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The Air by London Bridge

I lived all my life in bermondsey. When you was on a train you knew when you was getting near London Bridge because of the smells. It started just over the railway bridge near the blue. The air was sweet and savoury all at the same time - that was Peak Freans. As you went further on the air become more thick for abattoir work with the smell of Young's the glue factory and gelatine works. Then the smell of vinegar and finally the smell of skins being tanned in Tanner Street - just before arriving at London Bridge Station.

I did not know what fresh air was like till I took up fishing or we would get a red bus pass and go to Farnborough - it was heaven!

Ii am now 50 live in West Malling retired early because of a ill health but still go back every week to see my mum and dad who would not move for the world. Funny so much has  changed - the smells, the housing, the people, the friendliness of the place but I still miss it

R McKeown


Barclay Perkins Brewery and Memories of Park Street

The girls in the Bottling Hall with their Green scarves on their heads, green overalls and clogs, sometimes I had to walk through the Bottling Hall, I was very young and there was lots of invitations to do things with them.
The barrels were wooden and washed out with jets of water, to check the cleanliness, the workers had a gas light on the end of a long metal tube.

Sometimes barrels were rolled along the road down slopes and round corners guided by what  looked like broomsticks, but very skillful.

The smell of the brew which was almost permanent.

I remember Elizabeth Taylor and her husband making part of a film around Park Street and they went to lunch at the Anchor PH at Bankside

The lodge was just inside the front gates shown on a picture on your website.

During my 42 years with the Company lots of changes happened now the Companies no longer exist.

When I started work at Barclay Perkins,I was a messenger on the " Front Gate" lodge.

My job was to take the post and collect the post from all the offices. The telephone at the time was very old fashioned, it was the upright type. I spent four months in the lodge before being transferred to the Surveyors Department as a Junior Clerk (Office Boy) my time there was spent on passing on orders to Builders for repairs to the Pubs as well as filing, making afternoon tea and being the general dogsbody.There was a large fire in the Lager bottling area approx 1951. The office I was in backed onto this building but work carried on as usual, outside there was lots of water running down the road.

Whilst on the front gate I used to take buckets of spent  grain or spent hops to a Company called Bryant and Harman for testing. The buckets were quite heavy and I had to walk.

I left in 1952 to do my two years National Service and returned in 1954 to the same job. I decided it was time to improve myself, so I became a trainee Architectural Assistant.
In time I moved up the ladder and became a Surveyor.
Barclay Perkins merged with Courage in 1956.I  was transferred to Horselydown in 1956 and back to Southwark in 1957.

In 1958 I went back to Horselydown until I went to a new office in Purley in 1976.

D.Bostridge. West Chiltington, West Sussex.
 Click here for more on the Brewing
Page updated 17 Feb 2006
Ind. Rev.

The Lost Industry of Southwark Project is supported by:

the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs

Project Director- Kevin Flude

Email Kevin Flude. Cultural Heritage Resources

To find out more on Southwark visit the SOUTHWARK LOCAL STUDIES LIBRARY
& buy the excellent book by Leonard Riley entitled 'Southwark - an illustrated guide.'

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