Facts about Southwark
Southwark General Info
Southwark is a district of Central London situated on the south bank of the River Thames, forming the north-western part of the wider modern London Borough of Southwark. The district, which is the oldest part of South London, developed due to its position at the southern end of the early versions of London Bridge, the only crossing point for many miles. London’s historic core, the City of London lay north of the Bridge.
By the 12th century Southwark had been incorporated as an ancient borough, and this historic status is reflected in the alternative name of the area, or at least part of it, as Borough. Local points of interest include Southwark Cathedral, The Shard, Tower Bridge, and the City Hall offices of the Greater London Authority.
Two Roman roads, Stane Street and Watling Street met at Southwark in what is now Borough High Street. Archaeological work at Tabard Street in 2004 discovered a plaque with the earliest reference to ‘Londoners’ from the Roman period on it. Londinium was abandoned at the end of the Roman occupation in the early 5th century and both the city and its bridge collapsed in decay.
Southwark appears to recover only during the time of King Alfred and his successors. Sometime about 886, the burh of Southwark was created and the Roman city area reoccupied. It was probably fortified to defend the bridge and hence the re-emerging City of London to the north. This defensive role is highlighted by the use of the bridge in 1016 as a defense against King Sweyn and his son King Cnut by Ethelred the Unready and again, in 1066, against Duke William the Conqueror.