Sally Kindberg looks at the Thames

Last saturday night’s view of Southwark Bridge and the Shard from the end of narrow Stew Lane at low tide, mudlarks with torches searching the foreshore visible below.  There would have been steps down here where you could hire a boat to take you across the Thames and see a bit of bear baiting, or visit a brothel aka stew and encounter the Winchester Geese – women who worked in them, and so called because the Bishops of Winchester were the brothels’ landlords.  The detail from an early map shows what the river frontage on the north shore looked like in Elizabethan times.

Stew Lane was deserted, apart from a young lad, heavily cowled and huddled in a stone alcove, one of the 11,018 currently homeless in London, figures according to CHAIN (Combined Homelessness and Information Network).  The City continues to fascinate and appal at the same time.


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