Few historic houses remain today along Bankside but one such survivor is 49 Bankside, situated between Cardinal Cap Alley and the Globe Theatre. The house has a varied and extraordinary history (see Gillian Tindall’s The House by the Thames 2006). During the 1930s, 49 Bankside was the residence of Robert E Stevenson and his wife Anna Lee. Stevenson was a script-writer and soon-to-be director attached to Gaumont British film studios. By that time the cinema had become a mass industry; Southwark alone had over a dozen ‘picture houses’ by the 1930s (including one at Elephant and Castle which for a time was the largest in Europe). In the dining room of 49 Bankside, overlooking the Thames across to St Paul’s Cathedral, Stevenson and Lee held many glamorous dinner parties where guests included, for example, Jack Buchanan, John Mills, Merle Oberon, Sybil Thorndike and Jessie Matthews (later to become the lynchpin of the BBC’s Mrs Dale’s Diary).
20”x16” (406 mm x 508 mm)