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What happened in Sin City: A walking discovery of Southwark, Lambeth and the River Thames

A walk with Andrew Davies

“Look Up Look Down and Go Round the Back”


So says Andrew Davies on a walking tour of Southwark, Lambeth and the Thames.  As he explained, we were inhabiting the world of the least desirable part of London centuries ago.

The land around todays Waterloo Station was swampy and undeveloped and the place you went to for the shadier pastimes. We learned that this was something of a lawless location where villains might hide out. It wasn’t just the lowly classes who were up to no good though. Who knew that the Bishop of Winchester, Henry of Blois was little more than a pimp for the prostitutes who worked the area.

The Rose Window pictured here is all that remains of his sumptuous palace.


We wound our way towards Dirty Lane, now a very trendy avenue of boutiques rather than a squalid alley. We stopped occasionally to hear anecdotes and stories and thankfully Andrew has a booming voice which can compete with the noise of the city.


If you know where to look you can still get glimpses of how the area would have been, such as the little stone seat set in the wall for the ferryman also pictured here.


A much larger feature of this area is the famous Globe Theatre recreated by Sam Wannamaker. It was interesting to see the original spot where The Globe sat which is in one of the backwaters where Andrew led us and told us of the struggle it took to have it recreated.


The Globe must have drawn a huge crowd to this notorious area and today is something of a peoples’ champion of The Arts – think of the Festival Hall, The National Theatre, Tate Modern and The BFI.  There is street food, a skate park and the London Dungeon attraction plus many pubs still very busy. Next time you leave Waterloo Station look back at the grand statues on the staircase then turn to get a glimpse of an area once defined by the four Ps

Pubs, Prisons, Playhouses and Prostitutes.



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