The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.505110, -0.088792


The area on the map is a very rough indication of Southwark in the 17th century, using this map from 1720 as a guide.

5 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

"From the 16th century until the outbreak of the Civil War Southwark was...famous as...a pleasure ground of the citizens of London, a character for which, with its privileged places and its exclusion from regulations which bound the City, it was peculiarly fitted. It contained in the 16th century rings for the baiting of bears and bulls and bowling alleys. Several famous theatres were erected in the Clink and Paris Garden Liberties after play-actors had, in 1575, been formally expelled from the City by the Corporation.

"In the period after the Restoration the town, true to its disorderly tradition, was a stronghold of faction and dissent. (fn. 81) A reason urged in 1664 in favour of a bridge from Westminster to Lambeth was that it would provide for soldiers better access to Southwark, 'the nest of fanatics' (fn. 82) ; and in 1665 most of the sectaries about London were said to be lodged in the borough. (fn. 83) "…

"By the 17th century, Southwark was the second largest urban area in England. The riverfront became increasingly important as overseas and domestic trade expanded. Landing places near the City were at a premium and new wharves and warehouses were built to accommodate the growing trade."…

Southwark theatre district of the Borough of Southwark in 1746:…

Civic and jurisprudential center of the Borough of Southwark in 1746: here were located the courts, prison (counter)…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Thames at Southwark also featured "tenter grounds" for drying/bleaching sheets (see the map above), a standard feature of 17th century urban life in Holland too. See the painting, "Bleaching Ground in the Countryside Near Haarlem" by Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael (Dutch, 1628/9–82)…

Bill  •  Link

Southwark, Borough of, on the south of the Thames, long known as the Borough, takes its name from being originally the fortification of London on the south. Being on the high road to London from the Continent it appears to have been inhabited from the earliest times. During the Roman occupation many villas were built here for the wealthier Roman colonists. George Gwilt's Map, compiled in 1819, shows some twenty distinct finds of Roman remains about 10 feet below the present surface, and connected with villas and burial-places, and more have been discovered since. In the construction of Southwark Street evidences of dwellings built on piles (like lake dwellings) came to light.
Southwark was at the first confined to within a short distance of the river, known as the gildable manor, and was from time immemorial a borough. "The burgesses in 1356 say they had formerly a charter franchise which was destroyed by fire, they pray an exemplification of the same, and it was allowed." Bit by bit Southwark came under the City jurisdiction, but never completely so; and although made a ward - Bridge Ward Without - it was never like other wards, it conferred no citizenship on the inhabitants and gave them no privileges.
Southwark, from the earliest times, was the chief thoroughfare to and from London and the southern counties and towns, including Canterbury and the cities of the Continent. This is sufficient to account for the large number of inns, such as the Bear at the Bridge foot, the King's Head, the Talbot or Tabard of Chaucer's "Canterbury Pilgrims", and the White Hart, which was the headquarters of Jack Cade during his brief occupancy of the City and Borough (1450).
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... the George Inn opened during the Medieval Period and shows up in the first map of Southwark made in 1543. It was frequented by Charles Dickens (who gave it a mention in Little Dorrit) and today is one of the last remaining galleried inns in the United Kingdom. It is a Grade I listed building and is a perfect place for a pint."

A gorgeous picture of The George:…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

By Josiah Child’s second marriage on 14 June, 1663 ... he returned to London and built a new brewery in Southwark.

‘Much of the beer was small and stinking, and the rest ill-tasted and unfit for the sea’ but it was good enough for the navy and the royal household.


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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.