Union Street now extends from Borough High Street to Blackfriars
Road. The eastern portion was laid out under an Act passed in 1774 for
making a new workhouse for the parish and for "making a carriage way
from the . . . High Street, through the Greyhound Inn, into Queen Street,
and for improving the passage from thence into Gravel Lane, leading towards
the Black Friars Bridge Road, in the parish of Christ Church." (ref. 188) The first
intention of the vestry had been to build the workhouse at the western end
of the Greyhound Inn, but this proposal fell through and the workhouse was
erected in 1779–80 on a piece of ground specially bought for the purpose
(on the site of Southwark Bridge Road Fire Station). (ref. 16) The eastern end of
Union Street was opened in 1781 and in the following year Union Hall was
erected on the south side for meetings of the justices of the county of Surrey. (ref. 72)
In 1813 Queen Street and its continuation, Duke Street, were renamed
Union Street (ref. 13) and in 1908 Charlotte Street at the western end was also
incorporated into Union Street.
Red Cross Burial Ground
There is a long-established tradition that the burial ground which
was formerly at the north-east corner of Union Street and Red Cross Way,
and which was known as the Cross Bones Burying Ground, was the burial
place of the "single women" of the stews on Bankside. The only proof which
has been adduced for the truth of this tradition is the fact that the ground
remained unconsecrated, although from the middle of the 17th century (fn. a)
until 1853 it was used as a parish burial ground. The reason appears to be,
however, that the ground was held on lease from the Bishop of Winchester
and that it was customary only to consecrate freehold ground. (ref. 189) The ground
was approximately 133 feet north to south and 153 feet east to west. In
1791 the vestry agreed to use the south-west corner of it for a new schoolhouse for the Boys' Charity School which was then "unhappily Situated in
a Dark Alley" near Montague Close. (ref. 16) Seventy boys at this school were
supported by the charity known as Collett's Gift and by voluntary subscriptions and twenty by the Newcomen Charity. (ref. 72) St. Saviour's Parochial Schools
now occupy the whole site of the burial ground.
No. 18 (formerly No. 8)
Circa 1789 George Gwilt, the elder, surveyor to the Surrey and Kent
Commissioners of Sewers, district surveyor of St. George's Parish and surveyor to the Clink Paving Commissioners, built several houses on the north
side of Union Street, east of the burial ground. (ref. 17) He and his son occupied
No. 18 (formerly No. 8) for a number of years. (ref. 31) Here he formed a museum
of local antiquities. (ref. 17) Copies of two of his drawings of Roman pottery are
reproduced on p. 1. His house, a drawing of which is reproduced on
Plate 62a, was pulled down at the end of the 19th century.
Nos. 59 and 61 (formerly 175 and 174)
These premises have been in the same occupation for a long period
and in effect form one building. Most of it dates from early in the 19th
century but it incorporates part of an older house which appears to have been
built in the later half of the 18th century.
The remains of the earlier building include a room at the rear on the
first floor containing plain dado panelling and a stone mantelpiece with
moulded jambs and head with a moulded keystone on which is an incised
lozenge device. On either side of the mantelpiece are tall wood cupboards
similarly panelled to the dado. A dresser extends the full width and height
of the east wall of the room.
Nos. 59 and 61 Union Street. Shop front. Measured drawings by R. G. Absolon
The early 19th-century brick front has flat gauged arches to the
windows and a moulded stone cornice with blocking course. There is a good
shop front of this date with a recessed entrance in the centre and a wide entry
at the east end. A bracketed wood cornice supported on oval Corinthian
pilasters extends the full width of the front. The shop entrance and the
windows on each side have arched fanlights with radiating bars and ornamental wrought-iron protective grilles below. The reveals to the shop entrance and the lower part of the double shop doors and stallboards are panelled.
There are double doors to the entry which are shaped above to a hollow curve
and have plain vertical wood grilles and panelling beneath and at the sides.
On the first floor are two office rooms having communicating folding doors
with large circular panels and reeded architraves with rosettes in the angles.
The other doors and window openings have similar surrounds and with the
window shutters are panelled in the manner of the early 19th century.
In the yard at the rear is an old building of four storeys in brick and
timber with the top storey mainly of wood, louvred on the side next the yard.
The interior is plain with an open timber roof covered with pantiles. The
first and second floors are lighted by ranges of small pane mullioned windows,
the majority being filled with knob glass. The centre part towards the yard
has double-hung delivery doors to each floor. The building was designed for
malting barley but is now only used for storage, the ground floor retaining
the stalls of former stabling. It is in poor condition.
The site of these premises originally formed part of Southwark Park Estate and of the
ground leased in 1820 to Arthur Pott and others by the Bishop of Winchester. (ref. 190)
In 1821 Arthur Pott leased Nos. 59 and 61, Union Street, with the ground behind and the
house next door to John Allsop. (ref. 190) The firm of Allsop, turners and brushmakers, were in occupation
of the premises from 1787 until 1880. Their factory is marked on a plan of the Clink Liberty prepared
for the Clink Paving Commissioners in 1812. The present owners, Joseph Watson & Co., yeast
manufacturers, have held Nos. 59 and 61 since 1882. (ref. 31)
Nos. 100–112 (formerly 56–62)
These houses, which vary in height, form a mid to late 18th-century
group. They comprise two storeys and attic over shops. Most of them have
red brick fronts with hipped dormers in tiled roofs. Some of the windows
retain their flush frames. The houses are in a derelict condition through
damage from enemy action and subsequent deterioration.
Nos. 100–112 can be traced in the rate books back to 1748, when the existing books start.
There is no indication of any rebuilding, though the houses have been much altered and shop fronts
have been inserted. In the middle years of the 19th century Union Street was a centre of "the hat
trade and furriers connected with this Branch of Manufacture," (ref. 83) and the directories show Samuel
Cashshaw "hat manufacturer," at No. 100 in 1817–44; Steele and Foster, "hatters and furriers,"
at No. 102 in 1864–73 and Lincoln and Bennett, "hat manufacturers," at No. 104 in 1850–61.