How London’s Industrial Heritage is Shaping Cool New Developments

Property expert Fiona Brandhorst explores how London’s industrial heritage is influencing some of the capital’s coolest new developments, especially in east London and the Docklands

Lead image: London City Island by EcoWorld Ballymore

London has a legacy of streets lined with industrial buildings, merchants’ townhouses and workman’s cottages each with its own history. In east London, Whitechapel is inextricably linked to the Huguenots, the French silk weavers and merchants, who took up residence in the area in the 16th and 17th centuries.

With a nod to this local heritage, where some of the first live/work premises were created, Mount Anvil has just launched The Silk District, a collection of studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments. An easy walk or minutes by Tube to the city or Shoreditch, the homes are set across three distinct buildings: The Jacquard, The Georgette and The Bouchon, named after a loom, a fine fabric and a French weaver. A residents’ workspace, cinema room, gym and 24-hour concierge are included. Prices start from £502,000.

Boutique developer Shape Real Estate has launched The Taper Building comprising 56 one, two and three bedroom apartments in SE1’s Bermondsey, which has a riverside industrial heritage stretching back to medieval times. A hub for leather, textiles production and food processing including biscuits, vinegar and jam, the area was called aptly called London’s Larder. Each apartment will each have private outdoor space and access to a rooftop garden with views of the Shard and, unusually, buyers with dogs are welcome.

The Leather Market and Bermondsey Street with its restaurants and bars, trendy boutiques, galleries, independent shops and the White Cube gallery are all close by. Prices start at £680,000 through KFH. The Royal Docks were the entry point for imported foodstuffs including sugar, rum and coffee which were unloaded by rows of cranes and stored in granaries and warehouses along the quayside.

Views of this once industrial quarter, now home to London’s only urban beach, water sports, Crossrail and the Emirates cable car, are spectacular from Mount Anvil’s 19th storey Royal Docks West tower. Prices start from £590,000 for a two bedroom apartment.

Canary Wharf was named after the Canary Islands from where produce including tomatoes was unloaded more than 100 years ago. Telford Homes’ Manhattan Plaza takes its architectural inspiration from the warehouses of New York’s trendy Meatpacking District, as well as the nearby Billingsgate Market and the financial markets of Canary Wharf. Sweeping vistas of the city and two residents’ roof-top gardens offer the ultimate in city living.

The Royal Docks was a thriving centre for cargo and trade and has been a meeting place between London and its markets across the globe for centuries

‘Canary Wharf has seen rapid transformation,’ adds David Campbell, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Telford Homes. ‘The emergence of new restaurants, bars and shops alongside the excellent riverside views and transport links has helped to cement its popularity as a place to live.’ Prices start from £599,950; the recently launched penthouse is priced at £897,500.

London City Island on the Leamouth Peninsular was home to skilled manufacturing in the mid-1800s including the Thames Plate Glass Company which housed workers locally. Now the English National Ballet and the London Film School are due to move to the island and two art galleries, studios and workspaces for residents and local creatives are being established. A striking red footbridge connects the EcoWorld Ballymore development to Canning Town. Homes start from £420,000 for a suite and rise up to £770,000 for a three bedroom apartment.

The Royal Docks was a thriving centre for cargo and trade and has been a meeting place between London and its markets across the globe for centuries. Ballymore & Oxley’s flagship development Royal Wharf is defined by its rich variety of architectural styles as well as its green space. Residents will be able to step out of their apartments onto the new 500m riverfront promenade that leads to the two riverside parks bordering the development.

The mixture of brick townhouses and apartment buildings make use of industrial materials in homage to the heritage of the surrounding Docklands. Price start from £590,000 for a two bedroom apartment, townhouses start from £1,082,500.