Our new space is part of the Metal Box Factory on Great Guildford Street, Bankside. The name gives away what this amazing building was previously used for. It’s been creatively converted and maintains its historical industrial features which are complemented by a striking atrium and enclosed roof garden. The place has a great atmosphere and a definite creative buzz!
Bankside itself is one of the oldest settlements in Britain. The Romans founded Londinium on the north bank of the River Thames. A bridge was built close to where the present London Bridge sits. The surrounding area has been inhabited ever since.
The area between the Clink and Paris Garden was outside of the City of London’s authority and so became occupied by the brothels, bear baiting pits and playhouses, including the Rose, the Hope Theatre, the Swan and the Globe Theatre (of which a replica was constructed in the late 1990s). William Shakespeare was one of many famous playwrites drawn to the the area to live and work.
The stretch of the Thames between Blackfriars Bridge and London Bridge was known to freeze over in extremely cold winters. Londoners used to take to the ice for all kinds of activities and these became known as Frost Fairs. Frost Fairs were a riot of fun and activity and had a proper carnival atmosphere. The scene at Bankside was described by 17th century diarist John Evelyn as ‘a Bacchanalian triumph of carnival on the water’.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the area became almost completely industrial and commercial, with riverside warehouses and wharves, and engineering and food processing firms (plus the odd ‘metal box factory’!). The middle classes left in their droves for the suburbs leaving behind an impoverished population living in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions pushed further into depriveation by the building of the great railway extensions from London Bridge to Charing Cross and Cannon Street in the 1860s.
Following industrial decline after the Second World War Bankside remained largely undiscovered and ignored, until its recent renaissance as one of the capital’s prime visitor destinations and as a new creative business hub.
Bankside’s great triumph of planning has been to join up individual attractions to make one exciting coherent modern tourist destination, accessible to St Paul’s and the City via the Millennium Bridge and forming a natural riverside extension to the east of the South Bank. The area is refreshingly pedestrian friendly and every time you turn a corner another cultural highlight reveals itself.
Shakespeares Globe Theatre is a major attraction on on Bankside (and also one of our favourite clients!). It is a painstaking reconstruction of the the original Theatre and is a lasting legacy to not only William Shakespeare, but also Sam Wanamaker who realised his ambition over more then 25 years to build a lasting tribute to the great playright. Sadly, Wanamaker died before its completion in 1997.
Bankside has seen ongoing transformation since Tate Modern opened in 2000 (with it’s new extension opening a few days after we arrived in our new office). Today the area has become a creative hub, home to many design studios, creative agencies, galleries and exhibition spaces. Part of Bankside’s reinvention as a creative business district included becoming a brand new ‘Design District’ and the first south of the river for London Design Festival 2015.
Come and see us and experience our new home for yourself.