SE1, SE16 Nearest Tube: London Bridge
This district of south-east London lies on the south bank of the River Thames, just north of Southwark. They name is believed to be derived from the Saxon for "Beormund's Island" after a Saxon chief who once ruled the area.
The district has a long association with religion. As early as the 11th century there was an abbey in the area, and since then there have been various other abbeys, churches and orders associated with Bermondsey.
For many years the district was renowned for being an attractive spot on the banks of the river, but by the 18th century this was no longer the case for the district had already become very developed.
The first industries to make their mark on the district were breweries and the leather industry. These are reflected in some of the street names in the district, for example Leathermarket Street where, as the name suggests, a leather market was held for many years.
Being on the banks of the River Thames, Bermondsey was also influenced by the trade and industry that the river supported. The legacy of this can still be seen in the warehouses that survive in the district.
With the industry and trade came housing for the workers, and by the 19th century the district had become a notorious slum area. The slums were immortalised by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist for it was in the slums of Bermondsey that Bill Sikes met his untimely end.
Today, of course, the slums are gone, but the district still retains a very industrialised feel to it, with little evidence of the pleasure gardens of the past. Nevertheless there is a great deal for the tourist to see in Bermondsey, for example Bermondsey Market and Terence Conran's Design Museum.
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