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Leather and p***

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Wednesday 9 July 2008 9.30pm
A lovely old cabbie claimed this evening that Tooley Street was once called Piss Street, because of the high quality urine to be had from the monks at the cathedral, which was used by the leather trade to tan hides.

What do you think?
Wednesday 9 July 2008 9.45pm
I think he was pulling your leg - Southwark Cathedral has only been such since the end of the 19th century, before then it was a parish church.
Tooley St is a corruption of St Olave's St after the church that used to be on the river side of the street. Every map I've seen has a variation of that name.
The leather industry was centred a bit further south. There was an abbey with monks, but that was Bermondsey Abbey, dissolved under the reign of Henry VIII, and the leather trade started much later, reaching its heyday in the late 19th century.

Quite a few streets in Bermondsey deserve that name though...
Wednesday 9 July 2008 10.04pm
However, that piss was used to tan leather is a fact.
Wednesday 9 July 2008 10.28pm
Urine was used to make "alum" for the dye industry, which although carried out in the countryside used so many thousands of gallons of the stuff they collected from London too. Buckets were left on street corners all over town! This went on from 17-19th centuries I believe so it would have been going on in Tooley street area for sure. It's true, I'm not taking the p***!
Thursday 10 July 2008 1.01am
It still goes on in Fez
Thursday 10 July 2008 6.33am
they used dog poo in the barrels of hides,in leathermarket.
Thursday 10 July 2008 6.40am
Piss has been used commercially for millennia. Perversely, it was used for cleaning clothes since in the absence of modern detergents it was one of the few ways to remove a grease stain. So valuable was it in Roman times for no end of industrial processes that it was actually illegal to waste the stuff.
Thursday 10 July 2008 7.02am
and it softens the hard skin on your feet, honest....i say no more...
Thursday 10 July 2008 8.51am
And essential for fulling fabric.
Thursday 10 July 2008 9.32am
I never knew that MapMaker...:-)
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