London – Southwark (Borough of) – Original Site of Globe Theatre

I’ve walked in this area around London Bridge railway station hundreds of times, but I was never aware that the original site of the Globe Theatre is partly marked out. The theatre was first constructed in 1599, but was destroyed by fire in 1613 (a cannon misfired during a performance of Henry VIII, which wasn’t ideal), before being rebuilt in 1614. The Puritans ordered theatres to close in 1642 in case anyone might dare enjoy themselves, with the building demolished between 1644 and 1645.

That was really that for the theatre, until 1988 when construction in the area found some of the building’s foundations. The area has been heavily built on over the last few centuries, not least the listed building at 67-70 Anchor Terrace. It’s not possible to dig more without taking the Anchor Terrace buildings down, but there are likely some foundations from the theatre present under those properties.

The location of the former theatre is on the South Bank of the Thames and is marked out with a cursor on the above map (clicking on the image makes it a little larger and easier to see) from the early twentieth century, at a time when they weren’t aware of the foundations being there. The Globe was rebuilt in a modern form in 1997 (although as true to the original as they realistically could and it’s the only building in the city of London which is thatched and they had to get special permission for that), but is on a site a little further west, around 250 metres, along the Thames.

There are a number of information boards at the site, including this easy to understand map of the site, which helped place things in the modern built-up environment. For anyone interested in the history of theatre and similar things, I’d say that it’s worth a little meander here to have a look, and it’s also known that Shakespeare lived nearby so that he could be at the theatre on a regular basis.