Exploring Southwark and discovering its history
The Metropolitan Borough of Southwark was created in 1900 and formed from the amalgamation of four civic parishes in Southwark - St Saviour's, Christ Church and St George the Martyr - and St Mary Newington. The coat of arms awarded in 1902 combines the emblems of all four parishes with the unifying motto United to Serve.
- The Tudor Rose represents St Saviour's (now Southwark Cathedral) that bears reference to Henry VIII who sold the former Priory of St Mary Overie to the congregations of St Margaret's and St Mary Magdalen to form a new church after the Reformation.
- The lily, symbol of purity and virginity is the emblem of St Mary and represents St Mary Newington.
- The symbol in the lower left hand quarter represents the parish of St George the Martyr and the symbol of the Bridge House Estates, a reminder that a large part of Southwark had come under the jurisdiction of the City of London.
- The stag is for Christ Church and was the symbol of Christ. Medieval symbolism depicted the stag as the enemy of snakes i.e. the Devil and would chase them down and devour them.
The Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell became part of the enlarged Borough of Southwark in 1965 which was awarded a coat of arms a year later. It comprises elements from the coats of arms of the former Metropolitan Boroughs of Bermondsey, Camberwell and Southwark with figures depicting Hamlet and the Esquire from the Canterbury Tales reflecting Southwark's proud literary heritage. It can be seen with a full description on the Mayor of Southwark's web page on the Southwark Council website.
The photo above shows the coat of arms displayed above the entrance to Walworth Clinic.