The Works Move: First impressions of London Bridge

05 Feb 2013 by Sarah Leembruggen.

The Works team is settling in to a new office. We’ve swapped the chic boutique-lined streets of the lavish West End for the crowded, urgent bustle near the Capital’s square mile. Only a few tube stops separate the two areas, and yet they look and feel quite different.
London’s most famous diarist, Samuel Pepys, penned his thoughts about this part of town during the 1660s, most notably during the Great Fire of London. And, in a very vague nod to this esteemed son of the City, we now blog our first impressions, about working life in London Bridge:

Sarah Leembruggen, Managing Partner:
We have moved from spacious, beautiful and plush Mayfair with fantastic shops to edgy, busy and noisy London Bridge. It’s ‘real’ London and I like it more than I thought I would. Walking to work is so different with locals taking their children to school, tourists a plenty and a stream of workers striding over London Bridge.

I like rushing past the long queues at Monmouth Coffee, first thing (it’s so good that it’s always busy), wondering what the German deli is selling today and taking in the tangy aroma of Neal Yard’s Cheese Shop. It’s all about food when you work near Borough market; ambling through the food market, trying a different stall every day, and taking in the surprising number of displays of art scattered around the market. I’m also enjoying the eclectic architecture nearby. Many little cafes and restaurants are housed in the railway arches contrasting with the glass fronted Borough Market and the amazing Shard disappearing into the clouds when it’s grey and piercing the blue sky in the sunshine.

Tarasyn Whitehead-Patey, Consultant:
This area really reminds me of the film Bridget Jones’s Diary - her flat in the film is just around the corner (just above The Globe). Inspired by this, I have been reading the book. The way the streets are described is so vivid that I keep expecting a slightly drunk Daniel Cleaver to come around the corner and say ‘Hello Bridgeee’ as I walk to the station every evening.

The City is very quirky compared to the West End of London. The first thing I notice is the smell of fresh bacon sandwiches and coffee as I walk through Borough Market in the morning, and the friendly Jamie Oliver lookalike at the meat stall who always says ‘Morning Darlin’ in his East End accent! And there are dozens of little pubs and wine bars that you can get completely lost in on an evening catching up with an old friend in the corner.

Amy Lawrence, Recruitment, Training & Development Manager:
I feel like I have come home – I LOVE the City! I find it much more authentic than the West End with its hoards of shoppers with armfuls of bags! I think it helps that my journey to work is more straightforward and that my commuting time has been slashed! Yes… it’s much more me here.

Although we are a just a few minutes’ walk from the crowds at London Bridge station, it is really quiet near the office. The Tate Modern and The Globe Theatre are just on our doorstep, and it’s a luxury to be able to stroll down by the River Thames and off along ancient cobbled streets.

Lunchtime has been revolutionised. There are just too many choices! Pork loin and crackling sandwiches from Borough Market are to die for and there’s a fabulous veggie stall too…What a relief that the full market is ONLY open Thursday and Friday during the week – otherwise my bank balance would be at serious risk of irreparable damage!
The office itself is fab. The Team (other company based here) are super friendly and although we were worried about the amount of noise we make, they have embraced us!
City vs the West End. I know which is my winner.

Renee Wo, Candidate Consultant:
Our move to London Bridge means we now have a more spacious, modern office. It’s great. We’re sharing the space which means there’s a really different atmosphere to our West End base and much more of a buzz.

There are loads of cute coffee houses in this part of town, for candidate meetings and we each have our favourite places to go. Mine is Le Pain Quotidien, but it’s early days and there are so many other options to explore.

We’re also only a minute from London’s famous Borough Market, where the food is AMAZING. Instead of having to go to endless sandwich chains, I can now find something really special to eat at lunchtime. Ok, so it costs a bit more but it’s simple things like this that really make a difference.

Lynne Wilkins, Managing Partner:
The best thing for me is the stunning view walking along the riverside from Blackfriars to Borough. It’s the first time I’ve ever worked on this side of the River and now I can totally avoid the tube on my commute, which is bliss. I never tire of the London landscape from the South Bank side – I can’t wait for the summer to make more of it. I’m finding that I go out more at lunchtime too, venturing out in different directions and finding bits of London I’ve never really discovered before. There’s a wonderful sense of history here with cobbled streets, the Golden Hinde and Southwark Cathedral – great if you need a few minutes of headspace. The West End has its quiet gems too; I will miss grabbing a few rays in Mount Street Gardens in the summer and celeb spotting!

There’s a more eclectic style around the Borough side of London Bridge, which contrasts with the upmarket feel of ‘hedge fund’ central around Mayfair, and Claridges the celebrity magnet in Brook Street. The Pubs seem more interesting here, although a lot more field research is obviously required.

Overall, it’s food glorious food with Borough Market replacing the shopping bliss of the West End. I’ve noticed that brownies are making a regular appearance on our desks now, not tiny packaged versions, but large slabs of wickedness from the market or the wonderful patisserie round the corner.

I’m pleasantly surprised how much I like the area. It’s less ‘polished’ and more gritty (in a good, interesting way), with fab food (meat and cheese particularly), more space to think and less frenetic just needs to work on its luxury handbag window shopping opportunities!

What’s the view like from your office? Send a picture @theworksrecruit

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