Place:Southwark, London, England

Alt namesThe Boroughsource: Wikipedia
TypeFormer parish, Borough (metropolitan)
Coordinates51.498°N 0.083°W
Located inLondon, England     (1889 - 1965)
Also located inSurrey, England     ( - 1889)
See alsoSouthwark (London Borough), Greater London, EnglandLondon borough covering the area since 1965
Contained Places
Southwark Cathedral ( 1900 - 1965 )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Southwark, which is on the south side of the River Thames, forms one of the oldest parts of London. It historically formed an ancient borough in the county of Surrey, and was made up of a number of parishes. It was originally independent of the City of London, but increasingly came under its influence and jurisdiction. By the late 19th and early-20th centuries Southwark was an inner district of London, and experienced rapid depopulation. It is now the location of the City Hall offices of the Greater London Authority.



The ancient borough of Southwark was also known simply as The Borough—or Borough—and this name, in distinction from 'The City', has persisted as an alternative name for the area. Southwark was also simultaneously referred to as the Ward of Bridge Without when administered by the City (from 1550 to 1900) and as an Aldermanry until 1978.

Much of Southwark was originally owned by the church—the greatest reminder of monastic London is Southwark Cathedral, originally the priory of St Mary Overy.

Local governance

The ancient borough of Southwark initially consisted of the Surrey parishes of Southwark St. George the Martyr, Southwark St. Margaret and Southwark St. Mary Magdalene and Southwark St. Olave. St. Margaret and St. Mary Magdalene were abolished in 1541 and their former area combined to create Southwark St. Saviour. Around 1555 Southwark St. Thomas was split off from Southwark St. Olave, and in 1733 Southwark St. John Horsleydown was also split off. They each formed separate parishes which lasted until the turn of the 20th century.

In 1855 the parishes came into the area of responsibility of the Metropolitan Board of Works. Southwark St. George the Martyr was large enough to be governed by a vestry. Southwark St. Saviour was combined with Southwark Christchurch (the former liberty of Paris Garden) to form the Southwark St. Saviour's District.

Southwark St. John Horsleydown, Southwark St. Olave and Southwark St. Thomas were grouped to form the Southwark St. Olave District. In 1889 Southwark St. Saviour's District, Southwark St. Olave District, Southwark St. George the Martyr parish, Newington and Rotherhithe all became part of the County of London. Southwark St. Olave and Southwark St. Thomas were combined as a single parish in 1896.

The local government arrangements were reorganised in 1900 with a Metropolitan Borough of Southwark created comprising the parishes (or liberty) of

The St. Olave District parishes to the east became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Bermondsey (see separate article).

In 1965 Bermondsey and Southwark Metropolitan Boroughs joined together again along with the Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell to form the current London Borough of Southwark in Greater London.

The Old Kent Road

the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

The Old Kent Road is a road in Southwark and forms part of Watling Street, the Roman road which ran from Dover to Holyhead.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Southwark.

Greater London Research Tips

  • See under "London" and also under "Middlesex", "Surrey" and "Kent" for key information about Greater London's jurisdictions and records, plus links to indexes, reference aids and Family History Library holdings.
  • The London Metropolitan Archives (40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB) holds records relating to the whole of Greater London. Ancestry (subscription necessary) has produced transcriptions and provides images of lists of baptisms, marriages, and burials in churches across Greater London. These lists start in 1813 and stretch into the 20th century.
  • GENUKI has a long list of websites and archive holders in addition to London Metropolitan Archives above. (The list from GENUKI is not maintained so well that there is never a dead link in it. However, it is often worth googling the title given on the page just in case the contributor has reorganized their website.)
  • GENUKI also has a list of the Archives and Local Studies Libraries for each of the boroughs of Greater London.
  • The London Encyclopaedia by Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert. An e-book available online through Google, originally published by Pan Macmillan. There is a search box in the left-hand pane.
  • London Lives. A very useful free website for anyone researching their London ancestors between the years 1690-1800. This is a fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.
  • London Ancestor, a website belonging to one of the London family history societies, has a list of transcriptions of directories from the 18th century, listing in one case "all the squares, streets, lanes, courts, yards, alleys, &C. in and about Five Miles of the Metropolis..." In other parts of the same website are maps of various parts of 19th century London and Middlesex.
  • The proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's central criminal court, 1674-1913. A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. This website is free to use.
  • Registration Districts in London, Registration Districts in Middlesex, Registration Districts in Surrey, Registration Districts in Kent, are lists of the registration districts used for civil registration (births, marriages and deaths, as well as the censuses). There are linked supporting lists of the parishes which made up each registration district, the dates of formation and abolition of the districts, the General Register Office numbers, and the local archive-holding place. This work has been carried out by Brett Langston under the agency of GENUKI (Genealogy United Kingdom and Ireland) and UKBMD - Births, Marriages, Deaths & Censuses on the Internet.
  • The Victoria County History Series only has as yet one volume dealing with London. This outlines the history of the religious houses of the borough of Southwark and the cities of London and Westminster. Most of the material will predate most genealogical searches.
  • Old Maps of Southwark provided by the London Borough of Southwark.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Southwark. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Old Kent Road. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • The map at the top of the page is based on a map from London Ancestor.
  • The second map, "Southwark areas", is copied from Wikipedia and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. The original uploader was Se16boy.