Simona Scavo has been living in London for the past 6 years. Paralegal 9-5, tea junkie, fitness fanatic and cocktail and restaurants lover -Check out her blog Shoreditch Girl.
Those who say the high street is dead, have clearly never ventured on the right side of London Bridge station.
Put firmly on the maps by what is very soon going to become the tallest building in Europe, The Shard, there is one particular high street that is pulsing with vitality: Bermondsey Street.
If the mention of the name Bermondsey conjures thoughts of insalubrious council blocks, sprawling estates and riotous teens to die-hard North Londoners, try coupling it with “street” and the reaction immediately will turn into sincere curiosity. For this neighbourhood is the talk of the town.
Very easy to get to, a 10 minute walk down St Thomas’ Street and slap bang in between London Bridge and Tower Bridge Road. You will be excused if you believe you have stepped back in time!
Welcome to Bermondsey Street. A lovely conservation area and mile long stretch that incorporates different feels from 18th century houses, an early Grade II listed 19th century three-storey red brick house, contemporary warehouse buildings and a striking orange and pink coloured 1950’s warehouse/garage conversion, now housing Zandra Rhodes’ Fashion and Textile Museum.
If art is your thing, then you are in the right place. Opposite the Rhodes’ museums, you’ll find Peter Layton’s Gallery of contemporary glass, complete with glowing furnaces visible from the gallery entrance, and a viewing area. The third and largest of The White Cube’s London Galleries housed in a 1970’s warehouse, opened during last year’s Frieze and the abstract art specialist Poussin Gallery is housed at Bell Yard Mews.
As for shopping, Vogue recently described the street as “a destination for London’s most stylish shoppers”.
There’s the traditional Bermondsey Antique Market (also called New Caledonian Market from its former location on the Cally Road). It takes place each Friday in Bermondsey Square, and regulars recommend you arrive at 5am to get the best deals. There are also a cluster of great boutiques, including Cockfighter of Bermondsey Street, which sells cute accessories such as hats, belts, bags etc.
For those trendy pets, Holly & Lil caters for everything a pet wishes for: do you prefer a boho collar or a country one? If its couture fit you are looking for, Pussy Willow offers women’s wear made-to-measure and bespoke services for every occasion.
Lovely and British is the place for gifts, all British-made, with an eclectic mix of antique, vintage, handmade candles, chocolates, jewellery and more.
New kid on the block Cave, with its explosive combo of amazing flowers, great wines and chocolate (oh yes!) is a gem in itself, and worth a trip.
Nearby Bermondsey Square, the pinnacle of the regeneration of the area, boasts an independent bookshop, Woolfson and Tay, whose social calendar is brimming with events, workshops and exhibitions, and small gallery Vitrine.
Read part 2 of this blog: