One of the smartest looking alleys in London is a passage underneath the northern side of Southwark Bridge, with ornate tiling, decorative panels and delightful lighting.
The alley came into existence in 1921 when the current Southwark Bridge was constructed by the Bridge House Trust, an ancient trust that manages the bridges within the City of London at no cost to the taxpayer. The passage is set back from the riverside slightly, so there’s a nice slightly maze-like appeal to the passage as you go in and turn corners to get back out again.
It’s the heart of the passage that’s the real delight, being a tiled corridor lined with historic images of the bridge and this side of London.
Look at the detailing on the tiles though, the dark brown uprights concealing the uplighters, and decorated with the crest of the City of London. The tiling makes for such a dramatic break from the modern grey stone city office block style that leads to the passage.
If you can find it, on the western side of the alley behind the railings is a small plaque added in January 2000 to record that near the site used to be the warehouses of the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers and the nearby Fruiterers Alley.
The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers is still active and promoting fruit growing in the UK.
Each October, the Company makes a formal presentation of fruit to the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House, in a settlement that dates back to 1748 following a dispute over taxes on fruit being brought into the city.