The Metropolitan Borough of Bermondsey was a Metropolitan borough in the County of London, created in 1900 by the London Government Act 1899. It was abolished and its area part of the London Borough of Southwark in 1965. The borough was formed from four civil parishes, St Mary Magdalen Bermondsey, St Mary Rotherhithe, Southwark St John Horsleydown and Southwark St Olave, in 1904 these four were combined into a single civil parish called Bermondsey, which was conterminous with the metropolitan borough. Previous to the formation it had been administered by three separate local bodies, St Olave District Board of Works, Bermondsey Vestry and Rotherhithe Vestry. The Victorian town hall on Spa Road, SE16, was bombed during World War 2, after the war the neighbouring Municipal Offices took over the role. Bermondsey Town Hall continued to house offices, latterly for Southwark Council, until being sold off in 2012. The population declined sharply after the Second World War, being cut by half from 1931 to 1951. The borough was granted a coat of arms in 1901, the design included references to the three constituent authorities. The lion, crozier and two letters B represent Bermondsey vestry, and are derived from the insignia of Bermondsey Abbey. The crown and axe were the emblem of St Olaves District Board of Works, the ship represented Rotherhithe and the Surrey Commercial Docks. The symbolism in the coat of arms were incorporated into a sculpture called The Bermondsey Lion that was unveiled in The Blue in 2011, the Latin motto adopted by the borough was Prosunt gentibus artes or Arts profit the people, and was adapted from Ovids Metamorpheses. The area of the Borough was 1,504 acres, in the first election to the borough council, held on 1 November 1900 the Moderates gained a majority. The opposition group was formed by the Progressive Party, the Moderates retained their majority at the 1903 elections. In 1906 the Moderate group was renamed Municipal Reform, in 1909 The Progressives won 27 seats and the Independent Labour Party 1 to the Municipal Reforms 26 seats, but the latter party retained power through the aldermanic elections. They regained a majority of councillors at the 1912 elections. Local elections were postponed during the First World War, with the next held in 1919. The results were a reverse for the Municipal Reform party with just two councillors elected. The Progressives formed the largest party with 27 seats, followed by the Labour Party with 24, at the 1922 elections Labour gained a majority with 38 seats
Bermondsey Town Hall
Image: The Bermondsey Lion plaque, The Blue (Sep 2012)
The Arms of The Metropolitan Borough of Bermondsey
A map showing the wards of Bermondsey Metropolitan Borough as they appeared in 1916.