Follow Honesty and Alice through Elizabethan London – Day 4: Southwark & London Bridge

This month author Eloise Williams takes us on a tour around the Elizabethan London featured in Honesty and Lies.

We’ll be visiting the key places where Honesty and Alice spend their time and Eloise will give you an inside sneak peek into the places as well as what it takes to bring this world to life!


Southwark and London Bridge

The story is set over Christmastide and Twelfth Night. It’s cold. Very cold. Not so many years before the Thames had frozen over and King Henry VIII had ridden his sleigh from London to Greenwich across its surface. I’m a big fan of creating wintry settings and London Bridge and Southwark were so much fun to write about.

The bridge would have been astonishing to a newcomer. All manner of people and animals would have been using it to cross the river and there would have been timbered houses and shops galore. There is nothing more pleasing to my writer’s eye than to imagine an apothecarist, filled with remedies and beaked masks. A mercer draping rippling silk over his arm as if it is trickling water juxtaposed with soldiers and sailors and rats the size of cats. And a candlemaker’s sign blowing in an icy wind sounds romantic for some reason. Or is that just me?

Once over it, having walked beneath a huge gate with the heads of traitors on spikes, you’d reach Southwark.

Southwark was the place of entertainment so when Honesty and Alice are sent on an errand it’s little wonder that they get caught up in the excitement of celebrations. A falconer with a trained bird, carollers, a merry group of boys with a bowl of spiced ale distract them from their duties. Then there are the men on stilts, the jugglers and flamethrowers, and people blowing crumhorn pipes and making a racket with… well… racketts. And, of course, the magic of the Globe theatre! Happy days.