There has been a place of worship on the site of Southwark Cathedral for more than 1,000 years- a fire destroyed the original building in 1206 and the earliest surviving parts of the Cathedral date from this time. Southwark is London’s oldest Gothic building and is considered an architectural treasure.
The building itself stands below road level and is surrounded by warehouses and a rail viaduct near London Bridge. In the seventeenth century the churches parishioners bought the building from King James I and restored it to former splendor. However by the mid nineteenth century the building had once again fallen into disrepair and was being considered for demolition and although the nave was demolished the choir and retrochoir was restored.
In the late nineteenth century the church was selected to become a cathedral of a new London diocese and the building was extended and refurbished extensively. The title of Cathedral was bestowed upon Southwark in 1905. During its lifetime Southwark Cathedral has had many famous visitors. John Harvard, founder of Harvard University, was baptized here. Poet John Gower and Bishop Lancelot Andrews are both entombed at Southwark.
Admission to Southwark Cathedral is free of charge. The Cathedral is an architectural marvel, a place of worship and a living historical monument. The Cathedral is easily accessed via London Bridge underground station.