Southwark is one of London's oldest and most intriguing neighbourhoods; a hotbed of culture and commerce that has played a major part in the development of the capital. Its streets were familiar to Shakespeare and Dickens, both of whom surely drank, schemed and dreamed in the many inns and taverns that abounded. This is where Chaucer's pilgrims began their long march to Canterbury, and many centuries later it was a major terminus for the many coaches that served the south of England. Four hundred years ago Londoners flocked to the area to watch the latest Shakespeare play at the Globe, or perhaps to visit one of the area's numerous brothels. Bear-baiting and dogfighting were popular attractions, too.
People still pour into the area, although these days in search of more innocent pleasures such as high art at the Tate Modern, the foodie haven that is Borough Market or to catch a performance at the recreated Globe on Bankside. The one thing that has remained the same across the centuries is the diversity and quality of the area's many pubs. Southwark Pubs offers an historical guide to some of the borough's most fascinating hostelries, from London's last surviving galleried coaching inn to the Thameside tavern that waved the Pilgrim Fathers off on their first voyage to America. There is a drop of liquid London history for the lover of ale and anecdote alike.
Johnny Homer is a journalist, broadcaster and brewery tour guide. He was born and bred in central London and over the years has written for a variety of different newspapers, magazines and websites. He has also been a staff journalist with Oracle Teletext, as editor of the daily BeatBox music magazine, the Press Association and Northcliffe Media, the latter as Sports Editor of the Canterbury Times series of newspapers. He is a regular and long-standing contributor to BBC London's Robert Elms show.