Tuesday, 23 December 2008
A short walk in Southwark
I was determined to get at least one decent tramp in before Xmas so last week we had a good roam around the North Downs. A flask of tea and a sarni shared overlooking a view across The Weald. What could be better? Mind you, an enjoyable walk doesn't have to consist of miles of muddy footpaths and spectacular scenery, far from it. I spend far more time wandering around the back streets of London than I do in the country, and some of the best urban walks need not be long at all.
Sunday afternoon was the occasion of Ian Bone's Xmas Booze Up in Borough High Street and I decided to walk to the venue from Waterloo. There is nothing remarkable about the route but it's one that I enjoy non the less. I usually walk past the Old Vic Theatre and down The Cut. At the end of this street, on the corner of Blackfriars Road, is The Ring, a pub with a fine collection of old boxing photos on the wall and close to the site of the old fight venue that it's named after.
Crossing Blackfriars Road and continuing along Union Street a short detour to the right brings us into the very wonderful Copperfield Street. Walking into this tiny street is like entering a lost world. I believe that the terrace cottages were inspired by Octavia Hill one of the founding members of the movement for social housing who was very active in this part of South London.
Returning to Union Street another short diversion, this time to the left, brings me to the site of the Cross Bones Burial Ground in Redcross Way. This unconsecrated ground was a final resting place for prostitutes and paupers. In a touching symbol of solidarity with the "outcast dead" people have left notes and ribbons attached to the gates of this semi-derelict site. From here it's two minutes to the bustle of the Xmas shoppers in Borough Market. Another world.