The charity has a record of the various gifts of land and money left to the Corporation of Wardens of the Parish of St Saviours in Southwark going back nearly 500 years. One of our most significant benefactors was Thomas Cure, the local MP, church warden and saddler to three monarchs, who, upon his death, established an almshouse in Park St in 1584. This gift was added to over the years by other gifts, including those from Edward Alleyn and Messrs Jackson, Young and Spragg..
The Market Porter and Wheatsheaf pubs have been on their sites for centuries. Originally called the Harrow, the Market Porter changed its name in the 1950’s. In the 1830’s, the Corporation of Wardens built 1-13 Park Street, designed by the architect William Rose. The buildings were originally let as small stores, except No. 7 which was another pub, The Yorkshire Grey.
In the 1860s the area was changed by the building of the new railways. The almshouse was demolished to build the railway viaduct which runs behind the Park St buildings and relocated to West Norwood. The shops were often used as ancillary spaces to Borough Market, such as for banana ripening.
The properties were once more affected by the railways in 2008 when the Thameslink line was built behind Park St and demolished the top floor off the Wheatsheaf pub. The charity recently invested nerly £1m in these Grade II listed properties to preserve their beauty and make them fi for modern day requirements.
The charity has ancient ownership of a strip of land running from St Mary Overy Dock to the Cathedral. This preserves the rights of local parishioners to land and transport goods free of toll from the Thames. An ancient stone plaque is located on the side of Minerva House reminding people of this ancient right.
The land at Red Lion Court, Bankside, was given to the charity by Thomas Emerson, whose name is preserved in a local street. This was originally houses and wharf buildings, but was converted to the present day office blocks in 1985.