Exploring Southwark and discovering its history
In 1824, Charles Dickens’ father was imprisoned for debt in Marshalsea Prison, and to be close to his father and the rest of his family who, as was the custom of the day, were incarcerated with him, Charles Dickens took lodgings in Lant Street, off Borough High Street. Each day as he walked from home to his work at a blacking factory in Charing Cross he passed by a metal figure of a dog and bowl over a hardware shop in Blackfriars Road. He wrote later “My usual way home was over Blackfriars Bridge and down that turning in the Blackfriars Road which has Rowland Hill’s chapel on one side, and the likeness of a golden dog licking a golden pot over a shop door on the other.” Dickens was referring to what today is called Union Street and in March 2013, after a year of Dickens’ bicentennial celebrations, Southwark Council installed a replica of the model that Dickens saw at the same junction. The dog was carved from seasoned elm by Michael Painter who closely followed the original for his sculpture. The original was taken down in 1931 and is kept in the Cuming Museum.
Corner of Union Street and Blackfriars Road, SE1