February 6, 2013 by Juha Repo
A new local landmark was unveiled on Wednesday in Blackfriars Road, only a short distance from the site acquired by Linden Homes for redevelopment.
The Dog and Pot sculpture recreates a shop sign that was in the same spot in the 19th century and recorded for history by Charles Dickens. He was quoted in later years saying:
My usual way home was over Blackfriars Bridge, and down that turning in the Blackfriars Road which has Rowland Hill’s chapel on one side, and the likeness of a golden dog licking a golden pot over a shop door on the other. (The Life of Charles Dickens, 1812-1842).
The sign for the ironmonger’s shop in the corner stood there from the 1780’s until 1932, when it was removed to the Cuming Museum in Walworth.
In the unveiling a speech was given by a direct descendant to the celebrated writer, Mark Dickens. In his speech he mentioned that in Southwark there are still some building standing from the era of his great great grandfather.
Whether Charles Dickens would actually also have seen the pub, formerly called the King’s Head, and which Linden Homes now wants to demolish while walking through the area, is not known. But the pub definitely stood there in Charles Dickens’ lifetime, with first publican records going back to 1839.
Mark Dickens also referred to Charles Dickens as a fighter against social injustice, and maybe we can once again take advice from history when the mix of local population in the Blackfriars Road areas is slowly being changed with luxury housing and so called “affordable housing” that no-one living here currently will be able to afford.
As Blackfriars Road now has a new landmark celebrating local history and even wider history of London and even national cultural history, it seems all the more remarkable that we are about to lose two of the last standing heritage buildings in our road.