By indexer
84 days ago

The George Inn, Southwark

.
The George Inn, in the Southwark district of London, not far from London Bridge and The Shard, is a remarkable survivor from the past.

The outstanding feature of The George is the part that contains two galleries that overlook an enclosed courtyard. It is the only surviving galleried inn in London. However, it is the reason why the galleries were built that is of real interest.

This district of London was renowned in Elizabethan times for the theatres it contained, including The Globe where William Shakespeare performed and for which he wrote a number of his plays. However, before dedicated playhouses were built, it was customary for plays to be performed in taverns and inn yards. Inns that featured galleries were able to offer their wealthier clientele a better view of the performers, not to mention the advantage of not having to mingle with “penny stinkards” who comprised much of the audience!

When purpose-built theatres were being designed this feature was incorporated in the plans.

Galleried inns continued to offer entertainment of this nature long after the theatres had become established, such was the demand for theatrical performances of all kinds. It is believed that at least six such inns were in business during the latter part of the 16th century.

The mixture of drama and alcohol often led to rowdy behaviour and the general belief that acting was a shady career. There was one recorded incident (not at the George Inn) when two actors took exception to an audience member and attacked him and his companion with the swords they had been using on stage, with fatal consequences. This sort of incident was a prime cause behind the suppression of the theatres by the Puritans in the 1640s, only to be lifted in 1660 after the restoration to the throne of King Charles II.

The George Inn we see today is not the original one, which was lost in a fire in the 1670s. The inn was rebuilt in 1677 along exactly the same lines and functioned as a coaching inn for many years. It was mentioned by Charles Dickens in his 1855-7 novel Little Dorrit.

The George Inn is now maintained by the National Trust but still functions as a licensed premise. You can still be entertained at the George, although not in quite the same way that they did it 450 years ago!

More images

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
84d
fortune It is nice get to know interesting corners of the London.
Reply
84d
83d
Melsdename Thank you for sharing
Reply
83d
83d
Deepizzaguy Nice story that you have shared on this site.
Reply
83d
80d
RasmaSandra Interesting I like the look of the place.
Reply
80d