Bermondsey Biscuit & Rotherhithe Docker - summer 2021 edition

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Summer 2021

Issue 8

honey I’m home Award winning Bermondsey Street bee-keepers share the secrets behind mankind’s original luxury food



Health, Wellbeing & Movement Business Languages Applied & Social Sciences Humanities Music, Dance & Dramatic Arts Digital Media, Design & Photography Fashion, Millinery & Textiles Visual Arts

Craft a New Chapter. SHORT COURSES ENROL NOW FOR SEPTEMBER With more than 1,000 specialist short courses on offer, Morley College London has something perfect to get you making and doing again. Whether it’s in-person, online or a combination of both, our Covid secure work practices are designed with your safety in mind.

Enjoy a

Summer of Morley! SHORT TASTER COURSES ENROL NOW FOR JULY One-day to two-week summer short taster courses give you the opportunity to get an intro to what you might want to pursue in a longer short course.


summer 2021


About Us Laura Burgoine

We’ve been based in the old Biscuit Factory in Bermondsey since 1994. Our flagship publication, the Southwark News launched in 1987 and is now London’s only independent, paid for newspaper. We created the Bermondsey Biscuit and Rotherhithe Docker in 2018 with support from sponsors including Sellar, Grosvenor, British Land, and many other local businesses.

We also publish the South Londoner each month, and the Greenwich and Lewisham Weekender every week. We are proud to be a London Living Wage employer. We use 100% recovered paper from the Ortviken papermill in Sweden, a green energy provider who use biofuel instead of oil and provide heat for 10,000 single family homes.

Our Team Editor Writers Design Marketing Media Partnerships Finance Managing Directors


Laura Burgoine Michael Holland, Debra Gosling, Kit Heren Lizzy Tweedale, Dan Martin, Aurelio Medina Tammy Jukes, Clarry Frewin, Lorraine Wood, Katie Boyd Anthony Phillips Emrah Zeki Chris Mullany, Kevin Quinn

Contact us Email Phone 020 7231 5258 Facebook BermondseyBiscuit Instagram @bermondseybiscuit Website Printed by Ilif fe Print Published by Southwark Newspaper Ltd


Going out, out What’s on this summer People The Bermondsey Street beekeepers creating a buzz in the artisanal


Food & Drink Launching Limin’, 20 years of Arabica, Manze’s ice cream


Memory Lane Bermondsey artist Mary Gosling recalls the Blitz…



food world

and the return of the Midnight Apothecary

and the smells of vinegar and sheepskin growing up in Brunswick Court

Wellbeing A new boxing club for Rotherhithe Books Michael Holland’s love letter to Edwardian postcards Checking in A new eat/sleep/work space for SE1 The Home Edition Décor, design and sprucing up your space Our autumn issue hits the streets in August. Contact us to get involved 3

26 29 31 32-42

A thank you to our sponsors We'd like to acknowledge all our sponsors and supporters for helping us bring the Bermondsey Biscuit and Rotherhithe Docker to life.

summer 2021

going out, out

Tunnel Vision Laura Burgoine

Journey back in time with the Brunel Museum’s cutting edge virtual escape room - set in the historic Thames Tunnel


scape from the Thames tunnel in the Brunel Museum’s new historically inspired online escape room. Escapees will have to complete a number of tasks ranging from dinner party seating arrangements, a coconut shy, and some internet sleuthing -perfect for anyone who’s stalked their ex’s new beau. Designed and built by Deadlocked Escape Rooms (one of the pioneers of virtual escape rooms), this puzzle promises a cinematic, transmedia digital game experience. The Thames Tunnel was considered to be the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ when it opened in 1843. The game focuses on three significant moments in the Thames Tunnel history. The Tunnel was used several times for Fancy Fairs when magicians, sword swallowers, tightrope walkers, and fire eaters were entertaining people in the Thames

Tunnel. The Tunnel was also under constant threat of flooding, something online escapees will have to find a way to remedy if they want to return to their own time. Rotherhithe’s Brunel Museum celebrates the story of the building of the Thames Tunnel – the world’s first tunnel under a river. Designed by Sir Marc Brunel, it was the first engineering project his son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, ever worked on. During the opening ceremony in which the first brick of the Tunnel Shaft was laid, twelve bottles of Bordeaux were purposely set aside to drink at the celebration on the Wapping side of the river when the tunnel was completed. Little did they realise at the time the project estimated to take three years would actually take eighteen.

Despite the dangers of the tunnel during its construction, such as the constant threat of flooding, it was used as a dining venue on more than one occasion. On November 10, 1828 Isambard held a grand banquet in the eastern arch of the tunnel for at least 40 influential people, who raised a toast to the King, the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of Wellington. In the adjacent western arch, 120 of the workforce sat down to their own special dinner of roast beef and beer, after which they drank to the health of the young Resident Engineer and presented him with a pick and shovel. This project has been made possible thanks to the Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund. The museum has been able to continue during the UK lockdowns

Old Operating Theatre re-opens with a Covidinspired exhibition


he oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe, The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb, is celebrating its reopening with a dynamic new exhibition of artworks and writing. Responding to an innovative Community Arts Project comprised of a series of online workshops led by visual artist Charlie Murphy and writer Laurie Bolger, a diverse community of online participants have created artworks, creative writings, photography, video, and sculpture. They have creatively recorded the spaces, landscapes, objects, and rituals that have shaped their experiences of COVID-19 over the last year. Inspired by artefacts and anecdotes from the museum’s collection, Message in a Bottle digitally and physically captures personal experiences of lockdown within the historic interiors, vessels, and artefacts of the Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret. The resulting panoply of digital projections and physical interventions expose poignant and startling contrasts and resonances


due to emergency funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, and Southwark Council. It has also seen generous supporters backing an ongoing Covid-19 Crisis Appeal set up by the museum’s Trustees, with the amount raised reaching nearly £5,000 in just three months. Tunneling through Time: a virtual escape adventure, costs £15, and is designed for 1-6 players. The Brunel Museum reopens on May 22, Railway Avenue, SE16 4LF. Tickets: £6 / £4 conc. / £10 family / Free for under 5s. Phone: 020 7231 3840

between past and present public health crises. Curated and produced by Charlie Murphy, this exhibition has been developed in collaboration with new technologist Robin Bussell, Laurie Bolger, Monica Walker, and over 30 online participants from across the UK and Europe. Housed in the attic of the early eighteenthcentury church of old St Thomas’ Hospital, the atmospheric museum offers a unique insight into the history of medicine and surgery. Access to the museum is via a narrow 52-step spiral staircase. Message in a Bottle – Visions from Covid-19 Lockdowns runs from Friday 21 May - Saturday 26 June. The Old Operating Theatre is at 9a St Thomas St, SE1 9RY and is open Friday and Saturday, 10.20am - 5pm (last entry 4.15pm). Admission: Adult: £7.50, Concessions (Students aged 17 and above, Seniors, and Disabled Visitors): £6, Child 6-16 years: £4.50, Children under 6 years: Free, Family (2 adults, 2 children): £18.

Open Fridays & Saturdays ����� am � ���� pm Admission charged

Discover Europe's Oldest Surviving Surgical �heatre Dating to ����

CANADA WATER DEVELOPMENT: WHAT’S HAPPENING Things have been busy in SE16. Last year, Southwark Council gave their unanimous approval for the Canada Water development. It includes Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, Surrey Quays Leisure Park, The Printworks and the former Police Station – all in all, it’s an area about the same size as 29 football pitches. The plans are being brought forward as a partnership between British Land, Southwark Council and the people who live and work in the area. We’re sure many readers have seen some hoardings going up, as well as the construction vehicles on Quebec Way next to The Printworks and outside of Surrey Quays Shopping Centre. We’re sorry for any disturbance this may have caused – although you’ll soon start to see some progress with the former Dock offices, TEDI-London’s new campus and Global Generation’s new home opening over the summer (see below). While we’ve been busy getting things ready for construction, we’ve also been working with local charities and groups to support projects that benefit local people. Some of the things we’re currently involved with are included in this update.

Local news and updates Giving young people space to grow British Land is proud to be supporting Global Generation, the charity behind the Paper Garden at The Printworks, by providing them with a new, more permanent home within the Canada Water development. Moving into this exciting new space will allow Global Generation to continue to provide educational workshops and classes for local young people and families aimed at enhancing their connection to the natural world and their local environment. This includes projects with local schools, such as Redriff Primary and Albion Primary, to get schoolchildren involved in shaping elements of the public realm that will come forward as part of the development of Canada Water. So far, Global Generation have involved over 1,100 local people in their projects, and they look forward to involving many more in the years ahead. We expect Global Generation to move into their new home by Autumn 2021. To learn more about Global Generation and the work they do including their youth leadership programme, please visit:

Engineering the future of Canada Water This summer, TEDI-London will be moving to a new campus off Quebec Way next to The Printworks. Co-founded by three universities (Arizona State University, King’s College London and the University of New South Wales in Sydney), TEDI London’s aim is to transform engineering higher education. Key to this is attracting and empowering people from diverse backgrounds to create innovative, real-world solutions that advance how people live as a global community. They’ve begun working with local partners to feed into outreach and sponsorship offers in SE16 so that TEDI-London will be accessible to students from the local area. More details including job opportunities and information on bursaries can be found at:

#OurCanadaWater Competition - DATE EXTENDED for entries! As we start to deliver the Canada Water development, we’re reviewing our brand and are excited to share it as it evolves over time and with the place. We want to ensure it builds on the identity of the area and resonates with the local community. That’s why we launched the #OurCanadaWater competition, asking people to share things that best represent the place. We are excited to announce we have extended the entry date. We launched back in March to hear about what our wonderful part of London means to you. You can send us quotes, pictures, poems, lyrics and illustrations. The winners will win prizes including vouchers for Yellow House and Love2Shop. Top entries will have their photos displayed in the windows outside Time & Talents Unit 2 opposite Tesco in Surrey Quays Shopping Centre on a rotating basis. Remember you need to tag #OurCanadaWater on your entry! Find entry information and full T&Cs via

Jobs and training opportunities We expect the Canada Water development to generate around 1,000 construction jobs and apprenticeships over the coming years - and we are focussed on ensuring that these are aimed at local people. To see current vacancies and training opportunities or to sign up for updates please visit our website: Call us for free on 0800 470 4593.


Pergola London

R & R Chown Jewellery


Greenwich Printmakers

Ruby’s London


Nearest Station DLR Cutty Sark


summer 2021

After 15 years running markets all over London, including Alexandra Palace and Newmarket, Paul Kelly has taken over as organiser of the renowned Bermondsey Antiques Market. Laura Burgoine

going out, out

Historic Bermondsey Antiques Market is back every Friday


argain hunters can find a vast array of wares on offer including, glassware, ceramics, porcelain, jewellery, gold and silver, military memorabilia, kitchenware, prints, art, sculptures, and more. Each week around 25 vendors set up stalls at the market. There’s also refreshments and an indoor area (where face masks must be worn in accordance with government regulations). There’s no need to book and there’s no limit on numbers. “Just come down and enjoy,” Paul says.

Marché ouvert Bermondsey market enjoyed the status of a ‘marché ouvert’ or ‘open market’ until 1995. This was a medieval French legal concept that allowed for the open sale of stolen goods between the hours of sunset and sunrise in certain designated markets in a city. It was reasoned that anyone who did not bother to check his stolen property was not being openly sold in a local market, had failed to take reasonable steps to recover his property. This explains why Bermondsey traditionally opened at 4am. Furthermore, marché ouvert allowed anyone purchasing goods from such a market to acquire a legitimate ownership and title to them, even if the goods were stolen. Bermondsey market’s shamelessly ‘Del-Boy’ type characters continued unabated during the 1970s and 1980s, but this was scandalously and publically exposed in the early 1990s. In the early 1990s a number of paintings were stolen from Lincoln’s Inn. These were subsequently sold in Bermondsey antiques market for the ridiculously low sum of £100 each. The purchaser avoided prosecution for handling stolen goods by arguing the sale was subject to the marché ouvert rules operating at the market. However, the Honourable Society of Lincoln Inn, whose property the paintings were in, is one of the grandest, wealthiest and most powerful legal institutions in the realm. It is the cradle of Barristers, wet nurse of High Court Judges and includes a rookery of MPs and Ministers as members. Its legislative revenge was the Sales of Goods (Amendment) 1994 Act. This finally killed off the concept of marché ouvert in English Law, but in doing so they confirmed Bermondsey market’s popular reputation for fencing stolen goods.

Near death experience The scandal nearly finished the market. Furthermore, the market’s all-weather and outdoor character, unattractive car park location and the growing dereliction of Bermondsey, all conspired to further undermine its reputation and popularity.



ermondsey Antiques Market is one of London’s great institutions and one of its great survivors. Properly called the ‘New Caledonian market’, it had originally been established as the ‘Metropolitan Cattle market’ by the Corporation of City of London, as Smithfield could no longer meet the demands of London’s mercurial rise in population. Opened by Prince Albert in 1855, it was originally located close to

By 2000 Southwark Council, who licensed Bermondsey market, began questioning the long-term viability of the market and offered up the site for redevelopment.

Redevelopment In response to this threat, a core of stallholders formed the Bermondsey Antiques Traders Association and refused to give up. Running a market at Bermondsey Square is a logistical challenge. The open air location means that the traders, stock and public are all exposed to the elements. 24 hour open public access means that the drunk, mad or simply lost, occasionally

the newly built King’s Cross and St Pancras Railway stations, on a 30 acre site at the top of York Way in Islington. Here it abutted the Caledonian Road and it is from this association that the market gained the name – the ‘Caledonian market’. This rebranding reflected a shift in the early 20th century when the ‘Metropolitan Cattle market’ ceased to be a cattle-market and instead become the general goods ‘Caledonian market’. In 1939 the war came and the market was commandeered by the

turn-up and this can still make the market feel ‘edgy’ in the early hours of the morning. Despite demon cyclists speeding across it, no vehicles are allowed onto Bermondsey Square. Therefore, all stock has to be carried. However, Bermondsey retains a unique character, which is lacking from other antiques markets. The ‘frontier’ conditions of the covered stalls at Bermondsey breed a particularly tough type of trader.

Going Forward Bermondsey now starts at 6am and finishes at 2pm. However, a considerable amount of business is still


military. They used it as a giant car park for military vehicles until after the war. The Caledonian market never re-opened, as the whole area was designated for post-war redevelopment. Therefore, in 1947 the ‘Caledonian market’ was relocated south of the river and amalgamated with two existing local markets, one in Bermondsey Street and the other on Tower Bridge Road. Both of these were street markets located in these important roads but were restricting the increasing flow of motor traffic.

conducted whilst setting up the stalls. Even before 6am, taxi-loads of Chinese buyers are often the first members of the public to arrive. By 6am the market is busy with about half the stalls set-out and dealers, collectors and visitors circulating, and the coffee stall is doing a roaring business in freshly made coffee and bacon butties. Some of the foreign buyers run antiques businesses here in the UK, but most are on purchasing trips to acquire new stock for their shops back home. French antiques traders have now become a regular feature, as well as a trendier and younger generation of traders, who have now joined the older Bermondsey veterans.

Therefore, the three markets were not only amalgamated, but also moved to Bermondsey Square and renamed the ‘New Caledonian market’. The ‘New Caledonian market’ flourished, with up to 300 stalls pitched out in and around Bermondsey Square every week. This made Bermondsey Antiques Market a centre of South London life and culture, as well as an iconic backdrop to swinging sixties London, along with the likes of Carnaby Street, the King’s Road and Petticoat Lane.

Old part of a new Bermondsey Bermondsey antiques market refuses to quit or lie down. It remains a work in progress, but after years of hard slog it is finally getting the recognition it deserves, reinventing itself for the 21st century and looking forward to a great future as an old part of a new Bermondsey.

The market is at Bermondsey Square every Friday from 6am-2pm. www.bermondseyantiquemarket.


summer 2021

Honey I’m home Laura Burgoine

Queens behaving badly, evolution, and why there are too many bees in London: award winning Bermondsey Street bee-keepers share the secrets behind mankind’s original luxury food


aw English honey brand Bermondsey Street Bees has generated more than its fair share of buzz since the company began in 2007. In 2020 alone, the artisanal honey won a Great British Food Award and the Great Taste Awards’ Golden Fork for Best Product in London and the South-East, along with several three and two-star awards. Starting out on a rooftop on Bermondsey Street, the business, run by husband and wife team Dale Gibson and Sarah Wyndham Lewis, now has 14 sites, while the original Bermondsey bees have left the hustle and bustle of SE16 and are enjoying life

in the Home Counties, “14 years later, having done fine work for us,” Dale reflects. With hives based in Essex and Hertfordshire, Bermondsey Street Bees began moving their London hives out of the capital during 2020 to promote sustainable action. There’s 5000 registered hives in London. “London is densely populated; there might be more honeybees in London than anywhere in Europe, or maybe the world,” Dale says. “There’s 70,000 bees in all states of development in each hive. We had half a million on the roof.” Dale and Sarah set up shop on Bermondsey Street in 2005, with an office and tasting area on the ground floor, their flat upstairs and the bees on the rooftop. Dale quit his job in finance in 2006 to learn beekeeping for a year. “We’re speaking from a position of privilege. Our children are grown up, and have gone to university; we’re not trying to feed a family on a beekeeping income,” he says. “In my old job I was at my desk by 7am, and whether it was Christmas Eve or mid-summer, it was no different. The only way to understand bee biology is to watch how it connects and changes with the seasons. It was so important to do a whole year of proper tutored, mentored studying,” he says.


summer 2021


All photos: Bermondsey Street Bees

Only about ten percent of London beekeepers undergo this level of training. “Beekeeping has become very corporate hipster. People want to green-wash themselves and shove a couple of hives on the roof. You can get a starter kit with a couple of hive colonies for £1000 online. It’s very easy to make as an impulse purchase but people should be prepared. You wouldn’t just buy livestock and not think about it.” News headlines of the “save the bees” variety have created an image of scarcity when in reality there’s 275 different types of bees in the UK. “The honeybee is hugely represented in the UK,” Dale says. In London, in 2020, honey yields dropped 45 percent, which is the biggest fall of any of the major regions. “There’s serious bee diseases, like human diseases. Theirs is bacteria; beekeepers are legally required to report it,” Dale says. “There’s an American foul brood and a European foul brood. In London in 2015 there were zero incidences. By 2020, last counted there were 96 European foul broods and 11 American foul broods.” South east London is the epicentre of the disease. As part of the company’s green mission,

Dale and Sarah have planted trees in St Mary Magdalene Churchyard, Guy Street Park, and Leathermarket Gardens as 90 percent of pollens come from trees and shrubs. “Bees look for lime pollen and go to tree after tree. If you look at wildflowers, they’ve got to pick one by one, traveling further,” Dale says. The appeal of London honey-making is the capital’s diverse forage with 36 different pollens. “It’s also more exotic than the countryside, with a micro-climate creating warmer springs starting earlier and autumns lasting longer.” Honey is mankind’s original luxury food. It’s high energy, storable, and you can turn it into alcohol. “It tastes good because it’s raw honey. It hasn’t been heated above hive temperature. We don’t blend our honeys so they have their own texture and colour. Sustainably produced raw honey is as close as you can get to a natural food that’s existed as long as mankind. “We’re trying to celebrate the character of honey, not homogenise it.” Dale and Sarah breed their own queen bees and hatch them. “We put her in a shoe box. A cup-full of bees look after the queen when she hatches; they feed her and she flies. They have one mating

  Writer, cook, honey sommelier and Dale’s wife: Sarah Wyndham Lewis

flight in their life, mate with 20 bees, the male bees die after the mating act, she flies back to the hive, starts to lay eggs, and these are the worker bees. We observe the pattern, the intensity of laying, and the character of the bees when they hatch,” Dale says. “You have to be so sensitive. Their sensory abilities are different from ours. You have to switch off the audio visual in beekeeping; they don’t communicate by sound. We’re working by smell

and vibration. It’s one superorganism.” Is it ever dangerous? “My wife is allergic to bees,” Dale says. “But bees should only be defensive of their own hive; if you stick your head in one they’re allowed to say ‘buzz off.’ You can find the queen, take her out and replace her with a queen whose temperament is more friendly and that changes the whole atmosphere. Bees work on pheromones. You take out bad pheromones and bloodlines and replace with a more amenable queen and lose any bad behaviour.” The founder’s own bloodline has run through the local area for four generations. His grandfather ran a rote-haulage lorry and worked in the Druid Street arches, his parents worked for Buckfield and Sons, Dale has worked with Hiver and sells through Taylors of Maltby Street, and his children have also worked there. “Bermondsey Street is like Doctor Who; the face of it changes but the place remains the same,” he says. “Bermondsey works with the change, it’s evolutionary.” Bermondsey Street Bees, 103 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XB.


Where members and guests can FOCUS, THINK, FEEL, PLAN, CREATE & EXPERIENCE what they want, how they want. @ourcityspace


WELCOME BACK TO GREENWICH’S GRANDEST SQUARE OLD ROYAL NAVAL COLLEGE GROUNDS NOW OPEN • Enjoy outdoor food and drink • Find gorgeous gifts in our unique shops • Join a guided tour or download one of our free online tours

PAINTED HALL, VISITOR CENTRE AND CAFÉ REOPEN FROM 17 MAY • Marvel at the magnificent Painted Hall • Don’t miss Nick Ellwood’s free illustration exhibition in the Visitor Centre, on until September 2021

Visit for full details

food & drink

summer 2021

Liquid engineering at the Brunel Museum Laura Burgoine


he Brunel Museum’s resident cocktail bar, Midnight Apothecary, is celebrating its tenth season in Rotherhithe. While the museum celebrates the site of Marc Brunel’s Victorian masterpiece - the world’s first tunnel under a navigable river - it’s liquid engineering of a different kind taking place every Thursday to Sunday on the terrace and up in the enchanted secret roof garden. The cocktails are all infused and garnished with ingredients grown in the museum roof garden or foraged close by. Voted one of London’s favourite outdoor pop-up cocktail bars since its founder Lottie Muir, aka The Cocktail Gardener, built the apothecary roof garden at the Brunel Museum in 2012, Midnight Apothecary specialises in lovingly prepared seasonal botanical cocktails, featuring acacia blossom, fennel, meadowsweet, elderflower, roses, borage, strawberries, peas, lemon verbena, chocolate mint, nasturtiums and Douglas Fir. All of these ingredients feature on the menu at different times of the season. The Midnight Apothecary has adapted its traditional fire-pit and toasted marshmallow offering to be Covid safe, with the introduction of individual fire-pits for hire during the evening sessions, both up in the roof garden and down on the terrace. S’mores kits (toasted marshmallows sandwiched between luxury chocolate biscuits) are also available. If you’re after a more savoury sizzling

Manze’s resurrects 125-year-old Italian icecream recipe Laura Burgoine


ourth generation family business Manze Pie and Mash on Tower Bridge Road is steeped in tradition, and now it’s going back even further into its storied history to bring back ice-cream using the original Manze recipes. In the late 1800s, the Manzi family arrived in Bermondsey from a small village in the cool hills of Amalfi called Ravello in Italy. They began selling ice and ice cream at 85 Tower Bridge Road (next door to where Manze Pie and Mash now stands). “Over 125 years later we’re going back to our roots and are proud to reintroduce ice cream using Manzi Italian recipes produced by Marine Ices,” says Emma Harrington, who runs the three M. Manze shops with her husband Tom and her father Rick Poole. The ice-creams are available from this month onwards. “We have chosen three delicious flavours that also represent the core of our business: pie, mash and liquor,” Emma says. “The flavours we are offering are chocolate (pie), vanilla (mash) and mint choc chip (liquor).” Ice-creams will be sold through the window, traditional Manze style. Manze Pie and Mash is at 87 Tower Bridge Road, SE1 4TW. Phone: 020 7407 2985.


morsel, the Mayflower pub is serving a BBQ to guests direct from the museum terrace. Midnight Apothecary proudly supports local businesses, with a menu featuring Bermondsey’s Hiver Honey Beer, Anspach & Hobday, the Kernel Brewery and Jensen’s gin as well as Hackney’s Square Root Soda. The wine on offer is vegan as is Kernel Brewery beer, and there will be nonalcoholic options too. Midnight Apothecary is open Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays evenings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. While booking for evening sessions is essential, there are walk-in sessions on Saturday 2pm - 4.30pm. Guests on the ground floor Terrace pay a reservation fee to book their table, but this is redeemable with a free cocktail on arrival. Guests for the roof garden pay £8, but this includes entrance to the museum and a very popular optional guided descent of Brunel’s underground Grand Entrance Hall to the Thames Tunnel. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings are divided into two sessions each: 5pm-7.15pm and 7.30pm- 10pm. Saturday afternoon walk-in session is 2pm-4.30pm, Sunday afternoons are one session: 2pm-5.30pm. Booking is essential as tickets are selling out fast. For more information and tickets visit:

summer 2021

food & drink

The Trinidadian beach club making waves on the south bank


pening Limin’ Beach Club during the pandemic meant being “very creative,” according to owner Sham Mahabir. He immediately pivoted his business on Gabriel’s Wharf, setting up two mobile bars and an outdoor area. “There were very few places on the south bank open, so customers were so much more grateful,” he reflects. The Peckham local left his Trinidad home behind aged 21, bound for study in the UK; he worked in banking and hospitality before launching his own business. “A Trinidadian bar was not my first idea. The initial idea was cheese and wine. Tapas didn’t feel right. Then I thought the ‘90s was about vodka, gin was in during the 2000s, and now rum is having a moment.” Limin’ Beach Club is the only Trinidadian bar in London. It started life as a pop-up in Smithsfields market, which lasted ten months. The American embassy invited Sham to cook for them and the chefs took over the Ibiza Rocks hotel. In Trinidad, limin’ is a verb meaning to hang out. “You’ll see signs “no limin’ here” like loitering. It’s in our DNA,” Sham says. The food of Trinidad is predominantly Indian. For two small islands, five different continents are represented. “We have the most amazing food. No one in the world has done what we have done. And Trinidadians have not exported to the world,” Sham continues. Despite Covid-19, the new business owner signed a lease for the Gabriel’s Wharf restaurant in June last year. “We decided if we didn’t do this the Caribbean

Laura Burgoine


community would never have this. Did we think we’d be here now? No! One thing we had to be is resilient and understand the market. I never used to come to the south bank –I thought it was for tourists, but during lockdown Londoners rediscovered London,” Sham says. Included in these Londoners were celebs from Love Island who visited Limin’ last summer. “It’s great for the Caribbean community to claim a place in London. We’ve broken quite a lot of glass ceilings. We’re very independent, we have no venture capitalist funding. The business is simple: barbecued food outside, and rum punch. We went to the Caribbean to learn about rum; we have our own brand, distilled in the Caribbean, blended in Amsterdam and bottled in the UK.” “Our business plan is a Covid-19 plan. We have takeaway drinks. We have a delivery system and are on Just Eats and Deliveroo. Over Diwali we shipped our food from Brighton to Scotland, so Hindus who grew up in Trinidad were able to eat the cuisine of their homeland.” “Limin’ is not just a bar or restaurant. It’s an experience,” Sham continues. The Indo-Caribbean food also has plenty of offerings that are naturally vegan. Sham does all the cooking and everything is made onsite. “I grew up in a village in Trinidad. My mother went to the US to work when I was 11, and my brother, who was 16, cooked,” Sham says. “There’s been a lot of trial and error but now Trinidadians say ‘this is as good as my mother’s cooking.’” Limin’ Beach Club, South Bank, SE1 9PP.

food & drink

summer 2021

A taste for the Middle East Laura Burgoine

The owner of Arabica grew up above a Wimpy Bar watching Ready Steady Cook. He reflects on a culinary journey through Borneo, Borough Market and beyond.


summer 2021

food & drink


he owner of Mediterranean powerhouse Arabica has restaurants in Borough Market and King’s Cross, a place in the esteemed Selfridges food hall, and a thriving online store. Jump back 20 years, and James Walter’s journey began as a barrow-boy at Borough Market. “The stall was originally Jordanian. We had an 8-foot trestle table covered in hessian because that was a vibe, and we were in 3 crown square. There were only 20 stalls in total, and nothing in the green market. It looked very different to now. It was a wonderful time,” James recalls. “I was in my early 20s then. I’m 42 now. I have very fond memories of it.” Born in ’78, James grew up with cookery programmes featuring Gary Rose, Keith Floyd, and the Two Fat Ladies. “Everything was closed on a Sunday. You still had greengrocers, butchers, and fishmongers. Supermarkets were stocking a far more limited range of produce; you were lucky if you could get curly parsley! There was certainly no flat leaf parsley, chilli, lemongrass, lemon thyme,” he says. As a 14-year-old, James would rush home from school to watch Ready Steady Cook. “To my mum’s horror I would raid the fridge and force her to give me my portion of whatever dinner was and I’d cook my own.” This culinary obsession began at just 8-years-old. “I wasn’t really very sporty. I took more to art and cooking. They were my creative outlets. I used every pot and pan in the house; my mum would be at her wit’s end every evening,” he laughs. “Then Jamie Oliver popped onto the screen with the Naked Chef when I was around 15 or 16, on his moped at Portobello Road going to the fish stall. I think that was quite influential. It was also around the pivotal moment when I remember supermarkets expanding their ranges and extending to seven-day shopping. That was the demise of the High Street; those shops couldn’t compete with the range, accessibility and price of supermarkets.” James was exposed to the fast food industry from an early age; his grandfather owned Wimpy Bars in Woolwich and Eltham. “I was born in a small flat above the Wimpy Bar in Eltham. My father was an accountant so I learned to do VAT returns at age 13. Then he opened pizza places so I worked in those,” he says. However, it was in Europe where James was in his element. “I had naturally loved, when we did have European holidays, the produce markets, the abundant food displays, the energy, life, and culture that surrounded those food markets,” he says. “I was up a mountain in Borneo and met a couple from Brockley who were older than me, who told me about this brand new food market in London that had just started and we agreed, when we were back from our travels, we’d meet up and do a cook. Several months later, in the spring, we reconvened and met at Borough Market. I was having kittens. I’d always felt like I’d been delivered in the wrong country. I didn’t have a sense of being from the UK. I always felt comfortable in a warmer Mediterranean climate and in that culture. So when I discovered this food market in my city, I felt at home. You had an Italian cheese store, Neal’s Yard Dairy, Monmouth, Ginger Pig, Brindisa, Utobeer. I found my tribe. “I knew this was my calling. I started to go there every week. I met [Arabica co-founder] Jad al Younis and had a massive conversation with him. I was inquisitive about a spice blend he had, this flavour profile I couldn’t get my head around. It was this citrusy, sharp flavour, which I’d later learn was Zumac, but he was being really cagey. We exchanged numbers that

  James Walters

  Starting out in Borough Market in the ‘90s

day. I’d wave from a distance whenever I saw him at the market, then one day after they all packed up I went with them to the Wheatsheaf pub. All the traders drank there afterwards. I helped him pack up, went for a drink, and was just amongst everyone, this 22 year-old, hungry to learn more. “Then I went every single week and started to help him on the stall as a volunteer. He offered to teach me how to make falafel and said “you can keep what you earn from it, and when your falafel is good, we’ll be partners.” James bought a hand-mincer, falafel scoop, and a two-litre pot. His falafel sold out in half an hour; he made £70 (having borrowed £20 from his dad for ingredients). The following week he went to Argos on Walworth Road and bought a small fryer. The next week he made five kilos and sold out. It went on like this for three months. “I was taking litre water bottles and cutting the top off and sticking them together. I used that for three months until I had enough money to buy an electric mincer from this second-hand catering shop on Tower Bridge Road!” James says. “Jad was more creative than a businessman. He’s an artist and nomad at heart. That was the character that Jad emanated to all that met him; this mystical man from a faraway land. I was young, he was 15 years older so I was quite taken by his charisma and character. It was a magical time. He lived in a live/work space at the end of Bermondsey Street where we’d make food for the market, every Wednesday and Thursday, then the market was Friday and Saturday. It was a great life; we worked four days and had the next three off.” James took over the helm around 2005 when he wanted to grow the business but Jad didn’t want the formality. “We had a small restaurant Café Arabica in west London,” James says. “We went and did travels, sourced Zatar and sumac to import ourselves for the local ethnic communities in the UK. We came back, got a very cheap graphic designer, made labels and a website, launched it and we went and did a show at Earls Court, where we met reps from Selfridges and Harrods. It took 18 months of conversation, and then we opened up at Selfridges food hall. Jad had left to live in Greece by this time, so I was in charge of Arabica. I opened the first restaurant in Borough Market in 2014, then King’s Cross in 2019.” James also consulted for Wholefoods and Fresh and Wild in Kensington on all their middle eastern food. After 20 years in Borough Market, the pandemic saw Arabica closed for six months. During the lockdowns, Arabica focused on home delivery meal kits and re-developed its online shop. For summer, the Middle-Eastern favourite has launched a classic Arabica Picnic Kit (£50), comprising a seasonal selection of crudités and crunchy pickles, served with much-loved Middle Eastern-inspired dips such as silky hummus and smoky baba ghanoush, vibrant salads and baklava for dessert. There’s also a Deluxe Picnic Kit (£75) for larger groups of four, with the addition of a bake-at-home boregi (traditional feta and spinach-filled filo pastry), delicious served warm or cold. The kits are designed with convenience in mind and arrive with everything completely prepped (besides the boregi), so are ideal for romantic countryside walks, urban picnics, camping, festivals and garden parties. The Picnic Kits are available now to pre-order. Arabica Bar & Kitchen, 3 Rochester Walk, Borough Market, SE1 9AF. Phone: 020 3011 5151.


WE’RE RENOVATING Tower Tandoori has a prestigious reputation as London’s Oldest Tandoori Restaurant. Recently, the COVID-19 Pandemic has forced local businesses to ‘Adapt’ and ‘Diversify’. Since then, we began to contemplate - and rethink - every aspect of Tower Tandoori. Thus, we have decided to go on a journey to refurbish our beloved restaurant. Join us from Mon 17th May 2021* where we hope to enthral you with our new traditional themed interior, improved authentic recipes and a royal service experience. *Subject to Step 3 of Gov’t Guidelines You can still call us on 0207 237 2247 for your takeaway orders. You can also order online through our website or any of our delivery partner (Just Eat, Deliveroo and UberEats) 72-74 Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 4TP

summer 2021

food & drink


otter just a stone’s throw from Bermondsey Street and you’ll stumble across Morocco Bound, a beautifully hand-crafted shop, bar and cafe. The majority of the shop’s features are handmade, largely from bamboo, by the founder Jonathan Dransfield. It’s immediately obvious that this is as unique, innovative and friendly a place as one could ever hope to find in central London. The creativity and hands-on feel is embodied in its founder, Jonathan Dransfield, who’s been an architect in Bermondsey since the 1980s. Morocco Bound began as an office “formed out of an old garage,” says Jonathan. “As a relief from my architectural work, I wrote a novel, published in 2019, and the idea of a bookshop followed from that.”

How a literary tour of Zimbabwe led to a bookshop and bar in SE1 Lucy Kenningham

How did an architect come to write a book? “I was dyslexic and really struggled with reading at school, so my technique is to draw lots of illustrations to map out the story and then use them as a guide for writing.” Asked about his literary inspirations, Jonathan says, “I went on a literary tour of Zimbabwe just before the pandemic and met the most amazing African poets and writers, and they have been the strongest literary influence on me recently.” Morocco Bound’s books are the most important thing for Jonathan. They are chosen by staff and aim to showcase a “belief in the power of literature to spark politically and culturally important conversations”. The genres span politics, classics, history, contemporary fiction, music, translated fiction and more. It’s a diverse and eclectic mix,


with written staff and customer recommendations providing helpful pointers for browsers.  Events and poetry nights in late 2019 encouraged Jonathan to start “showcasing local breweries”, of which Morocco Bound now stocks over a dozen, mostly from the nearby Bermondsey Beer Mile. There’s a huge and dazzling array, with ales, stouts, IPAs, sours and lagers, spanning the adventurous (try Anspach & Hobday’s Sea Salt & Chilli Stout) to the more standard (such as Toast’s Classic Lager).  Innovation and creativity are essential traits of the shop, which have been crucial during the turbulence of the pandemic as the shop has had to adapt. Managing to stay open in a limited capacity during lockdown, staff at the shop spent their time launching a new online and print magazine, Morocco Bound Review, in February 2021. MBR features book reviews, think-pieces and international affairs from a diverse pool of writers, some of whom are also customers. Staff empowerment is important to Jonathan. “I have always been an advocate of democracy in the workplace, and we have now set up Morocco Bound as a partnership for all our working colleagues, who all have a say in the shop’s development.” “We are really looking forward to a more settled time when we can have events again,” Jonathan says. “Our shop is about creativity; whether design, writing, music or brewing. Bermondsey has always had a spark of vitality, and we wish to reflect that in what we do. Our ethos is ‘People, Books and Beer’, and what could be better than that!” Morocco Bound, 1A Morocco Street, SE1 3HB.



summer 2021

London Bridge Community

Biltong & braai: shipping South African flavours to SE1 Laura Burgoine


or an authentic taste of South Africa, look no further than the Savanna where you’ll find award-winning biltong and an array of excellent native wines. Founded in 2003, the London Bridge branch was the company’s first station store, initially opening in 2005. Following the station’s refurb, Savanna moved to St Thomas Street in 2017. Founder and CEO Lisa Gardshol talks to the Biscuit. “The braai (or BBQ) is the core part of the South African culture and this is the key to our business. All South Africans braai; it’s a way of life for us. We set up London Bridge as our first store with a braai (although it’s a gas/ coal BBQ, not wood braai) so that we could offer up hot food for takeaway, but Covid put an end to this and we are in the process of relaunching this where we sell hot boerie rolls (boerewors).

We make our own meat products in our Wimbledon purpose-built butchery. That includes biltong (a delicious air-dried steak), boerewors (a beef or pork sausage -that is a staple for any braai), droewors (dried sausage), chicken flatties (a flattened chicken that’s marinated on the braai) and we sell


big 1kg Texan steaks. We have Great Taste awards for our boerewors, biltong, droewors and this has helped us to bring in customers that are non-South African who want to try something different. So that’s the meat part of our business. We also stock around 300 lines of food brands from back home. Great South African wines from Cape Town, beers like Windhoek from Namibia, or Castle lager. We import biscuits, chips, and other grocery lines from back home and cool drinks like Fanta orange or Creme Soda. Cape Town is a real foodie area in South Africa and it has a climate like California or Southern France so this is where we take a lot of the inspiration for our business. We import everything ourselves in shipping containers, which is why we have that container effect running through the store. It’s difficult to say but we think when you look at the whole southern African community, including Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa etc we think there must be around 500k people in the south east. But the population has settled a lot and as younger folks settle down and get married over the last 25 years, and tourists

who travel to South Africa sample biltong and braai food, they’re coming into our stores and buying food. Have a braai at home. Try our award winning boerewors and share out the biltong with a chocolate block red wine or meerlust rubicon wine. Delicious. But my favourite is rooibos tea - Redbush. We had a huge shift in our business during the pandemic. We have ten stores in London - all based around key train stationsbut during the pandemic, the footfall dried up so we had to rely on our business online. Our customers were great, stuck with us and we’re forever grateful for their business during a really challenging time. At the peak, our web business jumped 10 times while our stores were closed. We have just reopened our hot food braai at London Bridge. That has huge potential for us. We also have two new stores opening, one at King’s Cross underground, the other at Canary Wharf. So it’s exciting times!” Unit SU58, 59 St Thomas Street SE1 3QX


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team london bridge

summer 2021

Smells like team spirit Laura Burgoine

Pop-ups, sustainability, and a medical innovation district: the time is now for the future of London Bridge


hroughout the lockdowns, tiers and tears of the past year, as the world was in chaos, London Bridge remained a comforting constant. Day in, day out the security guards patrolled, the cleaners cleaned, and the landscapers tended to the gardens and lawns that would prove to be an oasis for locked-down Londoners. People and their picnic baskets of M&S charcuterie flocked to Potter’s Field, and everyone got a dog and took up boxing with a Personal Trainer. The show must go on, according to Team London Bridge Chief Executive Nadia Broccardo, (pictured). “We were adamant to keep going all through the lockdowns, keep everything the same, keep working on the plants, arts, promotion. We want people outside and feeling safe,” she said. Consequently, earlier this year Team London Bridge, the Business Improvement District (BID) behind the smooth running of the area since 2006, was voted in for another five-year term by the business owners who elect them. BIDs charge all business rate payers in a defined area an additional levy to provide extra services and improve the local trading environment. In London Bridge this funds things like additional police officers, bike theft security, and the creation of walking and cycling routes, not least the Low Line: a new

cultural and economic destination along the four miles of viaduct between Bermondsey and Vauxhall. Covid-19 has hit the area’s local hospitality businesses particularly hard. “Different businesses received grants from the local authority during the first lockdowns. Southwark have been quite ahead in that regard,” Nadia said. “There was no warning from the government for all three lockdowns so the hospitality sector was lumbered with excess food. The Eat Out to Help Out campaign really helped businesses get money back into the economy but overheads and rentals are just so high; you cannot pay that if you’re not bringing in revenue.” In positive news, building has not stopped in the area. Team London Bridge has been working with developers seeking planning permission. The BID has also been working towards creating a medical innovation district, within the triangle of Guy’s Hospital, St Thomas’ Hospital, and King’s College London. This would include the Science Gallery, The Old Operating Theatre Museum, the Florence Nightingale Museum and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum. The area has a long history in medical innovation. From its foundation as an Augustinian Priory at the turn of the 12th century, Southwark Cathedral was a place for healing and medical care, becoming one

of the first hospitals in London. It was renamed St Thomas’ Hospital after Thomas Becket and was based around Borough High Street for the next 750 years while a sister hospital was built by Thomas Guy in the early 18th century. Florence Nightingale established her nursing school there in 1859. “London Bridge you think of as commercial, more than an educational district but, but like a lot of places they’re pivoting in response to the pandemic,” Nadia said. The Vinegar Yard pop-up behind the station has been well received, originally planned to run until December 2021 but it could be extended. “It’s dynamic and gives a sense of community,” Nadia said. Sustainability is high on Team London Bridge’s agenda. “We need to get more electric vehicles on the road. There’s no reason why the decreased traffic from lockdown can’t be done on a more permanent basis. TfL has been brave in making sure there’s access for cycling development in London. Cars cannot be a priority in London anymore; there’s not the space,” Nadia said. “The inner city has so many conflicting priorities; there’ll have to be some kind of compromise. Sustainability can’t be that compromise. Particularly


with Covid, and understanding the importance of health and our environment. We have to prioritise people. We have to prioritise health and wellbeing.” Ultimately, the area needs the commercial sector back. “The hospitality sector, hotels, restaurants: they all need commercial property to come back,” Nadia said. “Retail and salons are desperately holding on and trying to do the right thing by their staff. It’s heartbreaking. These are good businesses wanting to look after their staff.” In “normal” times, there’s 60,000 people working in the area (in the Shard, London Bridge City, More London, Hays Galleria, and around the Bankside area) and on a daily basis around 300,000 people moving through London Bridge. “London Bridge has so much in terms of its location, history, commercial aspects, proximity to the river; it’s a very pleasant part of London,” Nadia said. “It’s not over-towered with buildings. There’s no high rises above the redevelopment of London Bridge station. Network Rail saw London Bridge as a flagship. It has a very well curated mix of shops, and through its art and design it celebrates those true characters of the area like Andrew Logan and Zandra Rhodes.”

summer 2021

Just the tonic for lockdown body Laura Burgoine

Bodytonic Clinic is back, offering its full range of services as lockdown eases

We are super busy with our osteopathy, physiotherapy and foot health services due to the changes in lifestyle, work, and exercise,” says osteopath and company director James Gill. “We’ve seen a lot of ‘working from home’ back pain. Also a lot of appointments that have derived from the NHS being effectively shut.” The clinic has been a mainstay of Canada Water throughout the pandemic. Open from June last year, the team has been “working really hard as key workers picking up where the NHS has struggled


or not been available,” according to registered osteopath Becky. “We have had to get used to increased PPE and heightened infection control measures, and being a national and international team (only two out of the 24 are from London) a lot of us have been without family for a long time, some not since Christmas of 2019” says registered osteopath Mattia. “The team has been amazing,” James continues. “Since then the team has done brilliantly and we also introduced three new graduate osteopaths into the team during the pandemic and are about to introduce two more.” Bodytonic Clinic also introduced physiotherapy as a new service in October 2020 which they continue to grow, and their health and beauty services (massage, facials and waxing) have returned following the easing of lockdown restrictions. But there’s been no resting on their laurels! “In addition to this we utilised the lockdown time to keep everyone learning with our CPD programme,” James says. Bodytonic has adapted to full PPE and COVID security measures. See their blog and video to learn more about this: osteopathy-clinic-infection-control-london/ Bodytonic Clinic is at Suite 10-11 Dock Offices, SE16 2XU. Phone: 0203 6060 490. You can now book your next appointment online:

SPRING at the

BOOK NOW FOR A NIGHT WITH A DIFFERENCE: Seasonal botanical cocktails Drinks made from locally-sourced, homegrown and foraged ingredients Personal firepits & marshamallow s’mores Outdoors and socially distant Atmospheric historic location Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe

Food & drink subject to availability, bookings subject to government guidelines.


memory lane

summer 2021

A life in colour Michael Holland

Bermondsey artist Mary Gosling looks back on a childhood skipping with her Mum’s clothesline in Tanner Park, scandals on Weston Street, and being bombed at Brunswick Court during the Blitz. But she’ll never forgive Hitler for breaking her elephant!


ther than a few stray Germans, Mary Gosling’s family are all south east London people for as far back as she can remember. After being born in Guy’s Hospital, Mary grew up round the corner in Brunswick Court with the constant smell of vinegar and sheepskins from two factories either side of the family home. “The smell was bad every Tuesday when they turned the skins over,” Mary recalls. “It was like a mildew smell but we got used to it.” Mary’s mum was a machinist “making Stuart Surridge cricket gloves.” Her father “a chief gunner with tattoos all over him…He taught me how to ride me bike,” Mary says. Tanner Park and the street was her playground. Mary’s eyes sparkled as she spoke about the fun had with friends. “Two balls (I always had two balls in me blazer pocket), alley-gobs, Tin Can Tommy and skipping (I would use me mum’s clothes line).” “It was outside in the fresh air, exercise and it bloody done you good,” she stresses. “The boys used to make scooters out of old bits of wood, and then got plenty of exercise when they rode them up and down the street.” I sensed a rant about kids today coming on. “Kids sit indoors with their tablets nowadays, and put on weight and wonder why!” She looked at me for confirmation. “Shame, innit?” School was a joy for the young Mary, and it shows as she remembers those times. “At Snowsfields, I always come top in art but couldn’t stand Maths - then onto Bermondsey Central, both lovely schools… and I still have all my school reports,” cries the happy lady. “The school even found me my first job as a shorthand typist.” But education was disrupted when war broke out. “When Brunswick Court got bombed we were in the cupboard under the stairs and when we come out there was lots of smoke and the piano had spun right


summer 2021


round, although the vases on top hadn’t moved! But my elephant was smashed and I’ve never forgiven Hitler for that!” she says. The family was moved out to Doctor Salter’s convalescent home - Fairby Grange in Kent - until their house had the roof put back on and got cleaned up. As a young woman Mary became a member of Arthur’s Mission in Snowsfields but didn’t frequent pubs, “’cause me dad was a drinker. You’d hear him singing as he turned into our street and my stomach used to turn over. There was always the smell of drink, and he had a bit of a temper. Burma did that to him, people said.” Throughout her life, art has been integral to Mary. “I love colours and painting but I couldn’t go to art college because mum said I had to get a job. I always wonder what would’ve happened if I did have that chance.” Mary’s untutored art meant she was never influenced by anyone, so has forged her own path and style while documenting Bermondsey in oils for many years. In an intoxicating wave of nostalgia Mary called up long gone memories that made her chuckle and brought out her warm smile. “The first time I saw a telly I remember Laurel and Hardy were on,” she says. “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star was the first song I learnt when I had piano lessons…We got our piano out for VE Day…” She whispered while recounting the tale of a “high and mighty” neighbour sacked for stealing ham, and then, at the end of the scandalous story, her voice returned to normal levels to continue her stories of Weston Street. Mary met her late husband Reg at his 25th birthday party. A tear glistens as she remembers his “lovely smile” and their wedding in Bermondsey Church on “a beautiful, sunny day with all the bells ringing and the tulips out.” And on she went reminiscing. “My favourite place was Tanner Park… We played out until it got dark because there’d always be someone there and the mums would always know where we was… There was one pervert who went for a little girl and all the women in Brunswick Court beat the daylights out of him and chased him away… And there was one man who flashed at me once and every time I see him afterwards I used to shout “Gertchoo dirty old man!” across the street at him.” The recollections came thick and fast. “We used to put sherbet into a bottle of water, shake it up and make juice for when we went over Southwark Park to swim.” “I used to go to The Trocette on Saturday mornings, and I remember the Labour Party paid for all the kids to go to Littlehampton for the day, and I once went for a sing-song in Grange Road Baths.” Then there was the story of the smelly neighbour who acted as the street’s dentist, but gave Mary an infection that led to her almost choking on her tongue until “the doctor prescribed ice cream, which did the trick…” It was time now to look through the incredible book of her artwork, which has been exhibited and appreciated across the borough. “Camberwell, the Tate, and I did a design for Somerfields supermarket, plus I’ve done commissions for years,” Mary says. Mary Gosling could quite happily talk for England; instead she paints for Bermondsey.

  Clockwise from top: Mary in air raid kit Markstone House painting The event painting In Paddington, 1974 Mary and Reg


Ring talk

summer 2021

Calling all Rotherhithe Rockys


oxers Jeff Coombes and Roy Connor are back in the ring, this time as the owners of their own boxing club in Rotherhithe. The church hall of St Peter and the Guardian Angels is now home to Rooster’s, where amateurs and professionals alike can train and box seven days a week. There’s also HIIT classes and personal training on offer. Roy, who grew up in Elephant and Castle, came up at Fitzroy Lodge, while Bermondsey boy Jeff was at Fisher. They both boxed competitively before moving on to train the pros. “We’ve been looking for a site for a long time. We couldn’t have done it without Father Graham’s help,” Roy says. The aim is to make boxing affordable and accessible for locals and provide a positive influence for kids in the community. Classes cost just £2 while monthly memberships are £80. “There’s no egos here. They’re all good boys who train with us. We have girls training here too; it’s great for self confidence,” Roy says. “Boxing teaches discipline. It’s a great way to get rid of aggression. Boxing is like life. Life is always about winning. It’s about competition. If you lose, you learn from it. And you don’t get anywhere without hard work.” Roosters is open 7 days a week. Classes run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for juniors. Ages 8-11: 5pm-5:30pm. Ages 11-16: 5:45pm6:30pm. The seniors and pros train from 7pm onwards. Cost: £2 per session. For adults, HIIT group workout classes run 7 days a week for £10 per session. There’s also 1:1 personal training with a professional qualified boxing coach for £40 per session. Roosters Boxing Club, Church Hall, 72 Paradise Street, SE16 4QD. Phone: 0203 876 6626.

Kit Heren


summer 2021



London Bridge Community

CONGREGATION – An outdoor sonic adventure this August


s we look forward to the summer months and having fun together, Team London Bridge and Potters Fields Park Management Trust present award winning artist Ray Lee’s outdoor sonic adventure, CONGREGATION to the London Bridge area. Come and take a voyage of discovery with your friends and family through the streets and parks of London Bridge. Explore the surrounding area ending at a secret location led by a magical sphere. The orb, seemingly has a mind of its own as it tells you which way to walk by the sounds it makes, if you’re not heading in the right direction, it will let you know! As you go on your journey through familiar sites and less known territory you will reach a destination where there will be an encounter of the spheres and a pulsing web of electronic sound. Congregation has been created by multi-award-winning artist and composer Ray Lee. Ray has toured his work nationally and internationally with appearances at major outdoor programmes around the world. Although he isn’t a stranger to the area, as in 2018 he brought The Ethometric Museum to the Ugly Duck space in Tanner Street. As well as

joining us in London Bridge this summer, he will have sonic installations at the Brighton Festival and Norwich and Norfolk Festival. Ellie Beedham, Director of Arts at Team London Bridge, said ‘We are delighted to bring Ray Lee’s brilliant sonic experience, Congregation to the London Bridge area. We are looking forward to welcoming our local community and visitors to experience arts, culture and everything else the area has to offer.’ Congregation is part of a year-round cultural programme run by Team London Bridge who work with partners and over 400 business members, who strive to make London Bridge sustainable, culturally innovative and compelling for business, residents and tourists. Congregation is presented by Team London Bridge, Ray Lee and Potters Fields Park Management Trust with Unicorn Theatre, London Bridge City, Uber Boats by Thames Clippers, Southwark Council, JMB Estates, Guy’s and St Thomas Foundation and STAMP. Congregation was developed as a result of an initial residency at the National Theatre Studio and R&D support from The Kitchen (Appetite,


Stoke on Trent) and a Without Walls Blueprint R&D award. It was commissioned by Norwich and Norfolk Festival and Out There Festival Great Yarmouth with financial support from Without Walls, OCM, Oxford Brookes University and 101 Outdoor Arts, Newbury.

TIMES AND TICKETS. Wednesday 11 August, Thursday 12 August, Friday 13 August 12.30pm, 5pm, 8pm Saturday 14 August and Sunday 15 August 12.30pm, 4pm, 7pm Go to our website to register for more information We will then contact you as soon as tickets are on sale from £5 per orb for group of up to four people. Children are very welcome. Each child must be accompanied by an adult. This event is covid safe.

The Blue Bermondsey is a Business Improvement District (BID), an organisation funded by local businesses that has been at the forefront of countless inspiring initiatives in South Bermondsey since being founded in 2014.

In 2019, £2m capital funding was secured from the Mayor of London’s LEAP Good Growth Fund, for major improvements to the Market Place and High Street. The works began in January 2021 and are on schedule to be completed in July.

As a BID we provide services to our member businesses and are dedicated to raising the profile of the area and supporting the local economy and community.

The funding is being used to totally regenerate the market infrastructure, improvements to shop fronts and the creation of better connections to the town centre.

MARKET PLACE SE16, MADE IN BERMONDSEY The popular pedestrianised square home to The Blue and Make It Blue Markets is having a total revamp. New greening spaces, better infrastructure for market traders, two wooden covered areas and a brand-new clock tower with drinking fountain among other changes. Other improvements in The Blue area include a walk linking Market Place with Blue Anchor Lane through one of the former shops and a pedestrian crossing in St James’s Road. Read more:

STORYTELLING TIME Listen to wonderful stories told by professional storytellers. Our Blue Story Trails are a perfect way to enjoy a few hours with the children while discovering the streets of South Bermondsey. Stories are free to listen online or download


TAKE PART IN OUR ONLINE SURVEY Tell us what you would like to see happening at the new three screen cinema and arts centre due to be opened in 2022 by The Really Local Group at Market Place SE16.


BUSINESS DIRECTORY ONLINE Find shops and businesses in South Bermondsey with the help of our business directory.




summer 2021


From Bermondsey with love Laura Burgoine


ermondsey boy Michael Holland’s new book is certainly something to write home about. The longtime arts correspondent for our sister publication, the Southwark News, grew up on the Millpond Estate and Silwood Estate, and has devoted a decade to creating Dear Tommy, a love letter to Edwardian postcards. Michael talks to the Biscuit about dangerous liaisons and the text message of the Edwardian era. “I began collecting postcards from about 2000 when I saw an old Edwardian one of Southwark Park in an exhibition at Café Gallery and was shocked because postcards, for me, meant something you sent from the seaside when you went on holiday. I couldn’t get my head round the fact that someone would want a postcard of the place I grew up in that was nowhere near the sea. I started buying old Victorian and Edwardian postcards that were sent to or from Bermondsey and Rotherhithe on eBay, and became even more fascinated when I discovered there were postcards of the market down The Blue, my old school, the church I was baptised in, Rotherhithe Tunnel, Surrey Docks, my old youth club in Lady Gomm House, The Angel. My whole life was there in postcards! At first I was only interested in the pictures on the front until one day about ten years ago I bought a postcard with the message written in shorthand, which I got translated and found that it was for

There was a Golden Age of postcards when collecting them became very popular. I noticed that I had many postcards going to the same people. I had parts of those people’s collections from a hundred years ago, and with research being so much easier now I was able to delve back into their lives and build up a picture of them and their families. There were so many interesting stories there that I knew I had to put it into a book. The research and the writing has been going on for ten years. What I am still amazed about is the number of posts there were in London back then. Up to 12 a day! So a postcard could make a date for that evening knowing very well that their friend would be there. They were the text message of the day. It was nice to follow romances through to their happy conclusions, but sad to find soldiers’ stories didn’t always end well. Through my research I learnt a lot about WWI air raids by Zeppelins and the formation of the RAF. I also found that Bermondsey people are mainly made up of people who came here from the provinces to work in the 19th century, and then settled. Tower Bridge is, of course, very popular, and was a tourist attraction almost immediately after it opened in 1894, so most of those postcards were sent abroad. That meant asking friends to translate for me. But the biggest section in my book is of Southwark Park; there was so much going on there.

an illicit meeting: a liaison dangereuse! I checked through my collection and came across others with coded messages. I also found that where and how you placed the stamp was another way to secretly convey something you didn’t want other people to see…


Rotherhithe Tunnel was another new and modern phenomenon then, so there are many postcards of that, plus the Royal Procession when it was opened. Of course, the big employers were in the leather and brewing industries, which appear a lot in Dear Tommy. Plus, Peek Frean’s gets a few mentions. The title, Dear Tommy, comes from my research on Tommy Woolford’s postcard collection. He lived and walked the same Rotherhithe streets as me, but 40 years before I did. It is a sad and poignant tale that still resonates with me every time I think of him. Because they were the main method of communication for many years they became a microcosm of British society because they were like mini-letters; they were much more than postcards people sent back from holidays in my day, with just a ‘wish you were here’. They mentioned the health of family members and discussed work, or lack of it. Postcards from those days were as if they were chatting on the phone. Yes, I do still send postcards. I send one to my friend, who is a collector, and I send one to myself in the hope that in a hundred years’ time someone will end up with my collection. Buy your copy of Dear Tommy on eBay:

summer 2021

checking in

Passport to Bermondsey Laura Burgoine


usiness travellers, commuters and locals can now check out (and check into) CitySpace, a one-stop shop where you can work, eat and sleep all under one roof. The new hotel/café/workspace on Tower Bridge Road follows the success of the first outpost in Borough, and offers overnight accommodation, members’ only public spaces, and a café. There’s three levels: a lounge where guests can grab a seat and work, a fixed desk (from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm), or a closed office environment. There’s also meeting spaces available for rent, all styled in chic décor with cool vibes. “The demographic is slightly mature members who have moved out of London, live on the commuter line and don’t need to be in London every day so they come in for a couple of days and blitz themselves with meetings, perhaps a dinner with clients and stay overnight,” says founder and CEO Michael O’Brien, an Irishman whose first job in London happened to be at Rotherhithe’s DoubleTree Docklands Hilton. “We’re aimed towards people coming into Paddington, King’s Cross, Victoria and Waterloo,” he continues. The Tower Bridge Road building was initially owned by the Hartley’s jam factory family and housed a distillery. “The rooms are contemporary and cool. They’re a comfortable space, they’re not huge but we want you in the workplace, not in the room,” Michael says. The Café is open to both members and the public, offering all-day breakfast and lunch. 64 Tower Bridge Road, SE1 4TR. Phone: 0203 434 6320.


the home edition

summer 2021

Custom designs, handmade in Bermondsey

 Sternhold

 Bermondsey kitchen

For one-off, bespoke pieces and original commissions, check out Bermondsey furniture makers Jackie Brett-Holt and James Read’s JackJames Furniture. Both graduates from Stratford’s Building Crafts College’s Fine Woodwork programme, the pair specialise in furniture making and storage solutions. Designer/maker James has been making furniture for eight years and graduated with honours and won the City and Guilds Medal for Excellence the same year. The duo started the practice in Stratford, then moved to Bermondsey three years ago. Everything is handmade to order by Jackie and/or James in their studio. They work in solid hardwoods hand-picked from their suppliers, to ensure they maintain the best possible standards for


their products. “I really enjoy the process of designing and making furniture with each of my clients, as it is such a collaborative process,” James says. “It also enables me to be present from cradle to grave of each project, which is quite rewarding.” James’ designs mix the beauty of solid timber nature - against the man made, like metal, Corian, or plastic. “I find this clashing of materials and lines serves to bring out the best in both media,” he says. Jack James Furniture is at Unit 2-3 Sugarhouse Studios, 19 Collett Road, SE16 4DJ Phone: 07764 586 425.

summer 2021

the home edition

An expert guide to decluttering your home


ermondsey organiser and declutter Katherine Blackler shares her top tips for tidying up, in the pandemic and beyond As we continue to live with Covid19 and its restrictions, our homes have become increasingly important. Many of us are spending more time at home and are likely to be using the space differently: as a shelter, a work or study location and a reduced socialising space. Being organised and keeping your spaces usable for all those activities have become valuable skills to help manage the current challenges.

Start SMALL Don’t get overwhelmed trying to tackle the entire house at once. Choose a room and focus on just one area at a time (e.g. the floor, countertop, cupboard, drawer). If you ultimately need to tackle the whole house, I recommend starting with your bedroom. It’s the first thing you wake up to and that can influence your energy levels for the rest of the day. Alternatively, tackle the bathroom since expired medicines and congealed toiletries are an easy target for letting go of and it usually contains fewer sentimental items so you’re less likely to hit emotional stumbling blocks. Allocate a box for ‘sentimental stuff ’ or really difficult decisions. Pop things in there so you don’t grind to a halt before you see any progress. Decluttering gets easier with time and practice so you can return to those items when you’ve strengthened your decluttering muscles and you’re enjoying the clearer space you’ve created.

Like with like Gather all your similar items in one place, including shoes, CDs, books, food items, jewellery, paperwork and loose batteries. You’ll be able to see exactly how many duplicates you have, what’s no longer serving a purpose for your household and what could be thrown away or gifted onwards. Once you’ve decluttered, keep similar items together to make it easier to always find them. You can then also point family members towards these defined ‘zones’ and gently suggest “look with your eyes, not with your mouth!” to get yourself off a familiar hook.

A place for everything The goal is for everything to have a dedicated

place to ‘live’ so even if you and your household members aren’t naturally tidy, a short burst of sorting and re-homing will return your space to one you can think straight in. If you’re working and schooling from home, allocate a box for study or work materials which you can use to clear away the dining table each evening and reset the home to relaxation mode. Consider what items you use regularly and their location. Countertops, surfaces and any shelving or cupboard space you can access without overstretching or bending down for is ‘prime property.’ Dedicate this valuable space to storing items your household uses on a regular basis. If you have children who you want to be more involved in the household tasks, make sure the crockery and cutlery they would need to help lay the table are within their safe reach.

Paperwork piles: - Remove bulky items first: phone directories,

catalogues, manuals and magazines to see the immediate progress. Almost all of this is available online these days. - Flip the stack upside down to reveal the (usually) older correspondence. This end of the pile should be easier to let go of as it is more likely to be outdated. - Divide into simple “keep” and “ditch” initially. Don’t dwell on it, you can review the “keep” papers again later but you’ll have already made that project more manageable. - Don't over-classify. Make sure you don’t spend longer lovingly filing in alphabetical or chronological order or labelling folders compared to the time you’d spend potentially sifting through a broader “Car stuff ” file if you ever need to find the MOT certificate. If it seems daunting or is too emotional reviewing your belongings with loved ones, I can help; I’m a professional organiser and declutterer and run my own company: SortMySpace Ltd. I’m conducting virtual consultations for new clients whilst adhering to the latest government guidelines and procedures for a limited number of onsite sessions at this time.

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Wall cladding, drinks cabinet, banquet seating and dining table by Goldfinch Furniture

summer 2021

the home edition

Design for life Laura Burgoine

How to reconfigure your home for more space, work, sustainability and post-pandemic life

Unfold Architecture


nce the Covid-19 pandemic shifted work online for many workers, the divide between home and office became unmistakably blurred. During this time, Mark Darnell, director at Unfold Architecture and Design, experienced a rise in demand from homeowners eager to extend and reconfigure their homes. The increase in interest is not only due to residents noticing improvements that could be made as they spent more time at home but also people demanding more functionality from their properties during the pandemic, he said. Peckham-based firm Unfold Architecture and Design has been catering extensively to the south-east London market since 2017. The architect and his team specialise in residential property renovations and home extensions. Unfold approaches each project on an individual basis, working with each client to understand how they intend to live in and use their homes. This plays a vital part in preparing the initial design brief for the project that forms the basis from which the design evolves. For example, if the desire is for an open-plan kitchen-living space with a lot of natural light, the inclination may be to maximise the amount of glazing wherever possible. Although natural light may be the aim, expansive glazing could lead to problems such as overheating in the summer or the opposite during the winter unless designed with careful consideration with the house’s site-specific conditions taken into account. Also consider incorporating a cosier snug away from the larger open-plan area and if space allows, a separate utility room for noisier kitchen appliances. “Often when planning an extension, the thought is the ‘bigger the better’, but the more you extend the darker you may make the central part of the existing house. It’s not always the best solution to extend out as far as you can in every direction. By including plans to reconfigure part (or all) of the existing house you can make it work much better for you.” Unfold often integrates modern extensions into Victorian terrace houses, which Mark said usually works better than trying to recreate period styles to suit an open plan style of living. “London’s Victorian and Georgian housing stock were designed with generous room sizes and well-proportioned large sliding sash windows, which is the reason why these are still desirable places to live

when compared to some new-build developments. Mixing the styles when adding to these buildings clearly defines what's original and new but needs to be done in a considerate manner.” Gaining planning approval for a well-proportioned and well-designed home extension is usually a relatively straightforward process, but clients should be aware of more stringent planning restrictions that apply within Conservation Areas frequently encountered across London. In these areas, you’ll likely be able to extend to the rear of your property, but careful attention will need to be given to relevant local conservation area guidance. Not only should people be making plans for their post-pandemic homes but also considering future proofing and upgrading the existing fabric of their homes, and where possible using sustainably sourced materials. There are a number of ‘easy wins’ to do this (and some more invasive ones) but a holistic approach should be taken when refurbishing and extending in this way to ensure the end result is a comfortable and energy efficient home for many years to come. For more information on Unfold Architecture and Design, phone: 0203 519 2182. Instagram @unfoldarchitecture


the home edition

summer 2021

Light touch Laura Burgoine

A playful and innovative approach to extensions and design

CORK HOUSE, Lewisham

A rear extension and loft conversion to a modest Victorian terrace house. The project evolved through a process of co-creation with the clients: a graphic designer and photography agent along with their two young children. The extension is clad internally and externally with cork that complements the existing brickwork on the original house and will weather to a silvery-grey over time. The cork absorbs noise internally, is breathable, free from synthetic resins, chemicals or harmful materials and is fully compostable/ recyclable. Pink window frames provide a flash of colour against the dark cork. Internally a pale grey resin floor finish allows a continuous surface over both horizontal and vertical floor surfaces with crisp edges. Throughout the house including the new loft level with master suite and renovated first floor the project is defined by bold colours and patterns reflecting the playfulness of both design team and clients. Cork House was shortlisted for the AJ Small Projects award 2019.


in addition to a number of social housing projects. Tim studied at Oxford Brookes University, the Bauhaus Universtat and the University of Westminster where he was awarded the RIBA dissertation prize. He also taught at UCA Canterbury and University of Reading and continues to write on architecture and the practice of architecture for academic quarterlies, architectural journals and international design magazines. Nimtim, The Old Stable House, Unit 4, 53-55 North Cross Road, SE22 9ET. Phone: 0208 693 0878.



ast Dulwich architectural practice Nimtim has been going from strength to strength since its inception in 2014. Director and co-founder Nimi Attanayake is a UK qualified architect, since 2008, and a qualified garden and landscape designer. She has worked for some of London’s most highly regarded practices including Penoyre & Prasad and Hawkins/ Brown where she was a project architect for Corby Cube and other significant developments like Metropolitan Wharf in Wapping. Most recently Nimi was project architect on the multi-million-pound Duke Street redevelopment in Mayfair for Grosvenor Estates. Director and co-founder Tim O'Callaghan, also a UK qualified architect since 2008, has worked at OMA in Rotterdam and David Chipperfield architects in London. Prior to setting up nimtim architects, Tim was senior architect at RCKa where he was project architect for the RIBA award-winning TNG Youth Centre in Lewisham

HIVE HOUSE, Lewisham

A simple but effective stepped rear extension on an Edwardian terrace house for its sociable, book-loving owners. The design is influenced by a modest budget but also a shared vision to create something unpretentious but materially and spatially rich. A timber structure of exposed structural plywood was used for the extension to reduce steelwork costs and provide something that could act as both structure and exposed internal storage. This lightweight timber grid was then draped in a skin of red brick to provide external cladding and robustness where required. Doors and windows are a simple dark grey aluminium frame, the fascias above are patinated lead over external plywood and the floor and worktops are a cast concrete. Kitchen fronts and storage are formed in structural ply to match the exposed new structure. The result is a light-filled family living space that is both modern but also comfortable sitting alongside the main house.

Engage Katherine Blackler to help you to consciously create a calm, welcoming and organised space to live or work in 3 key steps

1. Declutter your physical space I’ll help you tackle the jobs you’ve been hiding from; whether it’s organising one cupboard, one room or the entire house.

2. Organise & store your belongings I’ll create systems and processes that work for you and your family. I’ll optimise your space by devising space-saving storage products or display solutions.

3. Redesign your head space I’ll encourage you to focus mindfully on redesigning your environment, allowing you to gain more clarity on what’s important in your life and what you can let go of.


Get in touch today: 07914 612531 @sortmyspaceuk


A love letter to south London: in print & online Next issue out start of July. Contact us at: southlondonermag

May 2021
















Auction Calendar 2021 Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers

Contact with the details and images of your object to receive a complimentary valuation from one of our specialists

Jewellery & Watches 8 June|7 September|30 November

Islamic & Indian Arts 15 June|22 October

Traditional & Modern Home 24 June|19 August|9 December

Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples 7 July|2 November

Old Master, 18th & 19th Century Pictures 20 July|17 November

Fine & Decorative 21 July|18 November

Design: Decorative Arts 1860 to the Present Day 12 October

Modern & Contemporary British Art 13 October

Chinese, Japanese & South East Asian Art 9 November

Impressionist, Modern, Post War & Contemporary Art 1 December

Scan the QR code to sign up to the newsletter. Email for more information 70/76 Knights Hill, London SE27 0JD | +44 (0) 20 8761 2522 *Plus Buyer’s Premium +VAT (30% inclusive of VAT)

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For more info please call email

Ambitious, Inspiring, Compassionate, Enriching, Dedicated to bringing out the best in you. “Throughout my A-Level studies I have never felt alone or as if there is no one on hand to help – I know that all of the staff have my best interests at heart. Bacon’s is a unique place where everyone is able to thrive academically and personally.” - Year 13 student

Follow us on @baconscollege6thform Bacon’s College, Timber Pond Road, Rotherhithe, London, SE16 6AT Easy access from Canada Water and Rotherhithe

for catford, for the community Catford Mews is a community hub in the heart of Catford. Home to a 3 screen cinema, live events, café, food hall with local independent food vendors, fully licensed bar and more. Our food vendors include:

compound coffee - fusé - twerk’n’jerk two dogs down - my kibris kitchen Open everyday from 9am till late Find us under the big Black Cat in the Catford Centre, 32 Winslade Way, SE6 4JU / @CatfordMews


summer 2021

LOCALLY SOURCED Seasonal pickings


q Goldfinch Character Oak and oxidised steel dining table. Custom built dining tables to any size and specification. Typically between £2,500-£4,000. Unit 2, Iyz House, 7 Spa Road, SE16 3QP. Phone: 020 7237 7831.

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. Keep yourself safe and protect the NHS by getting the jab when it’s your turn.



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West Lane, SE16 £1,000,000+ Four Bedrooms Sought After Integrated Garage

Globe Pond Road, SE16 £400,000+


Globe Wharf, SE16 £675,000 Town House Fantastic Location Private Garden

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If you are thinking of moving then please call to arrange a free, no obligation valuation of your property

summer 2021








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