Bermondsey Street Fashion Heritage

Celebrating the history and heritage of fashion and textile industries in the Bermondsey Street area, London SE1. The leather and wool trades, as well as hat manufacture and glue production have historic associations on Bermondsey Street. Many of these traditional industries have disappeared, but the Street is a designated conservation area and retains much of its architectural character. A number of artists and creative industries are now based here. The project highlights local sites of interest, and includes a map, display and series of events at the Museum. Download the map

Celebrating the history of fashion and textile industries in Bermondsey Street

1. The Glasshouse Gallery [Melior Place]
Home to the work of artist and sculptor Andrew Logan, who founded the Alternative Miss World competition in 1972. Logan previously worked from nearby Butler’s Wharf.

2. Guinness’ Trust Dwellings [Kirby Grove]
Built in 1897 to alleviate poor housing, overcrowding and disease, the tenement flats had shared bathrooms and gas lighting. The census of 1901 lists residents’ trades in the leather and millinery industries.

3. Snowsfields [Kirby Grove]
Snowsfields is a typical Board School. During the 19th century schooling was often provided by charities. Opposite, Arthur's Mission – ‘Feed my Lambs’ was built in the 1890s and indicates the historic poverty of the area.

4. Susie Stone Ltd [60 Bermondsey Street]
Providing bespoke womenswear since June 2010.

5. #55 Tempo Leather [55 Bermondsey Street]
This is the site of the original Tempo leather company. Now located just off Old Kent Road, the company’s sign is the only remaining presence of the company on Bermondsey Street. A project documenting the stories of Bermondsey Street with video features this site and memories of the Tempo Leather

6. Fashion and Textile Museum [83 Bermondsey Street] The Fashion and Textile Museum hosts exhibitions and events aimed at providing inspiration, support and training for those in the industry. Founded in 2003 by iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes, the museum was designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta and is now part of Newham College London.

7. Pussy Willow [90 Bermondsey Street]
Opened by Amanda Thompson in 2005 to offer made-to-measure and bespoke womenswear for all occasions.

8. The Woolpack Pub [98 Bermondsey Street]
One of many local pubs that hints at the industries that once thrived in the area, many original Victorian features remain.

9. Holly and Lil [103 Bermondsey Street]
High fashion for dogs and cats including unique collars. A knitwear company was also located on this site in the 1970s and 80s.

10. Tanner Street
The great majority of buildings in and around Bermondsey Street are historically connected with the leather trade. Tanner Street’s name reflects the work undertaken by leather companies in the nearby area.

11. Christys’ Hats [175 Bermondsey Street]
Christys’ Hats was once the largest hat company in the world, and based its hat works in Bermondsey until the early 1970s.

12. Bermondsey Fayre [212 Bermondsey Street]
A local boutique, gallery and community space, Bermondsey Fayre supports local and independent designers and offers clothing, accessories and gift items.

13. St Mary Magdalen Church, Bermondsey [193 Bermondsey Street]
The medieval tower of this church is one of the oldest buildings in Bermondsey. Founded in the 11th century, it is resting place for many local textile workers, and the church gardens also hold the tombs of the Rolls family, of Rolls Royce fame.

14. Bermondsey Square Antiques Market [ Bermondsey Square]
Every Friday morning, local antiques traders sell their wares in this vibrant market, including jewellery, furniture and china.

15. Kerry Taylor Auctions [249–253 Long Lane]
Specialising in costume and textiles, Kerry Taylor auctions was established in 2003.
Kerry Taylor still acts as a textile consultant to Sotheby’s, where she started as an auctioneer at the age of 21, but now offers assistance with valuations, funding applications and press enquiries amongst other things. She has been profiled in British Vogue and the New York Times.

16. Hepburn and Gale’s Tannery [239 Long Lane]
Long Lane was the site of significant industrial activity during the height of Bermondsey’s role in the leather and wool trades. The large warehouse at no.239 belonged to Hepburn and Gale’s, which later merged with Samuel Barrow & Sons. More recently it housed the fur dealers, Britz Brothers.

17. Morocco Building
Located at a key junction Morocco Street and Leathermarket Street, this building shares its name with the soft, pliable leather manufactured in the area which was particularly used for making gloves and upper ladies’ shoes.

18. R.W. Autos [2 Morocco Street]
This longstanding garage has two horses heads above the front, which show the site was once a farriers. Provides a great vantage point down Morocco Street to consider what the townscape of leather warehouses once looked like.

19. Leather Hide and Wool Exchange [Leathermarket Street]
Built 1878 by George Elkington & Sons, the Exchange was where the animal hides were traded. Located near to the 1833 Leather Market, it remained active until 1912. Decorative roundels depict the leather trades and processes involved.

20. 22 Leathermarket Street
The grand entrance arch at no.22 is a former leather factory.


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