children of the Poor, and Mason St takes its name from the Rector of Bermondsey Henry Cox Mason who joined with the Dissenting Minister of Bermondsey John Townsend (whose street is on the east of the site) to found the Asylum in 1792 in a smaller rented building on Grange Rd. The school moved to its own building on this site in 1809,

The asylum was rebuilt in 1886 and most of the activities moved to a larger site at Margate and the Old Kent Road building again remodelled, with the ground floor used for physically handicapped children and the second floor for the deaf. It was taken over by the LCC in 1904 and finally closed in 1968.

More from this walk in a later post.

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Around the Abbey in Bermondsey 1988

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

The previous post on my walk on Sunday 30th October 1988 was Bermondsey St, the Green Dragon & Crucifix Lane.

Enid St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-36-Edit_2400
Enid St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-36

Around the Abbey in Bermondsey 1988
Railway arches have played an important role in the economy of London and other cities, but particularly in London south of the river, where from the start around 1840 lengthy viaducts were built, beginning with this long one east from London Bridge which cut a gap through Bermondsey. The arches provided relatively low cost premises for small businesses, giving something back to the area in compensation for the damage the railways caused.

This particular business had closed and despite the fence had become a hand area for fly-tipping, with many houses in the area being cleared as gentrification was setting in. Furniture and other items that once would have gone to secondhand shops was simply being disposed of as cheaply as possible.

Unfortunately railway arches are now being refurbished as Network Rail sees them as a real opportunity to profit from its large estates, with often long-term tenants being forced out and the refurbished arches being let at three or more times the previous rents. A long battle was fought against this recently in central Brixton, where most of the previous businesses were forced to close.

Abbey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-23-Edit_2400
Abbey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-23

Former warehouses are boarded up and awaiting demolition on Abbey Street close to the junction with Maltby Street.

Maltby St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-24-Edit_2400
Maltby St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-24

All these buildings in Maltby Street have been demolished and it is hard to locate the exact location which I think was on the part of the road leading from Abbey St to Grange Walk. The sign on one of this range of commercial buildings was for ‘DIAMOND GLASS-FIBRE’.

Bermondsey United Charity School for Girls, Grange Walk, Grigg's Place, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-11-Edit_2400
Bermondsey United Charity School for Girls, Grange Walk, Grigg’s Place, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-11

The BERMONDSEY UNITED CHARITY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS was, according the the text on its side, ERECTED A.D.1830 and was more recently used as St Mary’s youth centre. It and the terrace along Grange Walk to the east remain and the school has been converted into flats.

Grange Walk, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-15-Edit_2400
Grange Walk, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-15

This row of late seventeenth century houses on the right hand side of the street are all Grade II listed and Nos 5-7 at right of picture apparently include in their structure part of one side of a late medieval stone gatehouse to Bermondsey Abbey. However I don’t think any of this is visible, and despite various accounts elsewhere they are not the abbey gatehouse, though they show its position.

The more modern structure at the extreme right was recently demolished. On Tower Bridge Road it used to advertise itself as ‘The Bermondsey Indoor Antique Market’ on the Tower Bridge Road frontage withe the message ‘Open Every Friday’ on a board above its Grange Walk side.

Walter Coles, Tanner St,  Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-65-Edit_2400
Walter Coles, Tanner St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-65

Although these last two pictures are filed in my contact sheets under November, my note on the sheet says they were taken earlier than the first November sheet and I think they were taken on this walk.

Walter Coles & Co Ltd sold polythene bags from this warehouse at 47-9 Tanner St, just a few yards east of Tower Bridge Road. Since 2012 it has been an arts venue, Ugly Duck.

The buildings to the right of the warehouse were all on Tanner Street, which turns round towards the north, and have all been demolished and replaced.

Abbey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-51-Edit_2400
Abbey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-11d-51

Two notices had once been here but both had gone. One was replaced in 2019 letting us know this was St Saviours Estate and Purbrook Estate. This is Attilburgh House on the corner of Abbey St and Riley Road, a seven storey council block built on the site of five large houses on the street as a part of the St. Saviours Estate and I think dates from the 1960s. Its name probably comes from the old name for Attleborough, a market town in Norfolk not far from Thetford which gave its name to a neighbouring block.

Like most council housing, many of the flats here have been bought by tenants under Thatcher’s popular but disastrous ‘right to buy’. Many who did buy were unable to keep up with mortgage repayments and repair costs, and so many were fairly quickly sold, often to ‘buy to let’ investors who let them out at several times the council rents, enough to more than pay the costs of the mortage or bank loan, the new tenants buying the flats for those investors. A few years ago this estate featured in a court case after Southwark Council found that fire doors required replacement and tenants too them to court over the charges they imposed.

I think this was probably the end of my walk on 30th October 1988. Two weeks later I was back in Bermondsey taking more pictures, the subject of my next series of posts.