Falconpoint's Blog

History

For information about the history and background of Tenant Management Organisations see:
www.nftmo.com or www.southwark.gov.uk then click on ‘Housing and Homes’, then click on ‘Working Together Tenant Involvement’ then click on ‘TMOs’.
Falcon Point is in Bankside situated in the London Borough of Southwark on the Southbank between Tate Modern and Blackfriars Bridge. It is an ancient area of London and the history of human activity goes back to at least the twelfth century. The famous Falcon Inn which dated from the sixteenth century stood on the site occupied by the eastern end of the flats. In 1666 Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary that he had watched the Great Fire of London from an alehouse on Bankside.

Two years later he recorded in his famous diary “by water over to Southwark and so walked to the Falcon on Bankside”. Perhaps he watched the Great Fire from the Falcon Inn. In Gillian Tyndall’s book ‘The House by the Thames’ (Chatto and Windus 2006) there is a drawing of the Falcon Tavern Inn made in 1805 just before it was demolished.

At the western end of the building was the site of the Paris Gardens. Owned by the Knights Templars in the twelfth century, this large area of riverside land became a sanctuary for criminals. After the Knights Templar were suppressed the land was owned by the Knights of St John. It is recorded that in the reign of Henry VIII the fourteenth century manor house that stood nearby was owned for a period of time by Jane Seymour, the third wife of the King.
In the sixteenth century access to this part of Bankside for the bear gardens and theatres (the Globe, the Rose, the Swan and the Hope) was from the River Thames via the Paris Garden Stairs which were situated in front of Falcon Point. It would not be difficult to imagine William Shakespeare drinking at the Falcon Inn.

In her book The House by the Thames, Gillian Tyndale records that there is some indication that Sir Christopher Wren lodged in a house by the Falcon Inn. The house was apparently designed by Wren for a Mr Jones, the owner of the iron works that was situated there. Wren rented a room from which to see the progress of the building of St Paul’s Cathedral. The iron foundry produced the iron railings that were fitted around the cathedral at ground level. The works later became the Falcon Iron Works.

In the mid eighteenth century a coal wharf was situated on the Falcon Point site and at some stage the Falcon Iron Works were established. By the end of the nineteenth century it was the site of the Phoenix Gas Works. A map dated 1873 shows the present site occupied by an engineering works. To the eastern end of the present building was the Falcon Drawing Dock and Falcon Wharf. The map also shows Blackfriars Railway Station situated on the south bank of the River complete with booking offices and refreshment and waiting rooms. The railway was the Herne Hill and City Branch of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway.

In 1929 the Bankside Power Station (now Tate Modern) was built on the site of many of the old streets and alleyways; Love Lane, Moss Alley, Unicorn Alley, White Hind Alley all of which had existed since the sixteenth century. The Founders Arms public house takes its name from a much older public house that was situated nearby. On the ground floor of Falcon Point is the Bankside Gallery, the home of the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers.

Falcon Point was built on the site of the London Hydraulic Power works and comprises one hundred and ten one and two bedroom flats. The freehold is owned by a Jersey based Property Company called Angel mist and it is leased from that company by the London Borough of Southwark. Originally all of the flats were occupied by tenants of the Council. As a result of the ‘right to buy’ legislation 60% of the flats are occupied by leaseholders and 40% are occupied by tenants of the Council.

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