London Bridge brings my trail into the 20th century. The station first opened in 25th February 1900 on the City and South London Railway. The Jubilee Line arrived in October 1999, which saw the station comprehensively modernised. The ticket halls are now in the style you’d expect from the new stations further east on the extension.
Sadly nothing remains of the original station building. It was preserved for many years as a derelict building down a side street en route to the rail station, and can be viewed here. It was only demolished in 2012 and I must admit passing it several times without having any idea of its former function.
The tube station serves one of the busiest rail stations in the country, itself in the process of being completely revamped. It is also right underneath The Shard, the UK’s tallest building.
The Pub: The Southwark Tavern, 22 Southwark Street, SE1 1TU
There are no shortage of pubs around London Bridge, in fact you are spoilt for choice. For that reason I’ve always enjoyed drinking round here. In the end we chose to go to The Southwark Tavern, one of my favourites in the area. It is very conveniently located right by the tube exit as well as the ever popular Borough Market.
The pub itself is set on two floors. The ground floor is one large room with the main bar in the centre. The ale selection is solid, with Doombar, Brakespear Oxford Gold amongst others on offer. For the fans of Belgian bottled beers, there is also a good selection here too. There is also a good gastropub food menu on offer here too.
The basement is divided into two areas – an open plan area mainly set aside for people dining at the pub, and several small booths that span the perimeter of this. In a homage to the prisons that used to populate this area of London back in the day, the booths have been labelled as ‘cells.’ Indeed ‘The Clink’, a notorious prison that gave its name to the slang term for jail, was located a short distance away and is still to this day commemorated by The Clink Prison Museum. The exposed brickwork, atmospheric wall lamps and bars between the ‘cells’ all helps to further build on that historic link. The booths themselves are decorated with various adverts for old beers across the world.
The Southwark Tavern is a very popular pub, both with the countless workers from the nearby offices, as well as people like me who enjoy drinking in this area! As I said before, London Bridge is an area with plenty of good pubs – I’d strongly recommend starting here and then exploring the others in and around Borough Market and Borough High Street. But if you only have time for one, this is probably the best place to go in my opinion. It is a very tough call mind you!