Bridge House

Large house in/near Bermondsey, existed between 1705 and the 1950s

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Large house · Bermondsey · SE16 ·
MAY
7
2019

Built around 1705 and demolished in 1950, Bridge House in George Row was once surrounded by the Jacob’s Island rookery.

The building with the canopy is Bridge House, George Row, Bermondsey, in 1926.
Jacob’s Island was immortalised by Charles Dickens’s novel ’Oliver Twist’, in which the principal villain Bill Sikes meets a nasty end in the mud of ’Folly Ditch’.

Dickens was taken to this then-impoverished and unsavory location by the officers of the river police, with whom he would occasionally go on patrol. When a local politician attempted to deny the very existence of Jacob’s Island, Dickens gave him short shrift, describing the area as the filthiest, the strangest, the most extraordinary of the many localities that are hidden in London. The area was once notoriously squalid and described as The very capital of cholera and The Venice of drains by the Morning Chronicle of 1849.

The ditches were filled in the early 1850s, and the area later redeveloped as warehouses.

xxx

The building with the canopy is Bridge House, George Row, Bermondsey, in 1926.
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Jan
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Post by Jan: Kerbela Street, E2

My grandparents lived in Kerbela Street many years ago when they were terraced houses. My memory of the street is one long street with these strange wrought iron things outside - which I now know as boot scrapers. The house inside was fairly large, but I was a child. Loo was outside. Shame they knocked the terraces down and build a huge housing estate, but that?s progress I suppose. Does anyone know the origin of the name Kerbela?

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Post by Melissa London: Trafalgar Avenue, SE15

The ARP Report giving details of the damage caused by a V2 Rocket on the 14 February 1945:- This very serious Rocket Attack occurred when the V2 struck Waite Street and the junction of Trafalgar Avenue Following details obtained from Camberwell ARP records : A LRR penetrated a 3 storey houses at the SW angle of Trafalgar Av with Waite Street, forming a crater at ground level about 40 feet across by 10 foot deep. Blast caused the complete demolishing of 12 4 storey ’neo Greek’ type of terrace houses of poor construction erected about 90 years previously. Damage beyond repair to about 25 similar properties adjoining the crater and damage calling for first aid repairs to properties within a s radius of about 200 yards of the crater. Rescue operations were concerned with the release of 10 trapped casualties which were found by dogs. Initial

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VIEW THE BERMONDSEY AREA IN THE 1750s
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VIEW THE BERMONDSEY AREA IN THE 1830s
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VIEW THE BERMONDSEY AREA IN THE 1860s
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VIEW THE BERMONDSEY AREA IN THE 1900s
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Bermondsey

The name Bermondsey first appears in a letter from Pope Constantine (708-715), in which he grants privileges to a monastery at ’Vermundesei’, then in the hands of the abbot of Medeshamstede, as Peterborough was known at the time.

Though Bermondsey’s name may derive from Beornmund’s island (whoever the Anglo-Saxon Beornmund was, is another matter), but Bermondsey is likely to have been a higher, drier spot in an otherwise marshy area, rather than a real island.

The area first appears in a letter from Pope Constantine (708-715), in which he grants privileges to a monastery at Vermundesei, then in the hands of the abbot of Medeshamstede, as Peterborough was known at the time.

Bermondsey appears in Domesday Book. It was then held by King William, though a small part was in the hands of Robert, Count of Mortain, the king’s half brother, and younger brother of Odo of Bayeux, then Earl of Kent.

Bermondsey Abbey was founded as a Cluniac priory in 1082, and was dedicated to St Saviour. Monks from the abbey began the development of the area, cultivating the land and embanking the riverside. They turned an adjacent tidal inlet at the mouth of the River Neckinger into a dock, named St Saviour’s Dock after their abbey. The Knights Templar also owned land here and gave their names to one of the most distinctive streets in London, Shad Thames (a corruption of ’St John at Thames’). Other ecclesiastical properties stood nearby at Tooley (a corruption of ’St Olave’s’) Street, located in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s manor of Southwark, where wealthy citizens and clerics had their houses, including the priors of Lewes and St Augustine’s, Canterbury, and the abbot of Battle.

As it developed over the centuries, Bermondsey underwent many changes. After the Great Fire of London, it was settled by the well-to-do and took on the character of a garden suburb especially along the lines of Grange Road, as Bermondsey Street became more urbanised. A pleasure garden was founded there in the 17th century, commemorated by the Cherry Garden Pier. Samuel Pepys visited ’Jamaica House’ at Cherry Gardens in 1664 and recorded in his diary that he had left it "singing finely".

Though not many buildings survive from this era, one notable exception is the church of St Mary Magdalen in Bermondsey Street, completed in 1690 (although a church has been recorded on this site from the 13th Century). This church came through both 19th-century redevelopment and The Blitz unscathed. It is not just an unusual survivor for Bermondsey; buildings of this era are relative rarities in Inner London in general.

In the 18th century, the discovery of a spring from the river Neckinger in the area led to Bermondsey becoming a spa leisure resort, as the area between Grange and Jamaica Roads called Spa Road commemorates.

It was from the Bermondsey riverside that the painter J.M.W. Turner executed his famous painting of The Fighting Temeraire Tugged to her Last Berth to be Broken Up (1839), depicting the veteran warship being towed to Rotherhithe to be scrapped.

By the mid-19th century parts of Bermondsey, especially along the riverside had become a notorious slum — with the arrival of industrial plants, docks and immigrant housing. The area around St Saviour’s Dock, known as Jacob’s Island, was one of the worst in London. It was immortalised by Charles Dickens’s novel Oliver Twist, in which the principal villain Bill Sikes meets a nasty end in the mud of ’Folly Ditch’ an area which was known as Hickmans Folly — the scene of an attack by Spring Heeled Jack in 1845 — surrounding Jacob’s Island. Dickens provides a vivid description of what it was like:

<CITE>... crazy wooden galleries common to the backs of half a dozen houses, with holes from which to look upon the slime beneath; windows, broken and patched, with poles thrust out, on which to dry the linen that is never there; rooms so small, so filthy, so confined, that the air would seem to be too tainted even for the dirt and squalor which they shelter; wooden chambers thrusting themselves out above the mud and threatening to fall into it — as some have done; dirt-besmeared walls and decaying foundations, every repulsive lineament of poverty, every loathsome indication of filth, rot, and garbage: all these ornament the banks of Jacob’s Island.</CITE>

Bermondsey Town Hall was built on Spa Road in 1881. The area was extensively redeveloped during the 19th century and early 20th century with the expansion of the river trade and the arrival of the railways. London’s first passenger railway terminus was built by the London to Greenwich Railway in 1836 at London Bridge. The first section to be used was between the Spa Road Station and Deptford High Street. This local station had closed by 1915.

The industrial boom of the 19th century was an extension of Bermondsey’s manufacturing role in earlier eras. As in the East End, industries that were deemed too noisome to be carried on within the narrow confines of the City of London had been located here — one such that came to dominate central Bermondsey, away from the riverfront, was the processing and trading of leather and hides. Many buildings from this era survive around Leathermarket Street including the huge Leather, Hide and Wool Exchange (now residential and small work spaces). Hepburn and Gale’s tannery (disused as of early 2007) on Long Lane is also a substantial survivor of the leather trade.

Peek, Frean and Co was established in 1857 at Dockhead, Bermondsey by James Peek and George Hender Frean. They moved to a larger plant in Clements Road in 1866, leading to the nickname ’Biscuit Town’ for Bermondsey, where they continued baking until the brand was discontinued in 1989. Wee Willie Harris (usually credited as the first British rock and roll player) came from Bermondsey. He was known as Britain’s Wild man of Rock N’ Roll). He also worked in Peak Freans.

To the east of Tower Bridge, Bermondsey’s 3½ miles of riverside were lined with warehouses and wharves, of which the best known is Butler’s Wharf. They suffered severe damage in World War II bombing and became redundant in the 1960s following the collapse of the river trade. After standing derelict for some years, many of the wharves were redeveloped under the aegis of the London Docklands Development Corporation during the 1980s. They have now been converted into a mixture of residential and commercial accommodations and have become some of the most upmarket and expensive properties in London. In 1997, US President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair visited the area to dine at the Pont de la Tour restaurant at Butler’s Wharf.

Millwall F.C. moved to a new stadium on Coldblow Lane in 1910, having previously played in Millwall, but have kept their original name despite playing at the opposite side of the River Thames to the Millwall area. They played at The Den until 1993, when they relocated to the New Den nearby. A public sports centre is also included in their stadium.

Reorganisation of lines and closure of stations left Bermondsey’s transport links with the rest of London poorer in the late twentieth century. This was remedied in 2000 with the opening of Bermondsey tube station on the Jubilee Line Extension.

Bermondsey tube station was designed by Ian Ritchie Architects and was originally intended to have a multi-storey office building sitting on top.
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