Oliver’s Wharf is London’s original Warehouse Conversion which was converted in the early 1970’s and presaged the

transformation that was to take place during the next 3 decades in the Docklands

Originally built in 1870, bystolic.htm’>this wharf handled general cargo but was more well known as a Tea warehouse. The immediate post-war period could be called old London’s Indian summer. The docks still thrived, but the underlying currents, as with the river itself, were treacherous.

Britain no longer ruled the waves, and with imperial decline, London’s industries began to contract. in the decade after 1966 London lost half a million factory jobs. Manufacturing employment fell by almost a third between 1971 and 1976. By the mid seventies, 70 percent of London’s jobs were in services.

The most drastic was the death of the Docks. World trade patterns had changed profoundly. From a peak of 30,000 in the 1950’s, dock employment dropped to 2,000 by 1981. The port of London invested dramatically in containerisation at Iilbury and closed the old inner docks. Not just factories, but commerce too began moving out of central London to avoid spiralling rents, inflated wages and transport snarl-ups.

This really marks the start of the modern loft movement in London. As in other capitals – New York, Berlin and Amsterdam – it were artists, architects and academics who first started to colonise the empty buildings.exterior-2

Sometimes it was a conservationist protest movement. In the Seventies, many prized warehouses were threatened with demolition and squatters took on rapacious office developers. The loft pioneers were the first to spot the potential of the buildings themselves and the opportunity for an alternative way of living. Then, lofts offered maximum space at minimum cost . Bridget Riley founded Space Studios at St Katherine’s Dock as early as 1968 and before long an artists’ colony formed in Wapping.

Oliver’s Wharf, a Victorian Gothic gem, was the first of the old warehouses to be converted in residential. The large open-plan interiors with retained industrial features, became a design blueprint, copied by Clerkenwell loft-dwellers much later.

So, what of all this information? Keep watching this space………………..

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Finding a nest to live AND be creative is the dream of many a mortal. Somewhere to call home, to switch off, to play host… With a space for one’s craft when eureka moments strike. And a place to be inspired, surrounded by streets, people and commerce with art at their heart. Such was the dream of Jan and Ruth.

One needing a space for woodwork, the other a freelancer wiith freedom to work from anywhere, both with a desire to dwell in exciting & evocative environs. By chance, they happened upon Tilney Court, at the seam of Old Street and Clerkenwell. exterior-main-small

A former printworks in a hidden courtyard by Whitecross Street, London’s most neighbourly of neighbourhood food markets – even the restaurants let you eat your own grub – the building gave them the space and the spaces to art their hearts out.

Now a two-storey affair of 1500 sq ft with a workshop and bedroom on the ground and a wide open living space upstairs, there’s planning permission to go one, indeed two, further. We’re talking a four-floor urban treat of 2800 sq ft, with two new roof terraces adding that extra-special final touch.

 

Do we need to talk about the abundance of just about everything inspirational in this part of town? Do we really? Like, does anyone NOT know this is absolutely, totally, undoubtedly, unequivocally and even most certainly, where it’s at?

Not just when it comes to hanging out. Yes yes yes London’s best eats, drinks, clubs, galleries, markets and shops are all here, but it’s more than that. Whether it’s artisans or partisans, EC1 & EC2 are simply unmatched in their stuffing of pioneers, moghuls, groundbreakers and verve.

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