I first moved to the SW London area, as an 18 year old student. I haven’t lived in London since I had my family but I still enjoy visiting the capital and discovering new areas. I especially enjoy walking in London. When I was younger, I was always rushing everywhere and I’m not sure that I fully appreciated my surroundings
This latest walk began at Rotherhithe station. It is located on the South Bank of the River Thames in Southwark. I had caught the train from Clapham Junction which is always frantic. I was surprised by how quiet it was when I came out of Rotherhithe station.
I was with a friend who had done the walk before and she suggested that we start at the Mayflower Pub. This is said to be the oldest pub on the Thames.
The pub is named after the ship which left from here in 1620. Aboard were the Pilgrim Fathers bound for America.
Apparently, the pub is the only place in England licensed to sell American postage stamps.
There is a very attractive outside decked area where you can sit and enjoy the incredible views across the Thames.
The pub is very quaint, traditional and atmospheric. It is filled with interesting artefacts. The sign below is on the way into the pub. It made me think!
The Mayflower’s captain, Christopher Jones, is buried in the nearby St Mary’s Church. He was buried here in 1622, aged 55. The sculpture, representing Captain Christopher Jones, was made by Jamie Sargeant and unveiled in 1995. It’s very impressive.
Our next stop was through the churchyard to St Mary’s Free School. This was founded in 1613 by Peter Hills and Robert Bell. It was originally set up to educate 8 sons of seafarers from the parish. By the early eighteenth century, the school had expanded to educate 65 boys and 50 girls.
I particularly liked the two stone statues of the school children who ‘guard’ the entrance.
As we continued on our walk, I was surprised by how much there was to see along the way. I certainly wasn’t expecting to see the remains of King Edward the Third’s Manor House. It was built in 1350 and was probably used as a place where the King could practise his falconry.
Our next stop was to look at the bronze sculptures known as ‘Dr Salter’s Daydream’. Dr Alfred Salter and his wife Ada were well known for their community work in the Bermondsey slums in the early 1900s. They treated their patients for free. This was before our wonderful (in my opinion) NHS was available. Ada became Mayor of Bermondsey in 1922. She was the first female London Mayor. They had a much beloved daughter, Joyce. Sadly, she died after catching scarlet fever at the age of eight.
There are bronze statues, created by Diane Gorvin, of the whole family and Joyce’s pet cat. Unfortunately, I only managed to get decent photos of two of the figures.
I love the sculpture of the cat on top of the wall, looking as if it is about to pounce. You can just glimpse the Thames behind.
In the other photo of Ada Salter, I like the sky line and the different London sights that can be spotted.
We then concluded our walk back to London Bridge Station. This walk could easily be extended by continuing along the South Bank until Waterloo and beyond!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little stroll with me to a lesser known part of London!