The Bear Gardens Conservation Area is tightly defined around the road known as ‘Bear Gardens’ on the south side of the River Thames to the west of Southwark Bridge. It included buildings on the east side of New Globe Walk, the north side of Park Street, the west side of Rose Alley, Bear Gardens and part of Bankside. It also extended half way across the River Thames to abut the boundary with the City of London. The conservation area contains the Scheduled Monument of the Hope Playhouse and three bear gardens, which are nationally important archaeological sites. The pattern of the area still recognisably derives from its medieval and post-medieval development, with densely-packed buildings lining the river, linked back to its hinterland by narrow lanes and alleys. Bear Gardens is one, although it widens in the approximate location of the last bear baiting ring. The intensification of waterside industries in the 18th and 19th centuries has reinforced this pattern. This tight and dense urban grain still exist today particularly in Bear Gardens. The riverscape is another important element of the conservation area’s character. The river walk offers a wide-open space in direct contrast with the intimacy of Bear Gardens.
You can view our interactive map of Bear Gardens conservation area.
Bear Gardens - designated 22 April 1999
- London Gazette September 1989 (pdf, 103kb)
Page last updated: 11 November 2021