There has been an inn and rest house for travellers on the site since the 15th century. It was kept by monks from Bermondsey Priory.
Christopher Jones, captain of the Mayflower, is said to have hired crew here and Captain Cook prepared for his voyage to Australia at the old inn.
When Samuel Pepys, the diarist and naval administrator, visited 'The Famous Angel', in the 17th century, he would have had a pleasant country walk from the City.
Its proximity to the river meant the clientele included dockers, sailors, pirates, smugglers and pressgangs.
During the 18th and 19th centuries London grew and its east-end river banks were developed as docks and wharves. Bermondsey's crowded waterfront became one of the worst slums in London, a haunt for thieves, pressgangs and smugglers.