Redcross Way is in Southwark. It’s a gem of a street tucked behind Borough Market has a rich history from Henry V to Walt Disney. At its heart sites an amazing legacy of urban pioneer Octavia Hill.
It’s one of those streets that deserves a tour to itself, so rich is it in history and modern-day character. Legend has it the street gained its name on the return of Henry V. Victorious after the battle of Agincourt the great and the good of the City processed over London Bridge and met the king on the steps of St George the Martyr Church on Borough High Street. A special hymn was sung and the local street was renamed after the Cross of St George.
At the heart of the street are the Red Cross Gardens, a green oasis and a legacy of Octavia Hill. She believed in building on a human scale, with everyone having access to green public space. Red Cross Gardens’ mix of cottages facing a delightful and well-maintained garden shows what can be achieved. Hill’s garden was lost for a time, tarmac replacing grass and flower beds. But the wonderful local charity Bankside Open Spaces Trust has returned the garden to its former glory. The cottages are still in social ownership, and there is a series of events run in the gardens, from pond-dipping (so many frogs!) to May Pole dancing with the local school.
From medieval graveyards and the largest Roman mosaic floor found in London in 50 years (only uncovered this year) to the other end’s Disney Street, (which Walt visited when over for Mary Poppins’ premier), Redcross Way is an amazing street. It also has a Dickensian style, Vintners and possibly the friendliest cobblers in town.