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No.1 Southwark: Waterloo to London Bridge

In 1977 GLIAS produced this walks leaflet, compiled by Robert Vickers and David Perrett.

We have reproduced it here for historical interest. Links to entries in the GLIAS Database are given.

This walk, along the south bank of the Thames from Waterloo Station to London Bridge Station, passes through a once heavily industrialised area of London which is now rapidly changing as redevelopment continues; indeed, a number of interesting buildings along the route have been demolished since the walk was first planned. Two notable industries of the area are power generation and transport both by rail and river.

The walk is about two miles long and should take about two hours.

No.1 Southwark: Waterloo to London Bridge

Start at the main entrance to Waterloo Station (British Rail or London Transport).

① Waterloo is Britain's largest railway station (GTL00376), with 28 platforms including Waterloo (Eastern) and the Waterloo and City Line (but excluding London Transport platforms).

Waterloo Station

The main entrance, in the form of a Victory Arch, commemorates 585 London and South Western Railway (LSWR) employees killed in the First World War. Plaques around the arch name the battlefields where the men died and in the centre is the LSWR coat of arms. Note the old company's initials on the lamps.

From the arch can be seen the viaduct carrying the Charing Cross to London Bridge line. Waterloo (Eastern) was opened as Waterloo Junction station in 1864 when the South Eastern Railway (SER) extended from London Bridge to Charing Cross. Waterloo Station opened in 1848 replacing the earlier LSWR terminus at Nine Elms. Although the present building dates mainly from 1900-1922, earlier remains include the 1885 roof over the 'Windsor Lines' (platforms 16-21).

Inside the main station, on the right of the arch, is a memorial to Herbert A Walker, General Manager of the LSWR and its successor, the Southern Railway.

From under the clock in the centre of the concourse can be seen destination plaques of the counties served by the railway and also stained glass coats of arms adorning the office windows.

Waterloo Station Waterloo Station

Leave by the south exit, next to the former 1930s news cinema

Outside, on the right, can be seen the stone-capped chimney of the power station for the Waterloo and City line (the 'drain') (GTL04058). This tube link to the Bank was opened by the LSWR in 1898 and carriages for repair have to be hoisted out in a lift (GTL03809) as there is no direct rail connection.

Former Waterloo & City Gen stn, minus chimney © David G Thomas Waterloo and City line hoist

Turn left, follow the side of the station and cross onto the footbridge leading to Waterloo (Eastern) Station

This bridge follows the line of an old rail link between the LSWR 'Windsor' lines and the SER Junction station: this link was taken up when Waterloo station was rebuilt at the beginning of the present century. Note the original platform canopy which still covers the present footway. Leave the footbridge down the stairs into Sandell Street (if this exit is closed, return to the station approach, turn right, pass under the railway, cross Waterloo Bridge Road and turn into Sandell Street).

Turn left, pass under the railway bridge and turn right in to Roupell Street

② These terraced houses were built c.1835 for the workers in the nearby riverside warehouses by a Mr Roupell, a local gold-refiner (GTL00325). The date on Nos 19-21 indicates the rebuilding of this section in 1891. St Andrew's Church of England school and schoolhouse were built in 1868 — a product of mid-Victorian ecclesiastical activity in working-class areas.

At the end of Roupell Street turn left into Hatfields

The skyline is dominated by the 1928 Oxo warehouse (GTL00706). From the corner with Stamford Street note the derelict premises of Harrild and Sons with their business described in mosaic letters 'Printers Engineering Works, Bookbinders Engineering and Joinery'. The stuccoed portico opposite, all that remains of the Stamford Street Unitarian Chapel, built 1821, forms a graceful wall to the playground of the London Nautical School.

Oxo tower Harrild & Sons, 58 & 60 Stamford St, disused, in 1977

Turn right along Stamford Street

Cross Rennie Street: this was the site of the works of the famous Rennie brothers, engineers and shipbuilders.

Cross Blackfriars Bridge Road and walk towards the Thames

The railway viaduct was built by the London Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) and the remains of the goods depot (note 'Dover Shed No.1' on viaduct), which occupied this area following the removal of Blackfriars Station to the north bank in 1886, can still be seen.

③ At the river go down the steps for the best view of the bridges.

Blackfriars Road Bridge (GTL00379), opened 1st September 1869, and the Alexandra Railway Bridge (now disused) (GTL00068) were both designed by Joseph Cubitt.

On the railway bridge are the elaborate LCDR coats of arms with the opening date 1864. The other railway bridge was opened in 1886 (GTL00440).

Blackfriars Blackfriars

From the top of the steps follow the path under the viaduct past the new computer centre and into Hopton Street.

The 1812 Clink bollards on the corner of Bankside date from the time when the Liberty of the Clink was outside the City's jurisdiction. Opposite, in Castle Yard, stands the deserted building of the Castle Yard Sunday School, built in 1889 although the school was founded in 1809. Next door is the disused Castle Yard factory of Sennett Bros, skinners, with its classical style pilasters on the ground floor.

This locality has for long been a centre for power generation. Near the computer centre stood Falcon's Wharf Pumping Station which was opened in 1883 as the first pumping station of the London Hydraulic Power Co (LHP). All around this area, and indeed along most central London streets, LHP valve boxes can be seen set in the road, a reminder of this once-extensive system. This company supplied water power at a pressure of 700 lb per sq in but eventually closed down in June 1977, defeated by its adjoining rival, electricity.

④ Bankside Power Station (GTL00491), designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, was completed, after much controversy, in 1963. At the jetty in the river barges discharge the fuel oil used for the boilers. The power station stands on the sites of both the City of London Electric Lighting Company's works, founded in 1890, and the Phoenix Wharf Gas Works, established in 1814, which later amalgamated with the South Metropolitan Gas Co in 1898. The small terrace of houses in Hopton Street, next to the power station was associated with the gas company (c.1925).

Bankside Power Station

Continue along Bankside

East of the power station the remaining 17th- and early 18th-century houses on Bankside remind us that the riverfront was residential until industry took over. Glance across the river to the converted warehouses (GTL00089) (Brooks Wharf is now the successful Samuel Pepys pub-cum-restaurant) and note also the modern brick buildings which are in character with the older ones. Before the bridge, two French cannons are used as bollards; note the sockets for the gun carriage pivot. Behind the first cannon a ferry seat (GTL03813) is set into the wall of the building.

Brooks Wharf - Samuel Pepys pub-cum-restaurant French cannon Ferry seat, Bear Gardens

⑤ The present Southwark Bridge (GTL00337), designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson, with masonry designed by Sir Ernest George, opened in 1921 replacing John Rennie's stone and cast-iron bridge of 1819.

Southwark Bridge

Pass under the bridge

A small hand crane still remains behind the small wall next to the bridge. Continue on past Ceylon Wharf and Red Lion Wharf (1865).

Over the river, on the north bank, is Cannon Street station (GTL00373), designed by John Hawk shaw for the SER and opened on 1 September 1866; the twin towers contain water tanks used to generate hydraulic power before the arrival of the LHP. As a result of war damage the glazed roof was removed in 1958. The railway bridge (GTL00833), also by Hawkshaw, is 706 feet long and is supported on four piers, each consisting of four cast-iron columns.

Cannon Street station

Turn left under the railway bridge and walk up Clink Street.

⑥ Tall warehouses (GTL00646) dominate this narrow street, creating an urban canyon. The street gets its name from the Liberty of the Clink. This, and the Clink Prison (destroyed in riots during 1780), were under the jurisdiction of the Bishops of Winchester. The remains of the Bishops' Palace, some rough stone walls and a rose window, were until recently part of a warehouse and may be seen opposite Pickford's Wharf (GTL03690). This wharf belongs to the famous removal company and the warehouse is typical with its loading doors on each floor and hydraulic cranes. Next is St Mary Overy's Dock. Parishoners of St Mary Overy, the name of Southwark Cathedral before the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s, still have the right to free handling of goods in the dock though this right must now be rather difficult to exercise.

Clink Street Clink Street Pickford's Wharf

⑦ Between Southwark Cathedral and the river are the remains of Hibernia Wharf. The earliest parts of the building were built in 1838 and others added 1858-61. At the beginning of the present century refrigeration plant was installed and internal alterations made to create cool and cold stores for perishable foodstuffs such as butter and cheese. These warehouses have been disused since 1968 and part has been demolished to create an open space and open up the cathedral to the river.

From the end of Clink Street walk straight on to the market

⑧ In front of the cathedral and beneath the railway arches, is Borough Market (GTL00277), which came to this site in 1756 having been kept out of the City which objected to such trades within its boundaries. The market was rebuilt in 1820 and again in 1867 following the extension of the SER line from London Bridge to Charing Cross. Within the market, stalls, fruit and vegetable boxes and barrows crowd under a glazed roof with iron framework supported by cast-iron pillars.

Borough Market

Go through the market, down Cathedral Street, turn left at 'The Globe' into Green Dragon Court and back towards the cathedral. Take the small granite-paved alleyway to the left of the stairs going up to the main road, and follow into Montague Close.

The building on the right, Bridge House (GTL00964), was built as a hotel, opening when London Bridge Station, the capital's first railway terminus, was completed in 1836.

Pass the new extension to Bridge House and turn right

Bridge House Hibernia Chambers

⑨ The newly restored Hibernia Chambers (1850) (GTL01158) is a fine example of the conversion and re-use of old industrial buildings. Immediately ahead is the last remaining arch of John Rennie's 1831 London Bridge (GTL00003). The rest of the old bridge was dismantled stone by stone and rebuilt at Lake Havasu City, USA.

last remaining arch of John Rennie's 1831 London Bridge

Go under the bridge, up the concrete stairs and the walkway leads to London Bridge Station (GTL00008), the end of our walk.

London Bridge Station

London Transport (Northern Line) and British Rail services are available from the station, or walk across the bridge to the north bank where District and Circle services are available from the Monument station.

© GLIAS, 1977