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A Brief History Of The Leather Exchange In Bermondsey, London
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A Brief History Of The Leather Exchange In Bermondsey, London

Picture of Shay Waterworth
Updated: 6 December 2016
The Leather Exchange buildings were built in the 19th century as a tannery. Located in the heart of Bermondsey, the business flourished due to the constant water supply, cheap labour, hides from the butchers of London and a market of wealthy Londoners looking for the latest style or All Saints equivalent.
The Leather Market | © Lamarr Golding
The Leather Market | © Lamarr Golding

Bermondsey, located in South East London, had become a poor area of the city, but the sudden flowering of the Leather Exchange boosted the economy and brought much-needed commerce to the area. By 1792, a third of all leather in the country came out of Bermondsey, and the area was extensively redeveloped during the 19th and early 20th century. This happened due to the expansion of the river trade and arrival of the railways.

The Leather Market | © Lamarr Golding
The Leather Market | © Lamarr Golding

The city of London began to fear the power of the leather business and introduced a law to prevent the sale of their leather within three miles of the city, restricting their industry. A sudden influx of a poor, working-class population brought by the Leather Exchange led to insufficient housing in the city and disease spread.

The Leather Market | © Lamarr Golding
The Leather Market | © Lamarr Golding

While some parts of the magnificent buildings, including the clock tower and slaughterhouse, were bombed during WWI, much of the original Leather Exchange still stands proud with an honourable history.

The Leather Market | © Lamarr Golding
The Leather Market | © Lamarr Golding

Today, the Leather Exchange is a trendy space for small businesses, networking, and collaborating. The spot is growing more popular every day, and the bare brick walls and steel girders throughout the buildings create a trendy, industrial feeling. The Leather Exchange is made of restored period buildings drenched in character, and they’re only a short walk to London Bridge, providing a unique business environment for young entrepreneurs. From graphic designers to lighting consultants, the Leather Exchange is a perfect spot for young entrepreneurs who will benefit from the networking and collaboration that takes place within its walls.

The Leather Market | © Lamarr Golding
The Leather Market | © Lamarr Golding

Surrounding the Leather Exchange are a unique set of different shops, bars, restaurants hotels and parks, contributing to the revived desire to live in such a diverse borough of London.