AB Thinks  →  6th September 2017

The generation game

AB Thinks

Before joining AB, I had never been to this particular corner of London but I have grown very attached to it.

Bermondsey Street, where we are based, is a narrow thoroughfare packed with quirky little boutiques, hip bars and pricy eateries. Together with a few of the surrounding streets, it is becoming something of a miniature hipster enclave.

But despite its rapid upward mobility, the area wears its industrial past prominently on its sleeve.

Many of the offices and flats are housed in what were very clearly once warehouses and small factories. The names of current businesses reveal what would have gone on behind these brick facades many years ago: The Woolpack, The Leather Exchange, Simon the Tanner. And so do the streets themselves: Leathermarket Street, Tanner Street, Lamb Walk.

I feel at home here, and perhaps it’s not just because of the cool surroundings and the lovely people at AB.

I recently learned that my paternal grandfather worked very close to our office for 40 years.

Stanley Charles Frankham was an accountant at Britz Bros, a firm of furriers at 239 Long Lane. My dad remembers visiting the factory – now converted into £1million flats – in the late 1940s and seeing craftsmen expertly slicing up musquash pelts.

I have a photograph of grandpa at his desk, taken probably 50 metres or so from where I sit right now. He worked there until his death at the age of 74 in 1976.

I wonder what he would have made of today’s world where furs are politically incorrect and Bermondsey Street is a hub for fashionable activity.

I also wonder what this place will be like 40 years after my death. Will the pubs, streets and apartment blocks be named after Internal Comms agencies and app design firms?

If you’re still around, have a pint at Ye Olde Social Media Strategy Manager and think of those who came before you.