A Bermondsey Walk

Route & what to see


A 2.5 mile circular walk from London Bridge Station (Jubilee, Northern & mainline)

Exit London Bridge Station and take the footbridge across St Thomas Street.
The site on the left is being redeveloped for ‘The Shard’

Go down the steps and along Great Maze Pond Road.
There is some attractive ironwork relating to Guy’s Hospital.

Return to Thomas Street and go right
Notice the brickwork of the arches supporting the railway. Streets (tunnels) to the left indicate the large area occupied by railway tracks.

Right at Bermondsey Street
This street has a mixture of interesting buildings both old and new. Notice number 78 dating from the late 17th century and the former premises of Christy’s (once the largest hatters in the world) at 175. The striking pink and orange building is Zandra Rhodes' Fashion & Textile Museum. This former cash and carry warehouse was designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. Opposite is the new home of London Glassblowing. About halfway on the left is a small park on the site of Kinross Street and the Tanner Street Workhouse. Dr Alfred Salter planted a tree to mark its opening in 1929. In the south east corner is a fountain made from the top of St Olave’s Church. At 187-9 is the Time & Talents Settlement of 1907-8 and then the early 19th century Rectory. The church of St Mary Magdalen is the oldest building in Bermondsey, originally built for the lay folk of the abbey and re-built in 1680 by Charles Stanton. It was remodelled in 1830 by George Porter.

Go into the churchyard
A obelisk records that this former burial ground was made into a public park in the 1870s. It includes the tombstone of the Rolls (of Rolls Royce) family. The watch house of 1810 in the south west corner was at one time used by Ashford’s Laundry

Go right along Tower Bridge Road (1905) crossing Abbey Street
This was laid out in 1820 and would have been the site of the Abbey church, which was sold and demolished at the reformation.

Left into Grange Walk
Numbers 5 –11 are late 17th century and number 7 incorporates the remains of the east gatehouse of the Abbey. There are two school buildings, one a girl’s charity school of 1830. Some old houses on this street include a fine double-fronted house at number 67 built in 1700. The cobbled Bridewain Street on the left at one time led to a dairy.

Right into Neckinger
This marks the site of the Neckinger Stream, a tributary of the Thames which was at one time navigable to Bermondsey Abbey. The name comes from the Devil’s neckerchief (a noose). The Neckinger Estate, built in 1938, stands on the site of tanneries.

Go right into Spa Road
There were public baths on the corner until 1926, when they were replaced by council offices. One Stop Shop occupies the site of the Town Hall, bombed in WWII when the mayor was killed. The Central Library opened in 1892 and closed in 1989.

Go across to the park
This covers the site of Bermondsey Spa, run by Thomas Keyse and operating between 1768 and 1805, during which time entertainment was provided. In the Victorian period the area was covered with the terraced houses of Ernest and Alfred Streets. The park has recently been re-landscaped.

Walk through to Grange Road and go right
The Grange to the right marks the site where the abbey had its farm. The impossing former Alaska Factory was the premises of Martin’s the fur merchants, rebuilt by Wallis Gilbert in the 1930s. There is a seal and the date 1869 on the original gateway. Further along The Grange Centre college building was once Bacon’s School founded and endowed by Josiah Bacon in 1703 for some 50 poor scholars and rebuilt in 1891.

Right into Bermondsey Street
There is a view of the Hartley’s Jam factory chimney. The Methodist Chapel of 1900 was rebuilt in 1968.

Right through Bermondsey Square
This would have been an inner courtyard of Bermondsey Abbey and has recently been redeveloped. A few old houses remain in the south west corner. The New Caledonian Antiques Market is held Friday mornings from 5am.

Continue back along Bermondsey Street then left at Leathermarket Street. Walk through Leathermarket Gardens (opened in 1958) and exit onto Weston Street.
On the corner are the Leather Hide & Wool Exchange buildings of 1879. Carved reliefs depict the processes of leatherworking which was a major industry in the area from the Middle Ages. The area surrounding the market, the site of the park just passed and other areas of Bermondsey were at one time tanneries.

Walk into the Leathermarket from Weston Street
This was established in 1833 but parts were bombed in WWII. It has been restored and let to various businesses and trades.

Return to Weston Street and go right
Guy Street Park on the left was originally a burial ground for Guy's Hospital.

Right around Ship & Mermaid Row then right into Snowsfields
On  the right are flats provided by the Guinness Trust (1897) and on the left is an old Mission building and Ragged School (see plaques).

Left into Melior Place then left at Melior Street
The Horseshoe, a pub of 1897, was formerly the Horseshoe & Wheatsheaf. On the left is Our Lady of La Salette (1861)

Right at Weston Street and left along St Thomas Street to return to the station


london-footprints.co.uk 2009

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