Bermondsey Street

This is St. Mary Magdalen Church, where Mum and Dad were married in October 1942. It stands at the southern end of Bermondsey St., near the junction with Long Lane. It is the oldest building in Bermondsey (or at least parts of it are).

The church is quite interesting architecturally, as parts date from 1290 but others were added over the centuries. By no means a typical English church. You can read more about it here. For the uninitiated, it is an Anglican parish church. Nearby was an abbey that disappeared after Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries.

This is the only photo I have of Mum and Dad’s wedding. Not very clear but it’s all I have.

In a sense, our family life flowed along and across Bermondsey Street. Mum worked as a bookkeeper in a printers’ there when I was small. I crossed it every day on the way to Stogs. Tom must have crossed it thousands of times on the way to work. On one corner was the Yorkshire Grey (“The York”), the family “local” (pub).

Over the years, it has undergone a series of transformations. The area has become trendy (i.e., expensive) and is now referred to as Bermondsey Village. The last time I saw the pub it was a restaurant called (unbelievably) the Honest Cabbage. Now it’s a gastropub and has been renamed The Garrison. In the recent photo here it looks a bit more like it used to, though far too bright.

I have some photos of the pub and the pavement outside. Kids weren’t allowed inside in those days, so while the grown-ups were imbibing the children drank soft drinks or shandy (beer and lemonade), ate packets of crisps and played together. Mum sometimes played the piano on a Saturday night and everybody sang along. There was much more of a community spirit in those days, perhaps due to the War, which was still very recent. The neighborhood had been heavily bombed; many people had been killed and many more left homeless.

This photo is of Ethel and friend Flo enjoying themselves in The York (no, it’s not the Queen raising her glass).

I assume this photo was taken outside The York. It shows three Tom Bladons (my great-grandfather, grandfather and uncle). The child is my brother. So it’s four generations.

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6 Responses to Bermondsey Street

  1. Hello Peter:

    Out of curiosity, are the ladies drinking Guinness stout or English Beer (ale)?



  2. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Omar. I can’t make out the label but I suspect it’s stout.

  3. Marian Ukiah says:

    My two uncles – Ron and Cyril Daniel owned the Yorkshire Grey in the 1950’s. Do you have any recollection of this.

  4. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Marianne. Yes, I do remember them – and my Mum much more.

    If you haven’t seen them already, look at the photos I took recently of the interior of the pub (

    You wouldn’t have any old pics of the place by any chance, would you?

  5. My Mum worked at the Hat Factory in Bermondsey Street back in the 50’s (forget the name ) , she had many tales about the making of Policeman’s helmet’s & all sorts of other “special headwear ” .. i did read your your section on Bermondsey Street & “mad as a hatter ” smiles !!

  6. thebarrowboy says:

    I’ll have to ask my Mum what it was called.

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