Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Case for a City of Southwark.

The City of Southwark does not exist- but many think it does.

Restore our ancient liberties!

A photo posted by Richard Ford ( on
This is the first of a series or articles advocating for a restoration of the ancient English liberties- and the creation of a few more.. This aims to create an administration that tilts naturally in the direction of the individual. I propose introducing these reforms in a single act of parliament known as the Restoration of the Liberties Act.

What I present here is the first segment of the 'maximum' version of the act. This segment will encounter little resistance as it simply amounts to recognizing what already exists.

I will first of all deal with Southwark (pronounced 'sotherc'). This is a residential and entertainment district- home to the Globe theater (Shakesphere, Marlowe and all that) and many other things. Southwark has been treated badly by history despite its glorious past and is now no more than a London borough, stripped of all its past historical majesty. Furthermore I do not believe this diminished status is helpful for economic development or in selling Southwark to the world.

Southwark has prospered in the past under the sheltering wing of the Liberty of Southwark- now sadly abolished. It is quite possible that if there had been no Liberty we would not have the works of Shakesphere, Marlowe or many others. John Harvard, founder of the university was also born in Southwark and has a public library named after him.

The Liberty of Southwark and the Liberty of the Clink for many years made it their job to protect artistic expression as far as it was able. This was for business reasons- and much was done without seemingly having the power to protect anyone at all.

Britain is a country without a written constitution so moral authority often carries great weight. The recognition of a City of Southwark would make it harder for the authorities to clamp down on dissent. This could happen without any change in the law but by the moral authority of a body that protected Shakesphere from the Social Justice Warriors of the day.

'City' status is one up from 'Liberty' status but I believe city status would be easier to attain than liberty status. Southwark already fulfills all of the historical requirements for full city recognition. It has a cathedral, a history of self government and a distinct character that would justify special treatment.

There are at present two cities within London. There is Westminster and there is the somewhat confusingly named City of London. Each has their own cathedral and yet Southwark is for some reason excluded from the club despite having the qualifications to join.

This is my favorite London cathedral with a peaceful meditative air to it.

This gives you some idea of the area itself. It is possible to walk for hours and find something strange at every turn.

In short, I suggest creating a City of Southwark that has never previously existed. This would replace the Liberty of Southwark that has a glorious history but is now largely forgotten. This would be politically popular as many people believe that Southwark has City status already. When I came to tag these photographs I found that #cityofsouthwark already exists.

The cost of city status would be negligible- a parade and some new stationary. The Southwark Cathedral would love the change as they would no longer feel like the poor relations of Westminster Abbey and St Paul's. Nobody would oppose it apart from the sort of person who opposes everything and I suspect it would also boost tourism to the area.
Westmister is the city of political power.

The City is the city of money.

Southwark would be the city of the intellect.

Various Southwark scenes.

Next I will discuss the Liberty of the Clink.

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