The present church of St George the Martyr is largely 18th Century. It was built in 1734 - 1736 with the help of a grant of £6,000 from the Commissioners for Building 50 New Churches to replace the medieval parish church on the same site. The architect was John Price. Some alterations were carried out in the 19th Century, notably the removal of coffins from the crypt in 1899, and in 1897 the design by Basil Champneys of a flat plaster ceiling with cherubs for the nave.
Major restoration work was found to be necessary in the 1930s. Vibration from the underground railway and increasing road traffic combined with inadequate foundations caused the south wall of the church to settle and to develop cracks. This was repaired in 1939 as part of a programme of restoration work brought to a halt by the outbreak of war. Serious damage from enemy action necessitated a major restoration of the church in 1951 - 1952. While St George's church was closed, services were held at St Michael's church, Lant Street. Further restoration work took place in the early 1960s.
St George's Churchyard was situated on the north side of the church. It was extended in 1817 by trustees appointed under an Act of Parliament for enlarging St George's Churchyard (56 Geo III). Minutes and other records of the Churchyard Trustees 1816 - 1863 are in the care of Southwark Local Studies Library. The churchyard was closed in the 1850s and laid out as a garden in 1882. In 1905 the London County Council acquired part of the churchyard in order to construct a new road between Tabard Street and Borough High Street. They added other land to the former churchyard in compensation and reopened the restored garden in 1906 (see LCC/CL/CER/3/5(69)).
St George the Martyr had acquired an additional burial ground in 1711. This was situated in Kent Street near the Lock Hospital and next to St Saviour's and St Olave's Girls' School. It was extended in 1744 and, after its closure, was laid out as a public garden by the vestry in 1887 (see DROP/101).
During the course of the 19th Century six new parishes for ecclesiastical purposes were created within the ancient parish of St George the Martyr. In the south-eastern portion of the parish, St Mary Magdalene, Massinger Street was formed in 1843 and St Stephen, Manciple Street in 1850. In the western and south western areas, St Jude, St George's Road was assigned a parish in 1850, followed by St Paul, Westminster Bridge Road in 1858, St Michael and All Angels, Lant Street in 1867 and St Alphege, Lancaster Street in 1872.
Post war pastoral reorganisation has seen the disappearance of most of these parishes. St Michael's was reunited with St George the Martyr in 1953, St Michael's Church becoming St George's Church Halls. Most of St Stephen's parish was united with St George the Martyr in 1964. St Paul amalgamated with St Jude. St Jude's Church closed in 1976 and the congregation now worship at St George's Church.
For further information see The Survey of London Vol. XXV St George's Fields and St George the Martyr Church, Southwark: A short history by John Pinder (reference P92/GEO/369).
P92/GEO/334-344: LONG LANE IMPROVEMENT
Church Street and White Street were renamed Long Lane.
CHURCH HALLS, LANT STREET
Between 1956 and 1958 the redundant church of St Michael, Lant Street and its adjoining church halls were converted and a new kitchen constructed to provide church halls for St George the Martyr. The papers listed below were deposited as one bundle, roughly grouped according to subject. They have been weeded and rearranged more strictly according to subject and date. For treatment of dry rot in church halls 1960 - 1962 see P92/GEO/319/1-27, 105.