This is a pretty little cobbled* alleyway to be found in Bermondsey.

The alley first appeared when the area was first being turned from fields into homes, with a narrow gap left between the houses fronting onto Bermondsey Street, leading to the fields behind.

By the 1740s the area was more developed, and the alley was known as Bells Rents, but was longer and straighter than it is today. The current short layout emerged by the 1790s.

The current frontage to the alley with a covered walkway didn’t emerge until later, probably in the 1860s You’d probably not guess it from looking at them, but the buildings fronting the alley were all damaged during WW2, but now look as if they have been untouched since they were first built.

They’ve changed a fair bit though, the old shuttered windows on the northern side are actually modern, having been added over the bland original frontage by a film crew, and the coffee shop was once a nylon hosiery manufacturer.

Down the alley, the graffiti-covered wall is also new as it was a plain white wall in 2009, gained a Bankey-esque graffiti of two “rude kids” in 2015, but that was painted over last year with a much less appealing bit of decoration.

The rear of the alley is the Tyers Estate, a series of housing blocks erected in the 1930s that replaced the large East Kinsey and East Calf Kid factory — which was a leather tanners.

The estate is named after Jonathan Tyers who was born locally but better known for buying the Vauxhall pleasure gardens and developing what was mainly a rural brothel into one of the top entertainment gardens of the time. He is buried at St Mary Magdalen church in Bermondsey Street.

Something new is a striking timber-clad cluster of three houses next to the alley that was added in 2006.

Something arty is also down here – the Shared, a Shard-like cluster of stone pieces crafted at community workshops that took place on the Tyers Estate in 2012. The pieces were assembled and incorporated into the final work of art by the artist, Austin Emery.

It was unveiled in September 2014.

The alley curves around the corner, and to a dead end.

*yes, I know they’re setts, but everyone calls them cobbles.

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One comment
  1. Francesca Bosenius says:

    Very good.
    Any idea why it was named after a Tiwn in West Wales?

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