Following the comments about bomb damage, I thought you might be interested in a bit more detail.
I have a copy of the LCC Bomb Damage maps, which mapped all damage during WW2 in London.
They show that the buildings in the south east corner were destroyed (about three houses each on the southern and eastern sides), and the north western corner had from complete to irrepairable damage, possibly related to a V2 rocket which landed just to the north on Union Street.
All other houses in the square sustained some damage, ranging from "General Blast Damage - not structural" to "Seriously Damaged; doublful if repairable".
The map shows the garden in the centre of the square having a playground and a bandstand in the centre, with 10 small trees and two large ones (assuming the OS were being accurate, which they usually were).
What an interesting map to have - a bit like some I have for the Great Fire of London. Both events are good examples of the way that humankind continally rebuilds from even the most awful disasters.
Your description of the square with its gardens and the bandstand in the middle evokes the most colourful images of life in the square before the war. I wonder if it was like that in the 19th century too - when my forbears lived there. I notice that in Rabbie's photo the garden was fenced - perhaps, like some of the larger gardens in London, a key was required for tenants to be able to visit?
But thankyou for an interesting letter.
Margaret in Oz.
I wonder if you would consult that Bomb damage map again - to see if Penton Place was also bombed. Two years ago when I was in England I tried to find family houses that used to be at Numbers 9 and then Number 12 Penton Place, Walworth - but found the sites occupied by a 1960s development. I assumed then that the originals were bombed - it would be good to know if I was correct in this.
Margaret in Oz
Penton Place was relatively unscathed. The only significant damage was on the corner of Amelia Street. Other than that it was scattered "minor" and "general" non-structural blast damage.
It's not available on the web, but if you let me know what the arguments are, I'll look and try and settle them...
The map is the 2005 publication from the London Topographical Society (www.topsoc.org), a fantastic organisation whose publications are usually worth (in money and more personal terms) many times the subscription.
I'm away in Barcelona until the weekend now, but will check back thereafter.
Thanks for that. I can then assume that the developers just moved into Penton Place and demolished what the bombs had not. Interesting!
Barcelona sounds marvellous - have fun!
Margaret in Oz.
Near Tabard Park - Porlock Street in fact a primary school was bombed, I remember playing in the ruins.
Where the boiler house is at Guys up to the railway line London bridge station,
we called it 'fairyland' as kids because rosebay willow herb grew in abundance and someone had put tiddlers in the water filled pits!
Pub at the end of bermondsey street/maze pond...I found some stripper outfits there! red hearts wiv white fur around them on a brassiere....mum would not me have them and threw them away...
Swan street/corner of Trinity street? where jonas drivers are now and swan court is.
Guinness Trust, Pages walk
my aunt lived in council flats near robert browning school, a bomb dropped nearby and the blast shook all the windows loosened the frames, which were not fixed till late 80's or even 90's!
In Lambeth - top end of Gordon Grove, Loughborough Junction ( my brother cant dispute this one as he played there!) a train was de-railed by the bombing, perched precariously at an angle)
lots more as well but will have to give you a break! thank you Loafer..:-)
I thought you might all be interested in this reply I received from a query to the Lambeth Local History Library. Because you all live nearby you might be able to go to see the maps Stephen refers to - they sound fascinating!
Margaret in Oz
"Nelson Square was built between about 1807 and 1814, and remained intact until the Second World War. This library holds many large-scale maps of the square from the 19th and 20th centuries. The only (slight) change I can discern is that the outer railing of the garden was at one time oval in shape, and that it was afterwards made oblong to mirror the square in general, making the roadway narrower. The houses and the pavements in front of them appear to have been the same throughout. A parochial map of 1821 (for Christ Church Parish) has the same plan as the Ordnance Survey of 1893, with two access roads from Blackfriars Road and from Charlotte Street (later Union Street).
The earliest proper illustrations we have of the square were taken for the National Monuments Record during the Second World War. Although one corner of the square was bombed, most of it was left intact, and so it was postwar redevelopment rather than bombing that destroyed most of the square.
Volume XXII of The Survey of London (entitled Bankside) devotes Chapter 26 to Nelson Square.
Some answers for you - the question is, who won the arguments...?!
"Near Tabard Park - Porlock Street in fact a primary school was bombed, I remember playing in the ruins. "
Comparatively light damage - “Seriouly damaged, but repairable” to the south of Porlock Street down to Long Lane. A single destroyed large building to the east of Kipling Street on the other side of the Nelson Recreation Ground.
"Where the boiler house is at Guys up to the railway line London bridge station,
we called it 'fairyland' as kids because rosebay willow herb grew in abundance and someone had put tiddlers in the water filled pits! "
I'm not sure where the boiler house is, but virtually the whole the area bounded by St Thomas Street to the north, Great Maze Pond to the west, Snowsfield to the south (apart from the houses actually facing Snowsfield) and Weston Street to the east was completely destroyed.
"Pub at the end of bermondsey street/maze pond...I found some stripper outfits there! red hearts wiv white fur around them on a brassiere....mum would not me have them and threw them away... "
"Swan street/corner of Trinity street? where jonas drivers are now and swan court is."
General damage to pub on southern corner. Also general damage to houses on northern corner but complete destruction of large building behind them. Pub on western corner more seriously damaged no damage to eastern corner.
"Guinness Trust, Pages walk"
A bit unusual this one - mostly minor general blast damage apart from in the two central blocks, one “section” in from the north, where there was complete destruction or damage beyond repair - a very small contained area though.
"my aunt lived in council flats near robert browning school, a bomb dropped nearby and the blast shook all the windows loosened the frames, which were not fixed till late 80's or even 90's! "
Not sure where this is. Can you give a street junction to work from.
"In Lambeth - top end of Gordon Grove, Loughborough Junction ( my brother cant dispute this one as he played there!) a train was de-railed by the bombing, perched precariously at an angle) "
Not much damage to Gordon Grove itself, but some from "minor" to "damaged beyond repair" to the east side of Foreign Street centred 8/9 houses from the southern end. A bomb probably landed in the gardens or on the railway line itself. Foreign Street no longer exists - now redeveloped possibly as a result of the damage.
Next time you go past those houses in Nelson Square, would you have a really good look at the kind of locks that they have on their doors. I suppose the main lock will now be a modern Yale lock, but the old ones that might have fitted my key MIGHT still be visibleeven if they re not used. I would love to confirm my key story!!
My initial request of 21st January has turned into the most marvellous saga for me - when I tell my friends they say that it sounds like an episode from "The Da Vinci Code"!
Margaret in Oz.