The London Borough of Southwark is one of thirty-two London boroughs which is located south of the City of London across the River Thames. It is a part of the Inner London and borders the City of London and the London Boroughs of Hamlets, Lewisham, Lambert, Croydon and Bromley. The Borough which is home to nearly 290,000 people is named after a 10th century Anglo-Saxon name for the area the history of which, however, dates back much further.
The archaeological excavations in Southwark revealed evidence of human presence already in prehistory but the history of the area becomes clearer after the arrival of the Romans in the 1st century AD. At the time the Romans established the city of Londinium in the area which corresponds to today’s City of London, Southwark was a series of islands on the River Thames. The Romans used it to cross the River Thames and built a bridge near the present-day London Bridge. Both the Roman city of Londinium and the bridge leading to the city fell into disrepair after the Roman departure from Britain in the 5th century. And it was not until the 9th century when both Southwark and what later became the City of London rose to prominence again.
Southwark played an important role in history of London in both Middle Ages and the Modern Period although it was formally a part of the county of Surrey until 1889 when it became a part of the County of London. The modern London Borough of Southwark, however, was born only in 1965 when it was formed from the former Metropolitan Boroughs of Southwark, Camberwell and Bermondsey.
Today, Southwark is an important centre of professional services firms who have chosen it as their headquarters. Some of the major firms include Youngs, AstraZeneca, famous leaflet distribution service seen on Dragons Den and Pricewater House Cooper. The Borough is also home to several educational institutions including the University of the Arts London, King’s College London and London South Bank University as well as a number of independents state and private schools, and community schools. In addition, Southwark is the seat of the Mayor of London and London Assembly who are headquartered in the imposing City Hall that was built in 2002.
Southwark does not attract as many visitors as the City of London although the number of tourists who discover the hidden gems of the Borough tends to be on the rise and easy to find. Some of the most popular Southwark attractions include the mentioned City Hall, Tower Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, Borough Market and the Shard London Bridge which will become the tallest skyscraper in the EU when completed. If everything goes by the plan, the skyscraper will be completed by May 2012.
The London Borough of Southwark is also proud on its green areas and parks. The council adopts green policies including a walking delivery service. It is one of the greenest places in London and has more than 130 parks and gardens which attract both the residents and visitors to London as well as wildlife species.