Historical Bermondsey London Walk: Bermondsey, South East London is in the Borough of Southwark. The area has a rich leather tanning heritage with those warehouses now converted into luxury apartments. The former Sarson’s Vinegar, Hartley’s Jam and Peek Freans Biscuit factories have also been converted into housing and office space. There is so much to see in the area, I’ve picked out a few of my favourites in and near Bermondsey that take you on a walk starting and ending at Bermondsey Station. If you love interesting London walks or you’re looking for things to do in London SE1, SE16 and Southwark, you’ll enjoy my Historical Bermondsey London Walk.
Historical Bermondsey London Walk Self-Guided Tour
Exit Bermondsey Station, turn right into Jamaica Road, cross to the other side, turn left into Cathay Street until you reach the Angel Pub overlooking the River Thames. Walkthrough Bermondsey Wall East and Bermondsey Wall West towards Shad Thames to see the following points of interest.
The Angel Pub: Historic pub overlooking the river. Recorded in the 17th Century and may even date back to the middle ages. It was rebuilt in 1837.
Moated Manor House of King Edward III: Ruins of the house built around 1350 which may have been a hunting lodge or falconry.
Dr Salter’s Daydream Statues: A collection of sculptures of the Salter family. Dr Alfred Salter (British Medical Practitioner and Labour Party Politician). Ada Salter (Wife, English Reformer, first woman Mayor in London and known for the Bermondsey Beautification project). Joyce Salter (Daughter) and their cat.
Sewers Surrey & Kent, Duffield Sluice: Industrial-style building dating back to 1822.
Reeds Wharf: As you walk through the streets of Bermondsey Wall West, you will see a collection of warehouse buildings which are now converted into warehouse apartments.
Shad Thames/Butler’s Wharf: Historic riverside cobbled street with tea, coffee and spice warehouse buildings dating back to the 19th Century.
The Maltings: Head down Tower Bridge Road, right into Tanner Street, and you will see the Maltings building. It was formerly the Sarson’s Vinegar Factory established in 1814 which is now warehouse apartments and offices. At Tanner Street Park opposite you can see a fountain which is from the top of the tower from the former St Olave’s Church of Tooley Street behind the tennis court near the restaurant.
Houses 68-76 Bermondsey Street: Walk through the park and turn right up Bermondsey Street to admire the collection of Grade II Listed Buildings. The Historic England information states that the terrace of five houses are mid C18 with red bricks and later stuccoed fronts and parapets. Number 76 has a stunning overhanging blue wood-clad top floor built into the roof.
Morocco Store Building: Into Leathermarket Street where you will see the Morocco Store Building, an eighteenth-century spice warehouse converted into luxury apartments.
London Leather Hide and Wool Exchange: Continue past Leathermarket Gardens, and you will find The London Leather Hide and Wool Exchange building which is now home to independent businesses. The Grade II Listed Victorian building has some fancy stone reliefs.
Blue Lion Place: Continue down Weston Street turning left on Long Lane to Blue Lion Place. The white building dates back to the 1950s and was once a cheque processing centre for NatWest and TSB before it was converted into apartments.
Hepburn and Gale Warehouse: At 239 London Lane is Tanners Yard with the words Hepburn and Gale Ltd. above the door. The company was one of the largest leather manufacturers and tanners in the area. The building dates back to 1898, and the previous building was sadly destroyed by a fire. It is now a block of luxury converted warehouse apartments.
The Jam Factory: Across from the Hepburn and Gale Warehouse is a playground, and you can see the chimney from the Sir William Pickles Hartley jam-making factory (1900) which has been converted into apartments.
St Mary Magdalen Anglian Church: Back to Bermondsey Street to the church built late 17th Century which is Grade II* Listed. A church was first recorded on the site in 1290 serving lay workers at Bermondsey Abbey. It was demolished and rebuilt in 1680 but retaining the medieval tower and gothic window arches. The Rectory next door is a beautiful building dating back to 1828. Behind the church is a small park with listed monuments including the tombs of the Rolls family. The Watch House on the corner is now a coffee house taking its name from the building that was a shelter for men guarding the graveyard. On the side of the Watch House building on Abbey Street, there is a Victorian drinking fountain which the inscription ‘The Gift of Henry Sterry Esq’ dated 1859. Henry was the son of Mr Samuel Henry Sterry, a medical professional who practised in Bermondsey for over fifty years.
Time and Talents Settlement Building: Next to The Rectory is the Time and Talents building which was an Anglican organisation set up to help support women. The building dates back to 1907. The architect was Sir Reginald Blomfield and is now Grade II Listed.
Bermondsey Abbey: On the corner of Abbey Street and Bermondsey Street cross the road to Bermondsey Square. The site is where Bermondsey Abbey, an English Benedictine Monastery, once stood. The building became known as Bermondsey Abbey in 1390. Elizabeth Woodville died at the Abbey. She was the widow of Edward IV and mother of the princes who died in the tower. Look out for the blue plaque on the wall which says ‘Bermondsey Abbey, founded as a Priory of the Order of Cluny, stood here 1082-1538.’ In the corner, you will see a few houses.
Grange Walk Historic Buildings: Through Bermondsey Square and cross Tower Bridge Road to Grange Walk to see a row of historic houses. House numbers 5, 6, and 7 are part of one side of the Bermondsey Abbey medieval stone gatehouse. Look out for the small gatehouse sign. Walk past a row of pretty terraced cottages. The ‘Bermondsey United Charity School for Girls has been converted into flats. 67 Grange Walk is a Grade II Listed seventeenth century Queen Anne double fronted house with painted Paul and Co. Ltd. on the side of the building. Grange Walk Infants Schoolhouse built 1853 is now a residential building.
Page’s Walk Historic Buildings: From Grange Walk go to Page’s Walk. The Queen Victoria Pub previously the Winchester, has existed from around 1856. The pub has a tiled façade and Truman Hanbury and Buxton signage. The picture above shows Pat, the landlord standing proudly outside. At the bottom of the street, you will see a collection of terraced railway worker cottages with bright colour window shutters. The opposite is a schoolhouse and school keepers’ cottage which is now flats.
Alaska Building: Return to Grange Road towards Bermondsey Spa Gardens (named after an actual spa from the river Neckinger spring). The white Alaska Building was two factories built in 1869 and 1932. It was the centre of London’s seal fur trade before being converted into apartments. Look at the seal engraving above the main gates.
Bermondsey Central Public Library/London Tibetan Centre: On Spa Road is the Buddhist Meditation Centre set inside a converted Victorian Library.
Old Town Hall: Along the road is the Old Town Hall/Municipal Buildings, now converted into apartments. The architect was Henry Tansley, and the building dates back to the 1920s.
Reverdy Road: Cut through Spa Gardens to Grange Road until it changes into Southwark Park Road. You will pass by some pretty roads with Victorian houses. Reverdy Road was the subject of a BBC series called The Secret History of Our Streets because it was recorded in Charles Booth’s 1886 survey.
Biscuit Factory: Under the bridge where you will see some art on the walls. Left into Drummond Road to a collection of warehouse buildings known as The Biscuit Factory. A blue plaque pays tribute to ‘Peek Frean, founded in 1857, world-renowned biscuit maker that gave Bermondsey the name Biscuit Town.’
St James’s Church: Continue up Drummond Road, turn left into Tranton Road, up to St James’s Road to the church. It is a Grade II* Listed Building that dates back to 1829. From there you can return to Bermondsey Station. I hope you enjoyed this historic walk.
Historical Bermondsey London Walk Information
For more information and photographs about historical points of interest in Bermondsey, you might want to read the following website pages:
Love Bermondsey London Pinterest Board
A London Inheritance Bermondsey Page
British History Online Bermondsey Page
You might want to read other articles I’ve written about Bermondsey:
Ten Things To Do In Bermondsey Southwark
Ten Things To Do In Bermondsey Street
Maltby Street Market Ropewalk Bermondsey
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London.