A few weeks ago, walking along Great Suffolk Street in London SE1, I was rather taken by this nineteenth century building.
In an area that is being regenerated to the last inch, I found it refreshing. I wondered about its future, imagining it converted into luxury flats, or possibly demolished to make room for a new building. I already do some walks around SE1, but I started to think about a new one where this warehouse would feature.
So when I got home, I checked it out online, discovered that it had briefly been a theatre space a few years ago, and was Grade 2 listed. It was a speculative development, and had probably been a paper warehouse.
Last Sunday, intending a stroll along the river by the National Theatre, I decided to take my walk past the warehouse again and look at it more closely.
While I was staring, the doors on the first floor opened and I watched this little scene.
The woman rode off. The ladder was retracted. The doors closed.
Now, being a Blue Badge Guide is a licence to be nosey, and I was intrigued. I crossed the street and looked for some sign that the warehouse might be in use. Surely there should be a letterbox. If there was one, I didn’t find it. But at the back of the building I saw this evidence of occupation.
And that would probably have been that had not two students approached me. They had see me with my camera and on that basis decided I might be worth talking to. They asked briefly about why I was looking at the warehouse, but were much more interested in the Blackfriars Crown Court which they had thought was a prison. Because I stood in the street with them for a while, I was still there when the warehouse’s residents came out.
Turns out they had moved in just four days before and plan to use the building as an arts space. They were articulate and intelligent. When I left them I had a bounce in my step and a smile on my face.
I never did get to the National.
Watch this page for details of their Open House event. What larks!