Southwark ( SUDH-ərk) is a district of Central London situated on the south bank of the River Thames, forming the north-western part of the wider modern London Borough of Southwark. The district, which is the oldest part of South London, developed due to its position at the southern end of the early versions of London Bridge, the only crossing point for many miles.
London’s historic core, the City of London lay north of the Bridge and for centuries the area of Southwark just south of the bridge was governed by the City. By the 12th century Southwark had been incorporated as an ancient borough, and this historic status is reflected in the alternative name of the area, or at least part of it, as Borough. In the middle ages, not far from the bridge was the Liberty of the Clink, which was just beyond the City’s jurisdiction, allowing for more relaxed governance and an area of sometimes disreputable entertainment, nightlife and theatre.
The urban area expanded over the years and Southwark was separated from the City in 1900 and a separate Diocese of Southwark was established in 1905. Local points of interest include Southwark Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, The Shard, Tower Bridge and the City Hall offices of the Greater London Authority.