The day I went to photograph the school, my wife and I also went to see the ceramic poppies at the Tower. I will never take to the gradual conversion of The City into Manhattan.

X Tower Bridge 2

X Tower Bridge

There was a long queue of people waiting to enter the base of the Bridge to climb up and walk across it. There is now a transparent floor to allow people to look down on to the Bridge below.

Poppies 2


Poppies 1

The refurbishment of the main building looks to be nearing completion. The new blocks of flats have enclosed it on two sides – where the art building used to stand (to the east) and behind, blocking the view to the river.

School makeover


School makeover 2


Gap to art building

This is the east side of the building. The river is straight ahead and the flats to the right stand where the art building used to be.

Gap between flats

This photo was taken on the approach to Tower Bridge. To the right (north) is another block of flats.

Click to see more.


Link to The Guardian article

Four women have lunch in the roof garden on Adelaide House, overlooking the River Thames and Tower Bridge, circa 1934.

Photo taken in 1934

My friend Alan directed me to this photo, which dates from 1920. It was originally posted here, in a larger size. Tower Bridge is just off the bottom of the picture. The large number of barges is something that I remember. It was possible to board them, and even go down inside them. The roofs of all the warehouses behind the wharves are clearly visible. The Pool was still “London’s Larder” at that time.

I just received a copy of Southwark Revisited by John D. Beasley. It has great photos (many are of Peckham and Camberwell as well as Bermondsey), plus very informative texts.

One photo that caught my eye was of the health centre that everyone knew as the Solarium, in Grange Road. As a boy, I went there for dental treatment. I found a comment on the London-se1 website about the building:

“I live in Solarium Court (the flats were built in the old original Health Centre). The Health Centre was opened in 1929 and was the first health centre in the UK. It was built in the middle of the Bermondsey slums to treat the local poor with TB and other diseases. There was a solarium on the roof (hence Solarium Court).” It’s a great Art Deco building.

It also had an Aerotone bath, a forerunner of today’s jacuzzi, that was prized for its therapeutic qualities. Mum just told me that she had been to the Solarium for back treatment, in the bath, on the afternoon that we learned that my Uncle Tommy had died. This is a photo of the same kind of bath at Manchester’s famous Victoria Baths.

Today I received my copy of this book by Stephen Humphrey, full of wonderful old photos of Bermondsey and with some interesting background information as well. It can be purchased from

I saw an interesting report on TV about an ancient graveyard near the Borough Market. It is a fascinating piece of local history and offers a revealing insight into the sexual hypocrisy of earlier times – prostitutes licensed to operate by the bishop!

You can read about the site here and here

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