Posts Tagged ‘Tempo Leather’

Bermondsey St, the Green Dragon & Crucifix Lane

Sunday, July 31st, 2022

The previous post on this walk on Sunday 30th October 1988 was Dockhead, Sarsons, Tanner St and Bermondsey Square.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-63-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-63

I walked back up Bermondsey Street. There was slanting light across many of the frontages on the east side of the street and I stopped to take pictures of several of the more interesting buildings. Turner Whitehead were in these tall warehouses at 65-71, now renamed Bramah House. As I noted in an earlier, Turner Whitehead described themselves as ‘polythene converters’ meaning they made and sold a wide range of polythene products including bags etc.and these fine late Victorian buildings were said to have been tea warehouses.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-51-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-51

I’d photographed 65-71 Bermondsey St before together with this building next door at No63 and was pleased to have better lighting to take another picture. This site was occupied by the Green Dragon pub from at least 1822, probably much earlier. The building probably dates from around the end of the nineteenth century and the pub appears to have closed and been converted to commercial use in the 1920s. Now the ground floor is an estate agents.

The Green Dragon was an emblem of the Earls of Pembroke, one of whom, Japer Tudor, born around 1431 was the son of Catherine of Valois, the widow of King Henry V (and mother of Henry VI) and her Welsh clerk of the Wardrobe Owen Tudor. The couple were said to have married secretly in 1429 and managed to have at least five children before their marriage was discovered; then Owen Tudor was imprisoned and Catherine de Valois sent to live in Bermondsey Abbey. She died in disgrace in 1437 but was still buried in Westminster Abbey.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-66-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-66

Next going up Bermondsey street on the other side of what is now Vintage Yard is this fine Grade II listed 3 storey building at No 59, built as a new police station for the Metropolitan Police in 1851. When a new Tower Bridge Police Station opened in 1904 it briefly became a police section house and in 1906 was converted to commercial use. At least until the 1960s it was occupied by Read & Partners Ltd. Since I took this picture in 1988 it has been internally refurbished as offices.

Hairdresser, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-62-Edit_2400
Hairdresser, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-62

I walked back up Bermondsey Street, pausing to photograph this image in the window of a barber’s shop. That long-haired figure seemed strangely familiar.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-53-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-53

The light now made for a much better picture of Thomson Bros Ltd Knightrider Mills, the gateway shared by Tempo Leather Co Ltd, not to mention Rilling Hills Ltd and Marchant Hills Ltd.

As the notice states, these had been ‘ACQUIRED BY THE ELEPHANT HOUSE CO PLC AND DUNLOW HOUSE PLC – PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT – ALL ENQUIRIES’. Fortunately the development has retained the frontage more or less intact, almost certainly because it is Grade II listed, with gates now leading to ‘Shiva Building – Studio/Offices and ‘The Tanneries – www.lordshiva.net’, which address tells you a little about what goes on inside. It was built in 1873 to the designs of George Legg.

Crucifix Lane, Barnham St,Railway, Guys Hospital, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-45-Edit_2400
Crucifix Lane, Barnham St, Railway, Guys Hospital, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-45

This street apparently gets its name from a pub which had the sign of St Christopher who was the bearer of the cross on which Christ was crucified. The pub, named ‘The Cross of Bermondsey’ was apparently demolished in 1559.

More demolition came with the railway, which runs in a wide swathe across Bermondsey, built for the London and Greenwich Railway Company with construction beginning in 1834.

Guys Hospital was founded in 1721 by Thomas Guy who had made a fortune printing Bibles and a killing by speculating on the South Sea Bubble. An early private-public partnership it had been granted a monopoly by the to supply African slaves to South America and the South Sea Islands. Because Spain and Portugal controlled most of South America it did very little business with slaves, but in 1720 pushed up its share price by rumours of support from King and Parliament, rising from £128 to £550 in five months, before rapidly collapsing back. Guy apparently sold his shares before the collapse.

Guy’s Tower was built in 1974 and was then the tallest hospital building in the world, with 34 floors and almost 150 metres tall. According to Wikipedia it is now the world’s fifth-tallest hospital building.

Enid St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-35-Edit_2400
Enid St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10r-35

You can see the railway viaduct in the background of this picture on Enid St, which appears to be both the name of the street beside the viaduct and some side-streets on the Neckinger Estate. I can no longer find either the buildings and chimney but I think this may have been taken from around Enid St Playground.

This walk will continue in a later post.


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Bermondsey Street & Guideline Stores, 1988

Saturday, July 9th, 2022

The previous post on this walk, Alaska, The Grange and Leather, 1988 ended at the London Leather, Hide and Wool Exchange in Weston St, Bermondsey.

Leathermarket St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-22-Edit_2400
Leathermarket St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-22

I turned into Leathermarket St and a few yards down photographed this four storey building at No. 20-22 – this was the warehouse of leather factor, for once not a typo. Factors were agents who sold goods on commission, actually storing them in their properties, on behalf of the actual manufacturers of the goods. When I made this picture it was home to some studios and a couple of other businesses, each with a floor, though the basement was vacant, and you can see the lights are on through the second floor window.

The frontage can still be seen, looking a little tidier on Leathermarket St, and standing back you can also see the stepped back two-flor loft extension. The bricked up windons on the wall just visible at the left have now been covered with false black doors and at the centre of this wall is now an artwork by Joseph Kosuth, ‘A Last Parting Look (for C.D.)’ which consists of a quotation from Dicken’s Pickwick Papers, unveiled in 2006.

Morocco St, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-23-Edit_2400
Morocco St, Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-23

Taken from Morocco Street and looking across to 103 and 105 Bermondsey St the overall view at first glance remains now much the same as in 1988. The Grocer’s shop is now a café. But the lower building to the right, No 105, has mysteriously grown to be a replica of its neighbour, complete with fake crane on its upper storey.

And the pub at 99-101, of which only a small sliver is visible, was then the Yorkshire Grey – and a pub of that name had been there since at least the 1820s, though the building dates from 1908. For a while it became The Honest Cabbage restuarant and since around 2003 a Michelin rated gastropub, The Garrison.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-24-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-24

78 Bermondsey Street with its jutting out first floor window and attic was one of the buildings in the area I photographed most, and was Grade II listed. It dates from the late 17th century though the shopfront is a twentieth century alteration. Just beyond are more offices of Ash & Ash, printers suppliers who occupied these premises and later became sellers of computer printers.

Although still listed at this address in web trade catalogues the offices their name is long gone from the shopfronts and there are other companies housed here including a dedicated Pilates studio. These buildings from the mid-18th century are also Grade II listed.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-26-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-26

A more frontal view of 78 Bermondsey St. There are two logos on the plates by the right-hand door, one of which appears to be for IBI and another which looks familiar but I can’t for the moment place.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-13-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-13

The notice states that these premises have been acquired for development. Thomson Bros Ltd, established in 1857 were packaging specialists and shared the gateway with Tempo Leather Co Ltd at 55 Bermondsey St. Thomsons had move to Bermondsey St in 1952. Their sign at right of the picture is still there and the fine Victorian facade has been restored, and this is now the entry to ‘The Tanneries’.

Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-16-Edit_2400
Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10n-16

This frontage with an ornamental frieze about its first floor at 63 Bermondsey St is now an estate agents, established in 1998. To its right, Bramah House at 65-71 was in my pictures. It is said to be a former tea warehouse but recently renovated as offices for a number of companies, including architects. In 1988 the building was occupied by Turner Whitehead Industries Ltd, polythene converters.

I’m not sure what connection the building has with Bramah, who were one of the most famous names in tea, and in 1992 a Bramah Tea & Coffee Museum was opened not far away on Butler’s Wharf, later moving to Southwark St and closing in 2008 after its founder, Edward Bramah, died. Various of his ancestors invented the modern lavatory, the tea caddy and the Bramah lock and also include Sir Joseph Banks, who in 1788 suggested that tea could be grown in North East India, not just in China – with obvious advantages to the British Empire. The building in Bermondsey St was bought by life assurance company Canada Life in 2016 for £14.25 million.

Morocco St, Leathermarket St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-54-Edit_2400
Morocco St, Leathermarket St, Bermondsey, Southwark, 1988 88-10o-54

Guideline Stores on the corner of Morocco St and Leathermarket St , just a few yards from Bermondsey Street is a rather strange building with its windowless rounded corner tower. A former spice warehouse said to date from the it was converted to luxury flats in 1997. No signage was visible on the white painted area but as a part of its gentrification, a painted sign ‘THE MOROCCO STORE’ was added by the developers, who also obliterated its previous name ‘Guideline Stores’. Its address is now 1 Leathermarket Street. The building is said to be Victorian, though some sources suggest it is older. Although several buildings around were listed this remained unlisted despite – or perhaps because of – its distinctive character.

My walk was now almost complete, but 2 days later on Sunday 30th October I returned to
Bermondsey for my next walk, and I will end this one and continue in Bermondsey in a later post.


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