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Thursday, 29 June 2017

Borough Market

My how the time flies. A full nine months later and here we are again. The latest wander courtesy of Andrew Duncan's Walking London was the Bankside and Southwark walk. A favourite area, revisited after our visit to Crossbones Graveyard last year and one of massive historical interest. Southwark, south of the river provides a counterpoint to the City of London, the city of commerce, the city of labour,the city of money-making. Southwark on the other hand is where purses were emptied. The diversions of the area are perhaps not to the tastes of the present day encompassing as they did animal cruelty; bear baiting and cock fighting, boozing, whoring and perhaps worst of all (at least as far as the Puritans were concerned) -- playhouses. The Globe was transported from Shoreditch by the Lord Chamberlains Men in 1599 led by Charles Burbage and including little known thesp. William Shakespeare. The Rose, constructed in 1587 is also commemorated by a plaque. The part played by Sam Wanamaker in the reconstructed Globe is marked as is several possible sites for the theatre although the site which sis mooted as the most likely is Anchor Terrace on Park Street where archaeological remains of Shakespeare's "wooden O" have been found. The Theatre burned to the ground in 1613 after a spark from a cannon used in a performance set fire to the thatch.Fortunately noone was harmed although one spectator did reportedly have his breeches set on fire, fortunately extinguished with bottled ale. The trip also took in Borough Market, home to Grade A Masala Dosa and pretty good (though not up to Italian standard) gelato -- a big thank you to Frigidarium for ruining me for life as far as Icy Cream goodness is concerned. Borough Market stands in the shadow of Southwark cathedral, originally an Augustinian priory built in 1106 - it retains its Gothic floorplan although its nave dates back only to the late nineteenth century. In fact the structure only became a cathedral in 1905 with the foundation of diocese of Southwark in 1905. The cathedral has links to Southwark's actors, Shakespeare's brother was buried there in 1607, Fletcher and Massinger were buried there. Theres also a local American connection, John Harvard's family ran the Queen's Head Inn on Borough High Street, the main route south and therefore starting point for the pilgrimage to Canterbury as recorded by Chaucer -- "“It happened in that season that one day /In Southwark, at The Tabard, as I lay / Ready to go on pilgrimage and start /For Canterbury, most devout at heart /At night there came into that hostelry / Some nine and twenty in a company /Of sundry folk happening then to fall /In fellowship, and they were pilgrims all /That towards Canterbury meant to ride/ The rooms and stables of the inn were wide / They made us easy, all was of the best.” Equally buried a world away from his roots in Southwark Cathedral Mahomet Weyonomon Sachem of the Mohegans of Connecticut was buried in this churchyard 1736, a rememberance of the fact that London has always been a world city. More recent events were also evidenced sadly. The sight of armed police freaks me out on holiday. To see them on the streets of London was quite a shock -- the area was also in receipt of dozens of remembrance hearts - a project launched through twitter as an answer to the appalling events of 3 June. Happily normalcy seems to have triumphed with Borough thronged with people - gay straight male female black white yellow brown - a living rebuttal of the dicks who seek to divide us.