The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 35 Southwark

Inns on Borough High Street

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On the east side of the Borough High St. once stood a series of famous inns. Opposite Southwark St. is the White Hart Yard, where stood the White Hart (pulled down in 1889), Jack Cade's headquarters in 1450 (Shakespeare, 'Henry VI.,' Part II., iv. 8: 'Hath my sword therefore broke through London Gates that you should leave me at the White Hart in Southwark?'). Here, too, Mr. Pickwick first met Sam Weller. No. 77 is the George Inn, the only ancient Southwark inn of which any traces have survived. The facade in the courtyard, on the right, dates from circa 1676. On the site of Talbot Yard stood the most celebrated hostelry of all, the TABARD INN, the 'gentil hostelrye that highte the Tabard, faste by the Belle.' This was the starting-point of Chaucer's Canterbury pilgrims. Built in 1304 by the abbots of Hyde, it was burned down in 1676; afterwards rebuilt and called the Talbot, it survived with comparatively little change until 1875-76. St. Margaret's Court, between Nos. 62 and 64 on the other side of High St., was the site of St. Margaret's Church, once noted for its miracle plays, and, later, of the Borough Compter (burned down in 1676), a prison chiefly used for debtors. Hooper and Rogers were imprisoned here in 1555.