Well after 3 quite happy years it looks like I will be bidding a fond adieu to this little corner of London. I am a north London boy and had never thought of spending any time in south-east London. Ever. But I’ve really loved living here.
After moving back to London from Istanbul in 2009, on a whim I took the tube to Bermondsey and emerged to a whole new world. It felt immediately comfortable and I liked the vibe even though I knew nothing of the area having never been there in my life. I was going to move to Holloway Road but ditched that and 2 months later moved in.
It is a district that is changing rapidly especially on my side of the tracks east of Tower Bridge Road. It is very mixed socio-economically as is much of London these days, with all the concomitant issues and questions this raises. This piece is not about rights and wrongs of the shifts in regeneration etc. but just a record of where I live. I always intended to capture more, to try and preserve some history in this stretch of Bermondsey as buildings are being knocked down, shops change etc. – I did this only haphazardly unfortunately.
Back in May (yes I’ve been a bit slow) I decided to go for a stroll and try and see with new eyes. Usually it is a 5-10 min stroll form my house to Tower Bridge Road but that day it took nearly an hour.
This post will have a bit more commentary along with many more photos than normal. Feel free to just flick through (which is how we consume the internet mostly) or if you are in the mood grab a drink, take a seat and join me for a warm blast of the mundane. I am in a wittering mood I warn you.
The first pic is just near my flat on Spa Road, this shop has now moved to a new building to the left as have the other shops. I think these buildings will be demolished and rebuilt as have all the other ones. I would have loved to have seen this street before all the redevelopment. They are cool guys in the Spa Food and Wine, in many ways they feel like the glue of the street.
This is the old bakery, closed down a little while back. I think they did well when there was a load of building works as the work men all used to have lunch here.
Lady feeding the pigeons. Um not much else to say to that. She seemed rather bemused when I asked if she minded if I took a photo.
This is a council building, it used to be the old town hall I believe and has now been sold. I have no idea what will happen to it – my guess is ‘luxury flats’.
Everywhere is dominated by the Shard. I love it (as anyone who follows my photos well knows). The reflective glass means that it is always changing with the different skies, this makes it endlessly fascinating to see.
Another view of the town hall, I had never walked up the steps to be honest. Glad I did, the effect is quite dramatic.
As I was taken the photos I saw this family strolling along, the boy was being quite slow to the vast annoyance of his mum.
He then decided to try and sit in his sister’s pram with foreseeable consequences. This whole sequence was filled of course with much shouting from the mother.
This is just me being artsy, this is in the Bermondsey Spa Gdns – I hang out here quite a lot. They now have a really nice cafe in the corner, when the weather is good (or not) it is a fine space to grab a coffee and sit. London does green spaces perfectly.
Here you have the Kagyu Samye Dzong Tibetan Buddhist Centre which used to be the old library. It is a lovely space which they have restored really well but has an added feel of its own. It also has a nice cafe, shame they don’t do momo’s though
This is the famous Alaska building. It used to be a seal fur factory, now it is .. yep you guessed it .. flats. It is quite closed off so I’ve never been in but I’m sure the flats are beautiful.
There is so much building work going on. I don’t even notice the trundle of huge trucks all day every day. This development is on Grange Road.
Then it started to rain
London’s history post war is very interesting. There is a prog on bbc at the moment showing how urban planning in the 1950′s emphasised the new and modern. This means that many houses such as those below would have been demolished and replaced. It is hard not to judge this folly but I would guess at the time it seemed very logical.
This spot of graffiti lasted around a week .. again on Grange Road
More development coming I guess …
You can see the mix in styles here …
Now we hit Tower Bridge Road and the old toilets that are sitting abandoned. Wonder what they’ll do with them. If this was Dalston they would be some type of private members club by now :-p
The rain messes with my hair so I took refuge in Del Aziz. Coffee – great, desserts -great, lunch deal – great, normal food – not so great (in my experience only of course).
Later on I was walking to the station and took a couple of shots of the church.
That is it then for now, this whole journey is usually less than a ten minute stroll. I do regret not systematically cataloging the area as I love looking at old photos of places. Nothing to be done though, as they say in Turkey “Iste boyle”.
Farewell and adieu Bermondsey, I didn’t realise I would be so fond of you.
It is usually best to finish with a song:
Next stage then is Germany, Malaysia then the US. I shall try and get back into the photographing groove, my mojo is still somewhat lost sadly.