Christmas Street, SE1

Road in/near Bermondsey, existed between the 1810s and the 1960s.

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(51.49515 -0.0849, 51.495 -0.084) 
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Road · Bermondsey · SE1 ·
MAY
28
2021
Christmas Street ran north from Tower Bridge Road, west of Green Walk.

In a surreal piece of renaming, Christmas Street had been originally Noel Street before 1938. Under this first name, it was laid out sometime in the 1810s decade. At that point, Tower Bridge had not been built - therefore the main road was called Bermondsey New Road rather than Tower Bridge Road.

Christmas Street was some sixty yards long and by the twentieth century categorised as a slum. Along the street was Clifton Buildings - a series of four-storey tenements accessible via open stairwells. On the other side of the street was Haddon Hall, a Baptist chapel opened during the 1890s standing between Rephidim Street and Noel Street. It was probably named after Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), a notable Baptist preacher.

In the 1960s Christmas Street was erased from the map and the Haddonhall Estate was built. Haddon Hall - the church - was rebuilt on the corner of Tower Bridge Road and Leroy Street.




Main source: BermondseyBoy - Everything Bermondsey
Further citations and sources


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CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY


The Underground Map   
Added: 20 Sep 2020 13:01 GMT   

Pepys starts diary
On 1 January 1659, Samuel Pepys started his famous daily diary and maintained it for ten years. The diary has become perhaps the most extensive source of information on this critical period of English history. Pepys never considered that his diary would be read by others. The original diary consisted of six volumes written in Shelton shorthand, which he had learned as an undergraduate on scholarship at Magdalene College, Cambridge. This shorthand was introduced in 1626, and was the same system Isaac Newton used when writing.

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Graham O’Connell   
Added: 10 Apr 2021 10:24 GMT   

Lloyd & Sons, Tin Box Manufacturers (1859 - 1982)
A Lloyd & Sons occupied the wharf (now known as Lloyds Wharf, Mill Street) from the mid 19th Century to the late 20th Century. Best known for making tin boxes they also produced a range of things from petrol canisters to collecting tins. They won a notorious libel case in 1915 when a local councillor criticised the working conditions which, in fairness, weren’t great. There was a major fire here in 1929 but the company survived at least until 1982 and probably a year or two after that.

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Admin   
Added: 26 Aug 2022 15:19 GMT   

Bus makes a leap
A number 78 double-decker bus driven by Albert Gunter was forced to jump an accidentally opening Tower Bridge.

He was awarded a £10 bonus.

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Comment
Johna216   
Added: 9 Aug 2017 16:26 GMT   

Thanks!
I have recently started a web site, the info you provide on this site has helped me greatly. Thank you for all of your time & work. There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail. by Erich Fromm. eeggefeceefb

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The Underground Map   
Added: 8 Mar 2021 15:05 GMT   

A plague on all your houses
Aldgate station is built directly on top of a vast plague pit, where thousands of bodies are apparently buried. No-one knows quite how many.

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Lived here
KJ   
Added: 11 Apr 2021 12:34 GMT   

Family
1900’s Cranmer family lived here at 105 (changed to 185 when road was re-numbered)
James Cranmer wife Louisa ( b.Logan)
They had 3 children one being my grandparent William (Bill) CRANMER married to grandmother “Nancy” He used to go to
Glengall Tavern in Bird in Bush Rd ,now been converted to flats.

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Comment
   
Added: 27 Jul 2021 14:31 GMT   

correction
Chaucer did not write Pilgrims Progress. His stories were called the Canterbury Tales

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Added: 3 Jun 2021 15:50 GMT   

All Bar One
The capitalisation is wrong

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Reply
Jonathan Cocking   
Added: 30 Aug 2022 13:38 GMT   

Tower Bridge, SE1
The driver subsequently married his clippie (conductress).

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Pearl Foster   
Added: 20 Mar 2023 12:22 GMT   

Dukes Place, EC3A
Until his death in 1767, Daniel Nunes de Lara worked from his home in Dukes Street as a Pastry Cook. It was not until much later the street was renamed Dukes Place. Daniel and his family attended the nearby Bevis Marks synagogue for Sephardic Jews. The Ashkenazi Great Synagogue was established in Duke Street, which meant Daniel’s business perfectly situated for his occupation as it allowed him to cater for both congregations.

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LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT


Sue   
Added: 24 Sep 2023 19:09 GMT   

Meyrick Rd
My family - Roe - lived in poverty at 158 Meyrick Rd in the 1920s, moving to 18 Lavender Terrace in 1935. They also lived in York Rd at one point. Alf, Nell (Ellen), plus children John, Ellen (Did), Gladys, Joyce & various lodgers. Alf worked for the railway (LMS).

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Born here
Michael   
Added: 20 Sep 2023 21:10 GMT   

Momentous Birth!
I was born in the upstairs front room of 28 Tyrrell Avenue in August 1938. I was a breach birth and quite heavy ( poor Mum!). My parents moved to that end of terrace house from another rental in St Mary Cray where my three year older brother had been born in 1935. The estate was quite new in 1938 and all the properties were rented. My Father was a Postman. I grew up at no 28 all through WWII and later went to Little Dansington School

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Mike Levy   
Added: 19 Sep 2023 18:10 GMT   

Bombing of Arbour Square in the Blitz
On the night of September 7, 1940. Hyman Lubosky (age 35), his wife Fay (or Fanny)(age 32) and their son Martin (age 17 months) died at 11 Arbour Square. They are buried together in Rainham Jewish Cemetery. Their grave stones read: "Killed by enemy action"

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Lady Townshend   
Added: 8 Sep 2023 16:02 GMT   

Tenant at Westbourne (1807 - 1811)
I think that the 3rd Marquess Townshend - at that time Lord Chartley - was a tenant living either at Westbourne Manor or at Bridge House. He undertook considerable building work there as well as creating gardens. I am trying to trace which house it was. Any ideas gratefully received

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Alex Britton   
Added: 30 Aug 2023 10:43 GMT   

Late opening
The tracks through Roding Valley were opened on 1 May 1903 by the Great Eastern Railway (GER) on its Woodford to Ilford line (the Fairlop Loop).

But the station was not opened until 3 February 1936 by the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER, successor to the GER).

Source: Roding Valley tube station - Wikipedia

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Comment
Kevin Pont   
Added: 30 Aug 2023 09:52 GMT   

Shhh....
Roding Valley is the quietest tube station, each year transporting the same number of passengers as Waterloo does in one day.

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Kevin Pont   
Added: 30 Aug 2023 09:47 GMT   

The connection with Bletchley Park
The code-breaking computer used at Bletchley Park was built in Dollis Hill.

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Comment
Kevin Pont   
Added: 29 Aug 2023 15:25 GMT   

The deepest station
At 58m below ground, Hampstead is as deep as Nelson’s Column is tall.

Source: Hampstead tube station - Wikipedia

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NEARBY PUBS
The Swan The Swan stood at 84 Old Kent Road.
The Victoria The Victoria is a pub on Page’s Walk.


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Bermondsey

The name Bermondsey first appears in a letter from Pope Constantine during the 8th century.

Pope Constantine (708-715), in a letter, granted 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.

Bermondsey appears in the Domesday Book and it was then held by King William (the Conqueror). A small part of the area was in the hands of Robert, Count of Mortain - William’s half brother.

Bermondsey Abbey was founded in 1082 as a Cluniac priory, with St Saviour as the patron.

The monks from the abbey began to develop the area, cultivating land and embanking the river. They put a dock at the mouth of River Neckinger, an adjacent tidal inlet. Records show this was called St Savior’s Dock, after their abbey.

Also owning land here was the Knights Templar. They gave a names to one of the most distinctive streets in London - Shad Thames, a later corruption of ’St John at Thames’.

Other ecclesiastical properties stood nearby. The name ’Tooley Street’ was another corruption - this time of St Olave’s’ Street. It was located in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s manor of Southwark. In Tooley Street, wealthy citizens and clerics built houses.

After the Great Fire of London, Bermondsey started to be settled by the well-to-do. It took on the character of a garden suburb - especially along Grange Road.

A pleasure garden - the Cherry Garden - was founded in the area in the 17th century near to the current Cherry Garden Pier. In 1664, Samuel Pepys visited ’Jamaica House’ in the gardens and wrote in his diary that he had left it "singing finely". Later, from the garden, J.M.W. Turner painted The Fighting Temeraire Tugged to her Last Berth to be Broken Up (1839), showing the veteran warship being towed to Rotherhithe to be scrapped.

The church of St Mary Magdalen in Bermondsey Street was completed in 1690, although a church has been recorded on the site since the 13th century. This church survived both 19th-century redevelopment and the Blitz unscathed. It is an unusual survivor of this period in Bermondsey and 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 resort - then all the rage. The name Spa Road commemorates this - situated between Grange Road and Jamaica Road.

Bermondsey’s fortunes took a huge nosedive as the Industrial Revolution took hold. Certain industries were deemed too inconvenient to be carried on within the small area of the City of London and banished east - both north and south of the river. One such that came to dominate central Bermondsey was the processing of leather and hides.

Parts of Bermondsey, especially along the riverside, become a notorious slum. The area around St Saviour’s Dock and Shad Thames - known as Jacob’s Island - was one of the worst in London. In Charles Dickens’s novel Oliver Twist, 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>

In 1836, London’s first passenger railway terminus was built by the London & Greenwich Railway at London Bridge. The first section of the line to be used was between the Spa Road Station and Deptford High Street. But Spa Road station closed in 1915.

The area was extensively redeveloped during the 19th century and early 20th century with both the expansion of the river trade and the connectivity that the railway brought about. Bermondsey Town Hall - a mark of its civic emergence - was built on Spa Road in 1881. To the east of Tower Bridge, Bermondsey’s three and a half miles of riverside were lined with warehouses and wharves, of which the best known is Butler’s Wharf.

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, though now disused, on Long Lane is also a substantial survivor of the leather trade.

Peek, Frean and Company was established in 1857 at Dockhead 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. They continued baking here until the brand was discontinued in 1989.

Wee Willie Harris - usually credited as the first British rock and roller - came from Bermondsey. He also worked in Peak Freans before his fame.

Bermondsey’s riverside suffered severe damage in Second World War bombing. A couple of decades later, the wharves became redundant following the collapse of the river trade. After standing derelict, many of the wharves were redeveloped by 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 1910, Millwall F.C. had moved to a new stadium on Coldblow Lane, having previously played in Millwall on the Isle of Dogs. They kept their original name despite playing on 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. The New Den is now back to being called The Den.

In 2000, Bermondsey tube station on the Jubilee Line Extension opened.


LOCAL PHOTOS
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Hopton Street, Borough, 1977.
TUM image id: 1557142131
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Tabard Inn, Southwark
TUM image id: 1551734336
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In the neighbourhood...

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The Swan, 82-86 Old Kent Road. Demolished in 2004.
Old London postcard
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Block on the Aylwin Estate
Credit: Wiki Commons
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Bermondsey Street (1881) "One cannot help speculating as to the origins of this singular group of houses, with their eight gables. Mr Rendle, who was good enough to take great pains - unfortunately fruitless- to glean something for me about the history of these houses, tells me that in the early part of this century, houses of this type were exceedingly common in the main thoroughfares and bye places of Southwark. They are good specimens of the houses of the time of Elizabeth and somewhat later; the frame of massive timber, else mere shells of lath and plaster; but though often out of shape and leaning in all directions, wonderfully durable." This description was written by Alfred Marks.
Credit: Society for Photographing Relics of Old London/Henry Dixon
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East Street, Walworth is likely to have been the birthplace of Charlie Chaplin, although no birth certificate exists. It could therefore also have been the inspiration for his similarly named 1917 seminal short film Easy Street, a suggestion made as early as 1928 in the film ’The Life Story of Charlie Chaplin’ by Harry B. Parkinson. The famous trousers and boots of Chaplin’s trademark tramp costume may have been inspired by the every-day clothes Chaplin saw worn in what he called East Lane market. East Street Market also features in the title sequence to the television programme Only Fools and Horses.
Credit: Wiki Commons
Licence: CC BY 2.0


View across roof tops to Pink’s Factory, Tabard Street, Southwark (1916) This picture was taken prior to slum clearance to make way for the Tabard Garden Estate.
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Tower Bridge (2021) Sometimes, during the various lockdowns, various normally-busy roads have been photogenically quiet
Credit: Instagram user
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Weston Street, SE1 (1950s)
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Wild’s Rents, SE1 (1930s)
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Slum housing, 24-37 Chapel Place, Southwark Chapel Place was a side turning off of Long Lane. The modern Hankey Place largely replaced it.
Credit: London Metropolitan Archives
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The corner of Long Lane with Staple Street, Bermondsey possibly at the end of the Boer War In the 1950s these shops were Fordham’s and Leatherdales bakery. Later still there was a fish and chip shop here opposite the Valentine pub.
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