Woolfson & Tay bookshop opens in Bermondsey Square

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Sunday 12 September 2010 8.30am
http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/4799

Quote:With the opening of the bookshop all the ground floor units at Bermondsey Square are now occupied.

Great news. It appears the Bermondsey area residents have more 'get up and go' and community spirit than the Borough crowd.
The main unit on the ground floor of Empire Sq is still empty after several years and the Mayfair Carpets gallery didn't last very long. Is the lower end of BHS commercially unviable?.
Sunday 12 September 2010 8.55am
phoney wrote:
...The main unit on the ground floor of Empire Sq is still empty after several years and the Mayfair Carpets gallery didn't last very long. Is the lower end of BHS commercially unviable?.

That gallery place (South Tower Social) was a temporary thing worked out with the developers. They did their exhibitions and left when the contract was up. Was pretty terrible anyway.

What's up with the unit at Empire Square? Is it just too big for any takers? I find that whole development and inner sanctum pretty dreary and soulless.

Hope the new bookshop is good!
Sunday 12 September 2010 12.42pm
Went to the new bookshop today and have to say I'm delighted to have such a place on my doorstop. The shop has friendly and welcoming staff, and a superbly curated selection of books.

The only criticism I'd have - and I hope it comes across as constructive criticism - is of the decor, especially the lighting, which seems a bit cold, sterile and clinical. The last indie bookshop I used with any frequency, Pages of Hackney, seemed much more cosy and inviting by comparison.

For this reason, I can't see myself lingering much in the cafe, despite the tempting cake selection. But I certainly intend to buy as many of my books as possible from there, and would encourage others to do likewise. I wish the owners every success (and hope they can warm up the decor a bit!)
Sunday 12 September 2010 12.49pm
By the way, I like the comparison between Empire Square and Bermondsey Square.

With the former, it's clear that developer's original vision for a lively, animated space surrounded by cafes and restaurants has failed spectacularly.

However, compared to most other contemporary developments, the architecture and finishing is high quality.

I find that the reverse is true, in almost every way, of the Bermondsey Square development.

So we have yin and yang at opposite ends of Long Lane...
Sunday 12 September 2010 7.37pm
The new bookshop is really welcome, but I worry that the Crockatt and Powell sets a precedent for an independent bookshop in SE1 which ultimately doesn't work out.
Sunday 12 September 2010 8.33pm
longlaner wrote:
The new bookshop is really welcome, but I worry that the Crockatt and Powell sets a precedent for an independent bookshop in SE1 which ultimately doesn't work out.

Typical - they've been open for one day and you're already writing it off. At least when they do fail you'll have the bragging rights for having predicted it first. Brilliant....
Sunday 12 September 2010 9.44pm
Er, that's a misreading of my sentiments. Perhaps they could have been better expressed.

I really want it to work, and I'm not writing it off. However, I am concerned that in the current retail climate independent bookshops, of which I'm a big fan, struggle to attract the custom they need to survive.

I shopped frequently at Crockatt and Powell, was dismayed when it went, and would love it if Woolfson & Tay turned out to be a huge success.
Monday 13 September 2010 11.50am
Erm, I think it was very well reported on this site a few years back, that the unit in Empire Sq (which the developers promised would be a restaurant, as part of their sales pitch for the flats) was never even built with the necessary waste/water/etc services for it to be used as a restaurant.

So I'm not sure why it's desirable or necessary to run down people who live at the BHS end of Long Lane rather than at the B St end....

...if you press it, they will come.
Monday 13 September 2010 1.22pm
Ivanhoe wrote:
Erm, I think it was very well reported on this site a few years back, that the unit in Empire Sq (which the developers promised would be a restaurant, as part of their sales pitch for the flats) was never even built with the necessary waste/water/etc services for it to be used as a restaurant.
So I'm not sure why it's desirable or necessary to run down people who live at the BHS end of Long Lane rather than at the B St end....

Rather an odd accusation to make. Who exactly was running down people who live at the BHS end of Long Lane rather than at the Bermondsey Street end? Certainly wasn't me. I was talking about the differences between the two recent redevelopments at either end; I didn't mention anything about people, nor did I imply that the aforementioned differences were down to differences in the people living nearby.
Monday 13 September 2010 1.31pm
phoney wrote:
http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/4799
Quote:It appears the Bermondsey area residents have more 'get up and go' and community spirit than the Borough crowd.
The main unit on the ground floor of Empire Sq is still empty after several years and the Mayfair Carpets gallery didn't last very long.

Don't see the link in that sweeping observation about the relative 'get up go' (whatever that may be) or 'community spirit' of an area's residents and the retail activity in an area. As Ivanhoe has pointed out, there are other reasons that determine the commercial viability and success of local shops. I live towards the BHS end of Long Lane and get up and go to shop in Bermondsey Square and even venture as far afield as the developing enclave of food outlets around Maltby & Druid Street, rather than brave the heaving mob in Borough Market, but would not do so if there were such places in Empire Square. It may be a missed opportunity, but it seems unlikely that the owner / developer of that rather sterile space would ever support an open - air market, for which there was a precedent at Bermondsey Square. There's too much of a 'don't walk on the grass' feel about the open space and only one 'retail' space that opens on to it (the gym). It's also largely invisible from the street, so would need to work a lot harder to attract custom.
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