London’s centre of gravity is on the move. The city’s ancient roots are of course north of the river, with many of its landmarks and institutions dotted along that side of the Thames. Centuries of expansion, while not confined to the north, saw it’s most desirable neighbourhoods built in the north and west, while industry and the docks dominated the east and south. A form of snobbery existed for decades that somehow South London was lesser than the north, even that it was not truly London at all. It was encapsulated in that mythic saying of taxi drivers, “Not going sarf of the river guv.” And within this hierarchy, there was an especially low tier reserved for the parts of the south with an SE postcode. After all, half the SW postcodes are actually north of the river anyway. Reflecting this situation, the majority of my work has always been concentrated in the those ‘smarter’ postcodes: houses and apartments in W8, SW3, SW6, NW1, N1, and even as far as W4, while bars and restaurants tended to cluster in W1 and the WCs & ECs.
But in the last decade or so, something has stirred in the southeast. Driven of course by soaring property prices throughout the city, developers have begun exploiting areas which were formerly off limits, despite their central locations. New institutions springing up south of the Thames, have also served as a catalyst for change: the GLA building and Tate Modern, chief among them.
Having long since moved southeast myself, I’m delighted that there is now so much more work on my doorstep. So here is a round-up of what’s been happening in this quarter of the city.
Closest to the river, this is where development is at it’s most intense. I’ve shot apartments at One Tower Bridge, and in the Southbank Tower, which I featured here recently, and this one at NEO Bankside. (Client: Adrienne Chinn)
Just a long the river in the most visible development of all in these parts, namely The Shard, is the restaurant, AquaShard, in which, lighting designer, Tom Kirk, designed these extraordinary chandeliers.
Away from the river, I was sent by the Times to shoot the playful home of Harry Parr, one half of the jelly and cocktail duo, Bompas & Parr.
Camberwell, with its elegant Georgian streets, might once have been considered an honorary outpost of North London, and it’s once again on the up. Developer, Lightbox recently completed this small development of a Victorian terraced house.
Peckham, the new Dalston, or Notting Hill, or wherever! A sign that things are on the move, is when the designers move in. Here is the studio of Matteo Bianchi.
And just a short hop across Peckham Rye, is Matteo’s apartment.
In the same postcode lives designer, Natalya Nesterova, and her architect husband.
I’ve so far only shot this lettings agency designed by Matteo Bianchi, but Surrey Quays being awash with development, it can only be a matter of time.
Home for the last 10 years, there’s plenty happening around here. I’ve already featured this lovely Victorian home designed by Paulo Hanke.
On Gipsy Hill, with its commanding views across the city is an elegant project by Lightbox.
Just around the corner, developer, Solidspace has shown how to successfully build stylish contemporary homes on a budget.
A converted pub formed another residential project by Lightbox.
East Dulwich has also had the Lightbox touch, with their latest development, a new-build project called Kaleidoscope.
This is almost as far as the London SE postcodes venture, before you run into CR (Croydon) territory. Here I found the lovely home of Jonna Saarinen, which featured in the Observer Magazine recently.
Sydenham is really two suburbs, the grittier Lower bit, and the leafier bit up the hill. Here are homes in each. Firstly Yasemen Hussein’s loft and workshop off the high street.
And next, Sarah Hamilton’s midcentury idyll in the woods.
Is there an SE28, or is that it? West Norwood and Tulse Hill have art and artists, old and new. Just off the South Circular, I shot a pair of studios by Architect, Nick Umney.
And finally, rounding up this report, is the long established auctioneers, Roseberys, which recently had a makeover.