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Takes its name from Bermondsey Abbey which covered Bermondsey Square and the ground between Grange Walk and Long Walk. The street is on the line of the nave of the abbey church. ‘The Bermondsans,’ wrote a correspondent in the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1808, ‘for a love of alteration have this year contrived a new road of no perceptible use or convenience through the very heart of the existing walls of the Abbey.’ The principal gateway of the abbey was removed for this purpose. The eastern gateway in Grange Walk had already been demolished in 1760.

Neckinger Mills, formerly Bevington & Sons Leather Mills, was one of the most famous tanneries in Bermondsey producing light leathers for shoes and fancy goods. The tanning pits were located beside the River Neckinger. It was said that the fish oil used in the tanning process did wonders for the hair and skin of the (largely female) leather workers. The mills opened in 1801 and continued production until 1981; since then the building has been converted into offices and studios.

Excerpted from The London Encyclopaedia by kind permission of the Publishers, Pan MacMillan.

see also:
Abbey Road

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