Tate Modern

Southwark Museums and Galleries

Winchester Palace

Visitors of Southwark can enjoy a number of fine museums and galleries. Listed below are only a few of the most popular ones.

Tate Modern. This modern art gallery is a part of the so-called Tate group and is the most visited modern art gallery in the world. Its collection of international modern and contemporary art from the 19th century onwards is visited by over 4.5 million people per year. It is located in the former Bankside Power Station in the district of Bankside.

The Clink. Southwark used to be a home to several prisons and The Clink was one of the most notorious ones. There was a prison on the site as early as in 9th century but it started to function as a prison in the true meaning of the word in the 12th century. The prison which consisted from a prison for men and a prison for women was owned by the Bishop of Winchester, however, the prisoners were treated any better because of it. On the contrary, they were very ill treated especially those who were nor financially aided by their family and friends. The prison ceased to operate in 1780 when the Gordon rioters burned it to the ground. Today’s Click Prison Museum is located in the basement of a warehouse that was later built on the site of the prison.

Winchester Palace. The 12th century palace was home to the Bishops of Winchester until the 17th century when it was turned into warehouses and tenements. Unfortunately, most part of it was destroyed in a fire in the early 19th century. The surviving remains are today listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret. The museum of surgical history is located in the attic of St Thomas Church and is best known for being a home to one of the oldest surviving operating theatres in the country. Visitors of this museum can also learn more about medieval health care and instruments before scientific advances, history of the St Thomas’s, Guy’s and Evelina Children’s Hospitals, and herbal medicine. The museum is open every day except from 15 December to 5 January.

Cuming Museum. The museum is home to the collection of the Cuming family but it also tells history of Southwark. The third gallery of the museum is dedicated to temporary exhibitions which are changed every four to six months.

Bankside Gallery. The art gallery of the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers just west to the famous Tate Gallery is worth visiting as well. It is open every day from 11pm to 6pm. The admission to the gallery is free of charge.

Imperial War Museum. The national museum organization is situated on five different locations three of which are in London and one in Southwark. It is housed in the former Bethlem Royal Hospital and is dedicated to history of war from the First World War to the present day. It can be visited daily from 10am to 6pm except 24-26 December when it is closed.