It goes without saying that there are two very different sides to Bermondsey.
To the north and west you have London Bridge, City Hall (home of the mayor of London), Southwark council's offices - home to the seat of power in the borough, More London, and Bermondsey street, with its coffee shops and art galleries.
To the south and east you have The Blue, Millwall FC, the Kirby Estate, the Old Kent road, the Bricklayers Arms, and an industrial heartland.
The area is steeped in history and renowned for it's industrial and manufacturing past. Peak Frean’s Biscuits, Sarson’s Vinegar, Courage Breweries and Hartleys Jam all had factories in Bermondsey, as the world’s produce was imported via the docks and the wharves to be prepared, packed and distributed across the country.
Unsurprisingly, this led to the area being nicknamed 'the larder of London.'
The living conditions of the urban poor who worked in the factories and on the docks inspired the work of the philanthropist and MP Alfred Salter, whose wife Ada became mayor of Bermondsey in 1922. She and her fellow councillors were active in replacing slums with ‘modern’ tenements, planting trees and turning open spaces into playgrounds.
The impact of their work is still felt to this very day.
Recent regeneration of the area (particularly of the warehouses to the east of Tower Bridge at Shad Thames) has brought the Design Museum (recently relocated), galleries and other retail attractions, reflecting similar changes along the river at Deptford and Greenwich.
To the south-west, efforts by the Blue Bermondsey and the Big Local has seen attention turned to an area that has often felt neglected in recent years. Organisations such as the Bermondsey Community Kitchen have been allowed to flourish and provide much needed opportunities for the local community.
No introduction to Bermondsey is complete without, of course, mentioning Millwall Football club. Based at The Den, the club has emerged from its somewhat controversial past in recent years to find success in the football league. It supports the Millwall Community Trust which oversees an array of projects that help support hundreds of young people from Lewisham and Southwark to thrive.
Lastly the area has seen an influx of breweries establish themselves since the first to arrive opened its doors in 2009. Affectionately known as the 'Bermondsey Beer Mile', you can now find a dozen or so opportunities to get sozzled on a Saturday afternoon!
Why not track down these statues of Mr and Mrs Salter watching their daughter play...
Your Local MP
Neil Coyle, retained his seat in the last General Election, despite a challenge from former MP and Lib-Dem grandee Simon Hughes. Neil secured 31,161 votes and took 53.2% of the vote share and, mirroring other surprise surges in the Labour vote, increased his majority by over 10%.
Neil was born in Luton in 1978 and lives in Newington ward, and has previously lived in Grange and Cathedrals wards. He has worked at the government equality commission, the National Centre for Independent Living, Disability Alliance, DRUK and most recently for Kate Green MP. He was Deputy Mayor of Southwark in 2014/15.
Neil Coyle has been a councillor in the Newington ward, and helped to established the Walworth Society and tenant's associations. He is a trustee for a local mental health charity and North Southwark Environment Trust.
Neil chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Food Banks and is also a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee.
You can get in touch with Neil by emailing email@example.com
Your Local Councillors
The London Borough of Southwark is made up of 23 wards. Three councillors are elected from 17 wards, whilst the remaining six wards are represented by two councillors - making a total of 63 councillors. The Labour party currently has 49 councillors, and the Liberal Democrat party has 14.
To find out a little bit more about what Southwark council is responsible for and how it operates click here.
Listed below are the elected representatives that represent the people of Bermondsey. Get in touch with them if you have an issue that is affecting you or the area you live in.
London Bridge and West Bermondsey:
Old Kent Road:
Here's a map of Southwark wards.
Community councils provide a forum where local people, elected Councillors and council officers can meet to discuss anything of interest to the local community, and enable individuals and groups to ask questions, make suggestions, and consult upon proposed decisions affecting their neighbourhood. The meetings are open to anyone who lives, works or studies in the cc area, and are an important part of the council’s consultation and decision making process.
For more information about Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Community Council click here.
Your Next Meeting:
The next meeting of the Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Community Council will be on Saturday 9 January at 7pm. Venue TBC.
Local Community Groups
Bermondsey has a thriving community sector with several active amenity, community and resident-led groups. Below are a couple of examples!
Whilst not strictly resident-led, local people are the backbone of the Big Local works community hub, which hosts a number a exciting events and groups, including The Job Club and a rented space.
The hub is run by the South Bermondsey Partnership, a project that stemmed from a new initiative from The National Lottery launched a few years ago.
The partneship identified 6 large estates along The Old Kent Road to work with and for 2 years with small amounts of seed funding from The National Lottery, they worked mostly with the tenant and resident associations on those sites to help them identify what needed to be done to make their area a better place to live.
They exist soley to support the local community, with aim to inspire and develop local projects and help other organisations grow!
Bermondsey Uprising is pop up indoor market and community space.
The indoor market sells vintage, toys, gifts, accessories, clothes, crafts and more. The community space hosts events suggested and organised by people from across our local community.
The shop has been laucnhed as part of a wider effort to reinvigorate the Blue market and is part of a project called Community Opportunity, a social enterpirse set up by Emma Snow
Why not swing by and chat to Emma if you have an idea about how the space could be used!
Bermondsey is home to several charities working across different sectors ranging from children and young people to mental health. Below we’ve highlighted a couple – but rest assured there are many more!
The Bermondsey Community Kitchen is predominantly a training facility providing a City and Guilds Level 1 Food Preparation and Cookery Qualification and Level 2 City and Guilds Professional Cookery qualification.
The main man behind the project, Mike Donovan, is born and bred Bermondsey and set up the kitchen so he could give something back to the local community. He’s made and renewed a wide range of contacts in the industry and so will be able to place students in local restaurants and pubs for work experience in order to provide them with vital work experience.
You can read more about his journey here.
The kitchen not only provides young people with the opportunity to learn a qualification, it also serves up tasty grub! Below the training facility is a cafe so why not pop in if you're in the neighbourhood!?
The Millwall Community Trust has been providing residents of Lewisham and Southwark with opportunities for 30 years now and has become embedded as part of the local community.
Supported by Millwall Football Club, the trust runs a wide range of sporting activities for people of all ages, and runs three main outreach programmes covering education, support for people with a disability, and providing more opportunities for young people.
You can find out more about these programmes, and how to get involved, by clicking here.
If you would like to find out more about Southwark’s vibrant Voluntary and Community Sector click here.
As well as Southwark News, there are a couple of local news sources and social media accounts that are worth touching base with from time to time to get up to date with everything that is happening in Bermondsey:
If you come across any more let us know!
If you want to get more active and involved in your local community then we are here to help! Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to volunteer on a more formal level then you should be clicking this link