The South Bank and Waterloo area bulges with fascinating histories, of people, buildings, transport, institutions, events, murders and more. We can't tell all these stories ourselves, but scroll down this page for links to a wealth of fascinating stories, which we hope to build over time.

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The South Bank has always been a place of entertainment, from Elizabethan times onwards.  On Easter Monday 1768 former cavalry officer Philip Astley and his wife Patty created a new forum for public pleasure - the circus - by bringing together a cornucopia of entertainments - trick horse-riding, acrobats, clowns and more - in one place for an afternoon's entertainment. Their first site was Halfpenny Hatch, where Roupell Street now sits, and that story is told here.  So successful were they, however, that within a year they had earned enough to build Astley's Amphitheatre, in Westminster Bridge Road.  Read more here.

Some of the best known historic streets in Waterloo are in the Roupell Street Conservation Area, built in the 1820s and 1830s by John Roupell.  But the name Roupell descended into scandal in the 1850s, with a story of forgery, embezzlement, parliamentary disgrace and deportation to Australia for his grandson William. Read more here.

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It takes a knowing eye to see a similarity between Waterloo Bridge and the iconic British red telephone box. And yet the elegant curves of the bridge bear a strong likeness to the curved roof of Giles Gilbert Scott's telephone box, because he was responsible for the design of both. To read more about the bridge click here. To see a film on why it is also often called 'The Ladies Bridge', click here.


Many people know that the previous London Bridge now sits over a man-made lake in Arizona, USA. Click here to find our what happened to the first Waterloo Bridge.

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