A dilapidated but prominent set of railway arches at London Bridge station, nicknamed Findlater’s Corner after the wine merchant who used to occupy them, needs to be restored.
Now managed by The Arch Company, the restoration will be part of their broader plans to bring about 1,000 railroads back to commercial use.
Findlater’s Corner has long been a peculiarity in the area, as it is both located right at the intersection of London Bridge and Borough High Street, it has an impressive location with a magnificent tiled façade, but is also run-down and very shabby.
The planned redevelopment will restore the baroque revival front, including a complete renovation of the interior of the arches. When completed next fall, it will create four new units for retail and restaurant businesses.
The place is said to have long had the nickname Findlater’s Corner, as it was occupied by the wine merchants, Findlater’s Mackie & Todd, who occupied the place for decades, and the name was used by the wine company as their head office address. Although they did exactly the same thing with their offices in Dublin and Bournemouth – which raises the question of whether the nickname is something adopted by the general public as a whim or an official name given to it by the wine merchants.
The watch with its ceramic crown deer head, which refers to Findlater’s Scottish roots and whiskey shop, is one of the most visible in the city and will soon be restored to last the time. In 1897, the original Victorian wine shop architecture was replaced with a Beaux Arts-style faience (in a material similar to that used at the Savoy Hotel). Today, this facade is still one of the finest examples of a glazed faience in the capital.
Eagle-eyed passers-by will discover the faded sign on Findlater’s Corner on the unloved masonry today.
The wine merchants were founded in 1823 in Dublin by Alexander Findlater and prospered to such an extent that he expanded to London and in 1855 when Findlater Mackie Todd opened a branch on the corner of Tooley Street and in 1863 moved into the corner building today known as Findlater’s corner.
The company continued to grow and in the 1960s had almost 50 stores in the south east of England. It was eventually sold to Bulmers in 1967, which closed most stores and again sold the remaining wine wholesale business to the Beecham Group in 1970.
In 1993, it changed hands again – and is now owned by Waitrose.
If a branch of Little Waitrose were to open in the renovated Findlater’s Corner, it would be the circle closed.