The stone above is inscribed with the date 1655 and states:
"Here are several Sorts of Work
For the Poor of this Parish...
and for such as will Beg and
Live Idle in this City and Liberty
Bridewells, named after the original in the City of London, were places where the unemployed, unemployable and simply workshy were forced to pick oakum or walk a treadmill in grim, gloomy silence. They must have been unspeakable.
The old gateway was installed here by the GLC in 1969, hence the rather stuck-on appearance.