Coal hole plate made in Southwark

Lost Industries of Southwark Education Resources

Worksheet 4: Here - Using Document 4

Inns and Carriers in Victorian Southwark


1.Look at the list of carriers for the Inns in Document 4. Using a map of south eastern England, mark all the places where the carriers are going to.

2.With your coloured pen, draw a line linking Southwark with the carrier’s destination. Use a different colour for each inn.

3.Why do you think that the building of the railways lead to the destruction of the old coaching inns?

4.Either: Using pictures of Victorian working people to help you, choose one of the carriers mentioned in our list and draw him. Imagine that you are that person. What is your work like? Imagine something that happened to you during your day’s work on the road. Write a story based on what happened to you and how you would tell your wife and children when you got home.

5.Or: Charles Dickens wrote that the old Southwark coaching inns were ‘Great, rambling, queer, old places…with Galleries, and passages, and staircases, wide enough and antiquated enough to furnish material for a hundred ghost stories.’ Write a ghost story set in an old Southwark inn.



Sam Weller at the White Hart (from Pickwick Papers


Coaching Inns

Before the triumph of the railways, Borough High Street was full of coaching inns. Old London Bridge was too narrow for the coaches to cross! In the 17th century the playwright Thomas Dekker wrote that Borough High Street was ‘a continued ale house with not a shop to be seen between.’ By Charles Dickens’s time there were still six stage coach inns in Southwark. Each coaching inn would offer a passenger and mail service to various destinations outside of London. Passengers would go to that particular inn to catch the coach, and if they journeyed back to London they would be dropped back of there. Some inns specialised in goods transportation by van, wagon or cart. A ‘van’ was a covered or enclosed wagon.

Here are some names of Borough High Street inns in 1841.

191, The Catherine Wheel, 70, The George, 132, The Half Moon, 54, The King’s Head, 102, The Nag’s Head, 84, The Queen’s Head, 75, The Talbot, 62 The White Hart. The numbers refer to their street address. Only The King’s Head and The George remain - the King’s Head was rebuilt in the later 19th century, and The George, the last remaining coaching inn in Greater London, is now owned by The National Trust.




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