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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 P92/GEO
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1602-1990
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 11.32 linear metres (combined extent of LMA and former Guildhall collections).
Name of creator(s): Parish of St George the Martyr, Borough | Church of England


Administrative/Biographical history:

Saint George the Martyr is first mentioned in records in 1122 when it was given to Bermondsey Abbey. The church was rebuilt in the fourteenth century and enlarged in 1629. It was rebuilt again in 1734-36. In the Dickens novel, Little Dorrit was baptised and married in this church.

Major restoration work was found to be necessary in the 1930s. Vibration from the underground railway and increasing road traffic combined with inadequate foundations caused the south wall of the church to settle and to develop cracks. This was repaired in 1939 as part of a programme of restoration work brought to a halt by the outbreak of war. Serious damage from enemy action necessitated a major restoration of the church in 1951-1952. While Saint George's church was closed, services were held at Saint Michael's church, Lant Street. Further restoration work took place in the early 1960s.

Saint George's Churchyard was situated on the north side of the church. It was extended in 1817 by trustees appointed under an Act of Parliament for enlarging St George's Churchyard (56 Geo III). The churchyard was closed in the 1850s and laid out as a garden in 1882. In 1905 the London County Council acquired part of the churchyard in order to construct a new road between Tabard Street and Borough High Street. They added other land to the former churchyard in compensation and reopened the restored garden in 1906 (see LCC/CL/CER/3/5(69)).

Saint George the Martyr had acquired an additional burial ground in 1711. This was situated in Kent Street near the Lock Hospital and next to St Saviour's and St Olave's Girls' School. It was extended in 1744 and, after its closure, was laid out as a public garden by the vestry in 1887 (see DROP/101).

During the course of the 19th Century six new parishes for ecclesiastical purposes were created within the ancient parish of Saint George the Martyr. In the south-eastern portion of the parish, Saint Mary Magdalene, Massinger Street was formed in 1843 and Saint Stephen, Manciple Street in 1850. In the western and south western areas, Saint Jude, St George's Road was assigned a parish in 1850, followed by Saint Paul, Westminster Bridge Road in 1858, Saint Michael and All Angels, Lant Street in 1867 and Saint Alphege, Lancaster Street in 1872.

Post war pastoral reorganisation has seen the disappearance of most of these parishes. Saint Michael's was reunited with Saint George the Martyr in 1953, Saint Michael's Church becoming Saint George's Church Halls. Most of Saint Stephen's parish was united with Saint George the Martyr in 1964. Saint Paul amalgamated with Saint Jude. Saint Jude's Church closed in 1976 and the congregation now worship at Saint George's Church.

For further information see The Survey of London Vol. XXV: St George's Fields and St George the Martyr Church, and Southwark: A short history by John Pinder (reference P92/GEO/369).


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the church of Saint George the Martyr, Borough High Street, including registers of baptisms, marriages, banns and burials; burial report books; burials fee books; church services registers; orders of service; maps showing parish boundaries; faculties, plans and other papers relating to the restoration and maintenance of the church building, particularly after war damage; Churchwardens' financial records and other accounts; Parochial Church Council minute books and correspondence.

Papers relating to civil functions including vouchers of the Surveyors of Highways; papers relating to poor relief; settlement examinations and removal orders; Overseers of the Poor vouchers; papers relating to the workhouse.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records have been sorted into categories which reflect divisions between the different functions and operations of the parish and its administration. Order within these categories reflects chronology.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited in the London County Record Office and the Greater London Record Office at various dates since 1951. Some registers were deposited in the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section; these have now been united with the London Metropolitan Archives holdings following the 2009 merger of the LMA and GHLMS.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Civil parish records are at the Southwark Local Studies Library.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
April to June 2010.

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