A Southwark & Borough Walk

Route & what to see


A 3 mile circular walk around Southwark and the Borough. The walk is described from London Bridge Station but Borough tube station is on the route. There is a wide choice of places for refreshments in Borough High Street or pubs on the route. There are several places of interest to visit in the area.

Exit London Bridge Station into Tooley Street
London Bridge opened in 1836 as the terminus of London's first railway line. Notice on the corner of Cotton Lane a memorial plaque to James Braidwood, the Chief Superintendent of the London Fire Brigade who was killed in the Tooley Street fire of 1861.

Go left along Tooley Street
The London Bridge Hospital occupies buildings of 1903 by Peach & Reilly. The adjacent building was designed in 1908 by Adshead for the Bennet Steamship Company. St Olaf House was designed by H S Goodhart-Rendel for the Hays Wharf Company in 1928-32 as offices & warehousing and replaced St Olave's Church (1088-1928). Some features, including the alignment of Old London Bridge, are marked by strips in the pavement. The southern end of the current bridge is supported on an arch retained from its predecessor designed by John Rennie in 1831. There are some light features in the pavements under the bridge. The steps on the west side are known as Nancy's Steps (from Dickens Oliver Twist). There are some more stones from old London Bridge in this area. Until 1905 Southwark Cathedral was the parish church of St Saviour. It now has an attractive courtyard, refectory and glazed walkway on this side.

Continue around Montague Close and go right at Cathedral Street.
St Mary Overie Dock is home to the replica of Drake's Ship the Golden Hinde.

Go onto the platform alongside the Thameside Inn for river views.
Make a point of reading the story on the panel at the side of the dock!

Return to and continue along the Thames Path
On the left are the 14thC remains of Winchester Palace including the rose window. A plaque alongside gives more information.

Continue along Clink Street
A warehouse building stands on the site of the Clink Prison. This prison was closed after the Gordon Riots in 1780.

Go left along Stoney Street just before this building then right at Park Street and left into Redcross Way.
Cromwell Buildings on the right, consisting of housing with integral shops, were erected in 1864 by the Improved Industrial Dwellings Corporation headed by Sir Sydney Waterlow.

Return to and continue along Park Street which later bends to the left.
Numbers 20-26 and 21-23 are early 19thC houses. The site to the left was that of the Anchor Brewery (hence Porter Street). On the left just before Southwark Bridge is the site of the Globe Theatre marked in the paving of the development and with a plaque and information boards. Just beyond the bridge on the right the remains of the Rose Theatre, excavated in 1989, are preserved in an office building. Bear Gardens on the right marks the site of a former bear baiting venue. A warehouse here was used by Sam Wanamaker as a base from which to operate the project to rebuild the Globe.

Go right along New Globe Walk.
This passes the Inigo Jones Theatre which will provide an indoor venue for the company which uses the Globe. It will be renamed the Sam Wanamaker Theatre when it reopens in 2013/4.

At the end go left along Bankside.
There are some fine gates to the Globe which depict flora and fauna mentioned in the plays of Shakespeare (a guide can be purchased in the shop). Further along is the entrance to the exhibition and some old buildings of interest. The Millenium Bridge crosses the river towards St Paul's Cathedral and just beyond this the popular Tate Modern is housed in the former Bankside Power Station. Further along is the Bankside Gallery.

Before Blackfriars Bridge go left and continue along Hopton Street.
Number 61 dates back to 1702. Just beyond this are the attractive Hopton's Almhouses of 1752.

Cross Southwark Street and continue along Bear Lane.
There is a view of the rear of the 1877 Kirkaldy Testing Works in Southwark Street [

At the end go right along Great Suffolk Street, crossing Union Street with care.
Great Suffolk Street was at one time called 'Dirty Lane'.

Go right at Pocock Street and left into Glass Hill Street
The former Draper's Almhouses were built in 1820.

Return to and continue along Pocock Street. At the end go right into Sawyer Street.
The fire brigade premises were built on the site of the St Saviour's Parish Workhouse of 1777 and a hat factory.

Cross Southwark Bridge Road into Lant Street and go right into Sudrey Street.
The attractive Gable Cottages of 1889 owe their existance to Octavia Hill.

Return to and continue along Lant Street.
Charles Dickens lodged here in 1824 whilst his father was in the Marshalsea Prison (covered later in the walk). The primary school has been renamed.

Go left into Weller Street.
This is one of several local streets named after Dickens characters.

At Mint Street go left through the park into Southwark Bridge Road.
The park site was formerly that of the St George's Parish Workhouse and later Evelina Children's Hospital now incorporated into Guy's. Evelina was one of the Rothschild family who died in childbirth (see plaque). Winchester House of 1820 is occupied by the Fire Brigade and was their headquarters until the 1930s. There is a museum on the site (visits chargable and by appointment only).

Go right at Southwark Bridge Road and left into Copperfield Street.
Winchester Cottages of 1893-5 (pictured in header) provided by the Church Commisioners were inspired by Octavia Hill. The small park opposite occupies the site of All Hallows Church which was bombed.

Return to and continue along Southwark Bridge Road
The Welsh Congregational Chapel dates to 1872-3.

Cross Marshalsea Road and go through Clennam Street then left along Ayres Street.
This has Octavia Hill houses of 1890 and was previously called Whitecross Street. It was renamed after Alice Ayres who lost her life whilst saving 3 children from a fire in Union Street in 1885 (commemorated in Postman's Park).

At the end go right along Union Street.
This road was laid out to serve the workhouse. There are the buildings of an education centre on the left and a boy's club on the right.

Go right along Redcross Way.
The houses set back on the right are part of the group seen in Ayres Street. They were designed by Elijah Hoole in 1887 and include a hall with interior decoration by Walter Crane. The mosaic roundel of The Sower is by James Powell. The garden was relandscaped by BOST in 2005.

At the end go left along Marshalsea Road.
This section was previously called Mint Street after a royal Tudor coin mint in the area. BOROUGH TUBE STATION on the right was on the first deep underground line of 1890.

Cross to St George the Martyr Church
This was built in 1734-6 to the designs of John Price and is known as Little Dorrit's church.

Go northwards along Borough High Street
This was the Roman Stane Street and has always been one of London's major streets as it leads to London Bridge, the only bridge across the Thames until 1750.

Go right into Angel Place
This would have been the site of the Marhalsea Prison (1811-42), now occupied by the library and local studies centre (see information plaques). The boundary wall remains on the right.

Return to and continue along the High Street then go right into Chapel Place.
The Blue-Eyed Maid pub has existed since 1613. The half timbered building is a Norfolk barn re-sited in the 1980s.

Return to and continue along the High Street.
Most of the west (left hand) side was demolished for road widening. There would have been a number of inns along this street which are recalled by the names of yards on the right. One of the most famous was the Tabard (re-named Talbot) from which Chaucer's Canterbury pilgrims set out.

Go right into George Yard.
One side of the galleried coaching inn, a National Trust property, remains. It was rebuilt after the great fire of Southwark in 1676.

Return to and continue along the High Street then go right into St Thomas Street.
St Thomas's Hospital was sited here from about 1215 until 1862 when it was moved for the construction of London Bridge Station. The church on the left houses the Old Operating Theatre (used 1821-62) in the attic floor. Further along are buildings of the 18thC used by hospital officials. On the right within a courtyard is the chapel of Guy's Hospital and a statue of its founder Thomas Guy.

Go left at Joiner Street back into London Bridge Station.

Southwark Local Studies Library (passed on the route) has lots of accessable material on the area and publications for sale.
There is more information on Southwark Prisons and Theatres on the appropriate walks on this site.


london-footprints.co.uk 2013

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