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SOUTHWARK

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 517 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SOUTHWARK, a central metropolitan borough of London, England, bounded N. by the river Thames, E. by Bermondsey, S.E. by Camberwell and W. by Lambeth. Pop. (1901), zo6,180. It is a poor and crowded district, and a large industrial population is employed in the riverside wharves and in potteries, glassworks and other manufactures. There are also large breweries, and the Hop Exchange is a centre of the hop trade. The borough is connected with the City of London by Blackfriars, Southwark and London bridges; the thoroughfares leading from these and the other road-bridges as far up as Lambeth converge at St George's Circus; another important junction is the " Elephant and Castle." Southwark is a bishopric of the Church of England created by act of 1904 (previously a suffragan bishopric in the diocese of Rochester), and also of the Roman Catholic Church. The cathedral of St Saviour belonged to the Augustinian priory of St Mary Overy, or Overies (i.e. St Mary over the river), receiving its present name after the suppression of the monasteries. It is cruciform, with a central tower, and has been so restored as to preserve its ancient beauty. Its style is mainly Early English, and among those buried here are Gower, Fletcher and Massinger, the poets, and Edmund, brother of William Shakespeare. The Roman Catholic cathedral of St George is a Gothic building by A. W. Pugin, in St George's Road. Near the " Elephant and Castle " is the Metropolitan Tabernacle, the original building of which, burnt down in 1898, became famous under the Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon. The principal benevolent institutions are Guy's Hospital, St Thomas's Street, founded in 1721 by Thomas Guy, with an important medical school; and Bethlehem Royal Hospital for the Insane, commonly corrupted to Bedlam, the origin of which is found in a priory of the 13th century founded within the City, beside the modern Liverpool Street. Other institutions are the Evelina Children's Hospital, the Royal Eye Hospital and the Borough Polytechnic Institute. In Newington Causeway is the Sessions House for the county of London (south of the Thames). The Robert Browning Settlement was founded in York Street, Walworth Road, in 1895 and incorporated in 1903, and in Nelson Square is the Women's University Settlement. The municipal borough includes the western and part of the Bermondsey divisions of the parliamentary borough of Southwark, and the borough of Newington, divided into the western and Walworth divisions; each division returning one member. The borough council consists of a mayor, 10 aldermen and 6o councillors. Area, 1131.5 acres. The history of Southwark is intimately connected with that of the City of London. At an early date it was incorporated, and its familiar title of " The Borough " still survives. It came, at least in part, under the jurisdiction of the City in 1327. The citizens of London having suffered from the depredations of thieves and felons who escaped into Southwark, petitioned parliament for protection. Accordingly, Edward III., by letters patent, granted them for ever the town and borough, a privilege confirmed by Edward IV. In this connexion was constituted the Bridge Ward Without, the alderman of which is elected not by the borough, but by the other aldermen from among themselves. The authority of the City over the borough is now merely nominal. The junction in Southwark of the great roads from the south of England for the passage of the Thames sufficiently accounted for the early origin of Southwark. The name is taken from the southward works or fortifications of London. Numerous Roman remains have been found. Southwark witnessed variousepisodes during the invasions of the Norsemen, and was fortified by the Danes against the City in the reign of Ethelred the Unready. Besides the priory of St Mary Overy, there was the hospital of St Thomas, founded in 1213 from. the neighbouring priory of Bermondsey, and forming the origin of the great modern hospital of the same name in Lambeth (q.v.). The many historical associations of Southwark, contemporary memorials of which are almost wholly swept away, centre upon the district bordering the river, and formerly known as Bankside. In this locality was Winchester House, a seat of the bishops of Winchester for five centuries from 1107. At Bankside were the Bear and the Paris Gardens, used for the popular sport of bear and bull baiting; and the Globe theatre, the scene of the production of many of Shakespeare's plays for fifteen years after its erection in 1599. Southwark was further noted for its inns and its prisons. Among the first, the name of the " Tabard " is well known from its mention by Chaucer in detailing the company of pilgrims for Canterbury. Charles Dickens had an early acquaintance with Southwark, as his father was confined in the Marshalsea, one of several prisons here. The prison, no longer extant, and the church of St George the Martyr, where many prisoners, including Bishop Bonner (d. 1561), were buried, figure in the novel Little Dorrit. The existing church dates from 1736.
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Southwark, inner borough of Greater London. Situated opposite the central City of London, Southwark borough extends south from the River Thames over such areas and historic villages as Rotherhithe, Southwark (including Bankside, a historic street along the Thames), Bermondsey, Walworth, Camber well, Peck ham (in part), Nun head, East Dulwich, Herne Hill (in part), Dulwich, and Sydenham Hill. It was formed in 1965 by the amalgamation of three former metropolitan boroughs, Bermondsey, Camber well, and Southwark. Nearly all of Southwark belongs to the historic county of Surrey, apart from a small section in the east that belongs to Kent. Southwark village, in the borough’s northern section, has been important as a junction of roads and as a commanding point to the approach to London ever since ad 43, when the Romans constructed a bridge there across the Thames. Old Southwark, known traditionally as The Borough, was a market town from early Saxon times. It became a haven for criminals and prostitutes in the middle Ages. In the mid-16th century it became known as the Bridge Ward Without or the ward of Bridge-without. (For another perspective on the area’s relationship to the City of London in the Middle Ages, see Bridge-without, which is excerpted from Britannica’s 2nd edition [1777–84].) From the 15th century on, Southwark was known for its inns, theatres, spas, country resorts, and other places of entertainment and recreation, but it also grew in notoriety for its poorer, run-down districts. The Canterbury pilgrims, as imagined by the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, started their journey from the Tabard Inn in what is now Borough High Street. Among the borough’s many noteworthy early theatres was Bankside’s Globe Theatre, where many of William Shakespeare’s plays were first produced; a historical reconstruction of that theatre was opened near the original site in 1997. The George (built in 1676), now owned by the National Trust, is the last surviving galleried inn in London. After the Reformation (in the 16th century), the Augustinian priory of St. Mary Overie became the parish church of Southwark. Since 1905 it has been the cathedral church of the see of Southwark. Guy’s Hospital, one of London’s major teaching hospitals, was opened nearby in 1726. Two former Southwark landmarks have given rise to popular phrases: the state of bedlam (i.e., animated confusion), derived from the popular name for the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem (founded as a priory in 1247) for the mentally ill; and to be in the clink (i.e., imprisoned), derived from the prison on Clink Street. Southwark is also the site of Marshal Sea prison in which Charles Dickens’s parents and siblings (all except Fanny and Charles himself) were incarcerated. Dickens’s character Little Dorrit was born in Marshal Sea prison and was married in St. George the Martyr Church (1734) nearby. The borough is rife with other Dickens associations. The now much-altered Eckett Street in Jacobs Island was the site of the foul, disgusting neighborhood so graphically described as the home of the brutal Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist. Among the former inhabitants of Southwark are the mathematician Charles Babbage; writers Mary Wollstonecraft, Oliver Goldsmith, and Enid Blyton; American colonist John Harvard (for whom Harvard University is named), and actor Sir Michael Caine. Among the borough’s educational and cultural institutions are Dulwich College (founded 1619), the Cuming Museum (1782), Dulwich Picture Gallery (1811), the South London Gallery (1891), the Design Museum (1989), and the Tate Modern (2000). Berthed along Southwark’s riverfront are the HMS Belfast (a heavy cruiser used in World War II) and a reconstruction of The Golden Hinde, Sir Francis Drake’s 16th-century flagship. (Southwark is also the place from which the Mayflower originally set sail to New England, though it officially embarked on its journey to the New World from Plymouth.) Most of Southwark’s architecture postdates World War II, but some Victorian structures remain. Wartime destruction and large-scale redevelopment schemes completely changed parts of the borough, notably the former docks of Rotherhithe, Bermondsey, and Southwark, as well as the Newington area. The borough’s riverfront east of London Bridge is the site of a development called London Bridge City. Southwark is linked to Tower Hamlets by road via the Rotherhithe Tunnel (1904–08) and Tower Bridge (1894). There are numerous other rail, road, and Underground (subway) routes. The borough’s main crossroads, known as the Elephant and Castle (the name of an inn), is a principal traffic approach for the London, Black friars, and Southwark bridges and, via the borough of Lambeth, the Westminster and Lambeth bridges. The most recent London Bridge (1973) was built as a replacement for the bridge (built 1825 and widened in 1902) since sold and shipped to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, U.S. Southwark is linked to the City of London by the Millennium Bridge (opened 2000). Southwark has a long history of multiethnicity, evidenced by arrivals of Flemish weavers in the 14th century, Dutch pottery makers in the late 16th century, and Irish laborers from the 18th century. Arrivals in the 20th century included Africans, Afro-Caribbean’s, and Turkish Cypriots. Ethnic minorities account for one-third of the population. Area 11 square miles (29 square km). Pop. (2001) 244,866.
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