After a couple of weeks’ break, some of us are feeling a little bit rusty (not to mention hungover). So today’s Monday Miscellanea will be somewhat reduced from its normal format, just to ease us gently (and hopefully quietly) into the New Year…
This Day In London’s History
1864: Formal opening of Southwark Street, linking Blackfriars Bridge and London Bridge, south of the Thames.
The construction of Southwark Street was of the first projects undertaken by the Metropolitan Board of Works – a non-elected body created to manage the construction of new infrastructure, such as roads and sewers, to handle London’s accelerating growth in the latter half of the 19th century.
Although the new road provided a valuable link between Blackfriars Bridge and London Bridge (and thus the approach to Southwark Bridge), and also provided a route for a much-needed new sewer, its construction necessitated the clearance of many of the area’s slums, resulting in a significant increase in homelessness.
The picture above shows an illustration of Southwark Street from a year or two after its construction. However thanks to some slightly more advanced technology, those who are curious about what the street looks like in modern times can find out in full panoramic splendour here.
The Metropolitan Board of Works was widely unpopular – its non-elected status gave a strong appearance of a lack of accountability, and it was abolished in 1889 amid squabbles and claims of widespread corruption.