Bermondsey Street, SE1

Towards the southern end of Bermondsey Street stood the Abbey of St Saviour’s, founded by Alwin Childe in 1081.

Tucked away behind London Bridge station, Bermondsey Street was once a centre for the leather and other noxious industries that the City of London didn’t want within its walls.

All the raw materials for tanning leather were easily at hand. As early as 1392, butchers were permitted to dump their refuse in Southwark. Water was available from the Neckinger stream and oak bark was sourced from south London woods.

The accompanying photograph was taken by Henry Dixon. The photograph includes two leatherworkers – either shoemakers or cobblers – standing at the entrance to their establishment.

At the time Bermondsey was an area of biscuit making, leather working and tanneries – nearly all the tanneries of London were situated within Bermondsey’s borders.

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