A lovely old cabbie claimed this evening that Tooley Street was once called Piss Street, because of the high quality urine to be had from the monks at the cathedral, which was used by the leather trade to tan hides.
I think he was pulling your leg - Southwark Cathedral has only been such since the end of the 19th century, before then it was a parish church.
Tooley St is a corruption of St Olave's St after the church that used to be on the river side of the street. Every map I've seen has a variation of that name.
The leather industry was centred a bit further south. There was an abbey with monks, but that was Bermondsey Abbey, dissolved under the reign of Henry VIII, and the leather trade started much later, reaching its heyday in the late 19th century.
Quite a few streets in Bermondsey deserve that name though...
Urine was used to make "alum" for the dye industry, which although carried out in the countryside used so many thousands of gallons of the stuff they collected from London too. Buckets were left on street corners all over town! This went on from 17-19th centuries I believe so it would have been going on in Tooley street area for sure. It's true, I'm not taking the p***!
Piss has been used commercially for millennia. Perversely, it was used for cleaning clothes since in the absence of modern detergents it was one of the few ways to remove a grease stain. So valuable was it in Roman times for no end of industrial processes that it was actually illegal to waste the stuff.