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  19th century painting of St.Thomas St.

Southwark has a unique historic and literary heritage and an authentic historic ambiance, with beautiful views of the Thames and the City of London.

The tour gives an introduction to the historic development and literary heritage of Southwark from Roman times to the present day. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed that Southwark was more than just the first suburb of Roman Londinium - it appears to have been an integral part of the Roman City. Its location at the south end of London Bridge made it a key strategic and commercial site. This was where the great Medieval Inns were located, and from where Chaucer's pilgrimage set off for Canterbury. Its independence from the City made it a haven for 'undesirable' elements and it became the home of the Medieval Stews (Brothels), and also the home of the Shakespearean Stage. By the Victorian period its nature had changed completely into an industrial centre, home of notorious slums, of debtors' prisons, and of charitable hospitals. It became one of the main inspirations for Dickens' London fiction, as his father was imprisoned here for debt when Dickens was a young boy.


ITINERARY (please note that it may be necessary to vary the route without prior warning)

Starting Point: Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret

  • Old St. Thomas's Hospital & Guy's Hospital
  • The White Hart which appears in Dickens' Pickwick Papers & Shakespeare's Henry VI
  • The George Inn - London's only surviving galleried inn
  • The site of the Tabard, starting point of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
  • Hop Exchange and Borough Market
  • Nancy's Steps - London Bridge
  • Southwark Cathedral
  • Winchester Palace medieval remains and site of Clink Prison
  • The Anchor - medieval brothel, then a brewery owned by Dr. Johnson's friends
  • Rose Alley, Rose Theatre, Bear, Gardens and Hope Theatre
  • Globe Theatre

OPTIONS: Groups visiting the Old Operating Theatre Museum will be given a talk by Curatorial staff. The tour can be tailored to individual requirements, it can be taken in either direction and can be complemented with visits to Southwark Cathedral, the Globe Theatre, H.M.S. Belfast or the Clink Prison displays. The tour can concentrate on a particular period or on Chaucer, Shakespeare or Dickens. Adult groups might like to include a stop in a historic pub of which the most famous are the George and the Anchor. A day's visit might include a visit to the Globe, Walk, Lunch in the Anchor, Walk, end with visit to the Museum.

Fees for school visit and walk

Walks are charged at £4.25 for school children and £5.25 for adults in addition to any entry charges to the Museum. A walk and a visit to the Museum costs £6.50 for school children and £7.50 for other groups. There is a minimum charge for a booking, at the cost of 10 visitors.

To fill in our on-line Booking Form click here: or ring the museum on 020 7188 2679 or 020 8806 4325


The Old Operating Theatre Museum Resources Pack
operating theatre image
Last Updated: 05/01/05 Resources Page



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