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Southwark, Philadelphia

Southwark District
Former District
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Philadelphia
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Area code 215
Map of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania highlighting Southwark District prior to the Act of Consolidation, 1854
Location of Southwark District in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States
Southwark District
Location Bounded by Delaware, Washington Aves., 5th, Lombard, Front, and Catherine Sts., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Area 720 acres (290 ha)[1]
Built 1703
Architect Multiple
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 72001172[2]
Added to NRHP May 19, 1972

Southwark was originally the Southwark District, a colonial era municipality in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. Today, it is a neighborhood in the South Philadelphia section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Because of its location south of the early Philadelphia, the name was adopted in allusion to the borough of Southwark in the county of London, England, just south of the city of London.


  • History 1
  • Education 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4
  • Related reading 5


Southwark is one of the oldest English settlements in the County of Philadelphia. It is actually the oldest district founded by settlers in Philadelphia, as a result of its inclusion in the former Swedish colony of New Sweden. Southwark was originally a tract of ground on the fast land of the Neck, lying between Passyunk and Wicaco. Due to the populations of the Swedish settlements of Wicaco and Moyamensing, Southwark grew earlier than other parts of the county apart from the city of Philadelphia.[3]

The General Assembly created the district of Southwark on May 14, 1762, to facilitate cooperation with regards to street-building. In 1854, when it was incorporated into the city of Philadelphia by the Act of Consolidation, the borough comprised the area bounded on the north by South Street, on the west by Passyunk Avenue from 5th and South to 10th and Reed; the boundary then ran along Reed Street, down 7th, and along Mifflin Street to the river.[1] Today, there are only a few traces of the name "Southwark" in this part of Philadelphia. . These include Southwark restaurant at 4th and Bainbridge, Southwark Paints further south on 4th, Southwark Development Corp., a public-housing project along Washington Avenue from 3rd to 5th, and even "Southwark" painted on a wall as far away as 23rd and Washington. (Southwark Paints no longer exists.)

In the late 1970s, this area of Philadelphia was renamed, and the Northern portion is now commonly known as Queen Village. The neighborhood of Pennsport is the primary southern half of what was Southwark.[4] The area is a diverse community, a multi-racial neighborhood of middle class, working class, and professionals. However, recently, parts of Southwark has been noted as a poor and depressed neighborhoods. The intersection of Fifth Street and Carpenter Street was listed number nine in a 2007 list of the city's top ten recreational drug corners according to an article by Philadelphia Weekly reporter Steve Volk.[5]

The historic district, as defined by the National Register of Historic Places [1], is bounded by 5th Street on the west, Lombard Street on the north, Washington Avenue on the south, and Front, Catherine, and Queen Streets and Columbus Boulevard (formerly Delaware Avenue) on the east.


Residents are within the School District of Philadelphia.

Residents are zoned to Southwark School (K-8) and South Philadelphia High School.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b (Philadelphia History)Moyamensing
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  3. ^ Where Pennsylvania History Began (by Henry D. Paxon. The Swedish Colonial Society. 1926)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Top 10 Drug Corners(by Steve Volk. Philadelphia Weekly. May 2, 2007. [2]
  6. ^ "Southwark Elementary School Geographic Boundaries." School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved on October 4, 2011.
  7. ^ "South Philadelphia High School Geographic Boundaries." School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved on October 4, 2011.

External links

  • Chronology of the Political Subdivisions of the County of Philadelphia, 1683-1854
  • Information courtesy of
  • Incorporated District, Boroughs, and Townships in the County of Philadelphia, 1854 By Rudolph J. Walther - excerpted from the book at the website

Related reading

  • Johnson, Amandus (1927) The Swedes on the Delaware (International Printing Company, Philadelphia)
  • Weslager, C. A. (1988) New Sweden on the Delaware 1638-1655 (The Middle Atlantic Press, Wilmington ) ISBN 0-912608-65-X
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