TUBE SideTracked - Bermondsey
Bermondsey and Rotherhithe were, up until the Second World War, great centres of trade and industry. The wharfs along the River Thames and Surrey Docks on the Rotherhithe peninsula handled a range of goods. Tooley Street was known as 'London's larder', there were huge cold stores between Jamaica Road and the river, and Surrey Docks were the centre of the timber trade. Rotherhithe was significant for ship repair and barge building, and maritime-related industries like rope-making flourished.
This was an area of considerable poverty and deprivation. Much of the work available was casual and wages were often low. Housing conditions were appalling with overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and absentee landlords. In addition all the industrial activity made for poor air quality.
Philanthropists and social commentators were attracted to the area. It became a centre for social settlements and university and other missions. A range of innovatory and influential work emerged. The settlements in particular looked to social action. Local people also organized themselves through unions, political parties, and a range of local groups. Later, Bermondsey in particular was the focus of innovatory local government activity and there was a transformation of housing and environmental conditions.
Areas like Bermondsey have produced their share of celebrities, and have classically been demonized in order to accentuate the rags to riches nature of the stories. One small area along George Row in Bermondsey, for example, produced the singer and actor Tommy Steele, the comedian Michael Barrymore and the late reality star Jade Goody.
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This cache belongs to the SideTracked series. It is not designed to take you to a magical place with a breath taking view. It's a distraction for the weary traveller, but anyone else can go and find it too. More Information can be found at the SideTracked Website