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Building back Bermondsey: The new development breathing fresh life into one of London’s vibrant areas

The new London Square Bermondsey development is at the heart of all the good things happening in this part of the capital.

The history of Bermondsey is one of regeneration, community and The Arts. From its beginnings as a hunting ground used by Edward III, who built a lodge along the river in 1353, the area was then transformed after the Great Fire of London into a leafy suburb for the city’s more well-off residents. However, such luxury was short-lived once the industrial revolution transformed this part of south east London.

Docks and warehouses sprang up, as did housing for immigrant workers, which created much of the industrial aesthetic that is still on show in the area today. In the 20th century, many of these warehouses and industrial units stood empty as a result of the drying up of trade along the Thames, while others were destroyed in The Blitz. It is from these ashes that the area has once again risen, in a borough-wide regeneration that continues to this day and can perhaps be seen most strikingly in the new London Square Bermondsey development, the centrepiece of which is the former Branston Pickle Factory.

The original buildings of the site were built back in the late 19th and early-20th-centuries, and were producing the famous garnish until the 1960s. After that, like so much of the area, the buildings were left without use, but have now been transformed into a bold new development that mixes Bermondsey’s industrial heritage with contemporary and modern living in the heart of this storied borough.

Credit: London Square

As much as Bermondsey is about industry, so too is it about The Arts. It was, after all, from the Bermondsey riverbank where J M W Turner studied and painted his iconic The Fighting Temeraire, voted the nation’s favourite painting in a BBC Radio 4 poll and immortalised on the new £20 note from 2020.

The passion for The Arts continues to this day, with the famous White Cube gallery on Bermondsey Street, as well as London’s Fashion and Textile Museum. Galleries abound, and it is not uncommon in the summer months to see Dame Zandra Rhodes, who designed clothes for Freddie Mercury, Marc Bolan and Diana, Princess of Wales, cycling around the area.

Credit: London Square

The Arts are also a focal point of London Square Bermondsey. The new development will welcome local creators from the Tannery Arts charity with a new permanent studio space, showcasing established artists from the community, as well as young up-and-coming talent. The charity has been in the area since its formation in 1993, and its partnership with London Square shows that the development is not just about housing, but also embedding itself in the bohemian community that has inhabited Bermondsey for centuries. As well as having art on site, Tannery Arts will run workshops and classes for residents: a rare amenity for a regenerative development.

As well as art, there is music. London Square’s proximity to the Jubilee line means that the world-class venue of the O2 arena is reachable within 30 minutes (Stormzy, The Pet Shop Boys and Bryan Adams are already booked to play in 2022). Closer to home, the Printworks Club in Canada Water plays host to the globe’s best electronic music acts.

Should that not be enough for the aspiring culture vulture, remember that Bermondsey and its SE1 environs boasts some of the best food and drink in the capital — indeed, the area was rated as ‘The Best for Foodies’ by this very magazine. The food in the area is indeed so good that, in 1997, then US President Bill Clinton declined to have tea with The Queen so that he might eat at the Pont de la Tour restaurant in London Bridge.

That rich culinary tradition has only improved, with award-winning fine dining still available at the Pont de la Tour, as well as other new establishments such as Restaurant Story and Santo Remedio — all within a 15-minute walk of London Square Bermondsey. Even closer is the famed Bermondsey Street, with its wealth of pubs, bars and restaurants certain to cater to every taste that a new resident could desire.

Credit: London Square

For those of a more liquid persuasion, the Bermondsey Beer Mile plays host to some of the nation’s best independent brewers, such as FourPure, Brew by Numbers, Anspach & Hobday and The Kernel. All offer their own tap rooms, with an ever-changing menu of craft beers and wine. Combine this with the food stalls and markets at Borough, Maltby Street and Vinegar Yards, and it’s entirely possible to eat and drink something different every day of the year.

Credit: London Square

And to think all of the above is so accessible from London Square Bermondsey. As well as occupying one of the prime positions in the capital, the development will offer one, two and three-bedroom apartments of the highest standards, as well as on-site gym, brand new landscaped gardens and a 24-hour concierge service, while respecting and improving the built heritage of the Pickle Factory and the surrounding area.

It’s rare to see a development so in tune with its surroundings, but London Square is just that, and offers the perfect entry into the much sought after Bermondsey lifestyle. With 60% of Pickle Factory units already sold, it seems that the secret is out, and now is the time to make your home in SE1.

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Credit: London Square