Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bandyleg Walk

On about 23 August 1793 George Lynam, an ironmonger who was under suspicion for spying, reported to the government that the LCS was increasing. A new Division -- number 10 -- had started up at Bandy Leg Walk, Southwark, he claimed (TS 11/966/3510B; Thale 80). At another report filed the following month Lynam reports: "A new division of L.C.S. meet in the Grove No. 10 Great bandyleg walk Boro' and are violent" (TS 11/966/3510B; Thale 83). The accusation that Div. 10 were violent was repeated in the Treason Trials of 1794, at which Lynam acted as a witness for the government. Lynam testified that "They branched off from another division and took the number 10, a previous division of that number having ceased to meet. One of the delegates reported that the members were very violent (Lynam's testimony, State Trials vol. 24, col. 794). A spy report from Lynam from 12 November 1793 confirms that division 10 continued to meet "In the grove bandy leg walk Southwark," again insisting that they were "violent" (TS 11/958/3503; Thale 92).

Horwood's Map does not list a bandyleg walk, though the Survey of London suggests there was a street by that name in the 1790s: "In 1788, in anticipation of the passing of the Catholic Relief Bill, Roman Catholics in Southwark started collecting subscriptions for a chapel to replace the inadequate accommodation in a house in Bandyleg Walk with which they had previously been forced to be content. The chapel in London Road, an unimposing building whose site is now occupied by the South London Palace of Varieties, was blessed and opened in March, 1790, and finished in 1793."

Below is a later edition of Horwood's map (1818) which shows the Catholic chapel.

According to John Strype's Survey of London (1720) "BANDY LEG WALK, very long, comes out of Maiden Lane, crosses Queen street and falls into Bennets Rents." By 1814, however, Bandy Leg Walk is shown on Stranger's Guide Through The Streets Of London & Westminster as being a relatively short street that runs north-south, approximately where Southwark Bridge Road is today.

Fairburn's map of 1801, also shows Bandyleg Walk in the same place. The equivalent position on Howood's 1799 map shows a street called America Place, which is surrounded by a series of streets with names such as New Street and America Street. It is likely that there were developments to the area in the 1790s, with the streets being renamed. The older names, however, appear to have been persistent, and -- until further developments to the area -- continued to be used by Londoners.

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