Long Lane through the years

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Tuesday 26 May 2009 3.57pm
Hi everyone!
I have moved to Long Lane about 18 months ago and I think I have found my little spot in the world... I just love the area.
Browsing the forum I came to understand that there are several people who have lived in SE1 for a long time, even all their lives, and I was interested in finding out what Long Lane looked like even only a few years ago - so many new developments have popped up, Empire Square, City Walk, Bermondsey Square...

I remember what Bermondsey Square used to look like 12 years ago because my brother was living in London at the time (different part of town though). My parents are fond of antiques and when we used to come and visit him (I'm Italian by the way), Caledonian market was one of our favourite places. I had my very first fish&chips on our way back from the market, at the Long Lane fish bar - who would have guessed that after 10 years I would have moved to the same street!

But just out of pure curiosity - does anyone have pictures of what City Walk and Empire Square used to look like? It must have been exciting to see the area change so much through the years, and I am sure it also brought a number of issues, as all big changes do. Or maybe I am wrong here, I would like to hear comments about it from people who have seen it happening. As I said, I love the area and I would like to learn more about its history.

Really appreciate the time and help of those who will reply to this post!

Tuesday 26 May 2009 4.10pm
Welcome Vc, I moved here about 1949, unfortunately we were far too poor to have cameras...the first thing I did was to but one in 1955 from a savings bond that my God-Mother had started for...then found I could not afford the developing...
Tuesday 26 May 2009 6.35pm

I have lived on Long Lane for 14 years almost to the day and have a few pictures relatively recent pictures, taken over the years including the warehouses (bit of a shame to see gone)before Empire square was built and the depot (no loss) which was replaced by city walk. They are on film so can not post here. I can be found at book club most months next meeting wed 3rd june , so if you free why not join us and make some local friends too or pm me and maybe we can arrange some thing.

I would love to see pictures from further back.
Tuesday 26 May 2009 6.39pm
There are a few Long Lane pics in the Southwark photographic collection:


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Wednesday 27 May 2009 8.46am
The 1977 photo of tabard street, on the left was the United Assistance Board or National assistance board, the forerunner of social security offices. The building is still there, it was in the fifties.
Thursday 28 May 2009 8.38pm
Hi all, I'm finally back online... I thought there was something wrong with my Internet, then realised that the website was down. Nevermind!

Jan - that was unfortunate! Have you managed to pursue your passion for photography despite the initial setback?

Jac - would love to see the pics! I am in the middle of moving house at the moment (yes, you guessed right, from Long Lane to uhm... Long Lane!) so I won't make it to the next book club, but I'll try and join the next one. Do you meet once a month? What did the warehouses look like? A bit like those in Morocco street and Lethermarket street?

James - great link and fantastic pictures! I especially liked the one from 1945, I recognised The Ship right away!

Thank you all for your help... it's a great feeling to be able to find out more about the area!

Thursday 28 May 2009 11.16pm
There is a great historical library with loads of old photos but it's being refurbished at the moment and I don't know where the catalogue is being held. It was on Borough High St. Try Southwark council website.
Friday 29 May 2009 3.06pm
I've worked in the area for 5 years now and used to take photos of all the properties and got to walk around city walk while it was still a building site - I'll have a dig and see what I can find. I can't actually remember what was there before the current site. Same for Empire Square! And Tangerine House. My memory is horrible sometimes.
Friday 29 May 2009 10.27pm
Empire Square replaced some fairly average Victorian wharehouses although they were only 4 or so stories high. The current buildings are much more imposing along that stretch of Long Lane. There used to be 2 petrol stations at that end of Long Lane.
As for City walk, which I assume is the developemnt along from Weston St on the North side, this replaced a number of 2 and 3 storey brick buildings with garages etc using them, previously they were probably dwellings (pre war). None of the buildings had much merit and were nowhere near as interesting as those in Leathermarket St or Morocco St. At least with both new developments rights of way were introduced especially the City Walk complex which reintroduced (partly) an old route that ran from the Leathermarket to Bermondsey St.
Saturday 30 May 2009 8.00am
Thank you for suggesting the library Davies - with the renovation works going on for so long I had forgotten about it and it only makes sense that they could have some old pictures.

James, nothing to worry about, it's not your memory! I think we just get used to new sight very quickly and at some point it's like they've always been there.

Because I'm so used to see the modern buildings (which, oddly enough, I think blend pretty well with the old refurbished warehoused) it's difficult to try and imagine something completely different, like petrol stations at the end of Long Lane!
Good point about the rights of way, Crosby34, and it's reassuring to see that the developers didn't just tear down historic buildings (as uninteresting as they were) but also added value for the people living around there.
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