Southwark Heritage Association was formed in 1986 to promote Southwark's Heritage, which notion was pursued under the slogan, 'Historic Southwark Alive Today'. The Chamber of Commerce had commissioned a report that forecast the developing significance of travel to the social and commercial economy of the borough. The Council showed little interest in the report so
SHA was formed to explore its implications. We defined heritage as 'that which we inherit from the past, use and develop in the present and leave, enhanced, for our children's future.' We wanted to consider business, domestic; education and tourist travel in its effect on our lives.

As a non profit making charitable body SHA also provides status for fledgling associated projects, providing them with an umbrella, banking facilities, and guidance; enabling good ideas and skills to be developed before the project has gained the proven track record so necessary in attracting funds during the early days. By the time these projects are strong enough to stand on their own two feet; they have a better grasp of the necessary skills to gain independence and can leave our umbrella. Six projects have benefited in this way to date: the fledgling TIC; Southwark Young Pilgrims, the Living Work Experience project; Southwark Mysteries: AM Arts Ltd.; and the Southwark Social Investment Forum.

In the early years, Southwark Council were reluctant to take any major steps in the area of travel and tourism. The example set by SHA acted as a pressure, which Southwark Council began to note, and which led to a range of responses to the business, educational, domestic, and tourist travel structures that we have in this borough today. Coupled with the significant attractive regeneration and magnificent new Hotels in the area, tourism in Southwark is increasing rapidly. By 1997 the council had perceived the expanding role of tourism and appointed a Tourism Officer and section of their own.

Until 1999 Southwark Heritage Association ran the only TIC in the borough on behalf of Southwark council. By 2000 the council also had understood the significance of the TIC (the second highest turnover of T.I.C.'s in the country) and that it deserved a higher-profile site. It was moved from our premises at the Hays Galleria to its present location at No. 6, Tooley Street. With the Council's full adoption and relocation of the TIC, and therefore the loss of associated funding, Southwark Heritage needed to expand the other ways of serving the local Community which we had been identifying over the intervening years; and to find another way of funding the premises at Hays Galleria, with the additional challenge of the conversion of free accommodation provided by St. Martins property to a chargeable tenancy.

Regrettably in August 2003 the Heritage Centre closed its' doors for the last time, so there is currently no Heritage Centre or Information Centre in the borough of Southwark. Southwark Heritage Association is still working hard to promote the Borough and communities within it.

To contact Southwark Heritage, please use the following contact information:

Telephone or Fax 020-8299-0470

About Our Organisation