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Guidebook: South of the River

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Southwark is the area south of the river in London, outside the city gates and thus not subject to its ordinances. This is where you will find the darker aspects of London.

London Bridge


London Bridge towers several stories over the murky waters of the Thames below. Many an army has brought it down, but it always is rebuilt. And sometimes, not for the better.


The dark passageways containing the neighbourhood of London Bridge are not for the faint of heart. Many a strange sound can be heard and all one can smell is wet. It is in this city within a city that one can find just about anything they might need, for the right price.


Exit to:

  • London City Gates
  • London Port
  • Mincing Lane
    • A street in Southwark, south of the River.

    [*]Randy Rooster

    [*]Silver Fleet Tavern

    • There were many taverns along the way, most of them quite lewd and probably better described as brothels. Girls waved at one from many a doorway, displaying their bounty for all to see and making lewd comments as one passed.
      One in particular stood out for it sported a large sign of a ship much like the East Indian company. Yet there was a dutch flag on the ship. A minor detail that might have been overlooked by many patrons. The sign read 'The Silver Fleet'. Inside an interior of copper items that all belonged on board of a ship as well as several small ships in bottles, full sails and all. It certainly had a maritime theme to it.
      A busy tavern, but the colours of white lace and black coats and breeches was far more prevalent than in other Inns. A certain harsh tonguefall warned the careful observer that this Inn was home to many Dutchmen.

    [*]Bunhill Fields Cemetery

    • With so many dead from the plague, the City of London was forced to use some of the fens and moor as burial ground for those who could not fit in the churchyards. Bunhill Fields was a perfect place, having been used in times past as a practice area for archers and other military citizens. Curiously the grounds were never consecrated and never officially used for burials, when Mr Tyndale took over the lease. Thus was born the so called Nonconformist cemetery, a place where those who practices Christianity outside of the Church of England were buried.
      Surrounded by a brick wall, a line of spikes ran along its top, facing inwards. A great iron wrought gate guarded the entrance, leading towards a small brick building called Bunhill Fields Meeting House, in which the bodies were interred and services held for those buried here. Above the gates an inscription was made in the stone arch.
      This church-yard was enclosed with a brick wall at the sole charges of the City of London, in the mayoralty of Sir John Lawrence, Knt., Anno Domini 1665; and afterwards the gates thereof were built and finished in the mayoralty of Sir Thomas Bloudworth, Knt., Anno Domini, 1666.

    [*]Royal Greenwich Observatory

    [*]Lambeth Palace

    [*]Hardwick House

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Randy Rooster


The exterior of the tavern is much like any other in London’s east end, with a single broad front door and few windows. A sign, graphically depicting a very proud and well-endowed rooster, hangs above the door just high enough to ensure that a man on horseback would not clip his head on it when passing beneath. The plastered and whitewashed façade would lend the establishment an air of respectability were it not rather dingy and in need of repainting. Dark wooden beams frame walls, doors, and the few small windows in the half-timbered style of the Tudor period.


A small group of men stand chatting outside, as one would expect. However, one of the men is notably rouged, beyond that of even the most foppish courtiers, and none wear the quality of clothing to suggest gentlemen of the Court.


Once opened, that great front door lets loose an impressive combination of sounds and odours from within. Lively music and singing is not quite drowned out by conversation and laughter. Cheep perfumes, stale alcohol, and a great many unwashed bodies fragrance the air generously. The public room is only just slightly brighter than the dark street from which the establishment’s patrons have just stepped, but still one can see that the place is well-populated. The bar is, in the common way, along the back wall, with the band and singer off to the side. A door to the right of the bar suggests a kitchen beyond.


As to the tavern’s occupants, there are a few figures in dresses, but the vast majority wear standard male garb. Still, there is a noticeable lack of the truly female forms one might expect to find in an alehouse.


The proprietor of the Rooster is one Arthur Askley.


London Port


Since ancient times London had always been one of the major ports of England, both because of its location at the lowest bridging point of the Thames and the tides, which brought a useful depth of water at high tide and let ships come and go, even though the port was a long way from the mouth of the river. The inland position also provided extra defences. Only the Dutch had breached the port once, Admiral De Ruyter stealing the Royal Charles sailing up the Thames with a broom tied to his mast.


Nowadays most of the the ships unloaded at the dock in Blackwell, their cargo then loaded upon barges that were taken further up the Thames towards the warehouses at the Quayside in Southwark, also known as the Pool of London.


While the Thames itself was a highway of traffic to and fro, accessed by the many waterstairs, the London Port was more difficult to access. Most Londoners would watch the activity from the London Bridge with curiosity, wondering what all the mysterious activity was about. Even during the night it continued, though more often than not the cargo not entirely legal at such a time. Most of the time authorities seemed to turn a blind eye.


Entry Points to:

  • Blackwell Dock
    • While everybody thought of it as London Port, there were a slew of smaller villages just outside that city which saw the actual activities develop, providing a single focus. Greenwhich and Blackwell were such villages.
      The docks provided the landing space required. Surrounded by big walls, here the big overseas merchant ships, as well as the Navy ships dock. Here they are fitted again for another trip, taking in or off loading cargo. Guards at the entrance prevent casual walker's by and potential thieves from wandering where they are not wanted.

    [*]Blackwall Yards

    • The small yards at Blackwall were privately owned. They produced coastal craft and merchant ships. Some also received contracts to build brigs and sloops for the Navy. This allowed the naval dockyards to concentrate on building larger ships.
      The Yards could be openly accessed by a persistent person, but all tools of trade were locked up in a wooden shed with a guard, who also patrolled the ships. There had been incidents last year with a royal yacht that necessitated these measures.

    [*]Blackwell Rise

    • Blackwell Rise had in years past been little more than a pile of gravel for use upon the roads in and out of the docks, though in recent years had fallen into disuse to now provide a stony base where the stubbornest of grasses grew. The location provided a fine outlook across the docks to the many buildings, and just beyond them the Thames and her ships.
      Upon a stonework base, stands a larger than life size grouping cast in bronze looking out up the Thames. An older man, and a young mother, with a boy holding to her skirts and dog sitting at her feet. Family awaiting the ship of a sailor who would never arrive.
      At the base is a plaque, engraved with Biblical verse Timothy 4:7:
      For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

    [*]Pool of London

    • On both side of the Thames in London one could find the many piers that allowed barges to land, with water stairs giving easy access to the city beyond. Here were the quays, or wharfs, legal, or as was the case on the south bank on sufferance, where cargo was offloaded from the barges and put into the many warehouses with use of a large labour force.
      Companies that find themselves with a warehouse at the Quayside in Southwark include the Spitsbergen whaling Muscovy Company (its origins in Russia), the Royal African Company with its slave trade, the Virginia Company and the Hudson Bay company. The most impressive warehouses however were reserved for the riches of the East India Company.

    [*]The Custom House

    • The first Custom House was built around 1275 to collect the dues for Edward's Great Custom. After many destructions, like so many buildings in London it was rebuilt by Christopher Wren after the Great Fire, in 1671. The building itself was a simple one, painted with bright white walls.
      All paperwork concerning duties payable on imported goods were taken here for processing before unloading might begin. This was a complicated business. When there were almost 2000 dutiable goods, and ships carried many different goods, calculating the necessary duties for each vessel was an immense task. After costume was paid, the goods were given an official seal of approval. Recently the seal has been renewed to prevent copies from being made for smuggling purposes.


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Greenwich, also known as Royal Greenwich had housed royals for centuries. By the time of the Restoration, the Palace of Placentia, once a favourite of Queen Bess, had fallen into disuse and was pulled down. New buildings began to be established as a grand palace for Charles II, but only the King Charles block was completed. Charles II also redesigned and replanted Greenwich Park and founded and built the Royal Observatory.


Greenwich, with its proximity to the London Port, was an area focused on the navy. It also housed Dutch immigrants, like painters and engineers.


Royal Greenwich Observatory


It was situated on a hill in Greenwich Park, overlooking the river Thames, an octagon tower. Flamsteed House, the original part of the Observatory, was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It was built for a cost of £520 (£20 over budget) out of largely recycled materials on the foundations of Duke Humphrey's Tower.


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A long stretch of land on the riverbank of the Thames, that houses the archbiscopal Palace, as well as Lambeth Marsh, together forming a parish. The main road is Brixton road that goes from Southwark all the way passed Dulwich.


Lambeth Palace


Lambeth Palace, on the south bank of the River Thames opposite Parliament, has been a historic London residence of Archbishops of Canterbury since the 13th century.


It acts as a home for the Archbishop and his family when in London and as the central office for his national and international ministry.


The Archbishop employs several dozen staff to support him in his work there. In addition to the Archbishop's senior advisers and administrative staff, the Palace is serviced by a building manager, steward, cook, gardeners, gatekeepers and cleaners, all of whom take care of the historic building and its grounds.

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The small hamlet of Dulwich is close to Dulwich Woods, once a royal hunt for Charles I. The wells are rumoured to have restorative powers.


Exit to:


Hardwick House

and The Wilhelmina Boyle Academy of Arts



George advises to take a Ferry to cross the Thames rather than dare the dubious span of London Bridge, and then travel down on through Southwark and down Brixton Road, and once arriving at Brixton village turn left and ride on past Herne hill until you find yourself at Dulwich Village. Yes, the same Dulwich of the College for Boys.


It is but a two hour journey that brings one to the chosen retreat of the Earl of Chichester, or that might deliver him upon occasion into London town. The house is a building of some size, in reasonable condition and comfortably furnished.


The Earls personal accommodations are in the West Wing. Out the back is the stables, and a summer house that he has settled to become his studio.


The Wilhelmina Boyle Academy of Arts: The East Wing of the house has been refurbished to serve accommodate five Artists-in-Residence.

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