Exploring Bankside – Bishops, Bards, Bears and Bordellos

A freezing cold night in January I found myself ensconced in the Thameside Inn having stumbled upon the ruins of the Bishop of Winchester’s Palace in the narrow lanes near Borough Market. Supping a pint of Adnam’s Ghost Ship from Southwold, I looked across the river at the City lights reflecting in the Thames and the flashing blue lights on the ferry coming in to dock at London Bridge. I must make a video of this short deeply storied strip of the river between London Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge, I resolved as I lined up the second pint.

A couple of weeks later a friend and former colleague messaged me to say that I had to visit Hopton’s Almshouses just behind Tate Modern, a rare secluded gem hidden amongst the rush and tear of Southwark. This is what gave me the final push to go and shoot the Bankside stroll in this video.

Shakespeare's Globe, Bankside

The Route:
Crossing Blackfriars Bridge we first visit Hopton’s Almhouses built in the 17th Century. Then we pass through Tate Modern and then Cardinal’s Wharf where Sir Christopher Wren stayed during the rebuilding of St Paul’s Cathedral. Next door is Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, a reconstruction of the famous Elizabethan theatre. We pass along Bear Alley the site of a Tudor Bear pit and into Park Street where we find the sites of the Rose Theatre and the original Globe Theatre. Our Bankside amble then passes the notorious Clink Prison and the ruins of the Bishop of Winchester’s Palace before ending at the reconstruction of the Golden Hinde ship famously skippered by Sir Francis Drake on circumnavigations of the globe.