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This south Thameside riverside district begins just as the sanitised sights of tourist London end at Tower Bridge, and Bermondsey had a chequered history as variously a playground of the wealthy and a seat of serious poverty – currently, it’s somewhere in-between.
Bordered by Southwark to the west, Rotherhithe to the east and Peckham to the south, Bermondsey’s always been characterised by the waterfront: a temporary home for the city’s rich as central London was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666, Bermondsey became a garden suburb with a spa leisure garden. Until the industrial revolution that is; as neighbouring Rotherhithe got the shipping, Bermondsey made ends meet as the centre of London’s leather and hide industry, as evidenced by the number of now-converted tanneries.
So notorious were the slums here that Dickens had has greatest villain, Oliver Twist’s Bill Sykes, meet his grisly end on Jacobs Island in Bermondsey – now St Saviour’s Dock.
Bermondsey fell into disuse as the river’s influence on London faded, until property developers transformed the warehouses along the Thames into luxury riverside flats, and Butler’s Wharf at Shad Thames contains some of the city’s most sought-after addresses, along with cafes, selling galleries and Terence Conran’s notable Pont de la Tour restaurant (Butler’s Wharf, 36d Shad Thames, 020 7403 8403, www.lepontdelatour.co.uk). Conran himself also founded the Design Museum (Shad Thames, 0870 833 9955, www.designmuseum.org), a clean white staircase-like structure on the riverbank which celebrates design in every form from graphics to furniture, architecture to industrial work, to massive critical acclaim.
Bermondsey’s Zone 2 tube station is on the Jubilee Line, and there’s overground services to South Bermondsey, though this area, surrounded by high rises, industrial estates and Millwall FC’s infamous New Den Stadium, is best avoided.
|Bermondsey Square Hotel||Bermondsey Square Tower Bridge Road|
According to Time Out magazine, If we were giving out awards for cool streets, the gong for funkiest newcomer would b...
|London Bridge Station||1||Northern - Jubilee||1.02 miles|
|Borough Station||1||Northern||1.06 miles|
|Bermondsey Station||2||Jubilee||1.10 miles|
|Tower Hill Station||1||District - Circle line||1.41 miles|
|Elephant & Castle Station||1||Northern - Bakerloo||1.48 miles|
|London Bridge Station||0.90 miles|
|Elephant and Castle Station||1.37 miles|
|Fenchurch Street Station||1.56 miles|
|London Cannon Street Station||1.66 miles|
|South Bermondsey Station||2.06 miles|