Southwark Cathedral

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The history of a religious settlement on the site of Southwark Cathedral stretches back over at least 900 years. The fabric of the building contains architectural details ranging from 12th century Norman architecture to contemporary structures added at the time of this Millennium.

But it is not only the architectural elements that walk us through the history of London but the many tombs and monuments within the church, revealing the history, diversity and character of the area. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Pepys and Dickens all have a connection with the cathedral. John Harvard, whose legacy founded the USA's oldest university, was baptised in the church.

Southwark Cathedral's story continues today as it serves as a place of worship with congregations reflecting the diversity found in our capital city.

The Cathedral is dedicated to being an inclusive church which means we welcome everyone.

Venue Type:

Sacred space, Heritage site, Archaeological site

Opening hours

Monday to Friday 08.00–18.30
Saturday and Bank Holidays 08.45–18.00
Sundays 08.30–19.30

Admission charges

Admission free. Groups of 10+ required to book in advance for a small charge.

Drop-in tours are available on Friday at 11am and 1pm, and Sunday at 1pm. Due to services and events, we recommend that you contact the cathedral to check availability.

For information on Cathedral tours and walks for groups, please contact the Visits and Tours Officer on 020 7367 6734.

Getting there

Southwark Cathedral is conveniently located for the City, Canary Wharf, the West End, and South Bank. Situated less than five minutes walking distance from London Bridge station, the Cathedral is easy to reach from a number of main line and LT underground stations and also bus routes.

Additional info

The Cathedral has lifts for those with limited mobility and a seperate lavatory with a radar key. Services can be heard using a hearing loop and written items can be supplied in large print.

Most streets close by the Cathedral have single yellow lines. The Nearest designated Disabled Parking space is in Park Street

Bicycle parking is available just outside the Cathedral (opposite Borough Market), and two additional areas are on the north side of the Cathedral, on Montague Close.

Coach Parking can be found at Universal Car Parks, Great Suffolk Street. Mini-buses or coaches welcome 9am-6pm.

Riley Road, Off Tower Bridge Road has up to15 space but must be pre-booked. They can be contacted on Tel: 07792 920219

Tower Bridge Road, Weekend parking is available but it must be pre-booked. They can be contacted on 020 7403 8118 (Anderson Travel).

Coach drop offs are at Southwark Street or Southwark Bridge Road.

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Over the Top by Paul Nash

Art of the First World War - A Day of Talks

  • 20 October 2018 10am-4:30pm

The First World War was the first conflict to spawn a wealth of artistic output from those who fought on its battlefields.

To commemorate the Centenary of the end of the First World War, Southwark Cathedral is delighted to be joined by four experts on art and artists of the Great War. Over the course of the day you will discover a small selection of the Imperial War Museum's exceptional art collection from this period, to the life and works of some of the most famous and not so famous artists who shaped the public view of the war.

These illustrated talks will take place in the elegant Cathedral Library.

10.30am - Rebecca Newell
Highlights from the IWM First World War Art collection
The IWM’s art collection is one of the largest and most important representations of twentieth century British art in the world. It includes many great works of art from the British government war art schemes of the two World Wars. In its reflection of artists as eyewitnesses, participants, commentators and officially commissioned recorders of war, the First World War official War Art collection reveal to us all aspects of that conflict as seen and experienced by ordinary people, both civilians and service men and women. Framed in a time of unprecedented government patronage of the arts, during which the establishment and the public embraced the avant-garde, it reveals too how artists broke with tradition, creating a new visual language to communicate the truth, depth and horror of what they saw.

Rebecca Newell joined the IWM as Head of Art in early September 2017. She is working on all aspects related to the care, display and interpretation of the IWM preeminent art collection – the critical framework for which is the museum’s foundation in 1917 to the present day - identifying new opportunities for collecting and working with artists and partners. Current research projects include work on LGBTQ experiences in conflict situations, ‘military masculinities’ and aspects relating to the war artists schemes of the World Wars. She has a background in art history (BA and MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art) and museology, and prior to joining IWM, worked as a curator for six years at the newly reopened National Army Museum during a critical time of redevelopment. Alongside wide-ranging collections development and research into contemporary art and conflict, female service experiences and LGBTQ and the army, she was part of the small team responsible for curating the new permanent galleries, working on all aspects and with stakeholders, audiences and partners to the point of delivery in April 2017. She also initiated collections outreach, co-curatorial and artist engagement activities, and started a rolling art commissioning project during her time at the museum.

11.45am - David Boyd Haycock
Paul Nash and CRW Nevinson
Paul Nash and C.R.W. Nevinson were two of the most significant artists to paint the soldiers and battlefields of World War One. Walter Sickert described Nevinson’s painting La Mitrailleuse (‘The Machine-Gun’, 1916, Tate Britain) as probably ‘the most authoritative and concentrated utterance on war in the history of painting’. Another contemporary wrote that Nash’s shattered landscapes seemed to have been ‘torn from the sulphurous rim of the inferno itself.’ This lecture explores the artistic development of both men and their distinct but related responses to representing an extraordinary, horrific and very modern war in paint.

Dr David Boyd Haycock has worked as an academic at the Universities of Oxford and London, and as a curator at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. He is now a freelance writer, lecturer and curator specializing in British cultural history of the early twentieth century.

He is the author of a number of books, including Paul Nash (Tate Publishing, 2002); A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War (Old Street Publishing, 2009), which was short-listed by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain as best work of non-fiction, 2009; and I Am Spain: The Spanish Civil War and the Men and Women who went to Fight Fascism (Old Steet Publishing, 2012). He curated the exhibition ‘Nash, Nevinson, Spencer, Gertler, Carrington, Bomberg: A Crisis of Brilliance, 1908 to 1922’ at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in the summer of 2013.

1.00pm - 2.00pm Lunch

2.00pm - Dr Jonathan Black
'Speed, grace and dodging the grim reaper': The Experiences of Lieutenant Sydney Carline (1888-1929) Fighter Pilot and War Artist in France, Italy and the Middle East, 1916-19.
'Sydney Carline (1888-1929) studied at the Slade School of Art, University College London between 1907 and 1911, winning several prizes. By the outbreak of the First World War he was emerging as a highly talented painter, etcher and medal-designer. Late in 1915 he volunteered to serve in the Royal Flying Corps. He was awarded his wings in July 1916 and a month later was flying missions over France. He was shot down and nearly killed after a flying a raid over the Somme battlefield. After a lengthy recuperation he returned to duty in 1918 as a fighter pilot flying the celebrated Sopwith Camel in the skies over north-eastern Italy. He shot down three enemy Austro-Hungarian aircraft before he was appointed in July 1918 an official war artist attached to the RAF section of the Ministry of information. My talk will explore the striking and evocative work Sydney produced first in Italy and then in the Middle East when he was sent there with his younger brother Richard early in 1919 to record the significant contribution the recently created RAF had made to the destruction of Ottoman Turkish military power in the region in 1918. Over several months (January-August 1919) Sydney and Richard made the journey of a lifetime, sketching and painting for the RAF in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, the Lebanon, Iraq and northern Persia - ending up by the shores of the Caspian Sea.'

Dr. Jonathan Black was awarded his PhD in History in Art by University College, London in 2003 for a thesis exploring the Image of the Ordinary British Soldier or 'Tommy' in the war art and memorial sculpture of: C.R.W. Nevinson (18891-1946), Eric Henri Kennington (1888-1960) and Charles Sargeant Jagger (1885-1934) c. 1915-1925. His publications include monographs on Kennington as a sculptor (2002) and as a war artist in WWII (2011), a study of Nevinson as a printmaker (2014) and of the image of Winston Churchill in British Art c. 1900-2015 (2017). He has curated 10 exhibitions including one focussing on the prints of CRW Nevinson (2014); 'War in the Sunshine: The British In Italy, 1918' at the Estorick Collection, London (2017) and on the society portraitist Sir Oswald Birley (1880-1952) at the Philip Mould Gallery, London (2017). He is currently a Senior Research Fellow in History of Art at Kingston School of Art, Kingston University.

3.15pm - Richard Slocombe
“An Unseemly Joke”: Wyndham Lewis and the First World War
As an avant-garde painter and radically experimental novelist, Wyndham Lewis was a potent force in early 20th century British modernism. He also remains one of its most contentious figures; his outspoken views on art, culture and politics sharply dividing opinion to this day.

This lecture focuses on Lewis’ experience of the First World War, covering his transition from pre-war radical to serving artillery officer to state-commissioned war artist, and finally concludes with his disillusionment post-war. It will also consider Lewis’ characteristically complex attitude to war. “I neither hate it nor love it” he admitted in his 1937 autobiography Blasting and Bombardiering. Accordingly, Lewis’ artistic response to the First World War avoided obvious outrage at its destruction or the promise of redemption for its protagonists. Instead, the talk will show that Lewis’ art was informed by the belief that war merely exposed the inherent absurdity of humanity.

Richard Slocombe is a freelance curator and writer, based in Norfolk. Prior to this he was for 14 years Curator and then Senior Curator of Art at Imperial War Museums in London. While there he was responsible for several critically-acclaimed art exhibitions, including Truth and Memory, a survey of British First World War art, which marked conflict’s centenary in July 2014. Other shows Richard has curated included the first retrospective of the political photomontage artist Peter Kennard, in 2015, and, most recently, Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War. The exhibition, staged last year at IWM North, was the first full retrospective of the artist in a UK national museum for over 60 years.

Richard’s main research interests are British art during the World Wars and the Cold War era, the evolution ‘dazzle’ and marine camouflage and war and propaganda posters. He has written and lectured widely on these subjects besides making numerous related television and radio appearances for UK and overseas broadcasters.

Richard continues to lecture and write, as well as advise galleries and art dealerships.

Richard has researched and lectured widely on his specialist subjects. He has written articles for national newspapers and written and contributed to several publications. These include British Posters of the Second World War (IWM, 2010), Peter Kennard: Unofficial War Artist (IWM, 2015) and The Somme: A Visual History(IWM, 2016). Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War (IWM, 2017) was made with the acclaimed Lewis scholar, Paul Edwards.

Main Image: Over the Top by John Nash

©Imperial War Museum (Art.IWM ART1656)


First World War Galleries

Open 10am - 6pm every day | | Free entry

Discover the story of the First World War through the eyes of the British people and the Empire, both on the home front and the fighting fronts. On display are over 1,300 objects from IWM’s collections including weapons, uniforms, diaries, keepsakes, film and art. Each object on display gives a voice to the people who created them, used them or cared for them, and reveals stories not only of destruction, suffering and loss, but also endurance and innovation, duty and devotion, comradeship and love.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children





Poetry of the First World War - A Day of Talks

  • 3 November 2018 10am-4:30pm

Poetry of the First World War continues to have a powerful effect on readers and over the course of the day you will discover the poetry of the First World War which is some of Britain’s most well known and celebrated literature. It has also been the medium through which successive generations have best come to understand the human tragedy of the conflict.

These illustrated talks will take place in the elegant Cathedral Library.

David Roberts - “At the end of the First World War came "The peace to end peace" (Siegfried Sassoon) - what had been achieved? What are the lessons? - The poetry, the politics, the facts. A talk and discussion
Britain declared war on Germany on 4th of August 2014 to save Belgium then under relentless attack by the German army. We declared war on Austria-Hungary and on Turkey shortly after this. The war was promoted as "a war to end war."

After ten million deaths and the declaration of victory the popular mood in Britain was a mixture of triumph, heartbreak and disillusionment.

Author, David Roberts, who has edited three very successful anthologies of First World War war poetry with historical background and is the editor of The War Poetry Website, explores with factual evidence and the words of poets and commentators of the time, the achievements and responses of the British people to the war's end. There was indeed peace, but what kind of peace was it? What can we learn from the experience of the First World War for the furthering of peace in the future?​

Tony Geraghty - Rendevouz with Death
Rendevouz with Death is part of the title of a poem by Alan Seeger, an American who died fighting with the French Foreign Legion on the Western Front in 1916. “I have a rendezvous with death” reflected the importance among many creative artists of his generation, for whom the how of death as important as the fact of the matter.

The author, son of a survivor of the Somme, identifies an extraordinary paradox linking fifteen men. The force that drove them in life imposed a semblance of order on the chaos of their existence. To do so they used the disciplines of music, dance, poetry, plays and painting. They then chose to march in the cannon's mouth and bloody anarchy of the battlefield. For some, such as the poet Edward Thomas, the effect was therapeutic, for a time.

Tony Geraghty FRSA is the author of a number of best-selling books. Educated at the London Oratory School in Chelsea and at Wandsworth Technical College, as a national service army sergeant he was on active service in Egypt with the 16th Independent Parachute Brigade. He then had a thirty-year career as a journalist (including fourteen years as Chief Reporter and Defence Correspondent of the Sunday Times) covering conflicts in Europe, Ireland, Africa and the Middle East. He was then recruited by the RAF Volunteer Reserve and served as am RAF Squadron Leader during the First Gulf War (1990-1991) flying on intelligance-gathering missions before an attachment to the US armed forces in the same theatre, for which he received a US military decoration.

Linda Parker - Woodbine Willie: A Seeker After Truths
Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, often known as ‘Woodbine Willie’ is arguably one of the most famous army chaplains of the Great War. He is commemorated in the calendar of Common Worship on 8th March as ‘priest’ and ‘poet’ and a large part of his popularity as a chaplain and his post war fame sprung from his publication of his ‘ rough rhymes ‘ as he modestly described them. His poetry written in the trenches was written in a ballad style, often in the dialect words of the soldiers as he experienced them. The poems, such as “What’s the Good”? and “Sinner and Saint –A Sermon in a Billet “were accessible to the soldiers, and dealt with the problems and doubts and trials that that they were all experiencing .

Studdert Kennedy had his pre war ideas and faith severely tested by the conflict, but worked out his theology and political ideology during the course of the war. He came to believe in suffering God who shared our grief and pain and tried out these ideas in his talks to soldiers and in his poetry in such poems as “The Suffering God “and “The Sorrows of God “.

Some of his poems prefigured his political and pacifist stances after the war and others described the comradeship of the trenches and the suffering of the women and families who were left behind .

Studdert Kennedy’s poetry was an essential expression of his pastoral and theological ministry during the war and much can be discovered about this complex, eccentric and brave chaplain by examining his poetry.

Linda Parker is an independent researcher and author. Her main writing focus is on army chaplaincy in both world wars, and her main historical interests lie in 20th century military, social and religious history.

Dr Santanu Das - South Asian Poetry and Song of the First World War
During 1914-18, hundreds of thousands of South Asians voyaged to the heart of whiteness and beyond – from Mesopotamia to East Africa – to take part in the First World War. Of all the colonial empires, undivided India contributed around 1.7 million men. Starting with archival material from across South Asia, Europe and Australia – trench objects, shell-cases, diaries, images, and original sound-recordings of Indian POWs done in 1915 - this talk will explore a substantial body of largely unknown poetry from across undivided India - in Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali and English, among others. Dr Das will use this poetry to question the colour of war literature and raise larger questions of what it may mean for our understanding of the term 'First World War poetry'. For to engage with such poetry, we need to get beyond the world of print into a rich oral culture: many of the participants were non-literate but robustly literary, reciting, quoting, singing or trading in verse; Dr Das will also engage with folksongs sung by the women when their men went to war.

Starting with verse - elite, street-side, written, spoken or sung - by both combatants and civilians, men and women, Dr Das will focus on a few selected 'war poems' of the three most famous South Asian poets of the time - Rabindranath Tagore, Muhammed Iqbal and Kazi Nazrul Islam - who were later adopted as the national poets of the future India, Pakistan and Bangladesh respectively; at the same time.

Educated in Kolkata and Cambridge, Dr Santanu Das is currently Reader in English at King’s College London. He is the author of the award-winning monograph Touch and Intimacy in First World War Literature (Cambridge, 2006) and Indian Troops in Europe, 1914-1918 (Paris, 2014) and the editor of Race, Empire and First World War Writing (2016) and the Cambridge Companion to the Poetry of the First World War (2014). He has written for the Guardian and The Independent and presented the series 'Soldiers of the Empire' for BBC Radio 4. His next book South Asia and the First World War: Literature, Images and Songs is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press later this year.

The Poetry Society
The day will also include a screening of two commissioned animations inspired by poems from and about the First World War, followed by a reading by members of the The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network.

The Young Poets Network members will read a selection of classic and contemporary First World War poems, illuminating today’s talks and lectures with verse.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”. Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally. Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes the leading poetry magazine, The Poetry Review.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly




Getting there

Southwark Cathedral is conveniently located for the City, Canary Wharf, the West End, and South Bank. Situated less than five minutes walking distance from London Bridge station, the Cathedral is easy to reach from a number of main line and LT underground stations and also bus routes.

Southwark Cathedral
London Bridge




020 7367 6700

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.