Tuesday, 28 December 2010

49 Bankside - SE1

I love the house at 49 Bankside for a number of reasons.  I love it because it's a beautiful 300 year old house; I love it because it is stuck there on Bankside next to the Globe theatre, with tourists streaming by, the last remnant of a row of houses in an area that is no longer residential; I love the crooked front door; but the thing that really seals it for me is the plaque on the front of the house which claims all sorts of glories for this rather unassuming residence - all of which are apparently untrue.  The plaque says that Sir Christopher Wren lived here whilst re-building St Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire, but as the house dates from around 1710 when work on the cathedral was over, this is unlikely.  Even more unlikely is the claim that Catherine of Aragon rested here when she first arrived in London.  Who knows what the true history of the house, know as Cardinal's Wharf, is - it certainly represents the gentrification of an area that was formerly occupied by brothels and disreputable taverns (which were frequented by players from Shakespeare's Globe) and it's certainly a survivor - both from demolition and from the blitz - and that makes it pretty special in my book, whoever lived there.


  1. There's a great book about the house with details of how Bankside used to be when it was first built. Fascinating stuff for an amateur history buff. http://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Thames-People-Lived-There/dp/0701175931

  2. Thanks George - I am going to order a copy!

  3. Just finished reading The House by the Thames by Gillian Tindall. fascinating stuff and very well written!
    Peter Wright