Architecturally less imposing than St Paul’s or Westminster Abbey on the north of the Thames, Southwark has only been a cathedral since 1905, and was formerly simply the Parish Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie (‘over the water’). The site itself has been a place of Christian worship for over 1,000 years, and from 1106 until 1538 was part of an Augustinian priory. The present building retains the basic form of the Gothic structures that were built between 1220 and 1420, although the nave was rebuilt (twice) in 19th century after the church had fallen into disrepair. A railway viaduct connecting London Bridge to stations north of the river passes just 18 metres from the southeast corner of the cathedral, blocking the view from the south side. This was a compromise when the railway was extended in 1852; the alternative being to demolish the building completely to enable a more direct passage for the line. The church was again threatened during heavy bombardment of the area during World War II and shrapnel damage is still visible on the exterior walls of the building.

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Southwark Cathedral