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Memories of the Spa Road area

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Monday 4 January 2016 1.28am
I've only been living in the area for just over a year but I am interested to hear more about what was along particularly Spa Road 5,10,20 or more years ago so I can picture it. I'm just somebody who's interested in what came before, no other reason, particularly as so many apartments around Spa Road, Abbey St, Jamaica Road and Long Lane appear to have been built in the last decade or less.

I first came to the area in 2008 when I was working at a local school, just before Del Aziz opened with the Shortwave Cinema, so I remember those changes. I also remember the tower blocks where Tesco on Jamaica Rd now lies, beneath the new apartments. I also used to visit a friend on the Neckinger estate but frustratingly I can't remember what was on the other side of the road where The Exchange now lies. I once also went in the one-stop council offices which are now luxury flats, but again, I can't remember much else as I wasn't living in the area at the time.

What was where the Bolanichi building now lies, or those apartments above the betting shop and Cafe Del Amore?

And what was where those apartments round by Coop are, or around St James' church yard?

Would love to know more, memories of the neighbourhood, what's been lost and gained, and pictures would be even better.
Monday 4 January 2016 2.17pm
You can go on the Southwark Council website and look under MAPS - they have some going back to the 1800's.
Also I went on this fascinating walk below - I believe it is the first of several free walks that the Council are doing around the area.

Wednesday 30th December - FREE WALK with John Constable and Doug Poll for Southwark Council
meet 12 noon for 12.15pm departure at The Blue Market, Bermondsey SE16 (by the Blue Anchor pub)
Walk off the Christmas feast as we explore the back streets of Bermondsey, the stories of the old industries and the people who worked in them, along with film and TV locations. FREE!

Have a look on Youtube as well - there are some great vids of Old Bermondsey and Spa road eg
My Bermondsey
by sparoader
(never mind the song!)
Hope that helps a bit.
Monday 4 January 2016 2.32pm
TDG1982 wrote:
What was where the Bolanichi building now lies, or those apartments above the betting shop and Cafe Del Amore?

There was previously a parade of shops there including, unsurprisingly, William Hill and a very good bakers.

DG1982 wrote:
And what was where those apartments round by Coop are, or around St James' church yard?

The site of the Co-op was more or less the site of the old sorting office.

That's relatively recent though. If you go back a little further Spa Road was a lot more prominent than it is now. John D Beasley, Stephen Humphrey and Debra Gosling (a contributor to this forum) have published books containing photos of the road in years gone by.

As for Abbey Street, there were until, I think, the 1980s lots of wartime prefab homes in the area.

Re Neckinger, where the Exchange now is, there were perfectly good flats in a similar style to those which you recall being on the site of where Tesco is now.

The Bermondsey Boy website ( is great. Have a look on there.
Wednesday 6 January 2016 9.48am
Did anyone else use the library? Its now the Buddhist place. When I was a kid in the 70s and 80s Id trek up to Spa Road from Surrey Docks where I lived to visit, it seemed to take an age to walk there with my little legs. But it was worth the walk as they had a fantastic record library where you could borrow vinyl lps. I think Danny Baker also mentions it in one of his biographies as his Dad would wash the records in soapy water before returning them!
Wednesday 6 January 2016 10.24am
Or the beautiful ornamental torches outside the town hall that mysteriously disappeared twenty years ago...the portrait of mayor Henley inside that has probably gone same way, and he was a hero.

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