An author talk with

Margaret Willes – Liberty over London Bridge: A History of the People of Southwark

Wednesday 20th March 2024 at 6:30pm

This event has now passed

Join us for a fascinating evening with acclaimed historian and author Margaret Willes, where she’ll be talking about her latest book Liberty over London Bridge: A History of the People of Southwark.

The first complete history of Southwark, London’s stubbornly independent community over the Thames
Southwark’s fortunes have always been tied to those of the City of London across the river. But from its founding in Roman times through to flourishing in the medieval era, the borough has always fiercely asserted its independence. A place of licence, largely free of the City’s jurisdiction, Southwark became a constant thorn in London’s side: an administrative anachronism, a commercial rival, and an asylum for the less desirable industries and residents.
In this remarkable history of London’s liberty beyond the bridge, Margaret Willes narrates the life and times of the people of Southwark, capturing the borough’s anarchic spirit of revelry. Populated by a potent mix of talented immigrants, religious dissenters, theatrical folk, brewers, and sex workers, Southwark often escaped urban jurisdiction—giving it an atmosphere of danger, misrule, and artistic freedom. Tracing Southwark’s history from its Roman foundation to its present popularity, through Chaucer, to Shakespeare, and on to Dickens, Willes offers an indispensable exploration of the City’s unacknowledged mirror image.