Thinking of all those affected by the London Bridge/Borough Market attack. PICTURE: http://www.freeimages.com

Helen Fielding’s creation, the thirty-something singleton Bridget Jones, lives in a small flat in London.

Jones started off life in a column published in The Independent newspaper which was later turned into a book, Bridget Jones’s Diary, followed by a sequel called Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason.

While in the original column, Jones’ home was given as Holland Park, a subsequent movie adaptation of the book (and sequels) shifted it to a flat above The Globe Tavern in Borough.

Located at 8 Bedale Street, the property – now rather squashed due to the proximity of railway viaducts – is located in the heart of the famous Borough Market.

A short distance away, at 5 Bedale Street, is where, Daniel Cleaver (played by Hugh Grant) and Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) battled it out over Bridget (played, of course, by Renee Zellweger) in the original film.

The Gothic-styled Globe, incidentally, dates from 1872 and was designed by renowned Victorian architect Henry Jarvis. As well as starring in the Bridget Jones books, it also featured in the Michael Caine thriller, Blue Ice.

PICTURE:  Ian Taylor/CC BY-SA 2.0 (image cropped and lightened)

 

Famed for its market, the area around the southern end of London Bridge is generally simply known as Borough. But that’s just an abbreviation – Borough is actually a contracted version of Borough of Southwark.

Borough-StationThe origins of the word borough come from the Old English burh, a word which originally simply referred to a ‘fortified place’ and, in this case, referred to the settlement which, since Roman times, had grown up outside the city walls around the southern approaches to London Bridge.

It later came to mean a town with its own locally-based government and, according to Cyril M Harris in What’s In A Name?, Southwark was, in the later Middle Ages, the only London borough outside the City Wall which had its own MP.

The fact that the borough was outside City jurisdiction meant it become a popular place for inns, theatres and other forms of entertainment including the infamous Southwark Fair.

Although ‘Borough’ can still be used as an alternative word for the entire Borough of Southwark, these days when people refer to ‘The Borough’, they’re often referring to just a small district of the much larger borough.

While it’s hard to get a fix on exactly where the boundaries of this district are, at the heart of this area is Borough High Street and landmarks particularly associated with it include the Borough Market (see our earlier post here) as well as Southwark Cathedral and the galleried George Inn as well as the Church of St George The Martyr (and, of course, its own Tube station, which opened in 1890).

Red-Cross-Garden

We travel south of the Thames this week to Red Cross Garden in Southwark. Located not far from Borough Market, the garden has a rich history, having first been laid out in 1887 by the social reformer, philanthropist and National Trust co-founder Octavia Hill.

Described as Hill’s “flagship project”, it was here, after being granted use of the land by the Ecclesiastical Commission, that she demonstrated the role gardens and open spaces play in improving the lives of the poor living in 19th century Southwark (in the picture you can see in the background the hall and cottages which were also part of the project – Hill had these constructed between 1888-89, the hall being for community activities and the cottages homes for the “working poor”. Both were designed by Elijah Hoole).

The garden in Redcross Way was created on the site of a derelict paper factory and a hop warehouse and originally contained meandering paths, an ornamental pond with fountain, a bandstand and a covered play area for children as well as an elevated walkway for viewing the garden – described by Hill as an “open air sitting room for the tired inhabitants of Southwark”. There were a number of colourful mosaics – one called The Sower is still in situ but another known as The Good Shepherd was apparently lost.

The original layout of garden, which were used as the venue for the annual Southwark Flower Show as well as other events, had been lost by the late 1940s and it was only in much more recent years that it was restored by the Bankside Open Spaces Trust (with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Southwark Council). They were officially reopened in 2006 by Princess Anne.

The award-winning garden is now managed by BOST which leases the space from Southwark Council and relies on the work of volunteers (any donations are always welcome!). The latest addition has been the Victorian bandstand which, constructed in a style true to the original, was unveiled late last year.

WHERE: Red Cross Garden, Redcross Way, Southwark (nearest Tube stations are Borough and London Bridge); WHEN: 9am to dusk, daily; COST: Free; WEBSITE: www.bost.org.uk/open-places/red-cross-garden/.

The-Barrowboy-&-Banker

Located just a hop, skip and a jump from the ever-popular Borough Market in Southwark, this oddly monikered pub’s name comes from two separate parts of its history.

The ‘barrowboy’ part refers to the barrow boys or costermongers who used to ply their trade at the nearby market, carting their produce in barrows.

The ‘banker’ part refers to the origins of the building in which the Grade II-listed premises at 6-8 Borough High Street is located. Like one of our previous posts (see The Counting House), it was formerly a bank – in fact, it claims to have been the first ever branch of the National Westminster Bank, which opened in 1970 after the National Provincial Bank and Westminster Bank merged to create what is now known as NatWest.

Some of the 19th century building’s original features – such as the high ceilings and large windows looking out onto the street – are still evident inside but one of the more interesting features – former bank vaults – aren’t open to the public. They lie beneath the bar and are now used for storage.

The pub, now known as an ale and pie house, is part of the Fuller’s chain. For more on the pub, check out http://barrowboy-and-banker.co.uk.

Borough Market, which claims to be London’s oldest food and drink market (see our earlier entry on the market here), has introduced a new app which provides smartphone users with an interactive map of the market so they can get information on the go. The app loads automatically when people enter the market website on their phones. Further features of the mobile site are yet to be unveiled. For more information, see www.boroughmarket.org.uk.

Broadcaster Richard Dimbleby (1913-65) has been honored with an English Heritage blue plaque at his former home in Cedar Court, Sheen Lane, East Sheen in London’s south west. Once the nation’s most famous broadcaster, Dimbleby, father of David Dimbleby, lived at the flat between 1937-39 – a time when he delivered some of his earliest radio reports including one on Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s return from Munich. Dimbleby’s career on radio and television spanned some 30 years and saw him reporting on some of the great events of his time. He was the BBC’s first war correspondent and was the first reporter to describe the horrors of Belsen concentration camp as well as being among the first reporters to enter Berlin where he reported from the ruins of Hitler’s bunker. Dimbleby was also commentator on television specials such as the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965. For more, see www.english-heritage.org.uk/about/news/?topic=Blue%20Plaques.

On Now: Manet – Portraying Life. This display at the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly’s Burlington House is the first major exhibition to showcase Edouard Manet’s portraiture in the UK. It examines the relationship between his portraits and his scenes of modern life and includes more than 50 paintings, gathered from public and private collections in Europe, Asia and the US, spanning his career from the mid 1800s to his death in 1883. The exhibition is arranged thematically with different sections looking at Manet’s family, his artist, literary and theatrical friends as well as his models. Highlights include The Luncheon (1868), Mme Manet in the Conservatory (1879), Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets (1872), Street Singer (1862), The Railway (1873) and Music in the Tuileries Gardens (1862). Admission charge applies. Runs until 14th April. For more, see www.royalacademy.org.uk.

On Now: Light Show. This installation at the Hayward Gallery in South Bank “explores the experiential and phenomenal aspects of light” and brings together sculptures and installations that use light to sculpt and shape space in different ways. The artworks date from the 1960s to the present day and are the work of 22 different artists. Admission charge applies. Runs until 28th April. For more, see www.haywardlightshow.co.uk.

In the first of a new series looking at some of London’s most historic markets, we take a look at the history of Borough Market in Southwark, now the city’s most famous food market.

The origins of a food market in the area go back to at least to the reign of the Anglo-Saxon King Ethelred the Unready in early 11th century (some have suggested as far back as Roman times) with food vendors clustering around the southern end of London Bridge. The market was relocated to Borough High Street in the 1200s.

In 1755, traffic congestion saw Parliament close the market but Southwark residents raised £6,000 and bought a small area of land known as The Triangle – once part of the churchyard of the now long gone church of St Margaret’s – and reopened the market there.

The Triangle still remains at the heart of the market which sits partly under railway arches just to the south of the Southwark Cathedral churchyard. New market buildings were constructed in the mid 1800s but deemed “impractical”, they were replaced by new buildings in the late 1800s and 1930s (the latter was when the art deco entrance on Borough High Street was erected).

The market was refurbished in 2001 and the ornate Grade II-listed Floral Hall, which was originally the south portico on the Floral Hall at Covent Garden (taken down to make way for the Royal Opera House), was installed in 2003.

There are now more than 100 stalls in the wholesale and retail food market, making it one of the largest in London. It is owned by a charitable trust, The Borough Market (Southwark), with the volunteer trustees all local residents. Sections in the market include the Jubilee Market and the Green Market and a blue plaque, declaring the market London’s “oldest fruit and veg market”, was installed by Southwark Council earlier this year.

The amazing variety fine food on offer will tempt even the most jaded of palates but be warned that you have to queue as it can get a little packed with tourists at lunchtimes!

WHERE: 8 Southwark Street (nearest Tube Stations are London Bridge or Borough); WHEN: 10am to 3pm Monday to Wednesday, 11am to 5pm Thursday, 12pm to 6pm Friday, and, 8am to 5pm Saturday; COST: Free entry; WEBSITE: www.boroughmarket.org.uk

London has a plethora of markets selling everything from fresh flowers to antiques and clothes. For food, it’s hard to beat Borough Market. Located next to Southwark Cathedral on the south bank of the Thames, the market stalls are contained in a maze of passageways which, when it’s in full swing, buzz with excitement and color.

The market’s history goes back to the Middle Ages when traders gathered close to London Bridge to sell produce and livestock and was officially located around it’s current site in the 1700s

With about 130 individual stalls, there’s everything here you could want – fresh seafood and meats, fruit and vegetables, cheeses and dairy products and all the cakes and pastries you could want as well as a range of alcoholic drinks.

It’s a great place to do some shopping but equally good as a place to duck in for lunch – the Boston Sausage Company’s sausages make for a great bite on the run or to eat while sitting in the cathedral grounds watching the passersby.

WHERE: Between the Thames River and Borough High Street, Southwark. Nearest tube is London Bridge or Borough.  WHEN: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; COST: Free to enter; WEBSITE: www.boroughmarket.org.uk