“And time for all the works and days of hands/That lift and drop a question on your plate;”*

*from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915), by T.S Eliot.


My question today being: what went on round here? The house pictured stands at 5, Tenison Way, a street which is 126m. long and dominated by a bus station. (In 1988 a company called Fillrest Limited, now dissolved, was incorporated at this address, which was given as 5 Tenison Way, 1 Waterloo Road.)

Commuters stream in this direction from Waterloo Station, passing beneath the bridge carrying the railway line between Waterloo East and Charing Cross Stations. While I’m queuing for the 521, I can glance back through a railway arch and see the next one waiting in Mepham Street (Simon Mepeham (or Meopham or Mepham; died 1333) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1328 to 1333) for its moment to sweep round the corner to its waiting audience.

Another archway is occupied by The Hole in the Wall:


I think there may be a connection between the pub at 5, Mepham Street, and this house: the notices in the windows of the house advertise crochet classes that can be booked with the Yarn Sorority, some of which take place at The Hole in the Wall.

Probably the most detailed local research has been posted online here:


As the blogger notes, Tenison Street was named after Thomas Tenison, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1695 to 1715.

Here on the South Bank of the Thames is the 27 acre area, left untouched for six years after being bombed in World War II, where the Festival of Britain opened to the public on the 4th May 1951: the centenary – almost to the day – of the 1851 Great Exhibition. The only feature remaining, of the London part of the five month national Festival, is the Royal Festival Hall.

Waterloo East railway station, to the east of Waterloo Station itself, and close to Southwark tube station, opened in 1869 as Waterloo Junction, to provide a connection between the London and South Western Railway at Waterloo, and the South Eastern Railway at Charing Cross which ran through London Bridge towards Kent.

In 1864, the SER had opened a line between Charing Cross and Cannon Street. The sex industry soon established that the journey – which cost less than rent – between the two stations allowed sufficient time for clients to be serviced. The introduction of a new stop at Waterloo Junction interrupted this arrangement; from 1 January 1869, trains began running from Waterloo Junction to Charing Cross and Cannon Street about every five minutes.

Queen Victoria used the connection for her royal train, travelling from Windsor Castle to Dover and Continental Europe. Perhaps when I ask “what went on here?”, I should also ask, “when did it stop? and why?”…

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