was the Roman ’Stane Street’.
Tt has always been one of London’s major streets as it leads to London Bridge
, the only bridge across the Thames until 1750.
The earliest recorded name for the street is simply ’The Borough’. The southernmost part was called St Margaret’s Hill but by the Tudor period all of it was called ’Longe Southwark’ (’Short Southwark’ is now Tooley Street
). The northern section from the junction with Duke Street Hill
was renamed Wellington Street to commemorate the Duke of Wellington. From the 1890s the London County Council started to rename duplicate roads and ’Borough High Street
’ became the name.
Borough High Street
had many coaching inns - twenty three in total at their peak. These included the Bear, the Catherine Wheel, the George, the King’s Head, the Queen’s Head, the Tabard and the White Hart. Many of them were in use as coaching inns up to the mid nineteenth century and the railway age. These inns featured in literature such as in Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens. All are gone apart from the George.
On the west side, the modern office block opposite Borough tube station marks the site of a mansion called Suffolk Place
, demolished in 1557. It is depicted in Anthony van den Wyngaerde’s sixteenth century ’Panorama of London’, in which the street features prominently in the foreground.
After demolition, the immediate area to the west of Borough High Street
here became notorious as the criminal enclave of The Mint.
and King’s Bench Prison
s were located on the east side of Borough High Street
between Newcomen Street
and Tabard Street
was once held on the street, but has been moved to the west with its main entrance on Southwark Street