OPEN HOUSE FESTIVAL | EAMES FINE ART COLLECTORS STUDIO
From Hogarth’s street scenes to Moore’s figures sheltering in the tube during the Blitz, there’s huge scope to explore this fascinating city through the medium of art. The construction of the Olympic site and examinations of landmarks, such as St Paul’s and The Shard to name but a few. Please ask one of the Eames team if there is a particular landmark, or area that you are particularly interested in.
The Studio building is a great example of the rich evolution of London’s buildings; from noxious leather treatment warehouse, complete with sloping floor for washing away by-products, to stylish Collector’s Studio in the space of 150 years. Works of art have replaced hides but, the slope remains! As do 19th century high level barn doors, winch pole and loading platforms – clues to the area’s fascinating industrial history.
Since the medieval period, the City of London had banned tanning of leather within the city walls due to the noxious smells produced by the industry. Bermondsey therefore, situated South of the river outside the city walls, was a hub of leather production. It was referred to by some as the ‘land of leather’. Rather disgustingly, one key ingredient of the tanning process was dog faeces. This would have to be scraped up from the streets of London and collected by unfortunate workers known as ‘pure finders’. The faeces, or ‘pure’, was used along with urine to purify and soften the hides, so you can only imagine the unholy stench. Dickens said on one of his visits to Bermondsey that the ‘air reeks with evil smells’. Thankfully the air now carries the aroma of fresh coffee, flowers and perhaps the hint of ink or paint from our galleries and studio!
Tanner Street’s history goes much further back - one of the oldest streets in Bermondsey, it was originally called Five Foot Lane in 1544.