I am thinking about doing a one place study, or rather a two street study. I have two streets in mind: Turners Retreat and Woodlands Place in Bermondsey. My family had connections with both.
My great grandparents lived in Turners Retreat from about 1899 until 1912. When Turner’s Retreat was demolished in 1912, the family moved across the road to Woodlands Place. One of my great uncles was still living there in the 1950s.
Both streets appear on Booth’s Poverty Map. Turners Retreat was marked black: lowest class, vicious and semi-criminal.
“Very rough; one of the roughest we’ve got. It told its own tale in its windows, its women and its children.”
The 1902 annual report of sanitary conditions for Bermondsey uses my great grandparents family as a case of overcrowding in the road. My grandmother was the 8 year old. Its a relief to see them described in better terms than Charles Booth’s entry!
Woodlands Place was light blue with some dark blue: poor, 18s to 21s a week for a moderate family.
“Two storey houses; south side only; poor; some broken windows etc. most doors shut; generally two rooms to a family”
Like most of Bermondsey, the area is unrecognisable today. Turner’s Retreat was demolished in about 1912. Woodlands Place was renamed Bacon Grove and few original buildings remain. The Alaska Factory is still there but has been converted into luxury flats.
Top: Alaska Factory. Bottom: Bacon Grove. (taken by me 2019)