The City workers of 2018 may be halfway through Veganuary, but their 17th century counterparts were far less concerned about animal cruelty. This house behind the Globe Theatre on the Southbank bears testament to a pastime that was once just as popular with Tudor monarchs as ordinary Londoners.
The property on Park Street, in between New Globe Walk and Bear Gardens, sits on the site of the Bear Pit. The bloodsport would pit bears against other animals, such as dogs, horses and bulls, for entertainment. These venues could hold around 1,000 people and King Henry VIII loved it so much, he had a venue built near Whitehall.
This property was built around 200 years later in 1860, but it’s named after the Pepys House because the Bear Pit on which it stands appears in Samuel Pepys famous diary. In fact, excavation work discovered elements of the venue still exists underneath the house.
Spanning the coronation of King Charles II, the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London, Pepys’ detailed diary is an important historical document held at the University of Cambridge. On 27 May 1667, Pepys says he “stopped at Bear-garden-stairs, there to see a prize fought. But the house was so full there was no getting in there, so forced to go through an alehouse into the pit, where the bears are baited...”
Now, the four bedroom house, which boasts stunning period features such as a vaulted ceiling and original wooden beams, is now worth £3.5m. Modern luxuries include a utility room, underfloor heating, top-of-the-range kitchen and bathroom fixtures and a private terrace off the living room.
“Its fascinating history makes Pepys House a rare find, particularly in this part of the capital,” says Laura Laws, the agent handling the sale for Savills. “We have already received interest from City workers looking for a home within walking distance of their workplace... In the SE1 area, housing stock at this price point tends to be modern apartments so Pepys House offers something completely different for buyers at this level; a reminder of the London of yesteryear.”
Call Savills Wapping on 020 7456 6800